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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Masters of Horror - Joe Dante's Homecoming



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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted July 09 2006 - 11:10 AM

[img]http://www.hometheaterforum.com/ronsreviews/covers/72838.jpg">
Masters of Horror: Joe Dante’s Homecoming
Directed By: Joe Dante

Studio: Anchor Bay
Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 (Anamorphic)
Running Time: 59 Mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital (English), 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
Subtitles: English, and Spanish
MSRP: $16.98
Street Date: 1 July, 2006

Review Date: 9 July, 2006
(Ratings are out of five stars)

Summary
Fresh off their last two releases (Lucky McKee’s Sick Girl and John Landis’s excellent Deer Woman) Anchor Bay is serving up their next horror delight, Homecoming. Larry Cohen’s entry was originally scheduled to be paired with this DVD, but for reasons unknown to me, it has been delayed until October. Joe Dante, not unlike John Landis, is known for towing the line between horror and comedy. Homecoming is definitely not an exception to this rule. Thrown in for good measure is a hefty does of quasi-politcal commentary on our current situation in the Middle East. Under normal circumstances, this would leave me rolling my eyes, but Homecoming rarely takes itself seriously enough to be annoying. The story takes place a few weeks before an upcoming presidential election while an unpopular war is being waged in the Middle East. As the result of a bad wish, dead troops begin rising from their graves and returning back to America to, well, vote. Needless to say, their opinion isn’t quite what the Republican administration expected it to be.

The clever references to the real world come across a little heavy-handed. This episode, more than others seemed a lot like an old Tales from the Crypt show. It’s a little too clever for it’s own good at times, but at other times it’s very fun to watch. The acting was on par with most TV movies, and there wasn’t a memorable performance to pick out of the bunch. KNB’s makeup and effects were pretty good considering the moderate budget, but overall the production design looked cheap, and the camera work was pretty boring. The film plodded along with a conventional editing pattern that made for a pretty un-remarkable movie.

Film Rating: Video
The video quality is pretty good. There is a moderate amount of grain, but shadow detail is good and colors are very vivid. I didn’t notice any obvious visual flaws (edge enhancement, banding, etc). Still, as opposed to some of the other entries (Cigarette Burns, Deer Woman, etc), the production quality including cinematography was very low.

Video Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

Audio
Along the same lines as the video quality, the audio is passable but nothing revolutionary. The score sounded like a typical synthesizer produced TV show score. LFE was pretty much non-existent on the Dolby Digital track, and there were only a few sequences that used the rear effects channels. Overall, the soundtrack was accurately produced, and sounded as good as can be expected.

Audio Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

Extras
Commentary – The DVD’s lone commentary features screenwriter Sam Hamm. I didn’t listen to the entire commentary, but what I sampled was interesting. Hamm is a pretty knowledgeable guy and does a decent job of explaining the film’s intentions. May be worth a listen if you’re a fan of this episode.
The Dead Come Marching: An Interview with Joe Dante (24:07) – A background on Joe Dante’s career told by the man himself. Like most of the masters, Dante is a pretty interesting guy, so this was a fun featurette to watch.
Working With A Master: Joe Dante (22:30) – A similar look at Dante’s career told by the people that he worked with. It manages to present new info without being too redundant.
On Set: An Interview with Jon Tenney (12:20) – A fairly sizable interview with the Homecoming’s lead Joe Tenney. He seems to take some of the material a little too serious, but it’s interesting to hear his take.
On Set: An Interview with Robert Picardo (10:36) – Picardo (playing the Karl Rove-ish role in the administration) was probably the only interesting guy in the movie, so it was fun hearing his take on the material.
On Set: An Interview with Thea Gill (10:23) – Thea had the task of playing an Ann Coulter type of character in Homecoming. She had some fun with the material, and seems pretty smart from her interview.
Script to Screen: Homecoming (31:46) – A series of comparisons between written scenes and the production of the scenes. The featurette plays as a behind-the-scenes production diary. Not great, but much more interesting than the behind-the-scenes footage on the other MoH DVDs.
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Homecoming (8:43) – What was I just saying about boring behind-the-scenes featurettes? Here’s another one with no narration. If you’ve seen the other ones, you know exactly what you’re getting in to.
Fantasy Film Festival: Mick Garris Interviews Joe Dante (13:42) – Another great interview program from Mick Garris’s 70’s program Fantasy Film Festival. The interview was taking soon after Piranha’s release and features a couple of Piranha’s stars in addition to Dante. Hopefully more of these will be included on the future MoH releases.

