Blu-ray Review: TRAPPED ALIVE

TRAPPED ALIVE (fka Forever Mine, Trapped) was directed by Leszek Burzynski from a screenplay by Julian Weaver and stars Sullivan Hester, Laura Kallison, Mark Witsken, Randy Powell, Alex Kubik, Elizabeth Kent and genre regular Cameron Mitchell. The movie was produced by Christopher Webster (Hellraiser).

One wintry night, pals Robin and Monica are making their way to a Christmas party when they’re carjacked by a gang of crooks recently escaped from the local penitentiary. With the two young women taken as hostages, things take an even darker turn when their vehicle plummets down an abandoned mine shaft, trapping them underground with the dangerous crooks – and a mutant cannibal.

Trapped Alive follows Robin (Sullivan Hester) and Monica (Laura Kallison), two girlfriends riding to a party on a cold, wintry night when their car gets hijacked by Randy Powell (Mark Witsken), Louis ‘Face’ Napoleon (Alex Kubik), and Mongo (Michael Nash), three escaped convicts who are on the run. The three men jump in the car where they take the girls hostage and order them to keep driving but the ground underneath them gives away and the car plummets down into an old, abandoned mine. They all survive the accidental descent into the mine but they’re down so deep that they can’t climb back up to the surface.

It takes a while but the small group finds out the hard way that they’re not alone because there’s a monstrous old cannibal (I called him the Miner 49’er) that’s hungry and he’s ready to dine on them by catching his victims with a weird looking claw. There’s also Billy Williams (Randy Powell), a deputy sheriff who’s investigating the area where the mine caved in and he also ends up trapped down below. There’s an uneasiness between the crooks and the cop but the girls are glad he’s there. Anyway, one by one the trapped people meet their maker (not always by the monster) and every once and a while the Miner 49’er will also show up to stir up a little trouble. A small twist is finally introduced in the end that reveals who this deformed cannibal actually is.

The front of the packaging features the newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn you see at the top of the page and the back include movie details and list of special features. The reversible 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. You can see it down below. There’s also a fully illustrated collector’s booklet inside with new writing on the film by Zach Carlson that will be available for the first pressing only. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Trapped Alive was given a brand new 2K restoration from original camera negative. 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, Trapped Alive ended up being a pretty bad cheesefest so there’s no wonder it stayed on the shelf from 1988 to 1993 where it was finally released on VHS. This was the first film to come out of Wisconsin’s now-defunct Windsor Lake Studios but it just took a while for it to get released. The thing about this movie is that it had a lot of potential because the set designs looked fantastic, the creature looked creepy cool even though we didn’t get to see enough of him, there were some impressive special effects to go along with the kills and the acting was good enough, so the down fall of the movie were the atrocious writing and editing combo. There’s not a lot going on at times in the movie which is a major flaw and there’s certain scenes that accidentally reveal some extremely amatuerish mistakes by some of the cast and crew that can be caught by the viewer. The movie was another first time watch for me and I’m glad Arrow Video dusted this horror obscurity off and gave it a nice new release like this. As bad as this one is, I’m all for film preservation and Trapped Alive deserved to be saved, otherwise it’d be lost in time and forgotten about. Trapped Alive will be available on a Special Edition Blu-ray on June 11th.

Distributor: Arrow Video

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English LPCM 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include three new audio commentaries, a new making of featurette that has interviews with some of the cast and crew, a vintage documentary about the defunct movie studio, a director spotlight and an image gallery.

  • Brand new audio commentary with director Leszek Burzynski
  • Brand new audio commentary with special effects artist Hank Carlson and horror writer Josh Hadley
  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • There’s EVIL Underground… – brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with director Leszek Burzynski, cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, production manager Alexandra Reed and actors Alex Kubik and Sullivan Hester (30:52)
  • Interview with Hank Carlson – An interview with makeup effects crew member Hank Carlson (18:37)
  • Upper Michigan Tonight – 1988 TV documentary on Windsor Lake Studios, featuring footage from behind the scenes of Trapped Alive and contemporary interviews with director Leszek Burzynski, producer Christopher Webster and production designer Brian Savegar (22:32)
  • Leszek Burzynski: The Early Years – the Trapped Alive director discusses his early forays into genre movie-making (09:41)
  • Image Gallery (03:19)
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