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Screamers (1975) - Blu-ray Review

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Screamers - Blu-ray Review

2 stars

They’re humans turned inside out and still alive! Famed B-movie producer strikes again. This time he brings slippery Italian Fishmen to the silver screen in the heavily re-worked (or butchered as some would suggest) Screamers. Of course, in keeping with Corman’s pattern, it is a film of many, many other titles. You might know it as Something Waits in the Dark or possibly The Island of The Fishmen but chances are – unless you are a gorehound like me and actually sniff this stuff out - that you don’t know Sergio Martino's watery flick at all.

Corman introduced a lot of American drive-in audiences to foreign films and Screamers is no different. He just had to hire Editor Joe Dante and others to gore it up a bit. There are many different versions of the flick and this release – with the additional 11 minutes – seems to be the best as far as the horror aspect goes.   Of course, the additional 11 minutes has very little to do with the adventurous tone of the rest of the movie. Corman put that there solely for our bizarre tastes.

Shipwrecked on a remote volcanic island, a turn-of-the-century gang of prison-bound convicts get wiped out by the strange experiments that inhabit the marshes. A mad scientist – because why not - has set up shop on this tropical island, creating a race of amphibious humanoids to harvest the sunken treasures of Atlantis. Yeah, you read that correctly. Apparently, the inhabitants of Atlantis are rumored to look like the Fishmen and they are very protective of their loot. Faces are slashed, heads are ripped, a voodoo lady goes nuts, and it's up to the boat's doctor and Bond gal Barbara Bach to put an end to the madness and escape without losing their heads.

When Corman brought this island flick to the States, he released under the title The Island of the Fishmen. It made very little money and sank quickly from the minds of movie-goers. He didn’t give up on it, though. He created an ad campaign, promising that the film would feature living men being turned inside out and had a director edit together a trailer from newly filmed footage – not found in the movie – and added extra gore to get teenagers in seats. When audiences rebelled – the grief is rumored to have begun in Atlanta – because the ad promised things not happening in the movie, Corman tacked on 11 minutes, changed the title (again), and amped up the gore. Only then did Screamers make its money for New World Pictures.

As a horror film, Screamers is pretty forgettable. The added footage helps make things exciting but none of it can hide the fact that the original intention was to give folks a mysterious adventure on a remote island. The two parts of the movie just never add up to a cohesive whole. This is a mindless matinee flick - regardless of its original intentions - for the gore-curious only.
There’s something in EARTH TO ECHO that make you feel sick

Screamers - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 24, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Scorpion Releasing presents Screamers in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s intended ‘scope’ aspect ratio. For this release a brand new Hi-Def transfer has been created from the original IP. Being that this film comes from two completely different sources, the original footage was shot Techniscope and the new footage was shot using a different process. This leads to there being a distinct difference between the two used sources. And it is not surprising that the newly shot scenes look a tad better than the footage that was shot by Sergio Martino. The newly shot opening and other footage looks great as details look crisp, colors look vibrant, black and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. With that being said the Martino shot footage also looks very good. Overall this a strong Hi-Def transfer that should look even better on Blu-ray. This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio mixes are also in great shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Extras for this release include trailers for Screamers and Something Waits in the Dark, a stills gallery and interviews with Joe Dante, Miller Drake, Jim Wynorski, Roger and Clark Henderson. Topics discussed include how each person got involved with this project, how producers Richard Kay and Harry Rybnick bought the U.S. rights to Island of the Fishmen and wanted to add some more scenes with American actors, casting, locations, the special effects involving turning a man inside out, how Roger Corman got involved and the multiple releases under different titles.

  • Joe Dante Interview (4 min)
  • Miller Drake Interview (12 min)
  • Jim Wynorski Interview (10 min)
  • Roger Corman Interview (3 min)
  • Clark Henderson Interview (10 min)
  • Stills Gallery
  • Trailers (2 min)

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