The Dead Don’t Stay Dead in EVIL Burial Grounds! “Pet Sematary Two” reviewed! (Scream Factory / Blu-ray)


After the accidental and traumatizing death of his beautiful actress mother, happening right before his eyes, Jeff Matthews and his veterinarian father move from Los Angeles to his mother’s quaint hometown of Ludlow, Maine to start over. The father and son are met with small town hostility from an arrogant, abusive Sheriff and the high school bully, but the ease of settling into their new surroundings with a new veterinarian business going well and Jeff gaining friendship with the Sheriff’s stepson, Drew, provides some inkling of comfort after their loss. When the Sheriff’s hot-headed temper murders Drew’s dog, the disconsolate Drew, along with Jeff, buries his beloved best friend in a sacred Indian burial ground with a smidgen of hope of the dog’s return, as the town’s urban legends suggest, but the dog becomes the first to return in a series of deaths and catastrophic returns that stagger to a family reuniting climax Jeff and his father won’t ever forget.

With Stephen King removing his name and separating himself from the overall project, the sequel to the 1989 “Pet Sematary” raised a few eye brows from the general public, and I’m sure some anxious investors, of how just would a non-adapted sequel to one of Stephen King popular novels would pan out come release. “Pet Sematary Two,” released three years after first film, would follow the predeceasing story a few years later with an entirely new cast of characters while still evoking the presence of the first film to linger about with director Mary Lambert to return to the director’s chair and helm a script by a relatively unknown writer, Richard Outten. Yet, Lambert’s return didn’t necessary equate to the reimplementing a broody, ominous, darkness facade as the well versed music video and television director flipped the script on a film she might not have any control over albeit financial backers did. Instead, “Pet Sematary Two” garnishes a scoffing rock’n’roll polarity that’s a raiper-like obverse approach of merriment morbidity doused with flammable fun and demented delight.

Hot off the presses of his first major role as a young John Connor fighting man-killing machines from the future in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” Edward Furlong stars as the scathingly broody Jeff Matthews. While Jeff Matthews isn’t as punk, off the street, as the delinquent turned hero John Connor, Furlong is about to turn Jeff back into being a kid with real life problems such as bullying, father-son quarrels, and dealing with the death of a parent. That screeching cry, those sunken eyes, and that bad boy attitude from “T2: Judgement Day” convinced thousands of young teenage girls that Edward Furlong was a desired heartthrob and “Pet Sematary Two” continued to showcase those attributes even further. However, in my humble opinion, Clancy Brown is the real heartthrob of the sequel with his over-the-top performance in the abrasive Sheriff Gus. The New England twang instantly sells Gus’s malignancy and crimson temper without even lifting one ill-fitting moral finger. From another King adaptation in “Shawshank Redemption” to being a bug hunter Commander Zim in “Starship Troopers,” Brown’s distinguishable deep and resonating voice, square jaw, and tall with broad shoulders has made the veteran actor the picture of law enforcement and military type and while “Pet Sematary Two” played into that typecast, Brown, who didn’t want to venture into horror, saw the laughter in the darkness and came out on top with a stellar exaggerated and unforgettable Sheriff Gus as a full blown undead maniac. Furlong and Brown stands out immensely over the rest but the remainder of the roles are just a grand with performances from “Revenge of the Nerds'” Anthony Edwards, Jared Rushton, Darlene Fluegel (“Freeway”), Jason McGuire, and Sarah Trigger.

“Pet Sematary Two” might have been profane against all that is (un)holy from the Stephen King’s novel and Lambert’s first film, but truth be told, the sequel is a whole lot of fun, a shell of the name worth watching, and provides substantial brutality with gory leftovers including skinning stark white rabbits, shredding the face off a young punk with the back wheel of a motocross bike, and an electrocution that ends with a head eruption. The Steven Johnson effects had range and bite, but unfortunately, the full brunt of the “Videodrome” and “Night of the Demons” effects artist’s work was perhaps not entirely showcased with some hard cuts to obtain a R rating, even unfortunately keeping the age-old rating with the new collector’s edition from Scream Factory that’s also the feature’s Blu-ray debut. Lambert certainly wanted the sequel to bask in a different kind of darkness that’s more comedic than gloomy and the schism between the two gulfs compares like a night and day, but the core principles of what makes “Pet Sematary” “Pet Sematary” remains faithfully intact. In hindsight, the sequel should have been labeled something else other than “Pet Sematary.”

