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The Abomination (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • The Abomination (Visual Vengeance) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Visual Vengeance
    Released on: September 26th, 2023.
    Director: Bret McCormick
    Cast: Scott Davis, Jude Johnson, Blue Thompson, Rex Morton
    Year: 1986
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Abomination – Movie Review:

    Shot on film but edited on tape and released straight to video in 1986, director Bret McCormick’s The Abomination is set deep in the heart of Texas where a young man named Cody (Scott Davis) lives alone with his mother, a devout Christian who puts way too much stock in the teachings of a televangelist named Brother Fogg (Rex Morton). His mother also has a cancerous tumor growing inside of her, but when she vomits it up and attributes this healing to a miracle on the part of Fogg, she doesn’t realize that the tumor is still alive and that it’s worked its way into the body of her son.

    Now infected by the cancerous growth expunged by his mother’s body, Cody soon learns the hard way that the thing inside of him, now controlling him, needs to eat and what it needs to eat are the entrails of the various residents of his small Texas town! His pretty girlfriend Kelly (Blue Thompson) had better watch out! Cody then proceeds to run around town slaughtering people left, right and center to satiate the hunger of the thing inside him, all while the creature’s spawns start taking up residence in his kitchen.

    Set to a fantastic synth score and weirdly dubbed from start to finish, The Abomination starts with what is essentially a highlight reel of the gore set pieces that make up much of the running time of the movie’s second half. It’s a nightmare, and we get to see Cody wake up from it. But is it just a nightmare of a glimpse into a very dark future? It’s definitely a glimpse into a very dark future. This is a puzzling decision on the part of McCormick, as it gives away a fair bit of what’s going to come in the movie within the first few minutes of its running time, but it doesn’t really matter so much because this movie is a blast. Super ambitious with its admittedly awesome low-fi effects set pieces and monster puppets, The Abomination is a gooey, gory and grisly slice of mid-eighties insanity made all the more otherworldly by its micro-budget origins.

    Rightly adored among fans of ultra-low budget B-movies and splatter films, The Abomination moves at a pretty quick pace and manages to throw a few unexpected surprises into its storyline. Logic and coherency are often thrown out the window in favor of over the top gore, but that’s okay, as we’re not really here for the acting so much as we are the big goopy monster living in the cupboard.

    The acting is hard to gauge, since it’s all dubbed and the voice acting might be from an alternate universe, but Scott Davis is pretty fun to watch in the lead. He spends much of the movie behind dark sunglasses that are probably supposed to make him look cool and mysterious. It sort of works. He’s neither cool nor mysterious by most people’s standards but compared to all of the other local yokel types that populate the movie, he’s a veritable Alain Delon.

    The Abomination – Blu-ray Review:

    Visual Vengeance brings The Abomination to region free Blu-ray on a 50GB framed at 1.33.1 and offered up in AVC encoded 1080i high definition using a “new, director supervised SD master from original master tapes.” This probably looks as good as it can, which isn’t great but better than it’s looked in the past. The image is murky and soft in the way that images sourced from old B-movie master tapes tend to be. Colors are flat most of the time, but the reds pop a bit more than you might expect. Compression is imperfect and some minor artifacts show up in spots, but overall this is pretty watchable given the movie’s origins and existing source materials.

    The Abomination gets an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, with optional subtitles provided in English only. Audio quality is on par with the video quality in that it’s limited by the source materials but perfectly acceptable given the film’s low-fi roots. Sometimes the dialogue is a bit muffled but aside from that, it’s all fine for what it is.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary with director Bret McCormick as well as Rob Hauschild and Matt Desiderio of Visual Vengeance. It's a lively and informative track that covers a lot of ground, including why the opening montage/dream sequence is the way it is, not having a proper script but instead twenty pages of notes, having ten days to shoot, the use of pseudonyms in the movie, casting the movie with friends and family, the super low budget they had to work with, getting along with the cast and crew who worked really hard on the movie, locations that were used, shooting on video versus shooting on film, films that influenced McCormick and wound up inspiring him to make movies like this, the 'monkey and the dog' painting that appears in the movie, Brother Fogg's toilet paper habits, creating some of the effects set pieces in the movie, getting along with the mayor of Poolville, Texas who let them do what they wanted to do and more.

