The Exorcist 4K UHD: The Power of 4K Compels You

Just in time for Halloween, the upcoming sequel, the 50th anniversary of the film and the 100th anniversary of Warner Brothers, The Exorcist comes to 4K UHD. This edition captures the impact of this seminal horror film.

The 4K UHD preserves the film grain of the 1973 film. Georgetown looks beautiful in the daylight, when they’re filming Chris MacNeil’s movie. It’s lush and green, with autumn leaves visible as she walks through the neighborhood.

A visit to the dark attic shows how deep the shadows can go, illuminated by a burst of flame. Regan’s green vomit looks thick and dark but no brighter than it used to be.

Regan’s room is scary enough in broad daylight, but when the exorcists arrive it gets darker and darker.

For contrast, the opening shots of the archeological dig in Iraq look as golden and gritty as Indiana Jones. Especially closeups of dirty hands that have been digging all day. It provides a nice contrast to the rest of the movie.

The Exorcist got a surround mix over the years, so you hear digging in the background during that opening. Music in a bar, cocktail chatter at Chris’s party, rumbles of Pazuzu moving furniture around. The ringing phone provides a good jump scare.

Archival commentaries by the late William Friedkin and William Peter Beatty are also included, though you might want to keep your Blu-rays for all the other bonus features.

Matilda 4K UHD Review: Tele4kinesis

I was a projectionist the summer Matilda came out. Then I got the Blu-ray when all the kids were grown up. Now it’s on 4K and it feels like rediscovering the whimsical fantasy all over again.

You can see the grain in the 1996 film. The colors are subtle but distinct, with pink and blue in the natal ward, the Edward Scissorhands-esque neighborhood and the gaudy, cluttered Wormwood house. The clash of colors makes their aesthetic with green placemats, a yellow ceiling, lavender curtains, flower patterned walls.

The night surrounding Matilda’s bed is pitch black, and the hall before she opens the door to let the light in. Also the moment when she blows the power out. Her hiding place at the grimy, overgrown Crunchem Hall and the cake eating scene employ stark darkness too.

Danny DeVito recorded a new commentary for the 4K UHD edition. He is scene specific and still having fun watching the movie in 2023. He explains some choices and reveals some of how they did it but gets a bit lethargic after 30 minutes. He still peppers the commentary with anecdotes.

There are no new extras with the cast but the thorough previous ones are still on Blu-ray. I didn’t notice any major sound effects despite the whirlwind film.

Boogeyman 4K Review – The Night Comes for Us

This summer’s horror sensation comes to 4K via streaming platforms ahead of its DVD and Blu-ray release in October. It’s a good one for the format as there is plenty of darkness in the bedroom in which the monster can hide.

The sound surrounds you too with the Fox fanfare giving way to growling and baby crying in the rear speakers.

FYI: Vudu has the two bonus features swapped but both are there. But the featerette plays the outtakes and vice versa. The featurette includes producers and filmmakers on the adaptations and the young cast describing their process for creating the tension.

The Flash 4K UHD Review: Speed 4kce

The Flash has a multiverse of 4K UHD visuals on display now that it’s on home video formats. The Flash’s red suit shines.

So much of The Flash is fully animated. It holds up. The visuals are surreal, but fully rendered. Barry’s night run looks particularly great in 4K.

Practical sets boast beautiful 4K shadows. Barry’s pitch black apartment, and the city block on which young Barry finds himself naked are highlights. The Bat cave casts pure shadows, including silhouettes of the double Barrys. Supergirl’s cel and the whole underground Russian station also provide deep shadows.

The sound mix has some fun effects. All of Barry’s speed runs zoom and whoosh around the room, as do Supergirl’s flights. Action sounds ricochet in the rear like glass shattering, bats fluttering and eletric static. Cartoon sound effects like trumpets in young Barry’s botched first run are cute, and the Batwing swirls when the gyro rotates the cockpit.

Many fans probably already watched the bonus features when The Flash came out on VOD but it’s nice to have a full 35 minute behind the scenes feature. Ezra Miller’s double Ed Wade gets on camera and you get to see him do his sides of the scenes.

I like that there’s no musical score to this feature. It makes the sound bites feel more sincere. They may be the same but it seems like it’s more about the movie than selling a package.

The shorter features are informative too. They innovated technology for this movie. I appreciate the attempt to make the finale feel more natural than green screen, though it ultimately created new issues.

In depth background on The Flash and Supergirl includes other DC players Melissa Benoist, Helen Slater, Laura Vandervoort, Grant Gustin and the comic and animated artists.

