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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Hayes, Martin Goldman, Robert Voskanian
USA 1970, 1976, 1977

 

Continuing its mission to unearth the very best in weird and wonderful horror obscura from the golden age of US independent genre moviemaking, Arrow Video is proud to present the long-awaited second volume in its American Horror Project series co-curated by author Stephen Thrower (Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents).

Starting off with a little-seen 1970 offering from underrated cult auteur John Hayes (Grave of the Vampire, Garden of the Dead), Dream No Evil is a haunting, moving tale of a young woman s desperate quest to be reunited with her long-lost father only to find herself drawn into a fantasyland of homicidal madness. Meanwhile, 1976's Dark August stars Academy Award-winner Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire) in a story of a man pursued by a terrifying and deadly curse in the wake of a hit-and-run accident. Lastly, 1977's Harry Novak-produced The Child is a gloriously delirious slice of horror mayhem in which a young girl raises an army of the dead against the people she holds responsible for her mother s death.

With all three films having been newly remastered from the best surviving film elements and appearing here for the first time ever on Blu-ray, alongside a wealth of supplementary material, American Horror Project Volume Two offers up yet another fascinating and blood-chilling foray into the deepest, darkest corners of stars-and-stripes terror.

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Review: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24:26.436         1:26:54.626 1:24:26.436
Video

Dream No Evil:

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,521,343,867 bytes

Feature: 24,881,230,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Dark August:

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,255,082,998 bytes

Feature: 25,635,097,536 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

The Child:

1.78:1 + 1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,521,343,867 bytes

Feature: 24,881,230,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Dream No Evil Blu-ray:

Bitrate Dark August Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Child Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

Edition Details:

 

DREAM NO EVIL
• Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower (09:16)
• Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
• Hollywood After Dark: The Early Films of John Hayes, 1959-1971 – brand new video essay by Stephen Thrower looking at Hayes' filmography leading up to Dream No Evil (34:09)
• Writer Chris Poggiali on the prodigious career of celebrated character actor Edmond O'Brien (22:08)
• Excerpts from an audio interview from 2005 with actress Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) discussing her many cinematic collaborations with director John Hayes (29:44)

DARK AUGUST
• "Revisiting Dark August" Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower (10:35)
• Brand new audio commentary with writer-director Martin Goldman
• "Mad Ave to Mad Dogs" Brand new on-camera interview with Martin Goldman (15:06)
• "Don't Mess with the Psychic" Brand new on-camera interview with producer Marianne Kanter (09:15)
• "The Hills Are Alive: Dark August and Vermont Folk Horror" – author and artist Stephen R. Bissette on Dark August and its context within the wider realm of genre filmmaking out of Vermont (34:23)
• Original Press Book

THE CHILD
• 1.37:1 and 1.85:1 presentations of the feature
• "The Zombie Child" Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower (13:13)
• Brand new audio commentary with director Robert Voskanian and producer Robert Dadashian, moderated by Stephen Thrower
• "Fathers of the Child" Brand new on-camera interviews with Robert Voskanian and Robert Dadashian (12:48)
• Original Theatrical Trailer in 1.33:1 or 1.78:1 (02:25)
• Original Press Booky

 

• Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
• American Horror Project Journal Vol. II – limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 25th, 2019
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12 / 12 / 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow Blu-ray (July 2019): Arrow Video presents Vol. 2 in the brilliant "American Horror Project", curated by Stephen Thrower. Comments from the included book are cited below:

"Dream No Evil" has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with mono audio. The original 35mm negative was scanned in 2K resolution at EFILM. The film was graded on Digital VIsion's Nucoda Film Master and restored at R3Store Studios in London. The mono mix was remastered from the original optical negative at Deluxe Audio Services. All materials provided by Kit Parker and UCLA Film and Television Archive.

"Dream No Evil" is located on the first
Blu-ray disc, which is dual-layered with the film and has a maxed out bitrate. The presentation shows some fine clarity, with fine detail in the many daytime/well-lit scenes. The contrast holds up fairly well when things get dark. Colors seem to be a faithful representation without any obvious odd tinting or timing in the 1.85:1 1080p presentation.

"Dark August" has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with mono audio.  The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 2K resolution at OCN Digital Labs. The film was graded on Digital Vision's Nucoda Film Master and restored at R3Store Studios in London. The mono mix was remastered from the original optical negative at Deluxe Audio Services.

