HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

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CHILDREN OF THE CORN/HELLRAISER:...
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Fritz Kiersch/Clive Barker

Starring:
Linda Hamilton
Andrew Robinson
and Ashley Laurence

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A great 80ís horror double shot. Stephen Kingís classic Children of the Corn and Clive Barkerís main namesake Hellraiser. Pick your poison on Blu-ray!
Is it good movie?
As your average, cheap movie fan, Iíve been waiting, er, stalling in purchasing a Blu-ray player. The market annoyed and disappointed me when they attempted to push two competing formats a few years back, and I wasnít sure either one of them would really ever take off. But here we are a few years later and BD has seemingly stabilized and gained momentum as a true competitor of DVD. Still, Iíve waited because if manufacturerís want my money, they better offer something damn good. And it seems the time is finally right.

So why am I wasting this much space talking about a movement that started years ago? Because I finally ponied up and bought one, and the Double Feature: Children of the Corn/Hellraiser represents my first BD review. Bout damn time.

For Children of the Corn itís been about 15 years since I last watched it, and I gotta say itís a damn amusing ride to take again. This film could have easily been apart of the John Carpenter cannon and in many ways itís easy to tell he influenced just about every element of the production. You know the movie couldnít have cost much to produce, but everything (minus some very bad effects at the end) looks top notch. The gore, the simple sets, the music, it all feels like a quality piece of genre filmmaking. Likewise, the leads, a pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton, are just as effective but they take a backseat to the great Isaac and Malachai, a great one-two punch of kid villains. Itís easy to dismiss this movie as just a Village of the Damn rip-off, but Kingís story of blind faith and manipulation in children makes the movie something more.

While Children of the Corn plays like classic 1980ís B fare, Clive Barkerís Hellraiser is something else. Hellraiser is one of those movies I always thought I had seen, but upon watching it, it quickly became obvious that I never have (I was thinking of Nightbreed the whole time! Donít ask why.). So only 20-something years and about eight sequels later, I finally understand a little about what has made Hellraiser an enduring franchise. Itís dark, satanic, dangerous and downright bloody as hell. At the same time, I was surprised at Barkerís level of drama and complexity and depth in the story. The movie carriers a weight that says, ďHi, Iím about more than just gore. Watch and think about me.Ē Iím going to have to watch it again to fully understand what Barker created, but itís a journey Iím eager to travel on. If youíre like me and youíve never partaken, hop aboard. Itís a bloody smooth ride.

While the hairstyles and clothing seem utterly dated in both movies, the special effects (especially in Hellraiser) are anything but. I know when both are eventually remade (itís gonna happen) the new producers will go with cheap-ass looking CGI. No reason to. In Hellraiser, nearly every effects shot garners the affect Barker wanted -- disturbing and something painful to watch. And in Corn the violence is more implied than actually shown. Thatís something no one has the balls to do anymore.
Video / Audio
Both movies have...

Video: A great looking, full-screen (on the big screen) Widescreen presentation.

Audio: Presented with the power of Dolby TrueHD 5.1.
The Extras
For Corn Commentary: Director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby, actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains all provide a track. These guys sure seem to enjoy being back together and who could blame them. Great one for fans of the film.

Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn: A 15-minute doc with interviews with the production crew. Always interesting seeing how older low budget flicks are put together.

It was the Eighties!: A 14-minute clip with an interview with Linda Hamilton. She seems to enjoy talking about the film, her past and her early low budget life pre-Terminator.

Stephen King on a Shoestring: Producer Donald P. Borchers spends about 11 minutes talking about the film and how and why he changed certain elements about the short story. I always love script origin stories.

Harvesting Horror: A documentary with interviews from the director and actors Franklin and Gains that runs well over 30-minutes. Good stuff and pretty in-depth too.

For Hellraiser Commentary: Writer/Director Barker and star Ashley Laurence provide the track. It's about what you would think it would be.

Mr. Cotton, I Presume? A 16-minute interview with star Andrew Robinson. Frank and honest comments about his career and the flick.

Hellraiser Resurrection: 24-minutes worth of interviews. Clive Barker seems a little sick of relaying information and stories about a movie that he no doubt has told many times before.

Under the Skin: Doug Bradley spends about 12-minutes talking about his livelihood as Pinhead.

Actress from Hell: Actress Ashley Laurence spends 12-minutes talking about her experiences. Sheís still hot!

Hellcomposer: Hereís something thatís a little more rare Ė an in-depth interview (18-minutes worth!) with the composer of the film. They always seem a little odd to me. Donít know why
Last Call
For fans of 80ís horror or just fans for horror in general, this is a great set to start your BD collection off with. The sound and the clarity look great, which is why people like me (and you) will rebuild the collection once again.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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