Just the Features: Raising Cain: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory 2-Disc Blu-ray)

By | September 20, 2016 Leave a Comment

One of Brian De Palma's best films gets a outstanding blu-ray from Scream Factory.
2-Disc Blu-ray

Released by Shout! Factory

Release Date: Aug. 7th, 1992 (Theatrical)
                        Sept. 13th, 2016 (Blu-ray)

Region Code A (locked)

Run Time: 1h 31m (Both Versions)

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

Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)



THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2

DISC 1: THEATRICAL VERSION

Not One To Hold A Grudge: An Interview with John Lithgow (30m, HD)

This is a wonderful and very informative interview with a man who has played both villains and heroes. Lithgow takes us through his working relationship with director Brian De Palma from Obsession in 1976, continued with Blow Out in 1981 and ended (nicely) with Raising Cain in 1992. Lithgow talks about working with De Palma and working out how he was going to play the five characters that he does play in the film.

I really like this interview. Lithgow comes off as a really nice guy and someone who any actor would love to work with. You can tell that he loves the film and he is happy to talk about everything that he did to make the film the way it is. This is an outstanding interview.

The Man In My Life: An Interview with Steven Bauer (24m, HD)

Bauer talks about working with De Palma and goes into immense detail about some of the scenes he was in. He talks at great length about the climactic scene at the hotel and how scared he was about doing the scene in front of a moving sundial that was pointed directly at him.

Bauer comes off as a nice guy and is very knowledgeable when it comes to how his scenes were shot. This interview is not as great as the Lithgow interview, but it is still pretty good.


Have You Talked To The Others? An Interview with Paul Hirsch (10m 49s, HD)

Hirsch is an editor who was called by De Palma to help him with the difficulties that he was having with Raising Cain. Hirsch said that the film was all over the place and that he is the one who edited the film into what we see today. Hirsch has some good stories about working with De Palma.

This is a nice interview and gives us a glimpse into what the film was supposed to be like.

Three Faces of Cain: An Interview with Gregg Henry (15m 47s, HD)

Henry talks about working with De Palma and De Palma’s work ethic. The actors got to rehearse the entire film right before shooting began, something that is not normal on a Hollywood film. He talks about how he was the actor who Lithgow talks to off screen any time Lithgow is talking to one of his alternates. He also talks about shooting the big “oner” in the middle of the film.

Henry seems like a really nice guy and has a great memory of working on the film.

The Cat’s In The Bag: An Interview with Tom Bower (8m, HD)

Bower’s interview is very much like Gregg Henry’s interview above. They worked together and I don’t think that they have any scenes apart from each other. Bower doesn’t really add anything outside of what is already known. I am sure that Bower is a nice guy, but the interview is fairly pointless.

A Little Bit Too Late For That: An Interview with Mel Harris (8m 43s, HD)

Not too much to this interview. Harris talks about how she was not able to do too much with the character because De Palma was very picky.

Theatrical Trailer (2m 5s, Upconverted SD, 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio)

I used to see this trailer all the time; on TV, on VHSs rented from the video store. When I watched the film for the first time in twenty years, for this review, I still knew the nursey rhyme.

Still Gallery (2m 9s, SD)

Static images with no music or sound.


DISC 2: DIRECTOR'S CUT:

Changing Cain: Brian De Palma’s Cult Classic Restored (2m 25s, HD)

This is a too brief look at the idea behind redoing Raising Cain. We are introduced to Peet Gelderblom, a filmmaker from Nederland who loved the film, but his girlfriend hated it. He decided to reedit the film into what De Palma originally wanted the film to be.

Raising Cain Recut: A Video Essay (13m 2s, Upconverted SD)

Brian De Palma had the film start with the Jenny character. We would follow her for a bit until something happens that changes the point of view of the story. De Palma changed this into the film that was released theatrically in 1992. De Palma has said that he always regrets changing the edit of the film.

Enter Peet Gilderblom, a filmmaker who wanted to change the film to closer resemble what De Palma’s film would have been. When Gilderblom was finished, he sent the film to Indie Wire along with this video essay detailing the changes that he made (which doesn’t remove anything from the film) and why he made them.


