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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Earth's Final Fury" or "Time Warp" or "Vortex")

 

directed by John Bud Cardos
USA 1979

 

The newly-designed solar-powered house of Grant Williams (Jim Davis, THE PARALLAX VIEW) and his wife Ana (Dorothy Malone, THE BIG SLEEP) - designed by son-in-law Richard (Christopher Mitchum, CHISUM) - becomes the focal point of an increase in electrical disturbances in the Southern California desert following the arrival of a supernova from the explosion of three stars hundreds of years ago. Grant and Ana's son Steve (Scott C. Kolden), their daughter Beth (Marcy Lafferty, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS), and her daughter Jenny (Natasha Ryan, TV's DAYS OF OUR LIVES) return from vacation to stay with them but Richard has to run off to the city on business. While wandering the property, Jenny discovers a glowing extraterrestrial pyramid-like structure that bonds with her and seems to do her bidding. While this being seems benevolent, the family are soon terrorized by alien spacecrafts, aliens, and even dinosaurs being hurtled about through time and space in a time vortex that threatens to take do the same to the Williams clan.

While not particularly entertaining as a whole, this early Charles Band production - along with TOURIST TRAP (shot the same year and helmed by this film's co-writer David Schmoeller) - plays like a dry run for most of Band's later Empire Pictures and Full Moon exploitation output with its stop-motion beasts and adorable tiny aliens (courtesy of David Allen and Randall William Cook, who respectively provided the largely unused stop-motion versions of the creatures in THE HOWLING and John Carpenter's THE THING), affectionately half-convincing miniatures by Paul Gentry (AIRPLANE), laser light shows by Peter Kuran (WOLFEN), and striking matte paintings by Jim Danforth (THE NEVERENDING STORY). Indeed, The effects are the real point of the film, and most of them look quite good even post-STAR WARS (and probably better in Panavision on the big screen, but all video and DVD versions have been cropped), but the bulk of the story has actors running around a dark house and property and a universal (i.e. unseen) conscience to set things right. It's nice to see Davis in a lead role (after a long film and TV career in the middle part of the century, he was largely relegated to supporting character bits before landing the plum role of the Ewing family patriarch in the primetime soap DALLAS). Malone doesn't make much of an impression, nor do any of the other supporting actors with the exception of child actress Ryan (who would also be terrorized by the unknown in THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE ENTITY). Chris Mitchum literally "phones in" half of his performance before speeding back home to make an attempt at saving the day. His disconnect from the rest of the story probably had more to do with scheduling and dramatic purposes, and a horse let loose from the stables by Grant to distract an attacking monster allows the him to ride across the desert for a bit (Davis and Mitchum both appeared in three of John Wayne's later westerns). The orchestral score by Richard Band (performed by London Symphony Orchestra) is just as majestic as most of the effects, but the busy sound design (especially for the budget) could really have used the Dolby Stereo treatment. Later SUBSPECIES writer/director Ted Nicolau served as editor and sound designer, future composer Joel Goldsmith - son of Jerry - served as sound mixer, and the opening prologue sequence was shot by Daniel Pearl (THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1980 (New York City, New York)

Reviews                      More Reviews                      DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Cult Video

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:20:15 1:19:48
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.37 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Cult Video

 

Bitrate:

 

88 Films (Grindhouse Collection)

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cult Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Cult Video Sci-Fi Collector's Series Promo
• PUPPET MASTER Merchandise Promo
• Full Moon Web Page Info

DVD Release Date: 7 December 2004
Amaray

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Still Gallery
• Trailers for SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, PUPPET MASTER, THE DEAD WANT WOMEN, PUPPET MASTER II, TOURIST TRAP, ZOMBIES VS STRIPPERS, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, SKULL HEADS, CASTLE FREAK,
• and PUPPET MASTER III

 

DVD Release Date: 17 September 2012
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

88 Films utilizes the same aged NTSC video master that Cult Video used for their release, which is cropped from the original Panavision 2.35:1 aspect ratio (the opening titles are squeezed). The cropping doesn't ruin group shots since everyone huddles closely together, but the staging of some scenes difficult to discern (cutting back and forth between two angles sometimes looks like two different movies since the balance of the shots is thrown off). The OOP Cult Video release is marginally sharper, but that's hardly a point in its favor as the eighties master is terrible to begin with despite some vibrant colors (since Full Moon remastered fellow Manson International/Compass International release TOURIST TRAP for DVD, it is possible that they could not find 35mm elements).

The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono tracks on both discs are comparable: fairly clean but not particularly impressive, but I think it is more likely the fault of the budget rather than the source element for poorly representing the busy sound design. 88 Films' release trumps the trivial extras of the Cult Video release (more PUPPET MASTER action figures anyone?) with the meager addition of a stills gallery in which a bunch of video covers from around the world and soundtrack LP and CD cover images gives way to a handful of behind the scenes photos of the stop motion creations. It is a pity that neither distributor sought out the participation of director John "Bud" Cardos since he recently gave a half-hour interview on Scorpion Releasing's DVD of THE HEARSE/BLOOD OF DRACULA'S CASTLE (he directed the latter). 88 also includes ten Full Moon trailers including existing and upcoming releases.

Since the Cult Video edition has been kicking around since 2004, I'm going to assume that THE DAY THAT TIME ENDED and Charles Band completists already have it and don't need to upgrade (unless the snazzier cover - which started with the same artwork - is enough of a motivation). UK viewers may find the 88 disc far more accessible when it streets - the film had a theatrical release in the UK but no video release apparently - and are not that worse off given the source material.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Cult Video - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films (Grindhouse Collection) - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Draw

Extras: 88 Films
Menu: 88 Films

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Cult Video

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region 0 - PAL


 




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