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:

Sophia Wilansky says she’s lucky she’s right handed. Since nearly losing her left arm from an exploding projectile on Backwater Bridge one year ago, cooking has become a tedious art. She can no longer be involved in circus…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…