Media

Movie Renter's Guide Number 153 - December, 2007 - Part II

ARTICLE INDEX


"Masters of Horror Season 1 Vol. 3&4"  (Blu-ray)

Masters of HorrorSynopsis

Masters Of Horror: Season One, Volume Three includes: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road - Don Coscarelli directs the grisly stunner about a young woman hunted by the backwoods maniac called "Moonface." Dance Of The Dead - Tobe Hooper invites you inside a post-nuke nightclub where a depraved MC entertains the murderous masses. Pick Me Up - A trucker who kills hitchers, a hitchhiker who murders drivers and a tough woman looking for a ride all come together in this twisted thriller from director Larry Cohen.

Masters Of Horrors: Season 1, Volume IV includes: Imprint - This infamous episode directed by Takashi Miike was considered so disturbing that cable television refused to broadcast it. Homecoming - Joe Dante directs the season's most provocative episode in which dead troops return from the war to vote in the next Presidential election. Haekel's Tale - The erotic hungers of the undead come alive in this chilling shocker directed by John McNaughton. Chocolate - Director Mick Garris' acclaimed tale of obsession, murder and psychosexual hunger.

Specifications

    • Anchor Bay/Starz
      2007, Color, Unrated, 2 hour 9 min/ 4 hours 22 min
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/li>
    • 1080i
    • English PCM 5.1
    • English DD 5.1
    • Directed by Various
    • Starring Robert Englund, Fairuza Balk, Henry Thomas, Matt Frewer
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Strong
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Strong

Commentary

Anchor Bay returns with two more volumes from its popular Starz series. Being a big fan of horror, and most of these directors, I was anxious to see the rest of this series. Personally I enjoyed these volumes a bit more than the first two, though there were some weaker episodes. Some standouts include Imprint, Dance of the Dead, Homecoming and Chocolate. I was hoping a for a bit more from Haekel's Tale since it was written by Clive Barker, who is one of my favorite horror writers. The production value on all of the short films is quite good, especially Miike's Imprint, which I guess was too much for even Starz to broadcast. It reminded me a bit of Ichi The Killer in its level of violence and probably isn't fit for the timid. Fans of this genre would still be remiss to not at least give these a rental and die hards would do well to add them to the library.

Technical

The video presentation is pretty much consistent from what I saw with the first two volumes. At times the image can be quite impressive with decent contrast and nice detail, but there are moments when the image lacks dimension a bit and flattens out. Some of this is a byproduct of the photography style though and each film is different. This release is a bit different from standard Blu-ray releases since its encoded in 1080i, so the end picture result may rely more on what your playback chain is than the authoring. While this isn't the best looking show I've seen on HD yet, there is little to complain about.

The soundtracks are all presented in uncompressed PCM and quality varies a bit. Luckily even the weakest episode is still a strong presentation. Dynamics are always solid but some tracks fill the soundstage a bit more than others, delivering a more satisfying experience. Highlights include Tobe Hooper's and Takashi Miike's shorts. Both deliver great soundstage use and dynamics. Considering the fact that these were made for cable, I am quite impressed by just how good the sound design and presentation is.

Extras

All of the episodes include a feature commentary. There are also some highlights from other Anchor Bay/Starz Blu-ray releases.