S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(William A. Levey, 1989)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Distant Horizon
Video: Arrow Video
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 43,326,553,991 bytes
Feature Size: 26,250,565,632 bytes
Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 3rd, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
• 'Road to Perdition, B-Movie Style' interview with director William A. Levey (36:30)
• 'Alien Invasion, Blaxploitation and Ghost-Busting Mayhem' filmmaker and fan Howard S. Berger on HELLGATE (13:06)
• 'Video Nasty' Kenneth Hall on the direct-to-video horror boom (8:20)
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Lee Gambin, illustrated with original artwork and stills
• PAL DVD Copy Included
Legends abound of ‘The Hellgate Hitchhiker’. So the
story goes, a beautiful young woman was once brutally
defiled and murdered by a biker gang. Now, returned from the
dead, she wanders the roadside luring unsuspecting motorists
to their doom...
While waiting for a friend to arrive, three university students amuse themselves by telling ghost stories. Bobby tells the story of how back in the 1950s The Strangers motorcycle gang abducted Josie Carlyle and returned with her to Hellgate, a Western recreation town built by her father. Josie was killed as her father attempted to defend against the bikers. The father became embittered and misanthropic but then he found a crystal that was able to bring Josie back to life. In the present, one of the students is attacked by the father. The others disbelieve it so they travel to Hellgate to find the truth, where they are hunted by the father. Meanwhile, one of the guys falls in love with the undead Josie.Excerpt from Moria located HERE
South Africa impersonates California here in what is one of the more surreal and nonsensical films I’ve seen in the last few weeks. I think Hellgate might have been intended to be a comedy. I’ll just leave it at “intended.” Anyway, the late Mr. Horshack (RIP) stars here as the forty year old college student who is late to meet his girlfriend and another couple at a vacation cabin somewhere near Truckee. As the others wait for him by the fireplace they tell ghost stories. It happens that the area where they are staying has a real doozy: a girl was kidnapped by a gang of bikers a few years back, and was accidentally killed in the chase. But it was okay, because her father found a crystal that shoots lasers that bring the dead back to life. Also, he already owned a ghost town attraction, so he filled it with laser crystal zombies. While this story is being told at the cabin, the wandering Horshack meets the dead girl on the road and she takes him back to the town so her father can kill him, because that’s what they’re into these days.Excerpt from 90s Horror Movies located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Hellgate gets a top-shelf transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow in the UK. The 1 1/2 hour film sneaks into dual-layered territory and has a max'ed out bitrate. There are some speckles but no real damage. It can be a shade inconsistent at times but I would suspect this is purely a factor of the available source. Colors are truer than SD could relate and there is no noise in the darker sequences. The 1080P supports solid contrast and some minor depth in the 1.78:1 frame. Arnold C. Horshack shows detail in his few close-ups and skinny Abigail Wolcott looks either smok'in or scary in 1080P. This Blu-ray provides Hellgate with a rendering beyond its cinematic value... to say the least.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred in a linear PCM 2.0 channels track at 1536 kbps. Dialogue has the limitations of the low-budget production. Sound effects are minimal without much bass impact. Some screams test the higher end and the film's music by Barry Fasman and Dana Walden seems forgettable but punctuating at supported sequences. There are no optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Arrow remain very solid with the supplements. 'Road to Perdition, B-Movie Style' is a 46-minute interview with director William A. Levey. 'Alien Invasion, Blaxploitation and Ghost-Busting Mayhem' gives us 13-minutes with filmmaker and fan Howard S. Berger discussing Hellgate. 'Video Nasty' has Kenneth Hall on the direct-to-video horror boom - running 8.5 minutes. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys, a collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Lee Gambin, illustrated with original artwork and stills and there is a PAL DVD of the feature included.
February 8th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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