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Urban Legend: Collector's Edition (1998)

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Urban Legend (1998) - Blu-ray Review

Lunatic on campus!  

It’s for a confessional, kiddos.  I think Scream is overrated.  Blasphemous, I know, but there it is: the ugly truth I keep hidden from public eye.  Having said that, let me also say that if it wasn’t for Scream then pretty much ALL of the horror output in the 1990s would have sucked major ass.  It was just a stupid time for teenagers who thought Jason Voorhees was lame and Michael Myers boring.  Gross, right? 

Sad but true.  Horror was pretty much dying because Hollywood was all about hiring safe writers that were placating way too much to what finicky teenagers thought they wanted to see.  We didn’t know what we wanted, but I knew it wasn’t what Hollywood kept churning out.  So, if it was because of Scream that we got Urban Legend, which I actually appreciate more, then . . . okay.  Thank you, Wes Craven

"To this day, the film is rather unfairly criticized: the performances are wooden, the atmosphere is off, and it is just another addition to the Scream cycle"


Pretty much what was happening in the horror genre with EVERY single studio  - who wanted their own Horror property with which to make buckets of greenbacks from – was the same damn thing: really poor executed B and C-grade movies that they could give the A+ effort to.  Why?  Because it was super CHEAP and EASY and everyone wanted their own Scream.  From Ghostface lurking about in Woodsboro, California to the wilds of I Know What You Did Last Summer, it was pretty obvious what was going to happen: copycats run amuck would kill whatever spark there was momentarily lit within the genre.

Which is eventually how a horror movie like Urban Legend was born.  This small-scale production was supposed to be merely a copycat Scream movie that was both fun and somehow fresh.   And then they went and put Jared Leto in its cast.  Alongside Alicia Witt, Joshua Jackson, Rebecca Gayheart (who would soon fade away due to a vehicular manslaughter charge), Lorette Divine, and Tara Reid, the success of Urban Legend was almost guaranteed.  I mean, hell, real horror fans even got Danielle Harris, Brad Doriff, and Robert Englund as Professor Wexler.  And it was all directed by Jamie Blanks (Silent Number). 

Developed and written by Silvio Horta, Urban Legend is the recreation of a number of urban legends in an original narrative about a group of young college students getting picked off by a mysterious killer.  This murder mystery ranges from black comedy to killer cuts rather quickly.  It begins with the offing of actress Natasha Gregson Wagner, who is decapitated while driving her car and singing off key.  Surprise!  Surprise!  She’s not the star of the movie, suckers. 

Urban Legend (1998) - Blu-ray Review

To this day, the film is rather unfairly criticized: the performances are wooden, the atmosphere is off, and it is just another addition to the Scream cycle.  Yawn.  The truth is, in my B-movie obsessed mind, this film gets way too much right: even the off-key singing.  Look, in the 1990s, the horror genre was in a bad state of disrepair.  We had a few gems with which to get excited about: Urban Legend was ONE of those.  It’s not a classic, but it’s as good as it gets for the teenage slasher in the 1990s . . . and, if you give it a chance, you might just enjoy it more than you are expecting.  

Death by pop rocks?  Frrreak Show! Urban Legend is now available in a 2-disc Collector's Edition, full of BRAND NEW supplemental features and featurettes, thanks to Scream Factory.

3 beers

Urban Legend (1998) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for horror violence/gore, language and sexual content.
Runtime:
99 mins
Director
: Jamie Blanks
Writer:
Silvio Horta
Cast:
Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Urban legends can kill.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Ah, had yourself a little frat boy protein shake, did ya?"
Theatrical Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 25, 1998
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 20, 2018
Synopsis: When New England college student Natalie (Alicia Witt, TV's The Exorcist) finds herself at the center of a series of sadistic murders seemingly inspired by urban legends, she resolves to find the truth about her school's own legend: a twenty-five-year-old story of a student massacre at the hands of an abnormal Psych professor. As the fraternities prepare to celebrate the macabre anniversary, Natalie discovers that she is the focus of the crazed killer's intentions in the ultimate urban legend – the unfolding story of her own horrific murder.

Urban Legend (1998) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- November 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented by Scream Factory, the 2-Disc Blu-ray combo pack of Urban Legend houses a pretty clean and crisp 1080p transfer.  Of course, this is 1998 we are talking about so nothing on the image rivals the technical marvel and digital gloss of today’s film and, yes, there is a fuzziness to some scenes thanks to the cinematography.  Texture and fine detail – note the dried hairspray on the follicles – 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 a warm DTS stereo surround release.  Dialogue is mixed well with everything else in the front channels.  Nothing spectacular here.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See supplementals for the breakdown of these two discs.

Special Features:

This Collector’s Edition is aptly named.  There is a celebration going on here and, as fun as it is, it is also informative, giving fans of this movie exactly what they want.

DISC ONE

NEW Audio Commentary With Director Jamie Blanks, Producer Michael McDonnell, Assistant Edgar Pablos, Moderated By Author Peter M. Bracke

Audio Commentary With Director Jamie Blanks, Writer Silvio Horta, And Actor Michael Rosenbaum

Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO

NEW Urban Legacy – An Eight-Part Documentary On The Making Of Urban Legend (147 Minutes) Including Interviews With Director Jamie Blanks, Writer Silvio Horta, Executive Producers Brad Luff And Nick Osborne, Producers Neal Moritz, Gina Matthews, And Michael McDonnell, Chairman And CEO Of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy, Production Designer Charles Breen, Director Of Photography James Chressanthis, Editor Jay Cassidy, Composer Christopher Young, Actors Alicia Witt, Michael Rosenbaum, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Robert Englund, Loretta Devine, Rebecca Gayheart, Tara Reid, And Danielle Harris, Assistant Edgar Pablos, Author Peter M. Bracke, And More...

NEW Behind-The-Scenes Footage

NEW Extended Interviews From The Eight-Part Documentary

Archival Making Of Featurette

Gag Reel

Deleted Scene

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