Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Vile 21 (VHShitfest) Blu-ray Review

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Vile 21 (VHShitfest) Blu-ray Review

    Click image for larger version  Name:	cover.jpg Views:	0 Size:	30.5 KB ID:	428492

    Released by: VHShitfest
    Released on: January 30th, 2024.
    Director: Mike Strain Jr.
    Cast: Daniel Skinner, Brian Southwick, Ronnie Sorter
    Year: 1997
    Purchase From Amazon

    Vile 21 – Movie Review:

    Mike Strain Jr.’s 1997 shot on video horror/sci-fi opus, Vile 21, is set in the future of 2020 and introduces us to a scientist named Dr. Walter Hall (Daniel Skinner) who, through hard work and research, has created an experimental serum using human DNA and something from a meteor of sorts that he found back in 1995. Anyway, when injected, turns people from regular folk into hulking, muscular monster types. When the government gets word of Hall’s work, they help him out with some funding but when head honcho Jack Patruski (Ronnie Sortor) tells Hall they want him to move to clinical trials on animals and humans, Hall hesitates – he’s not ready yet. Regardless, Patruski insists and threatens to yank Hall’s funding if he doesn’t play nice.

    Hall decides to push back, and he does this by injecting a homeless man named Jon (Steve Kelly) with his serum and, after a gruesome transformation sequence that looks to have been inspired a bit by An American Werewolf In London and which is definitely the SFX highlight of the movie, the poor mutated bastard runs amuck and, proving to be uncontrollable, wreaks havoc in the area.

    Vile 21 moves at a pretty solid pace, establishing the nuts and bolts of the premise pretty quickly and then, just past the forty-minute mark, ramping things up nicely in terms of its monster movie mechanics. Once that aforementioned transformation scene happens, which is remarkably ambitious for a super low-budget camcorder epic like this one, B-movie fans accustomed to the SOV world will find themselves seriously entertained. On top of the effects work, which gives the movie a pretty solid sense of spectacle, the story also does a pretty solid job with the character development. Daniel Skinner isn’t going to win an Oscar for his work here but he gives his character some humanity, and a little of that goes a long way. Hall isn’t just a mad scientist cliché, he struggles with the morality of some of the decisions that he has to make as the story plays out, and that element of the narrative helps to keep things interesting and make Vile 21 more than just another poverty row monster movie made in the backyard of some guy with a camcorder.

    Strain, who plays a cop in the film, had some prior experience with effects work (he'd previously worked on Todd Sheet's Violent New Breed as well as on Sinstre and Ravage for Ronnie Sorter and has since gone on to work on You're Next and V/H/S) and this turns out to be the main draw, however. Sure, some pieces work better than others and there are moments where it’s clear that some of the creatures in the movie are wearing consumer grade monster masks probably purchased on close-out at a Spirit Halloween location, but the bum who turns into the monster is really well done by anyone’s standards (let’s face it, sometimes you have to grade SOV horror pictures on a bit of a curve – but not so when it comes to this remarkably ambitious sequence!). The movie in general is pretty ambitious overall. We get a well-edited and put together car chase, some decent action set pieces and much better cinematography than you’d expect. The sets work well enough that you’re never pulled out of the movie and yeah, fine, there are some wonky and dated hairstyles and fashions on display here but if you lived through the nineties you’ll remember that this is just part and parcel to the era and all that it had to offer.

    Note that this Blu-ray edition includes a new special edition cut (which runs 1:18:42) transferred from the original master edited by Ronnie Sorter and approved by Strain taken from the S-VHS tape masters as well as the original VHS cut (which runs 1:22:00). For shots missing from the S-VHS master, inserts from the standard VHS version were used. The new version has some updated digital effects work inserted into the movie that don’t really work as they stick out like a sore thumb. The modernized version also features a new score from Todd Reynolds, replacing most of the indie metal tracks used in the original version. Additionally, the credits sequences are different between the two versions. The original cut is the better of the two, but the newer cut has considerably better picture quality. In the end, both versions are here and that isn’t a bad thing.

