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Primal Scream (1987) - Blu-ray Review

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Primal Scream (1987) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersKiddos, when it comes to moviemaking, films RARELY get this ambitious. Primal Scream is what happens when Dashiell Hammett and Arthur C. Clarke get together, smoke a little weed, and decide to make a movie. Outside of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, there is simply nothing else like it.  

Film Noir set firmly in the future? Also known as Hellfire, writer/director William J. Murray’s Primal Scream might limp along on its dime store budget but, damn, does it have it where it counts: characterization and swagger. The damn thing works; every minute and every line zings just like a work of pulp fiction.

Full of great performances, this film fires its thrusters and never looks back. It’s headed for the stars of the future and, shockingly enough, it reaches them. Who would have thought that a tiny film like this could make big, big waves? Those who dared dream it up, that’s who!

And, you, sitting there in your own purple haze, probably know nothing about this gem. I don’t blame you; it is relatively obscure but one viewing will have you hooked. This B-movie hits all the sweet spots…repeatedly. Murder! Mystery! Sex! And Space! Future Shock looks a lot like this right here. To quote Britney Spears, “gimme more”!  

Primal Scream, sometimes confusing, doesn’t apologize for delivering the goods as both a horror film – aping one kill scene from Friday the 13th Part II – and a science fiction row, thanks to a mineral that causes people to burn from the inside. So, yeah, a man and a woman get screwed together and, thanks to its space age leanings, we get a bit of future shock, too.

Complete with model spaceships and wonky melting effects, Primal Scream rocks its science fiction more than it rolls it. And that is due to the fine, fine efforts of Kenneth McGregor (X-Men, Prom Night IV) as renowned private eye Corby McHale, after a run-in with a hot blonde, finds himself going toe to toe with a corporation that wants its low key mining of an element known as Hellfire to continue, regardless of what it does to human beings.

Between its atmospheric accomplishments and its Blade Runner ambitions, this B-movie just might be exactly what you are looking for on a Saturday night. I’m not even kidding. The film is layered with great moments. We have steely-eyed narration, n interesting look at they year 1997, and a bunch of interesting characters as the mystery (and the saxophone) soldiers on. Everyone wants a piece of McHale it seems.  

One can fault low budget flicks like this for a number of things. The effects, using obvious models and plastic backgrounds for shuttle cockpits, are poor. It looks ragged and worn, but never does any of that get in the way of its own forward propulsion. This is a thinking man’s B-movie and its “spontaneous combustion on command” storyline is fairly haunting.

I have seen the future and it works. Prince sang that line in “The Future”, a song from Tim Burton’s Batman. Thanks to Primal Scream, though, I get to sing AND shout it out loud. This flick is seriously one hell of a slice of retrograde rock and schlock and I will be damned if I keep its praises to myself.

Thanks to Code Red DVD and Dark Force Entertainment, Primal Scream arrives in sparkling high definition. For B-movie lovers, this one belongs on the top shelf.

Primal Scream (1987) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: William J. Murray
Writer:
William J. Murray, Dan Smeddy
Cast:
Kenneth McGregor, Sharon Mason, Julie Miller
Genre
: Sci-fi
Tagline:
An extra-terrestrial Energy Source... A Deadly Cover-up... The Future of Mankind Hangs in the Balance.
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 24, 2018
Synopsis: This entry from the 80’s sci-fi/horror genre is the third single’s release from Dark Force Entertainment with #3 on the spine. PRIMAL SCREAM (1987) was heavily inspired by BLADE RUNNER and starred Kenneth McGregor (X-Men, Prom Night IV) and combines murder, mystery and science fiction. In the future, a private detective tries to stop a large corporation from mining an element whose side effects include igniting human flesh and destroying internal body parts.

Primal Scream (1987) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Dark Force Enetrtainment
Available on Blu-ray
- April 24, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Primal Scream is a low, low budget affair. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Code Red’s new scan is to be commended. Sure, nothing about this production looks pretty but it sure cleans up well. Having acknowledged all that, though, this release is seriously how good this film is ever going to look. Grain is high, there are scratches and pops from time to time, but the colors are pumped up and so too are the black levels. The FX of people burning might be lacking but, damn, it sure is entertaining. The sound, presented here in a crisp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, is solid enough for the lo-fi feel of the movie.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The audio commentary with Director William Murray and members of the crew is highly recommended. Murray has no other film with his name attached to it but that doesn’t mean that this one is a disaster. Hear his side of the story here.

Special Features:

Outside of the commentary, fans get a featurette covering the making of the movie and a promo reel.

The Making Of Primal Scream Featurette

Hellfire 1981 Promo Reel

 

Primal Scream (1987) - Blu-ray Review

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