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The Necro Files (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Necro Files (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Visual Vengeance
    Released on: July 19th, 2022.
    Director: Matt Jaissle
    Cast: Steve Sheppard, Gary Browning, Christian Curmudgeon, Jason McGee
    Year: 1997
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Necro Files – Movie Review:

    When Matt Jaissle’s 1997 epic, The Necro Files, opens, a couple of cops - Detective Martin Manners (Steve Sheppard) and Detective Orville Sloane (Gary Browning) – are trying to stop a vicious rapist/serial killer named Logan (Isaac Cooper), who wears a hockey mask with a swastika on it, from having his way with Manners’ freshly showered and very naked sister and eating her nipple. They don’t quite get the job done on time, and Manners winds up snapping, pumping Logan full of lead and sending him to an early grave.

    A short time later, a gang of Satanist monkeying around in the cemetery where Logan has been buried commence with their dark rituals and a guy (co-writer Todd Tjersland) who looks like he’s wearing an Oderus Urungus mask murders an infant, the bastard offspring of one of his rapes, over Logan’s grave. Gwar Guy pisses on the infant’s corpse, reads some wacky words and soon enough, Logan has come back from the dead as a horny zombie with three foot cock. It isn’t long before Logan gets back to his old tricks, raping a few gals and murdering them when he’s finished, starting with a bondage loving couple that gets it on in front of a Union Jack flag. A couple camping out in the woods are up next (the female played by porn star Dru Berrymore), and then a woman who gets it on with an inflatable sex doll that zombie Logan then falls in love with. On top of that, the dead infant rises from the grave and somehow develops the power of flight, zipping around town making life difficult for anyone that he comes into contact with.

    Meanwhile, Sloane and Manners realize what’s happened and start doing everything in their power to track down the killer and bring him to justice once more. Manners, however, has developed a nasty drug habit that causes tension between the two partners and calls his sense of judgement into question. Elsewhere, two of the Satanists - Barney (Jason McGee), who wears a Smashing Pumpkins shirt and looks like Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, and Jack (Christian Curmudgeon) – realize what they’ve unleashed on the streets of Seattle and try to save their own skins.

    The Necro Files runs a brisk seventy-two minutes, and ten of those minutes are credits, so it’s a pretty lean movie. It’s also a pretty insane movie. Jaissle, who dedicates the film to Joe D’Amato, knows exactly what kind of movie he’s making here and isn’t afraid to load up this micro-budget feature with gore, sleaze, sex, rape and overall insanity. It’d probably be horribly offensive if it weren’t genuinely hilarious and not meant to be taken at all seriously. The effects are over the top and the gore is as plentiful as it is exuberant, but those put off by the idea of an infant being killed in a Satanic ceremony can take solace in the fact that said infant is clearly a plastic doll, Jaissle doesn’t even try to hide this. And the movie is all the better for it! It’s a gleefully stupid film, going for shock value and crass humor over tension or actual scares and the whole thing is just as ridiculous as it sounds.

    As to the acting? Steve Sheppard is awesome as the scenery chewing, drug addicted cop with an itchy trigger finger and Gary Browning simply amazing as his partner capable only of yelling at any given time. Watching Browning, with his portly frame and curly pony tail, burst into action and run in the later part of the movie is worth the price of admission alone. The female characters in the film are there only to get naked and then raped and killed, which will clearly rub some the wrong way (political correctness having clearly not been a factor when making this movie!) so they mostly just get naked and scream a lot but they do that well enough. Many of the cast members use wacky pseudonyms like Christian Curmudgeon, Jeen O. Cide, Anne R. Key, Jonas Arke and Larry Gygax, presumably because they didn’t want their real names affiliated with the movie!

    Overall, this is one best enjoyed while abusing a substance of your choice and it’s very likely that your stage of mind will affect your overall enjoyment of the film, but for those with a taste for over the top gore and sleaze done without the aid of a proper budget, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than The Necro Files.

    The Necro Files – Blu-ray Review:

    Visual Vengeance brings The Necro Files to Region Free Blu-ray famed at 1.78.1 widescreen taken from an “archival 1997 SD master from original tapes remastered in 1080p” using up 10GBs of space on a 25GB disc. The compression isn’t great and the picture, which is waxy looking in spots, can’t really look any better than the existing elements allow fore, but it’s all watchable enough so long as you keep your expectations in check. Some of the widescreen framing looks tight but this is how it was presented on the original DVD release from way back when and if you’re going to feature your antagonist running around with a massive boner, you probably need a widescreen format to show that off properly. This is perfectly watchable, but obviously limited by the film’s tape-based origins.

    The main audio option for The Necro Files is a 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks in English. Optional English subtitles are provided. Audio quality mirrors the video quality, in that it isn’t reference quality but it is perfectly fine given the elements available to work with and the film’s origins. Dialogue is generally clean and clear and properly balanced, though things can be a little flat in spots and there are a few lines that are a bit muffled. The score sounds pretty good though. An English language Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also provided.

    A brand new audio commentary with producer/director Matt Jaissle kicks off the slate of extras on this stacked special edition release. He talks about writing the script under an alias, shooting the film in April 1996, wanting to parody underground SOV horror and exploitation films, shooting his prior projects on 16mm film and switching to video for this project for budgetary reasons, shooting locations that were used for the movie, basing the script on a comic called Zombie Love Butcher written by his friend, working cop thriller elements into the storyline, info on the different cast members that appear in the film (Steve Sheppard sang in a punk band called The Child Prostitutes!) and how they came to work with them, the intentional hamminess of the performances, getting various props from adult book stores, shooting the movie in two to three weeks and working twelve hour days, naming the film The Necro Files to cash in on The X-Files' success, memories of shooting specific scenes, shooting the movie without a professional lighting kit and quite a bit more. Jaissle goes a little quiet here and there but for the most part keeps the discussion going and tells some good stories along the way.

