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dickieduvet, foller
 Thread Rating: 12 votes, 5.00 average.
Old 07-23-2006, 06:23 PM
 
Scored: 5
Views: 5,292
Default HorrorVision



Reviewer: John
Review Date: July 20, 2002

Released by: Full Moon
Release date: 1/23/2001
MSRP: $19.99
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



Isn't it great how movies can surprise you? I would consider myself an avid movie watcher, both in and out of the horror genre. Imagine my surprise when I popped in HorrorVision and three things happened that haven't occurred in a LONG time.

1. It is a movie that I had never heard of.
2. It has a Director, Danny Draven, whom I have never heard of.
3. It has a cast and crew, most of whom I have never heard of.

Leave it to an obscure B-movie to humble this self proclaimed movie god. HorrorVision is a jam packed DVD that took some time to go through. Is it worth a look? Let's see………..

The Story

inline Image Toni (Brinke Stevens) and Dez (Jake Leonard) are having a little webcam meeting discussing the upcoming "art" pictures that Toni has taken for their pornography web site. It is something that both do on the side as extra means of income and Dez wants to get the next batch of pics before the fans of the web site get restless. They agree to meet the next day and log off. Toni begins to watch the news on her PC and gets a link for Horrorvision.com. As any curious web surfer may do, she clicks on it and is initially amused by its content. All of the sudden, the web site takes on a life of its own and engulfs her.

inline Image Dez and his goth girlfriend Dazzy (Maggie Rose Fleck) wake up the next day and set out to get the pictures. Toni, who according to Dez has no life, is nowhere to be found. Dez and Dazzy break into her apartment and get the CD-ROM they need. While uploading the pics to his computer (and viewing them, of course), Dez attempts to trash the link for Horrorvision.com. Instead of being deleted, the link sets off a reaction much like the web site itself. Dazzy comes over to snap Dez out of the trance he is in and is digitized by HorrorVision. As Dez tries to find the answers to his dilemma, he hooks up with Bradbury (James Black), questionable drifter who seems to have all of the answers. They make it a mission to go out and find where Toni and Dazzy have ended up and find the source of evil that is known as Horrorvision.com.

inline Image I wouldn't go as far as to classify HorrorVision as a horror film. It plays out more like a sci-fi drama with some horror elements thrown in. While the sci-fi elements are certainly in place (oddball creatures, Dez's struggle against cyberspace, etc.), the drama comes across as stale and lifeless. There is only enough character development to scratch the surface of who Dez and Dazzy are. When we do get to the "terror" that is Horrorvision.com, the film goes flat. There is not enough suspense to cover up the fact that the audience doesn't really care what happens to Dez, Dazzy, or anyone else for that matter. I have to wonder how much better HorrorVision would be if one of the three virtually useless music montages were used on character development instead of random shots of the city.

inline Image HorrorVision has a running time of 72 minutes. While a lot of classic films such as Dracula, The Mummy, and Frankenstein have short running times as well, HorrorVision feels more like an episode of a television show on the Sci-Fi channel rather than a movie. Like most sci-fi shows it has cheesy lines, some sub par acting, and low budget special effects; However if a television show doesn't close out a plot line, you can always tune in next week to see what happens. HorrorVision just ends though, leaving its viewers with more questions than answers. I am all for an opened ended finale so viewers can "choose their own ending" a la Stanley Kubrick, but it doesn't work here. Even films that leave the door open for a sequel come to some sort of conclusion, and to my knowledge there isn't a sequel in the works. After listening to the commentary, it seems that Director Danny Draven had a big vision and a small budget. He had to meet the running time that Full Moon requested, thus hindering his film.

Image Quality

inline Image Horrorvision looks really good for a B-movie, I am impressed that Full Moon gave such a low budget film a 16:9 enhanced transfer. Danny Draven went with digital video rather than film to most likely save on costs. The nice thing is it really worked for him. The outdoor scenes looked great with little to no blemishes in the picture. The scenes indoors looked a bit muted though. It is nothing that distracts from the film, but noticeable nonetheless.

There was no point in the movie that I did not know what was happening on screen. The characters dark wardrobes didn't get lost in shadows and night scenes were lit well. The special effects were really good for such a low budget film. My hat goes off to the Horrorvision crew for stretching every penny to try and keep the viewers entertained. I wonder what this crew could do with a Men In Black 2 type of budget and this type of creativity? It is nice to know that Full Moon is dedicated to its releases by giving them the best treatment possible, regardless of the budget.

