Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Diverse thrills for Halloween in HD

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | October 22nd, 2014

Next Friday is Halloween already and horror movies are everywhere, more thrilling than ever with the crisp clarity of a Blu-ray on a high-definition television monitor or, better yet, projected in 1080p onto a big screen, especially when enjoyed as a group experience with an enthusiastic audience.

Those who’d rather forego the glut of gory pain-porn horror, twisted psycho-killers, and pseudo-documentary paranormal thrillers that seem to have taken over the genre in recent decades, still have a wide variety of alternatives to celebrate the season of spooky thrills in HD, as well as a couple of live presentations. The original John Barrymore version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” will actually be screening at MSUM Thursday, Oct. 30, in Weld Hall’s Glasrud auditorium, starting at 8 p.m. The showing is free and open to the public, and live pipe organ musical accompaniment will be performed by Dave Knudtson.

The very same night the Fargo Theatre will be hosting the Grindflicks “HorrorFest3,” an all-evening selection of campy horror movie trailers from the 1950s to ‘80s (typically far more entertaining than the films themselves), punctuated by a screening of the full-length Lon Chaney classic “The Phantom of the Opera” accompanied on the theatre’s mighty Wurlitzer by Lance Johnson. The Fargo Theatre’s HorrorFest starts at 6:45 p.m. with trailers from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and “The Phantom of the Opera” begins at 7:30 p.m. At 9:15 are the more “adult” oriented trailers from the ‘60s to ‘80s.

Several worthwhile and sometimes decidedly offbeat horror films for genre fans have become available on impressive-looking Blu-ray editions since last Halloween. Shout Factory’s fun seven-film Vincent Price collection Volume II, coming out this week, is one of the highlights, featuring iconic genre classics from 1959 to 1972. Big news for many horror fans is the new box set of all ten “Halloween” films, including original, sequels, and remakes from 1978 to 2009, with some alternate cuts and numerous bonus features (hint – no surprise that John Carpenter’s original remains the best!). I’ve already reviewed the classic silent versions of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1920) and “Nosferatu” (1922), both new to Blu-ray from Kino almost a year ago. Werner Herzog’s moody, melancholy, and stylish reimagining of “Nosferatu, the Vampyre” (1979), starring Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani, finally reached Blu-ray this May from Shout Factory, including both its German-language and simultaneously-shot English-language versions, plus a commentary, documentary, trailers and stills.

The unexpectedly successful 2014 reimagining of the classic “Godzilla” is now on Blu-ray from Warner. This big-budget 3-D updating of the allegorical sci-fi thriller is well worth seeing, but it will make more sense and be a much richer experience to those who have seen not only the original 1954 version (on Blu-ray from Criterion), but also several of the later sequels that continued over the next half-century.

Sixteen classic “Godzilla” movies from the 1960s through the early 2000s came out on Blu-ray this past year from various distributors to capitalize on this summer’s “Godzilla” marketing. Fans of Japanese “kaiju” (giant monster) movies should find most of them entertaining to various degrees. Other viewers may need to adjust to the convention of men in monster suits battling through miniature reproductions of Tokyo and other cities. Most of the films are aimed at children and teenagers, with fairly obvious environmental messages. Many also have some interesting subplots that unfold before, during, and after the monster battles and destruction. Picture quality on these varies by film, with some of the 1960s-70s titles actually looking better than many of the 1990s-2000s titles.

Another classic Japanese kaiju character, “Gamera” (a gigantic rocket-powered turtle), received a more sophisticated reboot in the 1990s, but to tie in with the new “Godzilla” movie, all eight original (1965 to 1980) Gamera films showed up this past spring in two budget volumes of four films each. These are mostly aimed at younger children ages 6 through 12, but are often quite charming. Picture quality again varies by film.

