The Larry Fessenden Collection (Blu-ray Review)

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The Larry Fessenden Collection (Blu-ray Review)
Rated: UR/Region A/Widescreen and Fullscreen/1080p/Number of Discs 4
Available from Scream Factor

No Telling (1991) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Larry Fessenden
Starring: Miriam Healy-Louie, Stephen Ramsey, David Van Tieghem
Rated: UR/1:78

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An organic-farming advocate meets a woman whose husband does weird limb transplant experiments with animals. Also known as The Frankenstein Complex.

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No Telling is a slow burning horror drama that really dives into the lives of a few characters, showing the darker side of folks. Oddly enough, you at the core of the film have no real evil person. Sure, we see people do things that aren’t at all “right” or pure, but oddly enough, the character here that probably gets labeled the villain by the end isn’t actually doing anything wrong per say. I liked that part a whole lot in this movie. We have an interesting drama that does take a few sharp turns into the horrific and even with it taking its time, you are never bored as you find the characters and their development that interesting. You never are too sure where this one is going to go, but once you get there you are taken back a bit by the most of it. While not a horror film in the core sense of the word, you get some shocking imagery from time to time that mixes well with the unique camera work to at least give us a very uneasy feeling through the most part of the film. You can’t help but watch this movie and expect something bad to happen. Maybe the worst that does happen might not be what you think, but it does what it needs to do regardless.

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Now there is a bit of a reveal later in the film, when we find out what our residential scientist has been doing throughout the film. I won’t spoil it at all, but that is probably really when the horror side of the movie starts to pop the most and you get chills at bit from seeing what we do finally see. I think it was that moment that really won me over with this one and it was there that I fully realized just how good this movie really was. Some might not understand how well made this thing is early on, but I think the quality will finally shine through by the end at least. No, No Telling isn’t a typical horror film, but it is a more reality based one for many reasons. Many reasons that make this one well worthy checking out if you are wanting something that at least feels different and very much is.

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Extras

– NEW director-approved HD Transfer
– NEW audio commentary with writer/director/executive producer Larry Fessenden
– Making of No Telling (1991)
– Archival footage (1990)
– Short Film White Trash (1979) with new music by composer Will Bates
– Glass Eye Pix Sizzle Reel (1985-1990)

Quality of Transfer: 83%

3brains

 

 

 

Habit (1995) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Larry Fessenden
Starring: Larry Fessenden, Meredith Snaider, Aaron Beall
Rated: UR/1:34

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It’s autumn in New York. Sam has broken up with his girlfriend and his father has recently died. World-weary and sloppy drunk, he finds temporary solace in the arms of Anna, a mysterious vampire who draws him away from his friends and into a web of addiction and madness.

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Habit is certainly a different type of vampire movie. One that slowly slides into that vampire area, but does so while leaving the door open for you to insert other personal and metaphoric elements into the mix. Larry Fessenden not only directs, but stars in this dark tale of a man who not only might be dating a vampire, but he’s also a boarderline drunk and is recently dealing with the death of his father. Insert is odd inner circles of friends and a film that throws enough things out there to connect with everything from STDs to mental illness (and about anything in between) and we have a movie that is just all in all good and a pure joy to see, even if it takes us on a very dark journey at times. You might also be taken back a bit by just how erotic things get on-screen. Sam and his new vampire woman are about like rabbits in this thing and that leaves the door open for many sexual themed scenes, some that even take place in some very weird places. So, if you do like your vampire story with a lot of sex in it, this one doesn’t shy away from that at all.

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A lot of times in movies you get to where you can see where things are going. That isn’t the case here. From one scene to next, you are never too sure what might happen to Sam next. You feel bad for him, because with all that is going on he is a very sympathetic character. I think it was a good idea for director Larry Fessenden to take the leading role himself here. He knows what he needs to channel here and he hits the note I’m sure he was looking to hit. He just seems very genuine in the role and it shines through very well. If you are a fan of vampire movies, sure, this is worth checking out. But this movie is a much deeper and better film than just that. If you want to see an overall good movie, then this is worth checking out for sure. It takes a certain type of director to really pull out the emotion this one has in it and the feel this one gives off. If you’ve not seen this film before, now is a good time to start.

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Extras

– NEW director-approved HD Transfer
– NEW audio commentary with actor/director/writer/editor Larry Fessenden
– The Making of Habit featurette (1995)
– Short film Habit (1981) (20 minutes)
– The Making of short film Habit (1981)
– Save You from Yourself music video
– Theatrical trailer
– Short film N is for Nexus, from Magnet Releasing’s The ABCs of Death 2
– The Making of N is for Nexus
– Frankenstein Cannot Be Stopped music video

Quality of Transfer: 78%

3_halfbrains

 

 

 

Wendigo (2001) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Larry Fessenden
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber, Erik Per Sullivan
Rated: UR/1:78

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George is a high-strung professional photographer who is starting to unravel from the stress of his work with a Manhattan advertising agency. Needing some time away from the city, Jake, his wife Kim, and their son Miles head to upstate New York to take in the winter sights, though the drive up is hardly relaxing for any of them. George accidentally hits and severely injures a deer that ran onto the icy road; after George stops to inspect the damage, he’s confronted by an angry local named Otis who flies into a rage, telling George that he and his fellow hunters had been tracking the deer for some time. An argument breaks out, which leaves George feeling deeply shaken. When George and Kim arrive at their cabin, they discover that its next door to Otis’ property, and they soon find that a dark and intimidating presence seems to have taken over the cottage. Since, when they stopped at a store en route to the cabin, a shopkeeper told Miles about the legend of the Wendigo, a beast from Indian folklore who is half-man, half-deer, and can change itself at will, the child begins to wonder if the creature might have something to do with his family’s sudden misfortune.