Sound

The Dolby Digital Mono sound is not advertised on the DVD packaging, so it was a welcomed surprise. Dialogue was audible and the music was aggressive. The techno-music complimented the film well.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Full Moon has done an excellent job with this Lunar Edition of HorrorVision. The DVD is jam packed with information about the film and its makers. Even though HorrorVision is not a landmark or genre defining film, the DVD should be a benchmark for what fans are looking for when they fork over their hard earned cash for a disc.

The DVD case advertises a director's commentary track, but upon listening to it we get much more. Not only is Director Danny Draven present, but so are Producer J.R. Bookwalter, Associate Producer Ariauna Albright, Special Effects Supervisor David Lange, and Creature Effects Supervisor David Barton. The crew starts off as a cookie cutter commentary. Danny Draven sets up scenes and explains the ins and outs of the shooting. As the crew warms up to the idea of a commentary track, they get a bit more laid back and the commentary feels more like a group of friends talking about a movie rather than some workers explaining their project. Some of my complaints about the film were actually addressed during the commentary. The music montages are recognized as being a bit overdone and they explain the reason for the rushed ending of the film.

Also included on the disc are some of the director's early work and short films. For me, this is something that should be added to DVD's much more than they actually are. It is always nice to see how a director got started and how his/her work progresses even at an early stage in their career. The early work runs about 6½ minutes and has three clips. All of them have a techno soundtrack instead of the actual sound from the shooting, but it gives a look at the earliest stage of Danny Draven's career. Next we are shown Danny Draven's Student Film Archive. The Worm Family and Suicide Cereal are the short films we are presented with. I am a huge fan of short films like these and to see Danny Draven laying a foundation for his film career was quite exciting. As most early films are, the quality was grainy and there was little to no dialogue, but the true goal here is to see if a director has talent with a camera. For low budget, early filming, I'd have to give Draven good scores for originality.

I must say that I enjoyed the Behind the Scenes featurette. It runs just over 30 minutes and covers all aspects of HorrorVision from interviews to cast and crew decisions to general comments on the film and performances. The feature is basically all of the other supplements rolled up into one package. It did manage to give more personal insight from the cast and crew which helps it stand out a bit more.

There is a brief filmography section that covers the main participants in the film. Within the rundowns of Jake Leonard, Maggie Rose Fleck, and Josh Covitt are their respective cast auditions. Josh Covitt actually tried out for the part of Dez, which is amusing to see his take on the character. Brinke Stevens bio has some of the S&M inspired photos that were taken by photographer Ward Boult. It was nice to get a chance to see and appreciate Boult's art outside of the film.



Some supplements that really stood out were the three art galleries. One was for Concept Art, which took early drawings for various creatures and characters to give the crew somewhat of a vision to reference in making the film. The art is top notch quality that goes beyond the rough sketches that other films show on DVD for concept art. The second art gallery is from the comic Cybil War. This Danger Girl/Fathom inspired comic seems like it might be something worth flipping through with its detailed art and voluptuous main character. Unfortunately, the comic is set back just enough so that the viewer can make out the drawings, but not really the text (and this is on a 64" screen). On the plus side, there is a web site link given at the end of the comic if you are interested in purchasing a copy of Cybil War. The last of the three galleries is an all too short montage of Ward Boult's photos. I was impressed with the shots he took of Brinke Stevens within the film and even more impressed with his horror inspired "splatter" shots. This gallery is certainly worth a look.

Lastly the DVD has trailers, a DVD-ROM screenplay and photo gallery, the full news reel from the film, and a director's intro to the disc. As you can see, Full Moon made sure that HorrorVision got the deluxe treatment and left no stone unturned in the process.

Final Thoughts

This DVD is a catch-22. It has all of the elements of a top of the line DVD - great commentary, art galleries, early films by the director, auditions, interviews, etc. For that, I am extremely impressed. However, we all know that a DVD is only as good as the movie lets it be. Since HorrorVision is not a great film, many people won't really care about the supplements. Would you buy a movie that you don't really like just for the extras? If you would, this DVD is for you. Otherwise, a rental (if your video store has it) would be a better recommendation.

Rating

Movie - D
Image Quality - B
Sound - B-
Supplements - A+


Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 12 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • Dolby Digital Mono

Supplements
  • Cast Auditions & Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Three Art Galleries
  • DVD Rom Screenplay
  • DVD Rom Photo Gallery
  • Audio Commentary with Director Danny Draven
  • Danny Draven's Early Work & Short Films
  • Trailers

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