PACKAGING: ⭐⭐⭐

Scream has given us a really nice 2-disc set. The newly commissioned artwork that adorns the cover as well as the slip sleeve is ok. It is pretty bland and doesn’t really add anything to the package at all. 
Thankfully, you can turn the cover art around and have the original theatrical poster as your cover.

There are two discs inside: one for the theatrical version of the film and the special features and one for the director’s cut and the video essay about the director’s cut. These two discs are housed inside of a normal blu-ray case that is not an eco case.

The two discs are both region A locked.

THE FILM: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Raising Cain is a wonderful film. The theatrical version, found on disc one, is a fever dream of a film; a film that moves so precisely, yet wonders a bit in terms of structure. We get to know Carter and his “problem” right away. We are not given any time with the characters before being sprung into the thriller aspect of the film. It is the middle of the film when the thriller aspect stops and a romance begins. This stops the momentum that the film was building and we are expected to roll with it until the thriller aspect comes back.

Normally I would have a problem with this, but this film caught me right away. I love almost everything about this film. The one thing that I do not like is the pacing and that will be addressed more when talking about the Director’s Cut.


This theatrical version is the first version I saw of the film, both in 1993 when I first saw it, and again just a few weeks ago, for this review. I love the way De Palma plays his audience like a finely tuned fiddle. He gears us up with the wife thinking that she gave her secret love the wrong gift and how it is a dream within a dream. In fact, much of the film is questionable. Did all everything that happened in her dream actually happen? Did some of it happen? We are left wondering what is real and what isn’t.

The Director’s Cut, found on disc two, helps the film make more sense.

The film starts with Jenny’s side of the story. The first thing we see after the credits is her walking into the clock store. We see her meet Jack and we follow the whole story, dream within a dream and all, until Cain puts the pillow over her head.

The film then plays normally again until Carter goes into the forest and sees Jack and Jenny. After this the film concludes normally.

De Palma wanted the film to always start with Jenny’s side of the story and it makes sense. Moving the romance to the front allows the audience to get to know the characters before the shit hits the fan. 
We know that Carter is a loving husband and a doting father. We get to know Jack and we wonder what his intentions are with Jenny.

We are basically given a romantic drama that turns into a kind of slasher film. I know that the film is more than that but take a look at it again. We don’t see the scene that started the theatrical film until about twenty five or thirty minutes into the film. By this time the audience is shocked by the events as they are happening.

I read a review of the Director’s Cut that said that it hurts the film and that the theatrical version is the proper version of the film. It is true that both versions have been endorsed by De Palma, but for different reasons. He endorsed the theatrical version because he second guessed himself. He had three editors on the film and the main editor, Paul Hirsch, told him that the film made no sense. De Palma fought against Hirsch, believing that his edit, the Director’s Cut, was the right way to go. It wasn’t until right before the film was to be “locked” that De Palma changed his mind and went with the editor’s version.

I like both versions of the film, but I think that the Director’s Cut is the way to go. There is a momentum building from the first scene that doesn’t end until the film does. Both versions are incredibly well made and there are scares and excitement found in each.



OVERALL: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Luckily, you won’t have to go around looking for both versions because Scream Factory has given us both, one disc for each, and the transfers are really nice. This is an early 90’s film and as such there is a soft glow to the daytime scenes. This was a common thing in the 80’s and the early 90’s and it really isn’t something that I like, but it does give the film a dream-like quality. Both versions use the same transfer, so there is no difference between the two in terms of look.

The special features are pretty good as well. We get a bunch of interviews with various cast members as well as with the editor. Some of these interviews are great and some aren’t.

We don’t get to hear anything from director Brian De Palma or from actress Lolita Davidovich. I think the former is due to the documentary De Palma being made around the same time as the features. With Davidovich, I can’t see why she wouldn’t participate outside of the fact that she might be busy.

At the end of the day, this is a really good release from Scream Factory. We get two versions of the film and a host of special features. The film looks good and we finally have this film on blu-ray. This is a must buy for fans of De Palma and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great film to add to their collection.


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