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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Don't Go in the Woods" or "The Forest II")

 

directed by James Bryan
USA 1981

 

"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise" but it ain't the teddy bears' picnic, it's a more vicious predator who has contributed prolifically to the rising number of tourist disappearances in the Utah mountains. Four unhappy campers - Craig (James P. Hayden), Peter (Jack MacClelland), Joanie (TEEN VAMP's Angie Brown), and Ingrid (future casting director Mary Gail Artz) - may be next on the menu as a series of pranks and false scares numb their awareness of the dangers lurking in the shadows. Previously oblivious to the slaughter around them, the campers are soon running for their lives and may have to turn as savage as the killer to save the one they left behind.

Made almost concurrently with FRIDAY THE 13TH, DON'T GO IN THE WOODS - one of many eighties horror films with warning titles like DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE - was shot on 35mm short ends, building up a body count of paint- and barbecue sauce-splashed extras and crew members over a four month pre-production period with just ten days to shoot all of the scenes with the principal characters (with an un-blimped camera requiring the post-synching of the already stilted dialogue delivery). The patchy quality of the cinematography, the sound, the pacing and editing is somewhat held together by future video game composer H. Kingsley Thurber, and the film eventually picks up the pace after a laborious (though splattery) build-up. The film seems to run out of plot and steam before the one hour mark, necessitating a third act doubling back by the characters (and an ineffectual posse) before a momentarily intense climax that could have lead to a disturbing ending rather than one that is comical in its attempt to surprise. Nevertheless, the film retains a naive charm due to its clash of exploitative content and the contributions behind the scenes and onscreen as extra victims of some of the people behind the wholesome Sunn Classics documentaries and dramatizations (in fact, a lot of Sunn Classics technicians moonlighted as crew on exploitation and sexploitation from KISS OF THE TARANTULA to THE BOOGENS to SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 1981 (USA)

Reviews                                                                             More Reviews                                                                   DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC vs. 88 Films - Region FREE Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gary Tooze for the Screen Caps!

(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Also available on Blu-ray in North America from Vinegar Syndrome:

 

   

 

Distribution

Code Red Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:21:42 1:21:43.982
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,975,314,561 bytes

Feature: 25,512,566,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.33 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Code Red Releasing

 

Bitrate:

 

88 Films Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1685 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1685 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles none None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
•  Audio commentary with director James Bryan
•  Audio Commentary with director James Bryan, actress Mary Gail Artz, and superfan and CKY guitarist D
 Introduction by Deron Miller of CKY (4:3; 1:02)
•  Making-Of Featurette (4:3; 56:48)
•  Two Local Television Interviews with Bryan and Tom Drury (4:3; 14:15)
•  Still and Poster Art Slideshow
•  Reconstruction of the Original Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:36)

DVD Release Date: 29 April 2008
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,975,314,561 bytes

Feature: 25,512,566,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.33 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
•  Audio Commentary by Director James Bryan
•  Audio Commentary by Deron Miller, Mary Gail Artz and James Bryan
•  'The Making of Don’t Go in the Woods' (56:46)
•  Talk Show Appearance (14:12)
•  Theatrical Trailer (1:08)
•  Poster & Production Stills Gallery (7:01)
•  88 Films Trailer Reel (21:55)
•  Reversible Sleeve
•  Collector’s Booklet By Calum Waddell Featuring an in depth interview with director James Bryan
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 2nd, 2015
Red
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

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

 

ADDITION: 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray (March 2015):  NOTE The film is also available on Blu-ray in North America from Vinegar Syndrome (who also created the 2K master used for both releases). I imagine it looks quite similar.

 

This new 1080P from 88 Films is much brighter and in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 tighten the head space in certain scenes. The Code Red SD is slightly cropped on the sides but also reveals a bit more on the top and bottom so it's not really an open-matte presentation. I think the sides were cropped because of the light leaks that pop up on the sides of the frame in the 1.66:1 HD master. There is significantly better grain structure colors are bolstered (exuberant pinks!). The overall presentation is somewhat inconsistent - more a fault in the low budget production and source - than anything to do with the transfer - a solid dual-layered effort with a max'ed out bitrate. I doubt it will ever look better.

 

88 Films use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono at 1685 kbps. There are plenty of tense, rich moments in the film and the track exports some resounding depth. The score is by H. Kingsley Thurber (who wrote the Don't Go In the Woods theme) and it benefits from the uncompressed transfer. There are no subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

The film's extras were produced by director James Bryan and are shared across releases. First up is a solo audio commentary by Bryan which is the more informative of the tracks, focusing on the development of the project over two years, the shoot, and his overturning of slasher conventions (he jokes that the victims are guilty of crimes of fashion rather than lust), and the film's trip from its Salt Lake City premiere to national distribution (sharing a screen with E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL in Los Angeles allowed for box office gross reports that interested other territories). Bryan, actress Mary Gail Artz, and super fan Deron Miller share a second commentary track that is more jokey (without being condescending) but also is more scene-specific in the information overlap with the solo Bryan track thanks to the input of Artz and moderator Miller.

The hour-long making-of finds Bryan rounding up as many surviving participants as he can to talk about the film as well as the whereabouts of elusive screenwriting agent Peter Turner who was responsible for rounding up the Los Angeles talent in front of and behind the camera, but who seems to have fallen out not only with Bryan but everyone else. The four principal cast members and "maniac" Tom Drury discuss their current work as well as their memories of the film (actress-turned-casting director Artz introduces Bryan to a pair of DON'T GO IN THE WOODS super fans and Brown recalls moving onto television production after the film but discovering the film's notoriety as a Video Nasty when she and her husband traveled to the UK for business). Also interviewed are supporting victims and crew members, including a lengthy piece with the film's screenwriter (who recalls his original concept for the film as well as Bryan asking him to throw in about thirteen or fourteen more kills). Also included are three local Salt Lake TV appearances Bryan and actor Drury made to promote the film for its premiere, the theatrical trailer (narrated by sleeping bag victim Leon Brown Jr.), as well as a reversible cover and a liner notes booklet (the latter two exclusive to the 88 Films release).

There is a semblance of well-thoughtout filmmaking here and the usual tell-tale signs of a limited budget are both charismatic and acceptable in the scheme of the film experience. Sure, a creepy, slasher movie from the early 80's - exploitive, weakish performances but, well, I've seen worse. Those keen should nab the 88 Blu-ray as the best way to enjoy the film in their home theaters.
 

 -Gary Tooze and Eric Cotenas

 


 Menus


Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC
 

88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)

 


 

(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)

NOTE: Frame not available on Blu-ray!


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


(Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM)


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Also available on Blu-ray in North America from Vinegar Syndrome:

 

   

 

Distribution

Code Red Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 

 


 




 

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Gary Tooze

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