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A Few Words About A few words about...™ When a Stranger Calls & Happy Birthday to Me -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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The double-bill of When a Stranger Calls and Happy Birthday to Me from Columbia via Mill Creek, is another of those low-cost releases that some might shy away from for fear of quality.

Having checked these out, I'm finding no problems.  While every bit of minus density may not have been digitally removed, strangely yielding an even more film-like look, there are no problems.

Strangely, I've always remembers When a Stranger Calls being in black & white.  It isn't.

Both of these transfers have proper resolution, blacks levers seems spot on, color, density, both proper, as one would expect from Columbia releases.

WaSC, was a decent thriller for its time.  The opening concept seems to have been used for the early Drew Barrymore scenes in Scream.

HBtM, another early '80s contribution to the slasher genre is also okay of its kind.  One of the most interesting points would be its ad campaign, which had little to do with the actual film.  It trumpeted "Six of the most bizarre murders you've ever seen!"  And borrowing a bit of artful promotion from Psycho, where the concept worked, one was not to be allowed entrance during the last ten minutes.  I've never figured out why anyone might wish to do so.

Both are decent genre films.  Both very good looking Blu-rays, from Mill Creek.  And at a street price of $9, typical Mill Creek double-bill bargains.

Image - 4

Audio - 5

Recommended.

RAH

 

Russell G

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Thanks for this one Mr. Harris. I'm a fan of both films and pre-ordered this hoping for the best based on cost. Nice to hear they look okay.
 

Charles Smith

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I'm in. Big fan of Stranger, don't know the other. (I wonder if Walmart still sells these doubles for $5...)
 

David Norman

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Charles Smith said:
I'm in. Big fan of Stranger, don't know the other. (I wonder if Walmart still sells these doubles for $5...)
That's where i got mine from in January when Walmart put a large number of these doubles out. It seems some stores had the display with about 10
of these releases and other stores did not. These displays seem to come and go in various stores -- I've heard stores just chunk them in those horrible
bins afterwards (I don't get the concept of digging for gold) and some stores send all the movies back to corporate.
 

haineshisway

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Definitely worth getting just for When a Stranger Calls - oft imitated, but the first third and last third still work wonderfully. Great score, too, which I'm happy to say we issued on CD for the first time - limited edition, almost sold out.
 

Professor Echo

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I love these Mill Creek reviews. So few online "critics" ever review any of these because they don't get them as free screeners and are too cheap to go buy them. Keep 'em coming, Robert, and thanks.
 

darkrock17

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Happy Birthday To Me was re-released by Anchor Bay back in 2009, kinda strange that Mill Creek would be releasing instead of Anchor Bay.

I love When A Stranger Calls, it's a classic thriller that's based on the famous Urban Legend of "The Babysiter and the Man Upstairs" or "The Call's are Coming from Inside the House" as it's also known. Too bad When A Stranger Calls never got a Special Edition even for Blu-ray, as I'm sure Carol Kane interview would of been great to watch.
 

JohnMor

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haineshisway said:
Definitely worth getting just for When a Stranger Calls - oft imitated, but the first third and last third still work wonderfully. Great score, too, which I'm happy to say we issued on CD for the first time - limited edition, almost sold out.
I've come to also love the middle third with wonderful Colleen Dewhurst and Charles Durning. While giving you some time to breathe between the two more intense sections, it has a worthwhile creepiness all it's own. A truly underrated little thriller. Will be picking this up.
 

JeffMc

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Robert Harris said:
Strangely, I've always remembers When a Stranger Calls being in black & white. It isn't.
Maybe because the original one-sheet was pretty much B/W monochromatic.

By the way, there are a couple of very small lines of dialog missing on the Blu version of STRANGER during the opening sequence with Kane. A couple of small things such as an extra "Hello" are missing (usually when her face is off-screen so not that noticeable unless you really know the film well). Have no idea what happened as the audio was intact on the DVD version. Irregardless, these double-feature Blu's are an unbelievable bargain. Can't wait for MR. SARDONICUS.
 

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