Badass B-movies

Shivers: Vestron Video Collector’s Series (1975)

4 Beers

Video: 4 Beers

Sound: 3 Beers

Special Features: 4 Beers

Release the blood parasites!

One of the images that has long haunted my dreams and nightmares is that of a shirtless man bent over a nude woman’s body - which is placed on a desk in an office - as he opens up her stomach, pours acid into her open chest cavity and then, taking the same instrument that he cut her open with, kills himself.  It’s a frightening series of images in its own right, but - seeing as how this is in the opening moments of David Cronenberg’s Shivers - this scene makes for startling horror

Parasites that can take over human organs?  Sign me up! I mean, all they want to do is have sex . . . well, violent sex, but . . . STILL.

Writer/Director David Cronenberg, even early on in his career, was definitely out there with his ideas of science fiction and body horror.  His films have long been dominated by body horror and strange science fiction, but each one - including Shivers - is marked with his unmistakable style and auteurship.  And, truly, it is fascinating to watch that theme develop, mature, and turn into the controversial Crash and, most recently, Maps to the Stars.

But here, in 1975, Cronenberg, with his third film, is all about the shock and awe of puking up blood parasites from a high rise onto an old woman’s clear umbrella down below.  The scene is both hilarious and revolting and, as the man who pukes up the parasite saw the murder depicted at the beginning of this review but didn’t inform the authorities, leaves viewers with the understanding that something seriously fucked up is happening on Nun’s Island in Montreal.  

Starring Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, and Barbara Steele, Shivers is fascinatingly strange as blood parasites descend from mailboxes, human mouths, and inspire them to have orgies.  It is all by design as it is discovered that Dr. Emil Hobbes, the man who dumped the acid into the stomach of the woman, has created (yet can’t control) a parasite that can take over human organs and cause them to do all manner of things.

And it does not matter how they get into the body!  Just witness what happens to Steele while she’s bathing.  A parasite slithers in from the drain and inches closer and closer to her whoo haw.  Shot with Cronenberg style, the scene of the bathtub entry of this parasite is made complete by Steele getting out of the tub and walking across broken glass to drive the point home that she is no longer in control.  

Frightening and wicked smart; that’s the Cronenberg way.  Shivers is now on blu-ray as part of Lionsgate’s ongoing Vestron Video Collector’s Series.  Own this ode to sex-craved blood parasites today!

Blu-ray Specifications:

After a scientist living in a posh apartment complex slaughters a teen girl and kills himself, investigators discover that the murderer had been carrying on experiments involving deadly parasites. Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton), a doctor living in the building, and his aide, Nurse Forsythe (Lynn Lowry), then realize that the parasites are on the loose, attacking fellow tenants. And those who become hosts turn into erotically obsessed maniacs who pass the bugs on through violent sex.

Video:

Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 1.78:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors. This is EASILY the best the film has ever (and probably will) look. The clothing and some of the items in the apartments are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer, too.  While this is a low budget shocker, there are some details that this transfer picks up on, especially in close-ups of the parasites.  The atmosphere is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. 

Audio:

The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio.

Commentary: 

The NEW commentary from writer/director David Cronenbeg and co-producer Don Carmody is worth the price alone.

Special Features:

There are lots of NEW supplemental items which makes this title one to own.

Audio Commentary with Writer-Director David Cronenberg and Co-Producer Don Carmody

“Mind Over Matter” – An Interview with Writer-Director David Cronenberg

“Good Night Nurse” – An Interview with Actress Lynn Lowry

“Outside and Within” – An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Joe Blasco

“Celebrating Cinépix” – An Interview with Greg Dunning

Archival 1998 David Cronenberg Interview

Still Gallery with Optional Archival Audio Interview with Executive Producer John Dunning

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spot

Radio Spots

Little Monsters: Vestron Video Collector's Series (1989)

4 Beers

Video: 4 Beers

Audio: 3 Beers

Special Features: 4 Beers

Family cult classics?  Sure!  Little Monsters is back in action because knowing that urine and apple juice are interchangeable is something one needs to know early on in life!

