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Blu-ray Review Evilspeak Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Todd Erwin, May 20, 2014.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer

    Apr 16, 2008
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    Hawthorne, NV
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    Todd Erwin
    XenForo Template Evilspeak Blu-ray Review

    Scream! Factory continues to amaze me almost every month with their obscure horror films they bring to Blu-ray. 1981’s Evilspeak, starring a 23 year old Clint Howard, is no exception, a Carrie meets Taps tale of bullying and revenge (with some Satanic worship thrown in) set at a Catholic military academy.

    Posted Image

    Studio: Scream Factory

    Distributed By: Shout! Factory

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Rating: Not Rated

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 37 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    Blu-ray keepcase

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 05/13/2014

    MSRP: $24.97

    The Production Rating: 2.5/5

    Poor Stanley Coopersmith (Clint Howard). Forced to clean the the church’s cellar for losing the school’s big soccer game, he uncovers the diary of the late Father Esteban (Richard Moll) along with other elements of black magic. Using the school’s Apple II computer, Stanley translates the diary from Latin to English, and finds that Father Esteban was a Satan worshipper. Stanley is constantly being picked on and bullied by his classmates, led by Bubba (a very young Don Stark, who back then resembled Christian Bale), which includes making him late for class, pantsing him in front of a girl he is attracted to, and what ultimately sends him over the edge, killing his puppy that was given to him by the school’s cook, Jake (Lenny Montana). With help from his computer, Stanley summons the demon spirit of Esteban, and quite literally, all hell breaks loose at the military academy, leaving no one who has wronged Stanley alive.The high points of Evilspeak are its performances by Howard, Stark, R.G. Armstrong as the janitor in charge of the basement, Joe Cortese as the academy's reverend, and Haywood Nelson (hot off the series What’s Happening) as Kowalski, the only classmate that comes close to being a friend to Stanley. Also showcased are the practical make-up effects by Allan A. Apone, this being his first film as one of the lead effects artists. What brings the film crashing down is its lack of character development (we learn early on that Stanley is an orphan, but not why until much later in the film), and thus, lack of empathy or sympathy for Stanley. It also doesn't help that many of the revenge scenarios end up happening indirectly from Stanley’s involvement (in other words, dumb luck). Much like Final Exam, which Scream! Factory released the same day, as excitingly visual as the third act is, it is ultimately anti-climactic.

    Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The 1080p AVC-encoded transfer (supervised and approved by director Eric Weston from a “newly discovered 35mm inter-positive”) approximates the film’s intended 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio by opening up the frame to 1.78:1. For a low-budget horror film that was long forgotten, this is a pretty decent transfer (the same one used for the 2012 Code Red DVD). Colors are well-saturated and consistent, black levels are decent (although some darker sequences suffer from crushed details), and there a a few brief compression artifacts here and there if you go looking for them. Detail overall is adequate, hampered mostly by additional film grain introduced during the printing process.

    Audio Rating: 3/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track does its job quite well, providing clear dialogue, with the score by Roger Kellaway (emulating Jerry Goldsmith’s score for The Omen) and bone-crunching foley effects benefitting from the wider dynamic range.

    Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

    The special features from the 2012 DVD release have been ported over, with the addition of two new featurettes produced for this Blu-ray release.Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Eric Weston: Code Red’s head honcho Bill Olson moderates this commentary track, prodding Weston with questions and, sadly, filling in the blanks when the director forgets an actor’s name (which happens quite frequently).Satan’s Pigs and Severed Heads: The Making of Evilspeak (1080p; 27:48): Featuring new interviews with cast members Claude Earl Jones (Coach), Haywood Nelson, Richard Moll, Loren Lester (Charlie Boy), and Lynn Hancock (Miss Friedemeyer), this is a fun documentary with many of the stars admitting this is not a very good movie, but yet defending their choice to be in it (mostly because they needed the work). New for this release.Effects Speak With Allan A. Apone (1080p; 14:37): Apone discusses many of the make-up effects gags used (and some not used) in the film. New for this release.Interview With Clint Howard (480i; 11:39): Howard discusses his involvement in the film.Interview With Don Stark (480i; 10:09): Stark, who many will recognize from That 70s Show, discusses working on the film.Interview With Joe Cortese (480i; 6:55): The actor discusses working on the film.Theatrical Trailer (480i; 1:51)

    Overall Rating: 3/5

    As much as I often enjoy cheesy horror movies, Evilspeak is a difficult one to swallow with its lack of empathy for its main character being one of its major drawbacks. Still, Scream! Factory has put together a nice package for this film, and fans should be pleased.

    Reviewed By: Todd Erwin

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