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The summer of 1995 should have been a great summer. I was in the middle of my high school career (I hated high school so this was a blessing as I only had two years left.), I had just gotten a laserdisc player for my birthday and planned on spending a lot of time putting it through its paces, and me and my friends planned on roaming the surrounding towns looking for trouble. That was until I got hit by a car. My leg was fractured in multiple places meaning that I could not do the epic bike riding that was the part of the summer plan.

One of the benefits of this was that I got to see a lot of films. We had two movie theaters within walking distance of my house. The closest one, The Glenwood Theater, charged a dollar to get in and only had one theater. They showed films about a month before they came out on video. The theater was huge and, at one point, was the largest, single theater screen in the midwest. They would get the most popular films, so there was a lot that they didn't get.

Enter The Diana Theater, This theater was located in a shopping mall a little further away from my house, but still within walking distance. The theater boasted four screens and they played all the films. A lot of the time whatever The Glenwood Theater was showing wouldn't play at The Diana Theater, so they would get the other films. The Diana Theater was known for getting the genre films (horror, sci-fi, martial arts, etc.) so they were the place to go for my friends and I.

The Diana Theater was the place where Tales From the Hood entered my life. I love this film. The film is an anthology, with four short films and a wrap around story to make it all one complete package. The stories are told from the black perspective, which was something new for horror. There is a story about racist cops who kill the wrong politician, a story about child abuse that takes the form of a monster movie, a story about a white supremacist running for governor who moves into a house that has a history of racial violence, and a story about black on black crime told in a similar way to A Clockwork Orange. There is also a wrap around story with the great Clarence Williams III who runs a mortuary.

I saw this film three times in the theaters because the film impacted me so much. The horror aspects were taken to the extreme, which is something I had never seen before in this state. The film addressed a lot of problems within the black community and did so in a smart and very scary way. Even though the film was not that big of a hit, it has become a cult classic on dvd. There is a blu-ray coming this April from Scream Factory that should be great.

Even though the film was not a hit upon release, I do believe that if the film were to be released today, it would be a big hit. Just look at a film like Get Out for proof.

Tales From the Hood is a great film and a great horror film. Give the trailer a watch,




This review contains spoilers.






One of the most underrated slasher films out there 

Released by: Lionsgate

Release Date: November 24th, 2009

Region Code: REGION FREE

Run Time: 1h 30m (Theatrical)
                   1h 33m (Extended)

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
             English Dolby Digital 2.0 

Video: 1080p (1.78:1 Aspect Ratio)

Note: This blu-ray is Out of Print. I am reviewing it because I think that it is a wonderful blu-ray and there have been reports of people finding this in used shops like FYE for pretty cheap. It does go for a sizable amount on eBay, but if you find it cheap, I would recommend buying it.

A choice of two versions of the film pop up when “play” is selected:
               
                -Theatrical Version (1h 30m)
              
                -Extended Version (1h 33m)

The film was hit hard when submitted to the MPAA. The film was given an X rating and had to be cut down before the R rating could be achieved. The theatrical version is the cut version of the film that received the R rating and, thus, played in theaters.

The extended version contains all of the footage that was cut from the film. The cut footage is in very rough shape, but it was the only way they could get the footage. When watching the extended version, the picture quality goes from nice and neat to rough and dirty whenever the cut footage shows up. The footage cut from the film pertains to all of the kills so that is when the footage will become worse. It is not unwatchable, though. It just dips in quality.

Chief Jake Newby: [reading a note he found in a body] "It happened once, it happened twice. Cancel the dance, or it'll happen thrice."

THE FEATURES [3.5 out of 4]

Bloodlust: My Bloody Valentine and the Rise of the Slasher Film (20m 36s, SD)

Adam Rockoff, the author of Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, is on hand as are some of the people involved with the film, to talk about the making of the film and its journey to the big screen.

We start with talk about Psycho being the granddaddy of the slasher film and then move on to the making of My Bloody Valentine.

The idea for the film came around early August of 1980. The producers wanted to make a holiday themed slasher film after seeing the grosses for films like Halloween and Friday the 13th , (which really isn’t a holiday, but I digress). The idea of doing a Valentine’s Day killer seemed like the right idea, so they brought in George Mihalaka to do the film. The producers set the release date around February 14th, which meant that Mihalaka had just six months to write a script, cast the film, do location scouting, etc. Films usually take a year, from script to screen, and Mihalaka had half that time.

A location, in the form of a recently closed mine in Nova Scotta, was chosen as the location. Mihalaka wanted to make a “working man’s horror film” and set the action to take place in and around the mine. Mihalaka would find out that shooting in a mine was very dangerous due to the methane that can build up in the mine. Mihalaka and his team had to invent new ways of filming without the items that would make the mine explode.


Right before the film was handed over to the MPAA for rating, John Lennon was shot and killed. This spearheaded the anti-violence movement which hit Hollywood and horror films suffered the most. So when My Bloody Valentine was submitted for a rating, it came to no one’s surprise that they had given the film an X rating. This also meant that newpapers and tv stations would not run ads for the film. It also meant that teenagers, the target audience, could not get into the film, even with a parent. Mihalaka had a very short time to make the edits that the MPAA wanted. If he had more time, Mihalaka would have been more careful making the cuts, but since the release date was looming ever so near, Mihalaka starting cutting anything that from the kills that could be seen as graphic. This meant neutering the kills, and thus, the film. My Bloody Valentine made its release date, but flopped.

