Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn" or "Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn")

 

directed by Douglas McKeown
USA 1983

Toothy alien parasites (and their titular deadly spawn) invade the suburbs of New Jersey when a meteor crashes to Earth in this nifty no-budget effects showcase. The creatures make their home in the dark and dank basement of a family home and proceed to gorily devour anyone who ventures into the basement (including mom, dad, and an electrician). Meanwhile big brother Pete (Tom DeFranco, DR. ALIEN), his brainy girlfriend Ellen (Jean Tafler), friend Frankie (Richard Lee Porter), and buxom blond Kathy (Karen Tighe) discover one of the dead parasites in an upstairs sink and decide to dissect it rather than study for the chemistry exam. Aunt Millie (Ethel Michelson) is on her way out to a ladies luncheon, and Uncle Herb (John Schmerling) decides to psychoanalyze younger child Charles (Charles George Hildebrandt, son of illustrator Tim Hildebrandt [who has a small part]) who likes to put on monster masks and scare his relatives. Charles ventures into the basement and discovers the bodies, but his love of all things monstrous and his innate curiosity allows him to survive getting eaten. He must figure out how to defeat the rapidly multiplying and growing monsters as they venture upstairs and out into the neighborhood.

Shot in 16mm with a spring-wound Bolex H16 camera, THE DEADLY SPAWN is an uneven but fun low budget monster flick with some cheesy yet impressive monster effects and some over-the-top gore. The performances are all over the place and the film's tone shifts between tongue-in-cheek and downright grim (if you had only seen the clips from this film on Continental Home Video's TERROR ON TAPE, you might have mistaken it for a more serious-yet-unintentionally-funny creature feature). A film like this may have been doomed to obscurity on the video shelves, had 21st Century Film Corporation not had the audacity to blow it up to 35mm and try to pass it off as a sequel to
ALIEN (at the time when James Cameron's ALIENS was just a rumor) under the title RETURN OF THE ALIENS: THE DEADLY SPAWN. I can't believe that anyone went to see it and felt ripped off (the posters and trailer should have clued them in). It isn't anything like THE EVIL DEAD, but it is certainly deserving of the similar special edition treatments that it has received on disc.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 April 1983 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

\

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Synapse Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:21:21 1:21:51
Video

1.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Synapse Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Synapse Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer Tim Sullivan, director Douglas McKeown, actor Charles Hildebrandt, special effects artist John Dods, and executive producer Tim Hildebrandt
• Audio Commentary with producer/writer Ted A. Bohus
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:56)
• Blooper and Outtake Reel (4:3; 4:54)
• 6 Still Photo Galleries
• Comic Prequel
• Filmmakers' Biographies
• Alternate Opening Sequence (4:3; 4:21)
• A Visit with THE DEADLY SPAWN 1982 featurette (4:3; 8:37)
• Audition Tapes (4:3; 15:22)

DVD Release Date: 26 October 2004
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with producer Ted A. Bohus
• Audio Commentary with producer Ted A. Bohus and editor Mark Harwood
• Comic Prequel
• Alternate Opening Sequence (4:3; 4:21)
• In the Workshop of John Dods (4:3; 8:37)
• Still Gallery
• Archival TV Interviews (4:3; 17:42)
• Outtake Reel (4:3; 4:54)
• Audition Tapes (4:3; 15:22)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:56)
• Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Craig Kraaken
• Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
• Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Calum Waddell and Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs)
• and Special Effects Director John Dods

 

DVD Release Date: 19 March 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Both discs present a window-boxed, fullscreen transfer from the 16mm negative materials (in a ballsy move, 21st Century Film blew it up to 35mm and tried to pass it off as a sequel to ALIEN); however Arrow's NTSC Region 0 DVD has been given an interlaced encoding. Audio quality appears to be the same on both editions (a fault of the source recording since the music and effects sound just fine). Both versions feature a brief patch where audio from a later sequence (music and effects) appears over the wrong scene and is heard in its correct context later (this may be a patch up rather than a synchronization error, but it is very noticeable once pointed out).

Although the Arrow edition loses the cast/crew commentary track in favor of a new second track with producer Ted Bohus and editor Marc Harwood (both of whom seem to have been recorded over the phone), most of the extras are ported over from the Synapse release ("In the Workshop of John Dods" featurette on the Arrow is the same as "A Visit with the DEADLY SPAWN 1982" on the Synapse). The only other new extra is a selection of archival TV interviews. As such, Arrow's edition is not an upgrade or a definitive replacement; but it makes a good companion edition to the existing one (and, presumably, the rumored reworked Blu-ray edition undertaken in response to poor reviews and customer complaints about the recently released Blu disc HERE). A collector's booklet included with the Arrow edition was not supplied for review.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Synapse Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Synapse

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Draw (exclusive extras)
Menu: Synapse FIlms

 
DVD Box Covers

\

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Synapse Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Arrow Video
Region 0 - NTSC

 

 


 

 




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!