Deleted scenes include extra vehicular action, double Barry scenes with Wade even in the suit, some finished scenes of the Flashes goofing off with effects and a rough Batwing in the moon Easter egg. Young Barry learning he can’t stop bullets is a good scene and there’s some creepy young Barry creeping on Kara that I’m glad they cut.

You also get all 6 eps of the Escape the Midnight Circus podcast.

Bride, Seed, Curse and Cult of Chucky 4K UHD Reviews: The Best Chuckys

I dare say this set is bookended by the two best Chucky movies of all, Bride and Cult. In between are the most outrageous, Seed, and the back to basics horror, Curse, all worthy additions to the franchise. They also represent the point at which the franchise spanned two different generations of cinema so it’s fun to evaluate that on 4K UHD.

Bride and Seed were still shot on film and you can see it even in computer animated bits like the Seed titles and decapitation gag. You even see a faint scratch in the single take Seed intro. It was a film magazine! They couldn’t scrap the whole take over it!

I’ve seen Bride the most, in every format since theaters, and it’s never quite felt this present in its world. It’s also the Peter Pau one so his lighting designs convey more subtleties in 4K. Ronny Yu’s camera also plays with depth. Closeups look like they’re in the room with you, especially the dolls.

Both Bride and Seed use red light effectively and are full of gushing crimson blood. Bride has more shadow from the evidence locker and Tiffany’s trailer to the honeymoon suite sex scene and the cemetery finale, all pure shadow in 4K. Seed still gets some nice shadows when the dolls take over Jennifer Tilly’s house.

Curse and Cult are both digital and made for video, but they hold up like theatrical digital films. You see the difference in the pixels vs. the film grain but the settings are full of detail.

The Curse house is old with cracked paint, scratched doors and spotty tile. Closeups of Chucky show the texture of the plastic. Don Mancini still gets some great shots like Nica reflected in a pool of blood, still that gushing crimson. There’s good shadow in the dark house highlighted by lightning flashes. There are beautiful silhouettes of Nica and Chucky when the power goes out, and of the surprise lovers in the love scene. The black and white flashback also holds up, with bright yellow flowers contrasting it.

Cult has an even more ambitious look with the institution. Gleaming white walls are flawless, and they dress Nica in black for a stark contrast. Then Tiffany shows up in red and Chucky’s red hair and blue overalls against that backdrop shows him in an all new light. The orderlies wear white scrubs to blend in. Snowfall looks great against a pitch black night sky.

All four movies have fun surround sound effects too. Chucky’s sperm swims right behind you. Bride has a lot of explosions in full surround. Rain and thunder fill the room.

It is a shame Mancini didn’t record new interviews for these four since he did the first three. They must not have been able to coordinate before the WGA strike. But, Tony Gardner to talk about all three films, and he details animatronics from cable to rod puppets, including the difficulty of making Chucky jerk off.

They did get actors before the SAG-AFTRA strike. John Waters speaks about Seed for six minutes and manages to squeeze in political jabs. Alex Vincent is open about his childhood feelings about being left out of Child’s Play 3 and handling his legacy as a teenager. He also plays a bit in his recording studio to showcase his other career.

Danielle Bisutti approached her Curse character with real depth and it’s nice to see how seriously she took it.

Weird Science 4K UHD Review: 4Kelly Le Bro4k

Four years ago Arrow released a Weird Science Blu-ray with interviews with casting director Jackie Burch, Hughes regular John Kapelos, makeup effects artist Craig Rearden, editor Chris Lebenzon, composer IRA Newborn, the TV edit and the featurette from Universal’s DVD. Rearden talks about a deleted scene featuring Robert Downey Jr which is unfortunately not restored in full. Now they’ve upgraded the movie to 4K.

The presentation is grainy like it was at the 1985 two screen theater I saw first saw Weird Science at. You’ll notice the 4K effect in shots like the closeup on Anthony Michael Hall’s crazy eyes shrouded in pure darkness. The ‘80s computer display with the grid frame body and other early animation holds up like Tron.

The creation scene is a lot sweatier in 4K than I remember it. Flashing lights, electric bolts and the red sky glow in 4K. Some practical items that stand out in 4K are the pink Cadillac, red Ferrari and all of Kelly LeBrock’s party outfits.

Le Brock is still more beautiful than even 4K can capture. Maybe the next format will finally live up to her but 4K tries its hardest.

Weird Science has a surround sound mix that remains faithful to the original stereo. It lets the music fill the room and a few sound effects blow back to the rear speakers. The weather chaos during the creation leading to Lisa blowing up the door, partiers clapping and flies buzzing around the Chet monster remind you that weird science is all around you.

The Blackening 4K UHD Review: 4Kary Movie

Since The Blackening is mostly set in a dark cabin and the surrounding woods at night, the 4K UHD holds up pretty well. Especially when a flashlight is the only light, you can really see the beam and the subtly diminishing light fade to black.