This DVD also features Trailers, a Still Gallery, and a Joe Dante Bio.

Extras Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

In Closing…
Homecoming falls somewhere toward the bottom of the Masters of Horror series. The over-the-top attempts at social commentary were pretty lame, and the narrative crept along at a snail’s pace. That being said, as a DVD package, Anchor Bay has once again spoiled us with a very thorough release. If you saw this episode on Showtime and liked it, or are collecting the whole MoH series, I recommend picking this up. Otherwise, it’s only worth a rental at best.

Overall Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

Matt Stone
9 July, 2005
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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 09 2006 - 12:40 PM

Matt, is this the cover http://www.hometheat....73&postcount=7
or do they stick with the usual MOH cover?

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted July 09 2006 - 01:35 PM

Yep, that's the cover. I didn't know what the heck it was when I opened the box, until I looked at the back Posted Image

On a funny side-note, the PR company shipped the screener in a package with an "I Voted!" sticker on it Posted Image
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#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Rhoq

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Posted July 10 2006 - 01:37 AM

I picked this up yesterday. I haven't watched yet, but I was curious if anyone knows why they decided to stray from the uniform "Masters Of Horror" design for the cover. Even though the spine is done like the others - it says "Homecoming" (in the same font as on the cover) instead of Joe Dante.

DVDEmpire.com shows the original artwork on their page, done like the othere entries in the series.

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted July 10 2006 - 03:44 AM

Hmmm, that's interesting...I hadn't seen the original artwork. I think most of the directors' portraits look like crap, but I like continuity in the packaging. At least the spine are the same.
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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Rhoq

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Posted July 10 2006 - 04:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Stone
At least the spine are the same.

Almost...It says "Homecoming" (in the stencil font) instead of Joe Dante.

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 10 2006 - 05:56 AM

My guess is that with six other covers that are very similar, they decided that it was time to change them so they didn't blend together in the eyes of the average fan.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Rhoq

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Posted July 10 2006 - 07:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisR
My guess is that with six other covers that are very similar, they decided that it was time to change them so they didn't blend together in the eyes of the average fan.

I have the MOH releases in alphabetical order by director's last name. It looks awful having the Joe Dante disc that says "Homecoming" in the stencil font (instead of "Joe Dante" in the same font as the other MOH releases). It breaks continuity of the "Masters Of Horror" series on my (and sure many others) shelf.

I was thinking that perhaps, since Homecoming received a lot of press, Anchor Bay decided that it might get more attention if they de-emphasised the fact that it's part of the "Masters Of Horror" series and rely on it's buzz to generate sales. Or, since July 4th was just last week - maybe they wanted to use it's "patriotic" imagery to go along with this time of year. Whatever the reason, I disagree with the decision. I also think the original artwork looked much classier...

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   SeanC

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Posted July 10 2006 - 12:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoq
Whatever the reason, I disagree with the decision. I also think the original artwork looked much classier...

I completely agree with you! I liked the old look so much better, this just looks like a cheap Photoshop job to me. I'm dissapointed that Anchor Bay decided to change it. It's going to mess up my collection too! I get that the feeling that the change has something to do with sales and trying to sell more copies.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Eric DiPiazza

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Posted July 10 2006 - 08:31 PM

Wow I hate that coverart. Anchor Bay obviously spent time and designed a box that looked like the rest of the series as seen in the DVDEmpire link. I just wish that they would have used it. I have no intrest in this title now. Bad episode and bad art.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Rhoq

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Posted July 21 2006 - 02:52 PM

I just finished watching Joe Dante's Homecoming and I absolutely loved it. It had a very powerful message and said a lot about the current situation with the war in the middle east and the republican-controled government here at home. I don't understand why this was received so poorly by so many. This is without a doubt the best MOH episode I've seen so far (I missed it on Showtime, so I've only seen the 7 films that have currently been released on DVD).

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted July 21 2006 - 10:49 PM

Quote:
the current situation with the war in the middle east and the republican-controled government here
OK, there is a war and there is a government. But let's not proceed the discussions along this line, please!


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