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The Return

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  •  
    Horace Cordier
    Senior Member

  • Return, The



    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on:November 19th, 2013.
    Director: Greydon Clark
    Cast: Cybil Shepherd, Jan Michael Vincent, Raymond Burr, Martin Landau
    Year: 1980
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    I could tell you the plot of 1980's Greydon Clark directed THE RETURN but it might make your head explode from the confusion.

    Released in 1980, THE RETURN is almost a perfect time capsule of the goofiest aspects of the 1970's UFO craze. In addition to getting on the alien abduction bandwagon on the ground floor (the film opens with two kids being abducted in a field) it also manages to drag in the then novel cattle mutilation angle. Yep, all they needed was some crop circles, a coolly portentous Leonard Nimoy narration and this thing could have been "A Very Special Episode" of IN SEARCH OF.

    The setup of the film revolves around two children named Jennifer (Cybil Shepherd) and Wayne (Jan-Michael Vincent) abducted by a UFO along with a prospector played by Vincent Schiavelli in the first scene. Flash forward a few years and the little girl has grown into a stunning blond budding scientist who works for her dad and the boy a local deputy sheriff. Dr. Kramer (Raymond Burr), Jennifer's father, is conducting some kind of experiments in the area where he is planting portable electrical units to measure seismic activity in places close to where the initial abduction occurred. Jennifer is actually planting the devices however and runs into deputy Wayne after a chance encounter involving a mysterious dog.

    As if there hasn't been enough "coincidences" up until this point we then get the real ball rolling. Cattle mutilations start occurring in the same hills those kids were abducted from and the suspicious townspeople immediately blame Jennifer and her dad and their research. Wayne know the real deal though. It's gotta be aliens! Once actual human beings start getting poleaxed in increasingly nasty ways THE RETURN lurches out of its slightly confusing bad movie funk and gets its gory horror movie ass in gear. And it works.

    Performances here land from surprisingly earnest (Sheperd) to narcoleptic (Burr clearly reading from either a TelePrompTer or cue cards is stunningly awful) to high as a kite. Vincent was at the start of the massive tailspin here that killed a very promising career. He often has a halting glassy-eyed manner that just screams heavy tippling at the lunch break. Martin Landau as a villainous sheriff over acts outrageously and is totally one-dimensional. Neville Brand pops up and is fine - he was a sorely underrated talent in general - but doesn't leave much of an impression.

    What DOES leave an impression is the cheapjack fx which is both piss poor but oddly captivating. Clark had a tiny budget that mostly went for his cast so the effects are stuck at the level of a carny light show. These parts tend to the blinding more than dazzling end of the success spectrum but coupled with the death scenes they achieve the necessary distraction factor. And Clark keeps things boiling over at a brisk enough clip that the viewer isn't bored. THE RETURN isn't as egregiously batty as something like THE VISITOR but it is fun. And Sheperd is ridiculously lovely enough to keep nanny viewers occupied.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Scorpion continue in their work of releasing quality editions of previously poorly treated titles with this DVD of THE RETURN. The 1.78.1 anamorphic image is free of obvious print damage and has strong natural looking saturation and color balance. This is a nice SD transfer with good detail. Black levels are fine and aside from period softness inherent in the original materials Scorpion had to work with there are no complaints here. Audio is a period correct Dolby Digital mono affair that sounds good. Everything is properly placed in the limited sound field but there isn't any muffling either.

    Director Clark shows up first in the extras in a very interesting feature length commentary track. The dirt is dished and we get some cool stories about the actors and what they were like to work with as well as info on the difficulties of the shoot. Clark has a relaxing and conversational manner that works well on the track. He also dies a short on camera interview which fills in a couple of blanks not covered on the commentary but also doubles up some information. You also have the option of watching the film with Katarina Leigh Waters doing a trivia intro and outro. She has some interesting tidbits to share and as always is a welcome presence and pretty amusing. Finally you get a selection of Scorpion Releasing trailers including the film's theatrical one.

    The Final Word:

    Dumb but fun THE RETURN is recommended for bad movie fans, UFO nuts and cheesy paranormal movie lovers and those guys that never got over Cybil Shepherd in TAXI DRIVER.



























    • Richard--W
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      Richard--W
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      Richard--W commented
      Editing a comment
      I might get this anyhow. What is the "Nightmare Theater Mode" indicated on the menu?
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