Blu-ray Review: THE CRITTERS COLLECTION

CRITTERS is the directorial debut for Stephen Herek from a screenplay he co-wrote with Domonic Muir and stars Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy “Green” Bush, Scott Grimes, Nadine van der Velde, Don Keith Opper,Terrence Mann, Billy Zane and Lin Shaye.

In Critters, the terrified Brown family are trapped in a deadly nightmare and must fight for their lives against a litter of extraterrestrial, bloodthirsty monsters. But it’s a losing battle until two intergalactic bounty hunters arrive, determined to blow the creatures off the planet! It’s no picnic for the Brown family when a lethal litter of carnivorous aliens arrives unannounced at their Kansas farm. Trapped in a deadly nightmare, the terrified Browns fight for their lives against the attacking bloodthirsty monsters. But it’s a losing battle until two intergalactic bounty hunters arrive, determined to blow the hellish creatures off the planet! It’s an alien adventure, full of action and just crawling with Critters!

Some furry alien creatures called Crites escape from this space prison on an asteroid and end up landing in Kansas where they stir up all kinds of mischief on the Brown family farm. This first movie takes place in a rural setting and follows this small family that takes on these Critters and end up getting some much needed assistance from two shapeshifting bounty hunters and the town drunk who becomes the accidental hero of the entire franchise. The design for the Critters borrows a little from porcupines because these alien furballs are able to shoot needles from their spines. They’re also able to roll around which helps them move from place to place a lot faster. The movie was a low budget production so the special effects were all limited as far as things like the spacecrafts and lasers go. It’s also has a PG-13 rating and even though there are some kills courtesy of the Crites, the blood and gore are kept to a minimum.

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include two new audio commentary tracks, an indepth making-of featurette that includes new interviews with some of the cast and crew, a tribute to the screenwriter who passed away back in 2010, vintage behind-the-scenes footage, an alternate ending, theatrical trailer, four TV spots and a still gallery.

  • NEW 2K scan from the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with producer Barry Opper and star Don Opper
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Critter designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW They Bite!: The Making of CRITTERS featuring interviews with actors Dee Wallace, Don Opper, Terrence Mann and Lin Shaye, producer Barry Opper, writer Brian Muir, Critters designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo, make-up artist R. Christopher Biggs, special prop supervisor Anthony Doublin, composer David Newman and second unit director Mark Helfrich, Critter Voice actor Corey Burton and Miniature Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr. (1:11:05)
  • NEW For Brian: A Tribute to Screenwriter Brian Domonic Muir (21:57)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage (11:52)
  • Alternate Ending (04:23)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:30)
  • TV Spots (02:05)
  • Still Gallery (05:49)

CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE is the directorial debut for Mick Garris who co-wrote the screenplay with David Twohy and stars Scott Grimes, Don Keith Opper, Terrence Mann, Roxanne Kernohan, Liane Alexandra Curtis, Lin Shaye and Barry Corbin.

Is it human? Is it a beast? Whatever it is, IT LIVES AGAIN in this second film in the Critters quadrilogy! It’s been two years since the fiendish Critters first terrorized the town of Grovers Bend and sent the Brown family packing. But the “boy who called Critter,” Brad Brown (Scott Grimes), is back … and just in time. Critter eggs have been hatching lethal litters, and the bloodthirsty hairballs are eager to partake in their favorite pastime – eating. In no time, the eggs are popping open everywhere – a field full of livestock becomes a gigantic feeding ground, and local residents are disappearing by the mouthful. Fortunately, three bounty hunters from space, Ug, Lee and Charlie, are flying back to eradicate the problem. But can they wipe out the Critters before Grovers Bend is erased from the map? With outstanding special effects, Critters 2 – The Main Course delivers a fine repast of morbid mayhem!

This second installment takes place a few years later and follows Brad who returns back to the small town his family once called home. What happens is, a few Crite eggs survived the first explosive encounter and now they’re hatching and a new batch of Crites start terrorizing the small community again. Brad gets some help from the two shape-shifting bounty hunters and Charlie who’s cleaned up his act. The Crites have upped their game and even have a few new tricks, like morphing into a giant man-eating Critter ball that crushes anyone who gets in its path of destruction. This movie has a close kinship to the first one and returns several familiar faces from the first encounter. There’s about the same amount of special effects in this one even though the Crites show off a few new tricks. Even though the movie is rated PG-13, they pushed it to the limit as far as the blood and gore go. There’s definitely a little more in this 1988 followup.

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include two new audio commentayr tracks, an indepth making-of featurette that includes new interviews with some of the cast and crew, vintage behind-the-scenes footage, additional TV scenes, theatrical trailer, TV spot and a still gallery.

  • NEW 2K scan from the original film elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary with director Mick Garris
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Critters designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW The Main Course: The Making of CRITTERS 2 featuring interviews with director Mick Garris, actors Liane Curtis, Don Opper, Terrence Mann and Lin Shaye, producer Barry Opper, Critter designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo and make-up artist R. Christopher Biggs (1:03:00)
  • Behind the Scenes Footage (23:49)
  • Additional TV Scenes (13:09)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:40)
  • TV Spot (00:32)
  • Still Gallery (03:05)

CRITTERS 3 was directed by Kristine Peterson from a screenplay by David J. Schow and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Aimee Brooks, Christian Cousins, Joseph Cousins, John Calvin, Katherine Cortez, Geoffrey Blake and Don Keith Opper.