    Vile 21 – Blu-ray Review:

    Vile 21 arrives on a region free 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080i high definition transfer framed at 1.33.1. Given the movie’s low budget shot on tape origins, this transfer looks about as good as it probably can. Compression is pretty decent here but detail is limited by the source material. Some of the darker scenes are a really dark, almost impenetrably so, but this almost certainly stems back to the way that the movie was lit and shot rather than the transfer itself. Colors look a bit hot, as does contrast, but overall, this is perfectly watchable by the standards of low budget SOV movies.

    The 16-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 mix, which comes with optional English subtitles, is decent enough given the movie’s low budget roots. Dialogue is generally pretty easy to understand, though there are a few spots where the subtitles come in handy as some scenes are a tad muffled. For the most part, however, the track is well-balanced and clean enough to work.

    Director Mike Strain Jr. kicks off the extras with an audio commentary that proves to be very interesting. He goes over what inspired him to make the movie, where some of the ideas for the storyline came from, what went into creating the effects work and some of the problems he ran into while doing that, challenges that arose on set, working with his cast and crew, locations and lots more. A second commentary from Ronnie Sorter goes over a lot of the details about creating the newer special edition cut of the movie, and while that’s the focus of most of his talk, he also tells some interesting anecdotes about how he came to work with Strain on this and more.

    The Genetic Monster: The Making Of Vile 21 is a thirty minute documentary that is made up of a selection of vintage footage and interview clips of Mike Strain Jr. talking about how he got into doing effects work first for low budget films and then working his way up the ladder so to speak. Ronnie Sortor also shows up here to throw his insight into the mix, and the two of them wind up giving us a pretty interesting look at what went into making Vile 21. It covers some of the same ground as the commentary tracks but the added archival footage is a nice touch.

    Up next is a forty minute archival Making Of Featurette comprised of footage shot on set with a camcorder while the movie was in production. There’s lots of footage of the cast and crew at work on the picture, getting up for some of the more complicated SFX set pieces and prepare for various scenes.

    Sortor shows up again in the three minute Footage And FX Restoration segment where he discusses what went into essentially rebuilding a few of the scenes from the movie for his restored cut of the Vile 21.

    The disc also contains seven minutes of deleted scenes, a minute of stop motion monster footage that was shot for the movie, a comprehensive still gallery and a vintage trailer for the feature.

    There’s also a bunch of other material included on the disc, starting with an Oaktree Studios Trailers section where we get trailers for Mystery Monsters & Magic and Until Sunrise while a minute long Oaktree Studios Merchandise Ad shows off items you can buy from the studio’s website.

    In the Short Film: Bits-n-Pieces section we get a thirty-one minute monster movie directed by Madison Strain in 2015 that features a pretty neat little monster that escapes and goes on a bit of a rampage. Mike Strain Jr. handled the effects for the piece and it’s a pretty fun short worth checking out. A forty minute behind the scenes piece documents what went into making the movie by way of interviews and some interesting deleted material. There’s also a trailer for the movie included here.

    A second short film, the thirty-two minute Hotel Of Terror made on 2003 by Mike Strain Jr., features Ronnie Sortor himself as a serial killer. It’s interesting, if on the slow side, and shows off Strain’s progression and evolution as a filmmaker. A thirty-one minute behind the scenes piece documents the making of Hotel Of Terror features interviews with the cast and crew that worked on the movie as well as selection of footage shot on set during the making of the movie.

    Vile 21 - The Final Word:

    Vile 21 is smarter and way more ambitious than most are going to expect it to be, it’s quickly paced and features some really solid effects work and, on top of that, it manages to effectively build character and tell an interesting story. The Blu-ray debut from VHShitfest presents them movie looking and sounding as good as it probably can, and it throws in some solid extra features as well. Recommended for SOV monster movie enthusiasts!


