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The Unseen (1980) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers

The basement.  It is the place of unspeakable horror: thrills, spills, kills, and chills.  Sometimes ghosts reside there.  Sometimes monsters.  It is a place of long hidden secrets.  No daylight, only fright.  Regardless of its purpose for providing safety from storms and such, the horror genre has highjacked the basement’s original purpose and recruited it solely for scaring the pants off of people.  And, in The Unseen, it works so well that I am not sure there’s a movie that tops its use for nocturnal fright.

Bwok, bwok, bwooook!  Even the chickens are afraid of this killer flick.  With a small cast that includes Karen Lamm, Doug Barr, Lois Young, and Stephen Furst as that which should not be mentioned, this flick is tightly wound and properly executed, even if its slow motion effects are a bit overused.  The film still makes for one hell of a fright night.


"a surprising horror film concerned more about offspring and atmosphere than in splattering us with buckets of blood."


Simply put, The Unseen is a horror film that MUST BE seen.  We’ll start there as Scorpion Releasing’s blu-ray transfer simply stuns with its basement-dwelling bedtime story of murder and betrayal on a dark and stormy night.  Written and directed by Danny Steinmann, The Unseen delivers the startling goods when it comes to unsettling thoughts and ideas.  The performances, with former Bond girl Barbara Bach and Lelia Goldoni holding their own against a powerhouse act from Sydney Lassick, are as equally as strong as the atmosphere and, coming together in an isolated tale of terror, absolutely nail The Unseen to the gallery wall of horror’s need to see.{googleads}

Beginning with a twist on our expectations as heavy grunting and panting does not lead us to the bedroom, this horror film proves itself to be a clever showcase of one twisted night.  And it is punctuated by the charmingly MAD performance by the late and great (and sorely missed) Sydney Lassick as Ernest Keller, the proprietor of a small California’s single museum.  He’s an amiable fellow, but something is off.  You and I know that but the three unsuspecting journalists in need of a room for the night don’t. 

The ladies – Barbara Bach as Jennifer Fast, Karen Lamm as Karen Fast, and Lois Young as Vicki Thompson – are covering the Solvang Festival and their reservation for the festival was completely mishandled.  Now, driving out of their way for a room, they arrive in the small town of Los Alamos, where only the Union Motel exists.  Except it is now a museum.  There chance for getting a room for the night is very slim.

The Unseen (1980) - Blu-ray Review

And so Ernest does them a favor: he invites them to his isolated farm house.  GULP.  When the girls arrive to the house, they are introduced to the panicked Goldoni as Virginia, Ernest’s wifey (or something).  She’s all shaken up at the thought of having guests in their house.  You would be, too, if you knew what she knows.  There’s something lurking through the grates in the floor.  It is large and it is deadly and it knows all too well about the pleasures of female flesh.

With more surprises in store (and less schlock than expected), The Unseen is a surprising horror film concerned more about offspring and atmosphere than in splattering us with buckets of blood.  It is quite the little shocker. 

The freaks come out at night indeed.


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The Unseen (1980) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
89 mins
: Danny Steinmann
Danny Steinmann
Stephen Furst, Barbara Bach, Sydney Lassick
: Horror | Thriller
In the Darkness It Lives.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I wonder what junior's fate would be... I wonder... Seems obvious to me my dear they would not treat him so kindly. He would suffer greatly."
Theatrical Distributor:
World Northal
Official Site:
Release Date:
September, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20, 2013
Synopsis: A TV reporter and two friends head to Solvang, California to cover a Danish festival. When a mix-up at the hotel leaves them stranded without rooms, the girls accept the invitation of a friendly museum owner to board at his farmhouse. But what the women don’t know is that something is living in the basement of that farmhouse.


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The Unseen (1980) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- August 20, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

With a new 2K scan of the original camera negative, Scorpion Releasing gives fans of this little shocker something to celebrate.  The images are crisp and detailed and retain their edges throughout the rain and the mud and the chicken house.  Framed in a tight 1.78:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is good, good stuff.  Colors are bold.  Shadows run deep and the crisp textures in the walls and in the backgrounds of this Victorian farmhouse are focused.  The DTS-HD mono soundtrack is perfectly suited for this lo-fi production.



  • The audio commentary from Tony Unger and actor Stephen Furst is a good listen.

Special Features:

The new 2K scan is only the beginning of what this disc has to offer.  Buyers get the opportunity to watch in Katarina's Nightmare Theatre mode, too.  There are new interview with editor Jon Braun and producer Tony Unger.  There are also interviews with Stephen Furst, Doug Barr, Craig Reardon and Tom Burman.  Also included are makeup tests, sketches and behind the scenes still gallery from makeup effects artist Craig Reardon.  A Theatrical Trailer and reversible cover art rounds out the release.  This is available through Ronin Flix (www.roninflix.com) and is available with a Limited Edition Slipcover (with artwork by Devon Whitehead) while supplies last.

  • Katarina's Nightmare Theatre Mode
  • New interview with editor Jon Braun
  • New Interview with producer Tony Unger
  • Audio commentary with Tony Unger and actor Stephen Furst
  • Archival Interviews with Stephen Furst, Doug Barr, Craig Reardon and Tom Burman,
  • Makeup Gallery from artist Craig Reardon
  • Theatrical Trailer


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The Unseen (1980) - Blu-ray Review