    The disc also includes an audio commentary with Matt Desiderio of Horror Boobs and Billy Burgess of the Druid Underground Film Festival. They cover the fonts from the opening credits, the importance of throwing nudity into the opening scene of any movie, some of the influences that worked their way into the movie, the cinematography in the movie and how it is legitimately better than a lot of other SOV movies made around the same time, the Casio-style soundtrack, the overall goofiness of the movie and how it feels like it was plucked from a teenager's brain, the very nineties styles on display throughout the movie, how the movie has lived on through its notoriety over the years, where some of the other cast members have appeared when applicable (Dru Berrymore gets covered more than the others!) and quite a bit more. These guys are clearly having a good time going over the movie, and this is worth a listen.

    A Chat With Matt Jaissle is a seven minute piece where, while strolling through a cemetery, he talks about the filmmakers that influenced him, how he got his start doing Super 8mm shorts as a kid, working on local features made around Detroit when he got older, making a few 16mm features before moving onto do The Necro Files on video, taking four years to complete his first feature (Back From Hell), working the story for The Necro Files around what was available to he and his team and tips on making a low budget movie.

    The Matt Jaissle Super 8 Short Films section contains thirteen minutes of some of the super early stuff he made in his younger Days. The Paroxysm Plague opens at a camp in Antarctica where a murder takes place. From here, a zombie plague is unleashed and a bunch of kids and teenagers play a small horde of the undead while others fight to survive. The Adventures Of The Walla Monster is played for laughs and features a booze swilling monster in a suit fighting a guy dressed like Leatherface, a guy dressed like Michael Myers and then a guy dressed like Jason before then killing a bunch of neighborhood kids and going home where he runs into more trouble and then performing with a puppet band called Feel Of Steel. These are both as ambitious as they are amusing and are pretty fun to see included here.

    The Necro Files On A Chilean Talk Show Segment is a strange four minute clip from 'Asi Somoss' where a few confused hosts discuss the film. It isn't subtitled so we don't know what they're saying, but it's pretty amusing to see regardless.

    Dong of the Dead: The Making Of The Necro Files is a behind the scenes documentary that runs for twenty minutes. Jaissle is interviewed here, covering much of the same ground as he did on the commentary and earlier Chat featurette but also going over setting up locations, getting set dressing and props prepped for the movie, casting the movie, setting up specific shots, getting into a bit of trouble when shooting the flying dead baby and dancing zombie/inflatable love doll scenes, creating the sound mix, how The Necro Files may have contributed to the untimely death of Chris Farley, getting the movie out there and the movie's legacy and sequel.

    The Corpse is a nine minute Super 8 short film directed by Jaissle that tells the story of a man hits someone with his car. The victim's body is dropped off at the local morgue overnight where, after his co-worker cleans up and leaves for the night, the lone attendant learns that the titular corpse is not completely dead after all. It is, not surprisingly, really low budget but it's pretty well done and played completely straight.

    The disc also includes a bonus movie in the form of Necro Files 3000, made by Jaissle in 2017 (he didn't have much to do with The Necro Files 2 ta all). This one runs just over sixty-two minutes in length and, after a bit of a recap of the first movie, is done pretty much entirely with dolls and toys, kind of like Team America: World Police. It turns out that a clown was watching a horror movie while his Barbie doll woman cooks for him in the kitchen. Elsewhere, a zombie takes out their cable and makes its way into their home and kills the clown and then kills and rapes the Barbie doll. From here, we witness a university lecture from Professor Blackthorn, who winds up being blackmailed by into helping by a journalist named Phineas Hogweathe who is convinced that the zombie cannibal rapist from the original movie is back from the dead and back to his old tricks. A lot more dolls, some of whom are quite promiscuous, get raped and killed and a giant robot courtesy of the Pentagon called Killbot 9000 will show up to help before its all over.
    It’s every bit as goofy as it sounds and definitely not meant to be taken in the least bit seriously. Some of the camerawork is pretty clever and there are some pretty fun gore effects on display. It’s also somehow kind of impressive that Jaissle goes for the same over the top sex and gore in this doll version as he does in the live action original.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc are the original trailer for the feature, a trailer for Necro Files 3000, a Visual Vengeance trailer for The Necro Files, menus and chapter selection options.

    We would, however, be remiss if we didn’t mention the packaging for this release. Not only do we get some nice reversible cover sleeve art with some newly created imagery on one side and the original VHS/DVD art on the flip side, but we also get a retro VHS sticker set, a slipcover featuring the flying baby on the front, a poster for The Necro Files and, the icing on this majestic cake, an official The Necro Files condom!

    The Necro Files - The Final Word:

    The Necro Files is rude and crude and gory as they come but it’s also a whole lot of ridiculous, over the top, sleaze-infused fun. Visual Vengeance’s Blu-ray offers a transfer that is only slightly better than the old DVD but more than makes up for that with a ridiculous amount of supplements that document the movie’s history and origins and an equally ridiculous bonus feature. All in all, this is a pretty great package for one of SOV moviedom’s most notorious entries.


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