It might be the film that bankrupted Vestron Pictures, but Little Monsters - a wildly imaginative comedy which brings together The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage and Daniel Stern, who did the narration on the show as the adult version of Kevin Arnold (Savage’s part), on-screen for the first time - is a definite keeper.

Especially if you had any part of your childhood in the 1980s.  From Howie Mandel’s manic performance as Maurice, the punk-rock monster that Savage befriends, to the sense of loneliness that all kids feel when, friendless, they try to survive a brand-new town and school, Little Monsters is a wickedly fun flick that is both morbid and manic as a monster befriends a kid, but doesn't tell him why.  Plus, it answers the age old question of what exactly it is that monsters do.  

There’s no such thing as monsters.  That’s what the parents of Brian (Fred Savage) and Eric (Ben Savage) keep telling their kids.  Of course, they are wrong.  The poor kids have been uprooted into a new town and a new house due to their parent’s troubled marriage and now - thanks to a series of unfortunate incidents around the house - they are taking out their frustrations on Brian, blaming him for leaving his bike out, leaving melted ice cream in the cupboard, and so on.

Except Brian’s not the bad guy.  It’s Maurice (Mandel), the monster that lives under his brother’s bed.  Because according to writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot (Pirates of the Caribbean), monsters really DO exist and they can be lured out from beneath the beds of children everywhere with Doritos.  

Which is exactly what Brian does in Little Monsters, befriending the blue-skinned monster who takes him to the monster world which is EVERY kid’s wildest dream full of endless amounts of junk food and video games.  The two fast friends find they can’t contain their excitement on having met each other and begin to play pranks on other kids, thanks to staircases in this underground world of monsters which lead to other kids’ bedrooms throughout the world.

This family friendly comedy might come across as Beetlejuice for kids, but that’s not nearly as awful as it sounds thanks to the fun that Savage and Mandel appear to be having while pulling pranks on other kids, especially the bully at his school.  But these pranks have consequences and Brian discovers that the “magic of the night” is slowly turning him into a monster, too.  And, when he wises up to their appeal, he's going to have to fight to keep his family together.

Brian Stevenson, come on down!  Brand new to the Vestron Video Collector’s Series at #19, the family-friendly gateway to young horror fans, Little Monsters is now on blu-ray thanks to Lionsgate as part of its Vestron Video Collector’s Series. 

Blu-ray Specifications:

New to the Vestron Collector’s Series, Little Monsters is the story of Brian (Fred Savage), a sixth-grader who’s recently moved to a new town and made friends with Maurice (Howie Mandel) — the monster who lives under Brian’s bed! Maurice introduces Brian to the world of monsters, where junk food rules, adults aren’t allowed, and the fun and games never end. But when Brian’s brother is kidnapped, it’s time for Brian to get serious and fight the monsters on their turf in this zany cult favorite.  With some great supplemental material - most of it new - Little Monsters makes for a seriously fun cult flick.

Video:

Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 1.85:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors. This is EASILY the best the film has ever (and probably will) look. The details in the school and in the monster underground streets are strong. The clothing and some of punked-out items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer, too.  The atmosphere is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. 

Audio:

The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio.

Commentary:

There is a NEW Audio Commentary with Jarret Gahan, Editor-in-Chief of Cult of Monster.com, who puts the film in a great context, explaining why it ought to have the appreciation it deserves.

Special Features:

The Little Monsters Blu-ray release from Lionsgate includes a new commentary, score selections and commentary from David Newman, a NEW interview with Howie Mandel, and much more!

Audio Commentary with Jarret Gahan, Editor-in-Chief of Cult of Monster.com

Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer David Newman

"Call Him Maurice" - An Interview with Actor Howie Mandel

"Beneath the Bed" - An Interview with Producer Andrew Licht

"Monsters Big & Small" - An Interview with Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short

Vintage Interviews with Actors Fred Savage, Ben Savage, Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short, and Director Richard Alan Greenberg

Behind-the-Scenes Footage

"Making Maurice" - Vintage Footage of Howie Mandel's Makeup Transformation

Vintage EPK & VHS Promo

Theatrical Trailer

Still Gallery

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Pitch Black

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