Laserblast 4-17: Hemlock Grove & Kiss of the Damned
This week, the Cinefantastique Laserblast podcast – devoted to horror, fantasy, and science fiction on home video – offers reviews of HEMLOCK GROVE (a new Netflix original series from Eli Roth); KISS OF THE DAMNED (a vampire film from Magnet Releasing, available on VOD before hitting theatres on May 3); ROBOT AND FRANK (on DVD after a small theatrical release last year); and THE FOUR (a recent Fant-Asia film now available on home video). Dan Persons and Steve Biodrowski also take a look at the week’s new home video releases for Tuesday, April 30, and offer a couple of titles for suggested viewing.
For those too busy to listen, you will find a summary below:
HEMLOCK GROVE is set in a small town run by a big-wig family, whose matriarch (Famke Janssen) is probably up to not good. Be that as it may, the story is set into motion when a cheerleader is partially eaten by…something. Typical for the soap opera format, many characters and storylines are interwined, and often the narrative stategy (especially during the first four epsidodes, on review here) is to drag things out as much as possible, teasing viewers along with promises of what is to come.
KISS OF THE DAMNED is a low-budget vampire film with a 1970s Euro-vibe, written and directed by Xan Cassavettes (daughter of the late, great John Cassavettes). Advance word has been possitive, but Dan Persons argues otherwise.
ROBOT AND FRANK offers few extras on DVD, but the excellent film is accompanied by a wonderful audio commentary from writer Cristopher D. Ford and director Jake Schreier.
THE FOUR is a fun-filled martial arts fantasy with a zombie army and gifted superheroes. It is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and instant view.
TUESDAY, APRIL 30 HOME VIDEO TITLES
This week’s video releases include:
CLOUD ATLAS on instant viewing formats, a week before discs arrive in stores. Read our review of this excellent film here, or listen to our previous podcast discussion.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – SEASON THREE on Blu-ray, from Paramount. Extras include: Mission Overview: Year Three (discusses the major changes that occurred in Season Three with both old and new interviews); Selected Crew Analysis: Year Three (an in-depth look at the growth of the continuing characters as well as a closer look at returning crew member Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden)); Departmental Briefing, Year Three: Production (a behind-the-scenes look at particular episodes from the production crew’s point of view); Departmental Briefing, Year Three: Memorable Missions (specific anecdotes about Year Three episodes).
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS. If you do not want the entire third season on a multi-disc set, you can opt for this single disc, which offers the Enterprise’s memorable confrontation with the Borg, on Blu-ray and UltraViolet. Extras include: Audio Commentary with Cliff Bole, Mike & Denise Okuda and Elizabeth Dennehy; Regeneration: Engaging the Borg; and a Gag Reel.
If that’s not enough STAR TREK for you, several of the features films are coming out on Blu-ray:
- STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
- STAR TREK III THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
- STAR TREK V THE FINAL FRONTIER
- STAR TREK IX INSURRECTION
- STAR TREK X: NEMESIS
THE VAMPIRE LOVERS arrives on Blu-ray, courtesy of Shout Factory. The 1970 Hammer horror film, based on J. Sheridan LeFanu’s excellent novella CARMILLA, was previously released on DVD, with an audio commentary from actress Ingrid Pitt, director Roy Ward Baker, and screenwrtier Tudor Gates. That feature has been ported over to the new high-def disc, along with two new featurettes, including the making-of piece “Femme Fantastique: Resurrecting the Vampire Lovers.” (This film spawned two sequels, including TWINS OF EVIL, the subject of a previous podcast review.)
- SCOOBY-DOO: MYSTERY INCORPORATED – Dan Personsk, no fan of previous incarnations of the mystery-solving gang, gives the thumbs up for this new version.
- THE TOUCH: Michelle Yeoh, the great martial arts star, produced this 2002 adventure-romance, which edges into fantasy (a la RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK). It’s funny and engaging, though ultimately slightly disappointing (imagine if RAIDERS had ended with the heroes preventing the Nazis from getting their hands on the Ark!)