After being off of the blog for a few weeks, I’m back! This time with a dvd review. I owe this courtesy of Phil from the CHUD boards, as he asked me about this particular movie on facebook this past saturday.
I first rented Rituals back in 2005 after hearing about it for some time before, and I’m a fan of Lawrence Dane and Hal Holbrook from way back, so I figured I’d give it a spin. It’s about 5 middle aged doctors who go for a 6 day hike in the woods for some fun. Faster than you can say ‘backwoods horror” the movie turns into a cat and mouse game between them and an unseen mountain man who has a bone to pick with doctors. Saying much more would spoil it too much, and even though I’m a guy who likes spoilers, it’s better if you see this movie, as it’s a really underseen gem.
The VHS that I rented was in pretty rough shape. All the dark scenes, including the finale at a remote cabin were really really hard to make out. I mean, I’m talking Humongous on VHS transfer bad. That’s another movie that could benefit from a clean up.
The new Code Red dvd has had a checkered past. First it was held up because of a Hal Holbrook interview that never came to fruition. Then it was said that they didn’t really have the rights to it, despite slapping the trailer on some of their other releases, and having artwork done up for it.
3 years later, it basically had a quiet release. Since I lurk on horror movie boards, I knew that it’s release was in April, and right after it was released, I ordered it from Dvd Pacific. On a lot of the forums, there was already talk of the retailers who had it selling out quickly. This is despite the fact that big online sellers like Amazon.com and Deep Discount didn’t even have it listed.
The transfer on the dvd is the best it will ever look. It’s got a lot of print damage, but the scenes in daylight (and there’s quite a bit) are very bright, and even the night shots are quite clear.
There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the dvd that talks about the scenes during the climax, that due to an error in the lab, that they will always look bad. Reminds me of the jump cuts that happen on the dvd and Blu-ray of Lustig’s Maniac. Even on the commentary for that film, Lustig mentions that that will always be there, as it happened in the lab when it was processed.
Rituals has quite a few extras. There’s a really good interview that I only started with Lawrence Dane where he talks about getting his role because he slept with the producer (a joke since he was also a producer on the film) another with Robin Gammel, who played one of the doctors, and a commentary that I haven’t gotten to yet, but I’ve heard is informative. Rounding it out is some trailers.
Word is that the reason the movie is out of stock everywhere, is because it only had a small print run, since Code Red doesn’t really sell a lot of dvds, and this one selling it’s entire stock was quite a surprise. Hopefully they’ll press some more discs, and get this movie back out there, because it doesn’t deserve to be released quickly and then vanish back into the darkness that is obscurity.
It’s well worth it.
Here’s a few screencaps.
Rene’s song of the day: “The Sun’s Gone Dim, And The Sky’s Turned Black” by Johann Johannsson.
Thanks for reading my blog and see you next time!