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Wendigo is a film that is a bit haunting, a bit brooding, and overall a very strange experience. The movie is just over flowing with an uneasy and dead filled feeling from the start. About as soon as we see this family hit a dear on their way to their new home. Why is that such a trigger of what is to come? Because they run into a very high-strung hunter that you can just tell is going to be a problem. From then Miles (the kid in the family) starts having some very eerie and creepy visuals that are only made worse after a trip to town keys him in on the legend of the Wendigo. Now things are that fast-moving, but things do happen slowly but surely and ultimately by the time the movie hits the ground running it sparks a series of dream-like sequences that leave the door wide open for interpretation. It isn’t a typical horror film, not at all. But what makes this one different is probably the very reason I’d tell someone to go ahead and check this one out. There are emotional notes and symbolism on display, this movie hits those marks if it does nothing else.

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Now some might not know what to make of what Wendigo has to offer up. If you are going into this expecting a full on monster movie, then you will be let-down by what you get. Yes, we do eventually get a monster, but that comes later on, as this one offers up more of a mood and tone than anything else. There isn’t a lot of blood, but it gets rather trippy and it does maintain a style to it, even if it isn’t good by any typical form or fashion you might be expecting. I think a what of what might be implied does a lot for this movie, taking the place of splitting someone over the head with a point. Most will still get it, even if it takes some time to think about. I liked Wendigo for what it was. I know I’m probably alone in liking it as much as I did, but then again I’ve always been a sucker for weird and trippy cinema. I’d call this one that if I called it nothing else.

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Extras

– NEW director-approved HD Transfer
– NEW audio commentary with writer/director/editor Larry Fessenden
– NEW audio commentary with actors Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber and John Speredakos
– Search for the Wendigo – Behind the Scenes featurette (2001)
– Interview with Larry Fessenden (2001)
– WENDIGO: animated series trailer
– Short Film Santa Claws (2008)
– Theatrical trailer
– Glass Eye Pix Sizzle Reel (2010)

Quality of Transfer: 85%

3brains

 

 

 

The Last Winter (2006) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Larry Fessenden
Starring: Ron Perlman, James Le Gros, Connie Britton
Rated: UR/2:35

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In the Arctic region of Northern Alaska, an oil company’s advance team struggles to establish a drilling base that will forever alter the pristine land. After one team member is found dead, a disorientation slowly claims the sanity of the others as each of them succumbs to a mysterious fear.

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Part The Thing, part something else that is pretty darn weird, The Last Winter is a movie that builds to a finish. Once you reach that point you aren’t sure just what is always going on, but it offers up some chilling visuals and some actual tension, which is never ever a bad thing. We see this team out in the show and we see them already having a few issues between themselves once things are starting out. As if that wasn’t hard enough on them, enter some weird force that seems to almost be breaking free of the ice surroundings that they are in the middle of. Holding the fort down on the character side until we reach the point of people walking around naked in the snow and being found with no eyes, is none other than Ron Perlman. Perlman is the team leader and really an all-around jerk. He’s jealous, bossy, and really not doing much to help anyone, but you still kinda like him just because he’s Ron Perlman. We also have Connie Britton and Kevin Corrigan among others who bring a human side of things to the fort before everyone starts slowly having what I can only call a breakdown. A breakdown that is brought on from a very ghostly outside source. I don’t think everyone will like the pace of this one early on, but it does eventually get to the point and once it does it makes for a fun and weird watch.

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One thing about the movie that I really did take notice of, besides the style, was the violence. I isn’t an all around gore-fest, but you get a lot of violent scenes and violent actions that come on quick and can be hard to watch a bit in spots. That gets to be something that happens more often as the film proceeds and while I won’t spoil the ending, you really get a creepy and haunting finale to wrap this one up. One that might give you more questions than answers, but stuff like this probably stands out more because of such things. Larry Fessenden really knows what he wants to say in a film and he always seems to find a very odd and creative way to say it. That is the case once again here with The Last Winter. This is probably the most main stream out of the movies you get on this set and it has more than one actor that you will notice from bigger things, but Larry Fessenden keeps his fingerprints on this one and the movie is all the better because of that fact.

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Extras

– Audio commentary with co-writer/director/producer/editor Larry Fessenden
– The Making of “The Last Winter” – full-length documentary featuring deleted scenes
– Archival footage (2005)
– Short film Jebediah
– Short film Origins
– Short film Mister
– Tired of Killing Myself music video
– NEW 2015 interview with Larry Fessenden
– Glass Eye Pix Sizzle Reel (2014)

Quality of Transfer: 89%

2_halfbrains