Back from the physical media graveyard comes Paramount Pictures’ “Pet Sematary Two” onto a full 1080p, High Definition, collector’s edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory, hitting retailers February 25th. The release sports a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative and presented in the original aspect ratio, 1.85:1 widescreen. The fact the source material remains unblemished becomes a plus that renders the newly scanned transfer with complementary darker shades of Autumn foliage and outerwear, delineating the burial ground and town nicely, and offering a range over hues that amplifying the perilous circumstances ahead. Still leaving some natural grain, the scan chisels through the softer portions and really does offer some nice details toward facial finishes, even in the dog’s mangy and matted blood stained fur. A few select poor edit choices, such as slow motion techniques, counteract against the detail naturally by disrupting the frames per second and causing a bit of a smoother finish than desired. If the English language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio could be described as one thing, that would be a menagerie of ambient gratification. The crinkling of leaves and the subtle cries of wildlife really set the primal and augury atmosphere. Dialogue clearly comes through and Mark Governor’s score shutters as a gothic western, an oddity for sure, mixed with wolf howls and Native American percussions, that fits the in the film’s black argyle pattern. All new special features accompany the single disc release, sheathed in an Laz Marquez illustrated cardboard cover, including a new audio commentary by director Mary Lambert, new interviews with Edward Furlong, Clancy Brown, Jason McGuire, special effectors advisor Steven Johnson, and composer Mark Governor, and a standard edition theatrical trailer. While not a fully uncut, “Pet Sematary Two” for the first time on Blu-ray is paramount to the genre the feature serves, swerving far from the antecedent, and evolving into a promising guilty pleasure.

Zowie Wowie! Check Out Pet Sematary Two on Blu-ray come Feb. 25th!

From the Evil Mind of Don Coscarelli! John Dies at the End review!

jdateposterIf you did a retrospective analysis of Don Coscarelli’s film career and try to pinpoint Coscarelli’s area of specialty with in the realm of horror, you’ll wind up scattered all over the place unable to achieve an exact position of Coscarelli’s sub-genre schtick. His latest (and greatest) film endeavor John Dies at the End embarks on being Coscarelli’s next longevity cult hit. Unpredictable and captivating forces you to forget that this indie movie bares no no-named stardom and borders the edge of “crinchable” special effects, but the story grabs you, shakes you, chews you up, and spits you out wanting to know more while leaving you wondering what the hell just happened…in a good way.

Paranormal exorcists and best friends David and John are bound by the supernatural Soy Sauce, a jet black living drug that give David and John the outer body experience and is the source of their powers to fight evil. The Soy Sauce has a ying-yang affect and drive them down a path of sends them into another dimension to face off agains’t a monstrous being that wants to absorb their dimensions knowledge by digesting everything they know!
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John Dies at the End won’t scare you. There are no thrills or chills. What it will do is give you a wicked acid trip. Where bits of meat conjure together to become a meat monster, where door handles morph into large veiny penises, and where eye balls burst out by soul devouring gnats! Only Coscarelli’s mind could be this warped and that warp sense mixture of humor and horror keeps our attention waiting to see what happens next. This mixture also drives the film which is a definite positive, but can also be a negative.

Coscarelli’s film feels all over the place that makes the concept hard to grasp. The non-linear plot places characters in our conscious in disorderly manner without any grounded statuses. By the end of the movie, I start to wonder if there are pieces missing from the story boards. The concept of time doesn’t seem to exist and that might be part of the film’s facade as the drug-fueled outer-body experience.

Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are great as Dave and John. Dave’s a passive person with a sarcastic attitude but willing to stand John’s frantic personality. John, as I said before, is a bit spastic and has that carpe diem attitude. Their contrast draws them together to form a powerhouse team. Tack on Clancy Brown as a co-worker of their trade with a sleazy white hairdo and Paul Giamatti as a skeptic feature reporter and you have great talent supporting the the two leads who are already phenomenal as your slummy ghostbusters. Doug Jones (Hellboy) makes an appearance whose character doesn’t have enough time screen in my opinion as an other dimension mystic. Lets not forget the cameo of Angus Scrimm as a demon priest – fantastic.
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John Dies at the End will smack you in the face and you’ll smile at the end. You’ll definitely get some laughs because this horror comedy is nearly in the same vein as the Bubba Ho-tep with the anal soul sucking mummy. Magnet Releasing brings you the next Don Coscarelli hit and you can purchase at Amazon.