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Jack Frost

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    Ian Jane
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  • Jack Frost



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 25th, 2016.
    Director: Michael Cooney
    Cast: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel, Shannon Elizabeth
    Year: 1987
    Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

    The Movie:

    Directed by co-written by Michael Cooney, Jack Frost introduces us to a man named Sam (Christopher Allport), the Sheriff of a small, peaceful town named Snomanton. He's really only had one big case his entire career - it happened when he was 'in the right place at the wrong time' and busted a serial killer named Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald). When the movie begins, Jack's being transported to a facility where he's to receive the death penalty for his crimes - but there's an accident on the way and during the crash there's a strange chemical spill of sorts. No corpse is found at the crime scene, so Sam and everyone else in town assume that Frost is indeed dead and gone.

    That all changes when someone finds old man Harper dead in his rocking chair on the porch of his house. There are no footprints or tire prints around and Sam's men - deputies Foster (Chip Heller) and Pullman (Brian Leckner) - they can't find a single clue as to who did this or why. The next day, Sam's kid is out playing with a snowman that has appeared on their property. Some bigger kids show up and try to kick him out of the way. When they do, the snowman wreaks havoc and kills one of the older boys. Sam's kid tells the authorities that the snowman did it, but of course, nobody believes him.

    With two murders having happened so close together, Sam calls the feds and speaks to Agent Manners (Stephen Mendel), just to make sure that yes, Frost really is dead and gone. Manners assures him there's nothing to worry about, but soon enough everyone in the town learns the hard way that the kid was telling the truth. There really is a killer snowman running around killing people and he's inhabited by the spirit of Jack Frost!

    This plays out about as seriously as you'd expect a movie about a killer snowman to play out, which means it's not serious at all. Cooney delivers some really fun murder set pieces (highlighted by a scene in which our psychotic snowman rapes a young Shannon Elizabeth in a shower then lights up his pipe and asks her if it was good for her too!) but never tries to make things serious enough to really scare us. This is, for all intents and purposes, a dark comedy. But it works. Those expecting realism need not apply but if you can appreciate the novelty of a foul-mouthed snowman fucking shit up in a small, picturesque town then the odds are pretty good that you'll get a kick out of Jack Frost.

    The performances here are pretty fun. Scott McDonald is pretty entertaining and always completely over the top in the title role. In his human form he's actually rather menacing but once he's snomanified, well, that all goes out the window as he winds up basically doing voice work for a giant marshmallow man with coal eyes and a carrot nose. Yeah fine, he can turn into water and then back into snow (a neat trick that allows him to go under doors and stuff) and he can turn his empty mouth into a mouth full of razor sharp icicle teeth but for the most part, he's a big fluffy goofball. McDonald seems to be having fun with it though and he's really good in the part, at least in the context of what the movie is going for. Christopher Allport plays the straight-laced sheriff really well. He's noble and honest and trying to do right by his constituents. He's a likeable character, he cares about his wife and kid and wants to see that justice is served. The consummate good guy, if you will. Stephen Mendel steals a few scenes as the ultra-male F.B.I. agent with something to hide. He's all macho all the time and he's not going to let some Podunk lawman tell him what to do! Throw in the aforementioned supporting role from hubba-hubba-hottie Shannon Elizabeth long before she'd get famous for American Pie and this turns out to be a surprisingly well cast film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Jack Frost arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in a 'new 2K restoration from 35mm vault elements' and it looks great. This is a really colorful film and that aspect of the film's production really shines on this high definition debut. Black levels are nice and deep and there's a really impressive level of detail and texture present in the picture. The image is nice and clean, showing nothing to complain about in the way of print damage, while a nice natural amount of film grain is visible. There are no obvious issues with noise reduction or compression artifacts nor are there any problems with edge enhancement or crush.

    In a first for Vinegar Syndrome, this disc actually contains a 5.1 track in DTS-HD lossless audio format in the film's native English. This is a pretty active track with a lot of impressive channel separation. You'll notice this right from the opening crash scene where the front and rear channels open up in a big way. At the same time, dialogue is always easily discernable and the levels properly balanced. There are no problems to note with any hiss or distortion and there's good depth here too. Optional closed captioning is provided in English only.

    Extra start off with a commentary track from writer/director Michael Cooney moderated by Elijah Drenner. They start off by talking about where the idea came from for the premise behind the movie during the height of the direct to video genre movie boom. From there, they talk about the effects featured in the film, the contributions of the various cast and crew members, how he got producers interested in the script and how he was brought onboard to direct the picture after working on some plays in England. This seems to have been a definite learning experience for the director who was put into the position of making the best of what he was given and cutting his teeth on a low budget picture, but he looks back on this very fondly and says multiple times that he loves this movie. Cooney also appears in a thirty second intro where he basically just introduces the film and say that he hopes we enjoy it.

    Featurettes kick off with Happy Scary, a new video interview with Lead Actor Scott MacDonald that runs sixteen minutes long. He talks about the effects in the movie, his thoughts on the snowman featured in the movie, and how the movie is 'happy scary.' He talks about his character, the humor in the film, Cooney's directing style, his different co-stars, his thoughts on the script and how there was a distinct lack of real snow on set during the shoot! In Shooting First we six minutes with Director of Photography Dean Lent who talks about how he got into film after seeing 2001, took film studios in college which led to his first short film, the importance of character and structure to a movie like Jack Frost, working with Cooney who storyboarded the whole movie, what went into shooting the landscapes and 'winter wonderland' featured in the movie during a drought year and how they compensated for that. Both interviews are both interesting and amusing - it's clear that these guys had a good time working on this picture.

    Menus and chapter stops are also included and as this is a combo pack release, inside the clear Blu-ray keepcase there's a DVD version of the movie alongside the Blu-ray disc.

    It's also worth noting the packaging for this release - the limited edition version of Jack Frost comes with a pretty great lenticular slipcover that replicates the movie's VHS packaging. It might seem like a little thing to some people but it's a really nice touch that just simply adds to the 'fun factor' of this package.










    The Final Word:

    Say what you will about Jack Frost - it's not particularly scary, but then you never get the impression it's really supposed to be. It wears its low budget proudly on its sleeve, moves at a fast pace, features some genuinely fun characters and has about it a great sense of twisted dark humor. This is, if nothing else, a really entertaining film. Vinegar Syndrome's Blu-ray release look sand sounds great, contains a solid array of supplements and, in this limited edition release at least, comes packaged in a seriously cool lenticular cover.

    Note that this edition is limited to 3,000 units and is available exclusively from Vinegar Syndrome's online store.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























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