Movies Till Dawn: 1313 Cemetery Way (Halloween 2022, Part 3)

Nope” (2022, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) A huge, otherworldly object with an apparent appetite for flesh and blood draws together various desperate types, including a pair of siblings (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) stuck with their father’s failing horse ranch and a former TV child star turned theme park owner (Steven Yeun), all of whom hope to realign their misfortunes by profiting from the creature. Ambitious sci-fi/horror effort from Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) makes oblique observations about human nature and its obliviousness to the impact of astounding spectacles (especially negative ones); those strands extend in a variety of directions (filmmaking, race) but ultimately seem to underscore the idea that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to making sense of and dealing with unfathomable experiences, seeking the dollar amount over the understanding. That interpretation bears little on your appreciation of the film, which, while occasionally feeling scattershot, delivers many unsettling moments, especially a flashback to a horrible incident in Yuen’s past. Universal’s Blu-ray includes a lengthy making-of doc, deleted scenes, a look at the creature’s design and the 19th century photographic experiment that figures into the film.

The Count Yorga Collection” (1970/71, Arrow Video) Posing a mystic, the Bulgarian vampire Count Yorga (Robert Quarry) stalks the suburbs of modern-day California, where a combination of his Old World romantic vibe and disbelief in the supernatural allow him to cull a brood of undead brides. “Count Yorga, Vampire” (1970) and “The Return of Count Yorga” (1971) are clever low-budget features from American International Pictures arrived at the same time as Dan Curtis’s “The Night Stalke” to put a fresh spin on vampire mythology; the Yorga pictures succeed due to Bob Kelljan’s efficient direction (which overcomes some plot deficiencies), a surprising amount of humor balanced by considerable violence and genuine scares (Yorga’s vampire horde have definite Manson overtones, especially in a home invasion scene in “Return”), and Quarry’s urbane turn as a vampire that feels no compulsion to hide his monstrous origin or intent. Arrow pays homage to these cult favorites with a wealth of extras, including new commentaries (Tim Lucas and Stephen R. Bissette) and vintage tracks (David Del Valle and C Courtney Joyner), a slew of appreciative video essays (Heather Drain, Maitland McDonough, Kim Newman), interviews with “Vampire” star Michael Murphy and composer David Huckvale, and a tribute to the late Quarry, along with a brace of trailers, TV spots, and radio ads.

Audrey Rose” (1977, Arrow Video) Wealthy New York couple Marsha Mason and John Beck are plagued by the presence of Anthony Hopkins, who goes to extreme lengths to prove that their daughter (Susan Swift) is the reincarnation of his dead child. Nominally effective supernatural thriller, based on the novel by Frank DeFelitta (who wrote the script) and directed by Robert Wise, which gets maximum mileage out of its premise in the first half, where increasingly strange phenomena seems to support Hopkins’ claims; Wise’s grip weakens in the latter half under the weight of courtroom histrionics. A modest entry in the post-“Exorcist” wave of ’70s supernatural horror, worth seeing for Hopkins’ eclectic performance and creepy scenes involving Swift under the sway of unseen forces; Arrow’s Blu-ray mixes new and vintage material, including video essays and interviews on reincarnation and a location visit in the former camp and interviews with DeFelitta, Mason and music historian Daniel Schweiger in the latter.

The Kindred” (1987, Synapse Films) Charged by his dying scientist mother (Kim Hunter) to destroy her research notes, geneticist (David Allen Brooks) heads to her home, where an awful secret lurks on the property. You could do far worse in terms of ’80s horror than this largely forgotten forbidden science chiller; two directors and five screenwriters couldn’t quite shape this into coherent form, but there are attempts (some successful) in lending depth to the characters and story, as well as a surplus of slimy monsters rendered as practical effects by Michael McCracken Jr,, Amanda Pays as the femme fatale, and Rod Steiger in overacting overdrive. Synapse’s Blu-ray features a 4K restoration and numerous extras, including commentary by directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, a making-of featurette, and behind-the-scenes footage.

The Fourth Victim” (1971, Severin Films) Having lost three wives (and netted considerable insurance sums for each), wealthy Michael Craig sets his sights on a fourth after meeting new neighbor Carroll Baker, unaware that both she and a mystery woman (Marina Malfatti) lurking on his property have hidden agendas. Minor Spanish-Italian giallo by Eugenio Martin (“Horror Express”) has style to spare, including lavish sets and a breezy score by Piero Umiliani; the premise itself lacks genuine urgency or suspense or content grit (the most salacious element of the film is the cover art for Severin’s Blu-ray), which makes “Fourth” best appreciated by Eurocult completists. The Blu-ray includes a very minor deleted scene and an interview with Martin biographer Carlos Aguilar.

Edge of Sanity” (1988, Arrow Video) Dr. Henry Jekyll (Anthony Perkins) accidentally creates crack cocaine, which transforms him into Jack Hyde, a perverse libertine whose homicidal urges – attributed to Jack the Ripper – set 19th century London on edge. Impressive production values (including lavish sets built in Hungary) and grisly violence are somewhat undone by director Gerard Kikoine and producer Harry Alan Towers’ insistence on sub-Playboy Channel softcore fumblings, though Perkins appears to be having a ball with both sides of his character (and for the record, his Hyde very much resembles, in look and demeanor, the late Lux Interior). Arrow’s Blu-ray offers a wealth of extras, including new commentary by David Flint and Sean Hogan, as well as interviews with the late Kikoine and Stephen Thrower and a video essay on Ripper films by Dr. Clare Smith.

About Paul Gaita

Paul Gaita lives in Sherman Oaks, California with his lovely wife and daughter. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Variety and Merry Jane, among many other publications, and was a home video reviewer for from 1998 to 2014. He has also interviewed countless entertainment figures, but his favorites remain Elmore Leonard, Ray Bradbury, and George Newall, who created both "Schoolhouse Rock" and the Hai Karate aftershave commercials. He once shared a Thanksgiving dinner with celebrity astrologer Joyce Jillson and regrettably, still owes the late character actor Charles Napier a dollar.
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