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Vile 21 Blu-ray screen caps!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	1.jpg Views:	0 Size:	73.6 KB ID:	428493

    Click image for larger version  Name:	2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	165.8 KB ID:	428503

    Click image for larger version  Name:	3.jpg Views:	0 Size:	242.0 KB ID:	428501

    Click image for larger version  Name:	4.jpg Views:	0 Size:	215.0 KB ID:	428496

    Click image for larger version  Name:	5.jpg Views:	0 Size:	120.2 KB ID:	428500

    Click image for larger version  Name:	6.jpg Views:	0 Size:	194.1 KB ID:	428507

    Click image for larger version  Name:	7.jpg Views:	0 Size:	210.8 KB ID:	428505

    Click image for larger version  Name:	8.jpg Views:	0 Size:	187.9 KB ID:	428497

    Click image for larger version  Name:	9.jpg Views:	0 Size:	190.6 KB ID:	428495

    Click image for larger version  Name:	10.jpg Views:	0 Size:	137.1 KB ID:	428494

    Click image for larger version  Name:	11.jpg Views:	0 Size:	178.5 KB ID:	428506

    Click image for larger version  Name:	12.jpg Views:	0 Size:	146.6 KB ID:	428502

    Click image for larger version  Name:	13.jpg Views:	0 Size:	196.0 KB ID:	428504

    Click image for larger version  Name:	14.jpg Views:	0 Size:	145.2 KB ID:	428498

    Click image for larger version  Name:	15.jpg Views:	0 Size:	110.7 KB ID:	428499
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    Last edited by Ian Jane; 02-26-2024, 09:19 AM.
    Posting comments is disabled.

Latest Articles

Collapse

  • Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Grindhouse Releasing
    Released on: March 12th, 2024.
    Director: William Grefé
    Cast: William Shatner, Jennifer Bishop, Ruth Roman, Harold Sakata
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    Impulse – Movie Review:

    Directed by the one and only William Grefé, 1974’s Impulse is one of those rare films that allows you to witness what it would be like if a really sweaty William Shatner got mad at a lady carrying balloons. Before that
    ...
    04-15-2024, 01:20 PM
  • Lisa Frankenstein (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Zelda Williams
    Cast: Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Carla Gugino, Joe Chrest, Henry Eikenberry
    Year: 2024
    Purchase From Amazon

    Lisa Frankenstein – Movie Review:

    The feature-length directorial debut of Zelda Williams, 20214’s Lisa Frankenstein takes place in 1989 and follows a teenaged girl named Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) who, two years ago, lost her mother
    ...
    04-03-2024, 03:40 PM
  • Spider Labyrinth (Severin Films) UHD/Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: April 30th, 2024.
    Director: Gianfranco Giagni
    Cast: Roland Wybenga, William Berger, Stéphane Audran
    Year: 1988
    Purchase From Amazon

    Spider Labyrinth – Movie Review:

    Professor Alan Whitmore (Roland Wybenga) is an American who works as a Professor of languages studies and has a fascination bordering on obsession with translating pre-Christian religious texts. He was also locked in a closet
    ...
    04-03-2024, 03:37 PM
  • Special Silencers (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Arizal
    Cast: Barry Prima, Eva Arnaz, W.D. Mochtar
    Year: 1982
    Purchase From Amazon

    Special Silencers – Movie Review:

    When director Arizal’s 1982 epic begins, we meet a man named Gumilar (W.D. Mochtar), a sinister dude who has constantly bloodshot eyes. He’s meeting with a man about some sort of business deal, but a flashback shows us how some time ago he killed
    ...
    04-03-2024, 03:35 PM
  • The Playgirls And The Vampire (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 26th, 2024.
    Director: Piero Regnoli
    Cast: Walter Brandi, Lyla Rocco, Maria Giovannini, Alfredo Rizzo, Marisa Quattrini, Leonardo Botta
    Year: 1960
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Playgirls And The Vampire – Movie Review:

    Piero Regnoli’s 1960 goofy gothic horror, The Playgirls And The Vampire, revolves around a quintet of beautiful showgirls - Vera (Lyla Rocco), Katia (Maria Giovannini),
    ...
    04-03-2024, 03:30 PM
  • The Abandoned (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    by Ian Jane


    Released by: Unearthed Films
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Nacho Cerdà
    Cast: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden, Valentin Goshev
    Year: 2006
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Abandoned – Movie Review:

    Directed by Nacho Cerdà, who co-wrote with Richard Stanley and Karim Hussain, 2006's The Abandoned opens in Russia in 1966 where a poor family sits at the dinner table only to be interrupted when a large truck stops suddenly in front
    ...
    03-28-2024, 04:29 PM
Working...
X