Horror fans may also want to track down Kino Classics’ new Blu-ray of “The Death Kiss” (1932), which reunites Bela Lugosi, David Manners, and Edward Van Sloan, the noted stars of Universal’s hit “Dracula” (already on a gorgeous Blu-ray) from the year before, but it is not a horror film. Instead it is a nifty, fast-paced little murder-mystery set in a movie studio, with decent production values including exemplary cinematography and editing for such a low-budget ($50,000) production, along with competent, effective performances from a cast of a few name stars and countless Hollywood veterans. While it may often seem a routine whodunit, the script cleverly sets up numerous red herrings and misleading clues, and provides enjoyable moments of pre-Code Prohibition-era banter, Hollywood self-satire, and cutesy comic shtick. Also, the location filming gives a revealing glimpse behind the scenes inside a real movie studio that raise it above average interest for any film buffs.

Picture quality is a mixed bag. A little over half the film is a crisp HD scan of a beautiful if slightly-worn archival original print with limited hand-tinting in certain scenes. A few sections seem to be either well-worn copies or fuzzy 16mm blowups inserted to fill in gaps missing from the superior surviving print. Audio is clear but often has background hiss or noise. Kino has included an entertaining audio commentary providing plentiful interesting background information on almost every actor and numerous production details. The only other bonus is a trailer (in HD) for the Bela Lugosi film “White Zombie,” also available on Blu-ray from Kino.

THE DEATH KISS on Blu-ray – Movie: B+ / Video: B+ / Audio: B / Extras: C+

IF YOU GO:

Horrorfest 3

Thurs, Oct. 30, 6:45 p.m. (6 p.m. doors)

Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Thurs, Oct. 30, 8 p.m.

Weld Hall, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Recently in:

FARGO – Police are looking for young man in connection to a homicide in South Fargo. On Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11:23 a.m., Fargo Police and Fire personnel responded to an apartment located within 2302 17 St. S. for medical…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comPhoto by Anne BradleyValkyries of the Valley will invade the North Dakota Apartment Wrestling Federation (NDAWF) for Brawl-esque, a variety show that will be held at Prairie Brothers Brewing Company…

Best Bets

Spirit Talk

by HPR Staff

Thursday, September 27, 7-9 p.m.Homewood Suites by Hilton Fargo, 2021 16th St N., FargoGet in touch with the other side! Sunny Dawn Johnston will help you reach the spirit world in this two-hour, eye-opening event. This is a group…

It’s bad enough when his word versus her word regarding sexual assault gets out in a high school hallway, but can you imagine it spreading throughout the national news media? Imagine reliving those events every time you turn on…

We failed to educate the players of “flag” footballI passed all of the American history courses in Morrison County District 54, Little Falls High School, and Moorhead State Teachers College, but I’m often appalled about what…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ryan Jankeryanjanke@hpr1.comAs I sat across from my wife at Himalayan Yak Tuesday evening, it dawned on me that time had slowed down. So often when we go out to eat, we are in a hurry. We get anxious when we aren’t greeted…

Music

Back in the saddle

by Sabrina Hornung

After a long hiatus members of Teenage Lobotomy reunited for the first time in 22 years at Center Fest in Robinson North Dakota this summer. With influences such as Husker Du and the Circle Jerks their high energy immediately had…

Director Craig William Macneill speculates on the infamous legend surrounding Massachusetts murder suspect Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie,” a long-germinating labor of love for star Chloe Sevigny. Working from a screenplay by Bryce…

It may be cliche to say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but when wet plate artist Shane Balkowitsch found out that his 15-year-old daughter Abby Balkowitsch was following in his photography footsteps, he was…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

In the approximately three years I’ve been writing for the High Plains Reader it seems I’ve always circled back to comedian Adam Quesnell. First, I wrote about his farewell show before he set out from Fargo and the comedy…

When walking into the new space on 1st Ave N that now houses Drekker brewing, one can only say, “Wow.” The majesty of the interior is unprecedented for a brewery in the region and provides a feeling of awe and astonishment.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

by Andrew Alexis Varvelmr.a.alexis.varvel@gmail.com“If a piece of equipment purchased in the 1920s is kept up and can guarantee, at present, an operable rate close to 100 percent and if it can bear the production burden placed on…