Import Corner: Species Collection (88 Films) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

We finally have a complete collection of the Species series, thanks to 88 Films. The collection brings all of the film together along with the special features that Scream Factory created for their release along with two brand new commentary tracks exclusive to this release.

88 Films
Release Date: July 7th, 1995 (theatrical) (SPECIES) / April 10th, 1998 (theatrical) (SPECIES II) / November 27th, 2004 (TV premiere) (SPECIES III) / September 29th, 2007 (TV premiere) (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)
Run Time: 1 hour 48 minutes 27 seconds (SPECIES) / 1 hour 33 minutes 3 seconds (SPECIES II) / 1 hour 51 minutes 54 seconds (SPECIES III) / 1 hour 38 minutes 1 second (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio) (SPECIES), (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (SPECIES II), (1.78:1 aspect ratio) (SPECIES III and SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (all films)
Subtitles: English SDH (all films)
Slipcover: Yes (slip box)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, and Marg Helgenberger (SPECIES) / Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger, Mykelti Williamson, George Dzundza, and James Cromwell (SPECIES II) / Robin Dunne, Robert Knepper, Sunny Mabrey, Amelia Cooke, John Paul Pitoc, and Michael Warren (SPECIES III) / Edy Arellano, Marco Bacuzzi, Ben Cross, Roger Cudney, and Marlene Favela (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)
Written by Dennis Feldman (SPECIES) / Chris Brancato (SPECIES II) / Ben Ripley (SPECIES III and SPECIES: THE AWAKENING) / 
Directed by Roger Donaldson (SPECIES) / Peter Medak (SPECIES II) / Brad Turner (SPECIES III) / Nick Lyon (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)
Rating: R (
sci-fi violence, strong sexuality and some language) (SPECIES) / R (strong sexuality, sci-fi violence/gore and language) (SPECIES II) / R (violence/gore, sexual content and some language) (SPECIES III) / Not Rated (violence/gore, sexual content and some language) (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)



What's It About?

A message is sent out to space to whatever intelligent life form out there might be listening. Approximately 20 years later, a reply is received; it gives the scientists information on an alien species' DNA structure and instructions on mixing their DNA with human DNA. The science team successfully creates a hybrid,which they codename Sil. Due to some mistakes, the experiment had to be stopped. Sil manages to escape, murdering people. She is on a mission to mate with a human male, but the team gathered has to quickly catch her and stop her. If Sil manages to mate, she'd produce offspring which will destroy Earth. (SPECIES)

An astronaut gets infected with alien DNA during the first mission on Mars and runs amok on earth. The surviving team members from the first film team up with a peaceful, genetically re-engineered Sil to track the monster down. (SPECIES II)

While being transported in a military ambulance and supposed dead, Eve delivers an offspring and is killed by a half-breed. The baby girl is abducted by Dr. Abbot, and a couple of days later she grows up, reaching adulthood and becoming a gorgeous young woman called Sara. Dr. Abbot expects to develop a perfect DNA using Sara's eggs and win the Nobel Prize, and invites the student Dean to be his assistant and share his research and future awards. But while Sara unsuccessfully chases a perfect mate for her to generate a perfect being, the flawed half-breeds led by Amelia try to reproduce with her to survive their species. (SPECIES III)

Dr. Hollander, a scientist, takes his niece, Miranda to Mexico, in an attempt to reverse the effects of the alien DNA he used to create her. However the treatment goes horribly wrong, and it sets Miranda on a killing spree as she sets out to find a mate. (SPECIES: THE AWAKENING)

Film Review

The original SPECIES is one of the better films to be released in 1995. I mean, just think about it: they used to release big budget, R-rated sci-fi films in theaters and in the summer no less. The film has a stellar cast with each actor getting at least a few scenes to really shine. We know all of these characters by the end and we are sad when some of them get killed. I don't think that a film like this would be made now. Not that we are bigger prudes than we were in the 90's (although we are). The erotic thriller was big in the 90's and SPECIES is a sci-fi take on the erotic thriller. We don't get those anymore, so SPECIES wouldn't really work. There are some great effects in the film and the look of SIL is really impressive. Of course, the CGI doesn't age very well, but 90's CGI never really does. SPECIES is a really great film that needs to be looked at again.

The rest of the series is a mixed bag. SPECIES II is actually a pretty damn good film. It isn't as good as the original, but it does embrace it's monster movie roots a lot better and it feels more like an exploitation film. The film is a lot of fun and has some truly gnarly effects work.

SPECIES III and THE AWAKENING are not good at all. Sure, part III has a bit more production value to it, but it still looks and feels like a cheap TV movie well, because it is. Where the first two films felt like real movies, these two late sequels don't. They are nothing more than cheap cash grabs made to make money off of a franchise that had died with the second film. The fourth film, THE AWAKENING, is the worst of the bunch. It doesn't even feel like they were trying with this one. Skip the two latter movies and stick with the first two.


SPECIES comes to us featuring the restoration that Scream Factory did a few years ago and it looks oh so good here. Film grain is the first thing that I noticed here. It is fine in the bright scenes and kind of heavy in the darker scenes (which there are many). Detail is also pretty high. The scene where the group is being explained everything about Sil yields some really impressive detail, especially in Madsen's coat. Colors look natural as do skin tones. I have seen this film a lot since its 1995 release and this is the best it has ever looked. 