After the story of the 1981 My Bloody Valentine, the featurette switches over to the remake and the last half or so becomes an advertisement for the remake, which this blu-ray was tied-in with. This portion of the featurette is standard EPK fare and becomes boring very fast. Hearing how the cast and crew love the original film is sleep inducing to me and most fans. This featurette goes from being a great look at an overlooked classic to an advert for the newer film.

Deleted Scenes : All of these scenes are presented in HD)

-Opening Sequence (5m 32s)

-Mabel in the Dryer (2m 40s)

-Happy’s Surprise (2m 13s)

-Dave Gets Dunked (1m 15s)

-Sylvia in the Showers (4m 42s)

-Nail Gun (2m 27s)

-Beheading (3m 40s)

-Pick Axe to the Torso (1m 39s)

-Axel’s Flashback (2m 12s)

-End Sequence (2m 28s)

Each scene can be viewed by themselves or in the Extended Version of the film. Furthermore, each scene can be viewed with introductions from the director, cast, and crew. Note: the times included with each scene are with the introduction. The deleted scenes are very short otherwise.



Bloodlines: An Interactive Horror Film History

Text-based screens that give us a cliff notes history of the different sub genres as well as the heavy hitters in horror.

-New Wave Slashers

-Torture Porn

-The Rape-Revenge Film

-The Psychological Thrillers

-Mini-Hitchcocks

-Slasher Parodies

-Post-Modern Slashers

-Sequels Galore

-Classic Slashers

-Backwoods Bloodletting

-The Godfather of Gore

-Psycho

-Slasher Remakes

-Rubber Reality

-Slasher Godfathers

-Gialli

Theatrical Trailer (2m 10s, HD)

Love these old trailers

THE PACKAGING [3 out of 4]

This blu-ray for My Bloody Valentine was released before the boom of nostalgia hit the format. This means that the packaging is all made up by the studio.


The front cover is ok. It depicts someone in the minor suit and mask from the film holding a heart (not a real one, but the one we associate the most with a heart.) with a crack in it. The tagline reads: Cross Your Heart…and Hope to Die


The back cover is your typical early Lionsgate blu-ray layout with the special features, technical specifications, and system requirements all in the same box that take up about half of the back cover. We also have a bloody knife sticking out of a heart shaped chocolate box that itself is bleeding. Text that is overlaid on the heart shaped box informs us that we can watch the deleted footage separately or  as part of the film. There is one quote from Lawrence P. Raffel of monstersatplay.com that reads “Creepy and Stylish”


The disc art is the same as the cover art only with a blue stripe running along the bottom of the disc that has the blu-ray logo in it.

The disc itself is REGION FREE

As a collector I am always looking for ways to spruce up the look to the collection. Arrow releases their blu-rays in clear cases, which makes the original artwork stand out more. 88 Films releases their slasher collection line in red cases, which adds to the slasher theme. For My Bloody Valentine, I have gotten rid of the blue case to make way for a red case. I can not remember where I got this red case from but I think that it adds to the look of the blu-ray. It matches so well with the artwork. Here are some pics:





THE PICTURE [3.5 out of 4]

Lionsgate and Paramount (who owns the film, they lent it to Lionsgate to release) have gone out of their way to make this film look as good as they can. The picture has a real film like texture to it with a nice layer of grain. The colors don’t appear to have faded too much and there is a sense of depth in some of the scenes. The blood that does show up in the film is a nice red.

The cut footage is , or course, rough through and through. Anytime the footage pops up there is a drop in quality and clearity. Detail and color balance go right out the window and there is print damage everywhere.


When it comes to the deleted footage, I don’t mind that the quality drops. That was the only way to show the footage and it is all about preservation. I talked about this in my Killer Workout review. Sometimes the only surviving footage is a beta tape or a really damaged print that had seen better days. I am sure that Lionsgate and Paramount could have spent a few millions dollars and repaired the footage, but the cost would have been too high for a small release like this. I don’t mind that. I would rather have the footage look like crap than have not footage at all. I am sure that fans of the many slasher films that lost footage to the wrath of the MPAA would love to see this lost footage. My Bloody Valentine lucked out with in the footage department. Other films, like Friday The 13th Part VII:The New Blood , which was torn to shreds by the MPAA, don’t have that luck. Now if there is a proper film master and the company says “Fuck it” and releases an upscale version, then we have a totally different story all together.

All in all, My Bloody Valentine looks great and I don’t mind that difference in quality when it comes to the deleted footage.

THE SOUND [3 out of 4]


The sound is a different story than the picture. We do get a lossless track, but there are some problems with it. First, a big portion of the sound comes from the front channels, leaving the back channels quite. While there is some surround coming out of the back channels, it seems like a waste to have those channels at all.

Next is the dialogue. Most of the film is clean and precise, but there are sometimes when the dialogue is murky and hard to hear. Rewinding and going back to these pieces of dialogue can fix that problem, but I shouldn’t have to do that.

All in all, the sound could have been better if the proper time had been put into it. The sound is ok, but I expected better.

THE FILM [3.5 out of 4]

My full review is here. Long story short: I really love this film.

OVERALL [3.5 out of 4]


Minor quibbles aside, this is an excellent release. The film is a slasher fan’s dream and the inclusion of the cut footage, even in the state it is presented, is a Godsend. Lionsgate has provided us with a few worthwhile extras, but I think that could have included a commentary track with the cast and crew who were interviewed. It would have been nice to hear more stories about the making of the film. The picture quality is really nice, but the sound could use another pass through. All in all this is a great release that belongs in any horror and slasher fan’s collection.



How could a film about zombie bikers be so bad?