First, they destroyed a farm. Then they destroyed a town. Now they’re ready to do some REAL damage! Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the third and most outrageous installment of the classic cult tale of the infamous Critters. As the fanged, furious furballs viciously invade an L.A. apartment building and sink their teeth into the low-rent tenants, Josh (DiCaprio) leads the battle to beat back the conniving critters and save the planet. It won’t be an easy job, but he’s the one person the human race must depend on to destroy these terrifying alien hedgehogs once and for all!

Critters 3 moves far away from the rural setting of Grover’s Bend and takes place in the city. The only familiar face is Charlie who is now on his own hunting down any Crites that may have survived the previous encounters. This 1991 third entry centers around a small group of tennants in an apartment building who go up against some Crites that have made their way into the big metropolis. The Crites start attacking the residents but Charlie finally shows up and is able to help the small group fight off the furry little aliens. The pacing for this one is a little slower than the first two and ends in a cliffhanger that picks right up in the fourth and final chapter. This third movie was a direct-to-video release so the budget was even smaller than it was on the first two and unfortuntely it kind of shows. We don’t get as much chaos from the Critters but there are a few mischievous scenes from the menacing furballs here and there. The movie has a PG-13 rating but it could probably have clocked in at PG. Oh yeah, Leonardo DiCaprio is in this one but I doubt he’ll ever admit it. Hey, you gotta start somewhere, Leo.

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, an indepth making-of featurette that includes new interviews with some of the cast and crew, trailer and still gallery.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with producer Barry Opper and star Don Opper
  • NEW You Are What They Eat: The Making of CRITTERS 3 featuring interviews with producer Barry Opper, screenwriter David J. Schow, stars Don Opper and Terrence Mann, director of photography Thomas J. Callaway and Critters designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo (26:27)
  • Trailer (01:39)
  • Promo (01:46)
  • Still Gallery (02:16)

CRITTERS 4 was directed by Rupert Harvey from a screenplay by David J. Schow and stars Don Keith Opper, Terrence Mann, Paul Whitthorne, Anders Hove, Eric Da Re, Anne Ramsay, Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett.

They’ve returned home …. to outer space! The Critters are back in this supercharged sci-fi space adventure! But these are no ordinary Critters – they’re a super strain of genetically engineered mutants designed to take over the universe! This time, they’re hungry to conquer the galaxy, with an appetite for mankind that’s out of this world. Joined by Angela Bassett (Black Panther) and Brad Dourif (Child’s Play), Don Keith Opper and Terrence Mann reprise their popular roles as they battle for survival against the Critters, a nuclear meltdown and the fate of the universe!

This fourth and final chapter picks right up after the third movie ends with Charlie putting the last two Crite eggs in a space capsule to preserve them where he accidentally gets locked inside. The movie then fast forwards to the year 2045 where a space salvage crew picks up the capsule and thaws out Charlie. Unfortunately, those eggs also thaw out and hatch so there are new Crites on the loose in a space station. Terracorps, led by Ug/Counselor Tetra, is aware of the situation and it doesn’t end well for the small crew. Not only are they fighting for their lives against some new alien furballs but there’s a sinister organization that wants them all dead. This movie was film back-to-back with part 3 and it kind of shows because it looks like they were running low on money for this one. The space station looks okay but the Critters aren’t around a whole lot and that’s unfortunate because it’s their freaking movie. There’s a few cool special effects here and there but that’s about it.  Critters 4 has a PG-13 rating and it could have gotten by with PG to be honest. Hey, this one has Angela Bassett in it!

Run Time: 87 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, an indepth making-of featurette that includes new interviews with some of the cast and crew, trailer and still gallery.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with producer/director Rupert Harvey
  • NEW Space Madness: The Making of CRITTERS 3 featuring interviews with producer Barry Opper, screenwriter David J. Schow, stars Don Opper and Terrence Mann, director of photography Thomas J. Callaway, Critters designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo (22:39)
  • Trailer (02:10)
  • Still Gallery (03:05)

The packaging comes with a thick slipcase that houses four individual plastic keepcases inside for each movie. The front of the slipcase features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, special features, some images and specs. The front of each Blu-ray keepcase features its own individual artwork and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. Each reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. All four of the Blu-ray discs also feature some artwork that matches the front cover of each keepcase. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory gave the first two movies a 2K scan from the original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I had a blast checking out The Critters Collection and revisting this fun sci-fi horror franchise from New Line Cinema that takes me back to the good ol’ video store days. I enjoyed these movies as a kid and I still get a kick out of them today. The stories were cheesy but the adventures were fun and each movie had a sense of humor to it. The first two movies were theatrical releases while the last two were shot back-to-back and went straight to home video. The first two took place in a small town setting and were easily the best of the series while the last two, shot back-to-back, took place in different locations, the third one being in the city and the fourth one taking place in outer space. Even though Critters is considered to be a cheap ripoff of Gremlins, it’s not alone because Ghoulies and Munchies are right there with it but the Critters movies are easily the best of what came after Gremlins.

One of the things I like most about these four movies is the fact that the same producers where behind it all and they were very passionate about this franchise and still are to this very day. I discovered that while watching the in depth new interview featurettes for the making of each movie. Besides the Crites, the heart and soul of the movies were Don Keith Opper and Terrence Mann who were with the franchise from beginning to end. The Critters Collection will make its high-def debut on a 4-disc Blu-ray set on November 27th and once again Scream Factory has knocked it out of the park because it doesn’t get any better than this. You can can also order this awesome home video release directly from shoutfactory.com and receive two exclusive lithographs featuring the brand-new artwork and its alternative – while supplies last.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
5

There are no comments, yet.

Why don’t you be the first? Come on, you know you want to!

Leave a Comment