SPECIES II looks really good too. It isn't as good as part one, but that one got a restoration whereas SPECIES II hasn't. That doesn't mean that it looks bad. Detail is nice throughout and there is a nice layer of film grain. Colors are mostly muted but they do look good when they show up. 

SPECIES III and THE AWAKENING look fine. They are both pretty flat presentations despite the fact that the filmmakers tried to give the film atmosphere. Both movies were shot on digital video so there are plenty of times when the picture takes on a video look. Still, both films look fine, just don't expect something amazing.


Disc 1: Species (1995)

Audio Commentaries:

-Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, and director Roger Donaldson
-director Roger Donaldson and Crew
-critic Kim Newman and film-maker Sean Hogan

AfterBirth: The Evolution of Species (36m 43s, HD, 2.35:1)
From Sil to Eve (16m 35s, HD, 1.78:1) interview with Natasha Henstridge
The Making of Species: The Origin (9m 59s, SD, 1.33:1) interview with Dennis Feldman
The Making of Species: the Concept (17m 52s, SD, 1.33:1)
The Making of Species: The Discovery (21m 26s, SD, 1.33:1)
Designing a Hybrid (15m 52s, SD, 1.33:1)
Alternate Ending (2m 19s, SD, 2.35:1)
Theatrical Trailer (1m 49s, HD, 2.35:1)
Stills Gallery (195 images)

Disc 2: Species II (1998)

Audio Commentary with director Peter Medak
Creature Creations: The Effects of Species II (28m 48s, HD, 1.78:1)
Alien Evolutions with Chirs Brancato (19m, HD, 1.78:1)
Special Effects Outtake and Behind the Scenes Footage (13m 32s, SD, 1.33:1)
Species II: Eve of Destruction (11m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)
Addition Unseen Footage (8m 2s, SD, 1.33:1)
Theatrical Trailer (2m 11s, HD, 1.85:1)
Stills Gallery (40 images)

Disc 3: Species III (2004)

Audio Commentaries:

-director Brad Turner, writer Ben Ripley and actor Robin Dunne
-film journalists Dave Wain and Matty Budrewicz

Alien Odyssey: Evolution (13m 41s, SD, 1.78:1)
Alien Odyssey: Species DNA (6m 22s, SD, 1.78:1)
Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology (5m 40s, SD, 1.78:1)
Alien Odyssey: Intelligent Lifeforms (9m 56s, SD, 1.78:1)
Genesis (8m 55s, SD, 1.78:1)
Falling Apart (4m 6s, SD, 1.78:1)
Original Trailer (2m 4s, HD, 1.78:1)
Stills Gallery (36 images)

Disc 4: Species: The Awakening (2007)

Audio Commentary with film journalists Dave Wain and Matty Budrewicz
Alien Awakenings: An Interview with director Nick Lyon (15m 36s, HD, 1.78:1)
Miranda's Memories: An Interview with actress Helena Mattson (9m 52s, HD, 1.78:1)
Original Trailer (1m 20s, HD, 1.85:1)
Stills Gallery (28 minutes)

The first SPECIES gets the best supplements out of all the film with three worthwhile commentary tracks, and a seriously entertaining and informative documentary. There are some legacy features on this disc too that are fun. 

SPECIES II is much the same way, only there are less features. I remember when SPECIES II hit DVD back in the day, right at the beginning of DVD, and MGM advertised "unrated deleted scenes" that were locked away behind a parental lock. The scenes weren't all that great, but the advertising made them seem that way. They probably sold more DVDs this way. The special features found here are the same ones found on the Scream Factory blu-ray and they are pretty damn good. We get a mix of new interviews and behind the scenes footage, along with the older standard definition bonus features as well as the "unrated deleted scenes".

SPECIES III again features all of the special features from the Scream Factory blu-ray along with a brand new audio commentary that is really good. The behind the scenes footage is always welcome and interesting. It seems like a lot of time and effort went into this film.

We finish up with SPECIES: THE AWAKENING and we get another awesome commentary track and two interviews that were found on the Scream Factory blu-ray. The interviews are pretty standard with nothing too revealing or all that interesting. I hate to say that but the interviews found on this disc are rather bland. 

THE SPECIES COLLECTION starts out with a nicely done outer box that features all of our titular characters. Inside the box, you will find four black standard blu-ray cases (not the thicker ones that 88 Films usually uses.) Each of the cases features the film's original theatrical posters with inner artwork being a capture from each film. Inside the case, for SPECIES you will find six postcards each featuring a scene from the first film. There are no cards for the other films in the series. Inside the case for SPECIES II, you will find a double-sided poster with one side featuring the artwork used on the outer box while the other side features the artwork used on the case for SPECIES. Inside the case for SPECIES III, you will find a 44-page booklet with an essay that covers all four films. Most of the essay is about the first film, but the other films do get some coverage. There is nothing inside the case for SPECIES: THE AWAKENING. Each disc features the theatrical artwork used for the cases.

While you may not like all of the films in the series, you have to admit that 88 Films did a bang-up job with this release. All the films look and sound great and while there isn't a lot of new features, the carryovers are just so good that we don't care if they are new or not. The packaging is really nice too and really brings everything together nicely. If you don't own any of the films and you don't want to pay scalper's prices for the last three films (which are out of print in the US) then this set is for you. The set cost me less than $40 and you get all of the special features found on the Scream Factory discs.


Species (1995)

Species II (1998)

Species III (2004)

Species: The Awakening (2007)


Species (1995)

Species II (1998)

Species III (2004)

Species: The Awakening (2007)


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