"Dark August" is located on the second Blu-ray disc, which is dual-layered with the film also having a nicely maxed out bitrate. The 1.85:1 1080p image looks rather sharp, with some very fine details, depending on the scene in question. Black levels also turn out to be pretty sturdy, showing a rather healthy range, which is always a godsend when dealing with darker (horror) pictures that utilize shadows.

"The Child" has been exclusively restored by Arrow Films and is presented in 1.37:1 and 1.78:1 with mono audio. An original 35mm CRI was scanned in 2K resolution, graded and restored at OCN Digital Labs. The soundtrack was sourced from the original optical negatives. Additional audio remastering was completed at Pinewood Studios. All original materials used in this restoration were accessed from Valiant International Pictures.

"The Child" is located on the third dual-layered
Blu-ray disc, with both the the 1.37:1 and 1.78:1 versions of the film having a moderately high bitrate. Around the 18:45 mark, there is some flickering of color, showing some print fading.

This does occasionally happen throughout the film but is nothing to be too concerned about, if anything it gives the film a more Grindhouse theatre effect. The darker scenes also show a rather lackluster contrast, though this could be due to the source print used.

Thankfully, Arrow Video has included each film with their original uncompressed PCM mono audio, all in 24-bit. Much like in the visuals, the only real issues that I heard was on the third
Blu-ray, "The Child". Nothing too worrisome, the track just sounds like it is in rougher shape than the rest, showing some age with crackles and hisses. We have heard much worse though, don't let this deter you from enjoying the film. All of the features are on Region FREE Blu-rays with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Below I will discuss the various extras as they pertain to each
Blu-ray disc (and film therein). This set also features the "American Horror Project Journal Vol. II"; a limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes. There are also reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil.

"Dream No Evil"
This Blu-ray features a brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan. If you have listened to Ellinger and Deighan before, then you know you're in for a treat. John Hayes' career in film is discussed here (as the two are clearly fans) and this is a track I would definitely recommend checking out. Kat and Samm also had a special podcast episode devoted to the films of Hayes. As with all films in this set, there is a roughly 10-minute filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower. "Hollywood After Dark: The Early Films of John Hayes, 1959-1971" is a 34-minute brand new video essay by Stephen Thrower looking at Hayes' filmography leading up to "Dream No Evil". Following this is 22-minutes with writer Chris Poggiali on the prodigious career of celebrated character actor Edmond O'Brien. As an extra-special bonus we get 29-minutes of excerpts from an audio interview from 2005 with the late actress Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) discussing her many cinematic collaborations with director John Hayes. This is a thoughtful inclusion in this set, and oh boy do I ever miss Rue.

"Dark August"
This time, Brandon Daniel moderates the commentary track with writer-director Martin Goldman. While I have not yet finished the track, I look forward to as Goldman discusses all kinds of interesting technical details re. shooting a movie. Following this bonus feature is another filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower, this time the 10-minute "Revisiting Dark August". These appreciations serve as a good primer for what you are about to watch (or what you have just watched, if you are afraid of spoilers) and this one is no different. "Mad Ave to Mad Dogs" is a 15-minute interview with director Goldman, who discusses his transition from working on commercials to feature filmmaking. "Don't Mess with the Psychic" is a brand new 9-minute on-camera interview with producer Marianne Kanter. "The Hills Are Alive: Dark August and Vermont Folk Horror" features author and artist Stephen R. Bissette on Dark August and its context within the wider realm of genre filmmaking out of Vermont (I guess its not just Bernie Sanders). This is a very intriguing extra, definitely more interesting than it sounds.

"The Child" - The most significant extra on this disc is a commentary with director Robert Voskanian and Robert Dadashian, also featuring this American Horror Project's curator, Stephen Thrower. The Roberts are quite close and this is a much more loose and fun commentary track than I expected. "The Zombie Child" is a 13-minute appreciation from Thrower, who delves into some rather interesting facts about The Child's fate in film history.

I thought that "American Horror Project Vol. 1" Blu-ray
was one of the finest releases of the year, and now with Vol. 2 we have another contender, this time for 2019. Stephen Thrower once again curates a fine triptych of terror here, with each film in this set standing out for the psychological terror and subtext, as opposed to all-out gore or clichι archetypes. Each film is wildly unique, while all possessing some ethereal kindred spirit. These 2K restorations on Blu-ray are rather impressive (ok, maybe not "The Child" but it will suffice). If you like more psychological or strange horror films, this is right up your alley. Another highly recommended Blu-ray package from Arrow! 

Colin Zavitz

 


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Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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