Out in the yard and in the basement, you can still see the whole frame, but when it’s in shadow, that’s pure 4K darkness. So, upstairs when they’re hiding in the vent, the killer stalks the shadows. And the POV of the vent is just the survivors’ faces and the grate visible. Well, in some shots you see hints of the silver ducting behind them. And at the front door, anything away from the lit porch is also pure shadow.

X May’s pink dress, Antoinette Robinson’s yellow one and Dewayne Perkins’ blue jumpsuit provide some color to the proceedings.

The Blackening has a commentary like the old days with three voices and three different perspectives. Perkins is still shocked and nervous that he wrote and starred in a big movie. Tracy Oliver is the veteran writer shepherding his vision. Director Tim Story talks about some of the filmmaking process, like shooting hallways in a different location and how many takes each actor would do, but he mainly celebrates his collaborators and asks the writers questions.

They discuss the specific horror influences and the horror comedies they’re decidedly not doing. They reveal Jermaine Fowler came up with Clifton’s voice which explains why he’s the only one doing a caricature. Nobody told him not to, but he also improvised the gun adjusting joke which is gold. Oliver is also confident there will be a sequel and has some fun ideas.

Several more featurettes feature more of the cast, backing up a lot of the stories from the commentary. There are clips of the original short but not the whole thing. You can still see it on YouTube.

The cast participate in some promotional bits, so they’re “on” while promoting the movie’s theatrical release. A deleted scene extends the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air joke.

Roman Holiday 4K UHD Review: Classic Black and White

Roman Holiday is another exquisite black and white 4K UHD from Paramount. It’s not quite as sharp as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but quite a bit sharper than the likes of Double Indemnity.

You see it the most when the film cuts to stock footage and back. And the stock footage holds up, it’s just not the freshest material.

In Roman Holiday, you see the sights of Rome in 4K, as well as Audrey Hepburn’s face. There are some good shadows in the night lit streets. At night, the water is as black as the sky it reflects.

You also still see authentic film grain in this transfer.

The enclosed Blu-ray also includes the Leonard Maltin spotlight feature.

Hugo Limited Edition 4K UHD Review: Martin 4Kse

When Hugo came out the big deal was Martin Scorsese’s first 3D movie. Naturally, his was better than most others. Now 3D has largely passed, except for James Cameron, and 4K is the latest tech.

The double images filmed for 3D combine to form one singular 4k. I remember Blu-rays of movies shot in native 3D always looked better than standard films, and that holds true in 4K too.

Scorsese’s depiction of 1930s France combines CGI cityscapes and clockwork with practical sets fun of detail. Dust dances around the space to assure you that yes, you’re in 1930s France and this is real.

Some of those standout details include the shiny, rusty pipes and doors behind the station and the clockwork gears. When Hugo leaves the station, the snow coats the blue stone streets. The automaton is shiny with fine detail in closeup. The light shines off the tweed jackets and even library books.

Georges Melies sets come to life in full color with all the undersea and Arabian Knight costumes.

Hugo is a fun surround sound film too. Clocks tick and steam bursts in the rear. There’s an echo when the station is silent. Papers flutter around the whole room.

The film disc includes a new commentary by Melies historian Jon Spira. Spira gives some actual Melies history, and points out some anachronisms fudged for dramatic purposes. In between Melies scenes, Spira comments on the other actors or filmmakers, which is a bit more basic research but keeps the commentary moving for over two hours. He is correct that Hugo did not lead to a silent film renaissance and that is a shame, but it’s not too late.

The review copy did not include the third disc of bonus features, but given the bonus feature on the original 2011 Paramount Blu-ray and Arrow’s track record for producing bonus feature, it’s easy to imagine they will make a fine addition to the full collection.

Fast X Collector’s Edition Review: 2 Bonus 2 Features

Fast X came home to DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD this week. Whether you enjoy the basic or the highest quality format, or somewhere in between, the bonus features contain an impressive amount of materials for a modern movie.

35 minutes for a behind the scenes feature is a lot for a new release. It was standard in the heyday of DVD but now it’s a luxury. Add in the additional shorter features and there’s around 75 minutes of extra material. Perhaps all the new characters Fast X added, letting each one of the actors introduce their roles adds up.

The amount of screens you see on location is always a little disheartening. Even Dom’s house has a big blue screen in the backyard. But, the location footage shows a lot of legitimate practical work on the streets of Rome and the freeway chase in Portugal. Of course wires are always painted out and there are other effects, but they were in the field.

There’s even more on specific scenes because director Louis Leterrier loves bonus features. Perhaps we have him to thank for pushing Universal to make Fast X a proper special edition.