    A second commentary with Tony Strauss of Weng’s Chop Magazine. This track goes over the film's status as a VHS collector's holy grail, thoughts on the opening dream sequence/gore montage and the plot overall, the general look of the film and its production history, McCormick's biographical history and love of monster movies, details on the cast and crew that worked on the movie (many under alias'), the potential influence of H.P. Lovecraft, the film's marketing and release history, McCormick's skills as a monster maker, McCormick's post-The Abomination films and how they compare and what McCormick's future may hold.

    Up next Monster Kid is Movie Maverick isa brand new, feature-length Bret McCormick interview running seventy-four minutes. He talks about how the TV was his babysitter and developed his love of cartoons and monster movies, the importance of seeing From Hell It Came as a young kid, getting his start in the industry and some of the early projects that he worked on, going to UTA for film but having trouble getting up too early for class, getting his start doing self-financed low budget features like Tabloid, some of the people that he worked with along the way, getting into horror movies because they did well on home video, the influence of H.G. Lewis, the production and abnormally long post-production process that The Abomination required, meeting Fred Olen Ray and being inspired by him, stories from different post-Abomination movies, working with Joe Estevez on Blood On The Badge, getting screwed by distributors, getting to know David Prior, how and why Repligator came to be, meeting Roger Corman and wanting to work with him but not wanting to do a Don 'The Dragon' Wilson kickboxing movie and more! McCormick is super likeable here and a great storyteller.

    From there, disc into an interview with actress Blue Thompson. This seven minute piece lets her talk about how she got involved with the shoot because she was romantically linked to the director, how this was the only time she ever acted, how much work the shoot turned out to be, fond memories from the shoot, what it was like on set, doing her own stunts in the movie, the effects in the movie and what it was like on set.

    Actress Victoria Chaney (McCormick’s mom) is up next in a five minute interview. She talks about how she had a "mad crush on Brother Fogg" despite his flatulance problem, her thoughts on seeing the movie again for the first time in decades, the blood and gore and monster effects, why her son deserved a special effects award from the Academy, how many of her family members are in the movie and more. This interview is pretty hilarious, she’s got a great sense of humor.

    The disc also has an interview with The Abomination's original VHS distributor, Michael Jack Shoel. Here, over fifteen minutes, we learn about how the movie was one of his earliest home video releases, what the business was like at the time, his first time going to the AFM looking for horror films to distribute, meeting McCormick and making a deal with him, coming up with poster and home video art, having to bail out a crack addict busted for masturbating in a peep show room, other films he's released like The Wrong Door and Cannibal Campout and how the business has changed over the years.

    The Abomination - Filming Locations Tour is a thirteen minute piece that shows off the Poolville, Texas locations that McCormick, who narrates the piece, used for the shoot, noting that the town would let them do anything, which made it an ideal place to make a movie. He shows off various locations used in The Abomination as well as in Ozone and he talks about where they appear in the movie and tells some fun stories about each location.

    Super 8 Outtakes And Raw Footage - Reel 1 compiles twetny-nine minutes of just that, while Super 8 Outtakes And Raw Footage - Reel 2 offers up eighteen minutes more. It's interesting to see this stuff included here - there's a lot of beer drinking in it!

    Behind The Scenes - The Stairway is a quick eighty-one second look at how the stairway scene was shot (it's basically characters walking up the stairs), while Behind The Scenes - Tumor Test is a ninety-seven second piece that shows off some tumor puking test footage, which is pretty fun to see.

    We also get a pretty extensive Image Gallery for the feature, an 'Interview With The Abomination' that is an amusing text interview with the monster from the movie conducted by Madd Desiderio, six minutes' worth of Bret McCormick's original Super 8 Films (including what looks like some vacation footage and some early animation work!), a Visual Vengeance promo trailer, a selection of Bret McCormick trailers (Ozone: Attack Of The Redneck Mutants, Repligator, Highway To Hell, Reanimator Academy, Children Of Dracula, Bio-Tech Warrior and Time Tracers, menus and chapter selection options.

    Visual Vengeance has also, once again, included some fun physical bonuses here as well, starting with a folded mini-poster tucked away inside the keepcase, as well as a sticker sheet of vintage VHS-style rental stickers and, for the first pressing only, a twelve-page mini comic book. The disc also comes with some nice reversible cover sleeve art featuring original VHS art on the reverse as well as, for the first pressing only, a limited edition slipcase.

    The Abomination – The Final Word:

    The Abomination has been long overdue for a proper special edition home video release and Visual Vengeance has stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. Yes, the presentation is rough and limited by the source material but there’s a lot of great extra content included here to more than make up for that and the movie itself is an absolute blast. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized The Abomination Blu-ray screen caps!

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