BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Critters Collection: Critters (1986), Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), Critters 3 (1991), Critters 4 (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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The Critters Collection - blu-ray

They walk! They talk!  They bite the head off of E.T.  They even shoot tiny spikes from their pelts!  The Critters movies, last seen on VHS and crummy DVD releases, returns and they, with brand new 2K scans from the original film elements, look better than ever before!  Welcome back to the land of The Hungry Heifer!  

As a kid growing up in rural Kansas, ANY movie that featured this place – whether or not is actually filmed in Kansas – was going to be seen by me.  And when that movie is as killer crazy as Critters, which was actually shot somewhere in California, you tend to remember it.  To say that I have long been affected by the sheer B-movie GLORY that is Critters is an understatement.  So, this release – being the DEBUT of these four films on blu-ray – is a big friggin’ deal. 

And I know I am not alone in thinking that way.  Can I get an AMEN?!?!?!?!?

"with brand new 2K scans from the original film elements, look better than ever before!  Welcome back to the land of The Hungry Heifer!"


If I could give Scream Factory’s release of all four Critters movie any higher rating, I would.  This 4-movie set, including the extensive supplemental material, is a creature feature fan’s wet dream.  From the on-screen “live” practical effect of one of these carnivorous critter creatures getting larger and larger to the ongoing appearances of Terence Mann and Don Opper as the bodyguards assigned to bring the Krites back to their intergalactic jail cell, The Critters Collection – especially if you were a child of the 1980s – feels like a homecoming of sorts.

Written way before Gremlins made its original appearance, the original script of Critters, written when screenwriter Domonic Muir was 19-years old, was already a hard-hitting puree of science fiction  and horror schlock.  The horror element was in place thanks to the farmhouse that gets terrorized by these creatures and, due to the morphing nature – with one becoming a rock star and the other a dead cop (before becoming a Buster Keaton-like character performed by Opper) – of the bounty hunters from outer space assigned to track down the escaped Krites, we have our science fiction beats.  And the fabulous cast would provide the comedy.

Starring Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy "Green" Bush, Scott Grimes, Nadine van der Velde, Billy Zane, and Lin Shaye as one of the best dispatch officers in the work of cinematic science fiction, this mission to capture the krites remains a wild romp through Small Town America.  They would be matched only by the great success of the creature effects from The Chiodo Brothers (Killer Klowns from Outer Space), who slap moose pelt on puppets, bowling balls, and bring life to the crazy Krites with mad ingenuity.

Making its appearance thanks to a random meeting of the minds between two filmmakers working with producer Roger Corman at New World, the success of Critters helped establish New Line Cinema and resulted in three sequels.  In 1988’s Critters 2: The Main Course, being the last of the films to be released theatrically, the fearless bounty hunters, with Charlie (Opper) still in tow, return to Earth to deal with the continuing onslaught of the Krites.  Even Grimes, reprising his role of Brad Brown, returns to the scene of the Critters crime, but this time it won't just be his family's farmhouse that gets blown to bits.  Welcome to Small Town, USA.  That's right, this time it is Main Street, America, that gets the deluxe destruction treatment by these spiky-haired balls of fur.

The Critters Collection - blu-ray

Followed by 1991’s Critters 3, which is the film debut of Leonardo DiCaprio, and, adding  Angela Bassett and Brad Dourif to the cast of 1992’s Critters 4, the series has humble beginnings but winds up located on a space station in the future.  Maybe not as memorable as the first two flicks in the series, these films are still entertaining and, thanks to a change in location, remain pretty damn cool. 

And to think it all began by rolling around in the dust on some shoddy barn in Kansas ...

Never before has the search for a cat named Chewie been so damn rewarding.  The Critters Collection has arrived!  Prepare accordingly.

5 beers

The Critters Collection - blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Critters Collection | 4 Movies

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- November 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; four-disc set; slipbox, reversible cover
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented by Scream Factory, this 4-Disc Blu-ray collection houses a pretty swift punch when it comes to clean and crisp upgrades.  The 2K scans produce GREAT 1080p transfers for each of the 1.85:1 images.  Of course, this is the 1990s we are talking about so nothing on the image rivals the technical marvel and digital gloss of today’s film and, sure, there is a fuzziness to some scenes thanks to the low budgets, but DAMN these films have not looked in this good of shape for a number of years.  Texture and fine detail – note the dried hairspray on the follicles of the critters themselves – are both present and colors are properly saturated.  The gore is excessively thick and the make-up work is of a darkly precise matter.  There’s no CGI so the effects are all practical and thankfully have clear definition.  The sound is presented in warm DTS mono snd stereo mixes.  Dialogue is mixed well with everything else in the front channels, including David Newman’s score.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for disc breakdowns.

Special Features:

Fans of this series will be in heaven.  Get a load of what Scream Factory has put together for us!

Disc One: Critters (1986)

  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW They Bite!: The Making Of Critters Featuring Interviews With Actors Dee Wallace, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye, Producer Barry Opper, Writer Brian Muir, Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs, Special Prop Supervisor Anthony Doublin, Composer David Newman, Second Unit Director Mark Helfrich, Critter Voice Actor Corey Burton, And Miniature Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
  • NEW For Brian: A Tribute To Screenwriter Brian Domonic Muir
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Disc Two: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mick Garris
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW The Main Course: The Making Of Critters 2 Featuring Interviews With Director Mick Garris, Actors Liane Curtis, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye, Producer Barry Opper, Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, And Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Additional TV Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Disc Three: Critters 3 (1991)

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW You Are What They Eat: The Making Of Critters 3 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Disc Four: Critters 4 (1992)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer/Director Rupert Harvey
  • NEW Space Madness: The Making Of Critters 4 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery

The Critters Collection

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