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The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

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The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

Hells Bells, Liddell!!! 

Seriously, just promise me that if you are ever working around heavy machinery and you happen to drop some pills on a MOVING conveyer belt that you will just let the damn machine grind that shit up.  Because, in The Mangler, one worker does NOT let the machine do what it does best and dares reach into the mechanics to get her antacids.  WHOOPS.  The result is a bloody mess of pulp and brain matter that is eventually carried out of the steaming factory in a basket.

"Lower the expectations to B-grade entertainment and the film reveals itself to be perfectly suited for fans of horrible acting, poor character development, and a seriously deranged (and heavily made-up) Englund"


Starring Vanessa Pike, Ted Levine (you know, Captain Leland Stottlemeyer in the television series Monk), and Robert Englund as Uncle Bill Gartley, the crippled and very angry owner of Gartley’s Blue Ribbon Laundry Service, The Mangler, directed by Tobe Hooper, is what happens when one oversized laundry press gets a taste of human blood.  Folding humans into freshly pressed and deliverable packages becomes its specialty.

Now, I will be the first to confess to you that this team-up of Hooper and King, as it is based on his short story that appeared in Night Shift, is not that great of a movie.  Lower the expectations to B-grade entertainment and the film reveals itself to be perfectly suited for fans of horrible acting, poor character development, and a seriously deranged (and heavily made-up) Englund.

Throughout this schlocky display of ravaging man-made machine terror, there are lines of dialogue and inappropriate grunts that will have you in stitches.  The performances run the range, too.  No one is sure of the vibe of this flick, especially as the women in the factory bicker with each other and our sole detective assigned to the case of the smashed limbs, Levine as Police officer John Hunton is schooled in possession by his demonologist brother-in-law Mark (Daniel Matmor). 

With little tension, the film unspools and that might have a lot to do with the fact that Hooper was replaced halfway through the film by the producer, Anant Singh.  Of special interest is the fact the man, Jim Cummings, responsible for the voice of Winnie the Pooh and a whole lot of other animated characters was hired here to be the “voice” of the killer machine. 

The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

The effects are pretty gross, I mean, some of the blue-screened moments, as people stand in front of a very large and very angry laundry press, are wonky but the blood and guts makeup – with lots of disfigurements and smashed limbs – is quite explicit. . . even if the movie isn’t the greatest.  There are also cool camera shots sprinkled about.  The office scene, shot from below the two actors in the room, is pretty cool. 

Overall, as evident by the manic beating of a metal container in someone’s front yard that releases a lot of supernatural energy into the air, this horror film is just a whole lot of crazy with nowhere to go.  “Get that thing outta my sight,” screams Hunton after smashing a crater-sized dent in its side.  Huh?!?!

Safety bars be damned!  The Mangler is now out on blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory’s brand new 4K scan of the uncut version of the movie.

2 beers

The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
106 mins
Director
: Tobe Hooper
Writer:
Tobe Hooper, Stephen David Brooks
Cast:
Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
There is a fate worse than death.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That thing could eat a whole stack of Bibles for breakfast!"
Theatrical Distributor:
New Line Cinema
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 3, 1995
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 11, 2018
Synopsis: A laundry-folding machine has been possessed by a demon, causing it to develop homicidal tendencies.

The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- December 11, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The new 4K 1080p transfer of The Mangler is pretty great, pumping up the lines, the shadows, and the colors.  However, this isn’t the best looking production in the world.  Go in knowing that.  But the work here sure beats any prior release of this horror film.  Don’t go in expecting much texture, though.  The effects shots are really the only moments of good texture.  Most of the picture looks a bit dull and lifeless; the colors don’t pop as much as one would expect them to.  Again, the make-up looks strong and the shadow levels are passible but there’s little filmic quality to the transfer.  This is the fate of these low-budget affairs.  Fortunately, Shout! Factory has done their best and gives us what details there are to mine out of the print.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Fans get a NEW Audio Commentary With Co-Writer Stephen David Brooks.

 

Special Features:

This is the uncut version of the movie, so there is that.  We also get a NEW interview with Englund, who talks about the fun he had with his crazy-looking role. 

  • Hell’s Bells – An Interview With Actor Robert Englund
  • Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

The Mangler (1995) - Blu-ray Review

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