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Fear No Evil (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory’s release of Fear No Evil is a perfect fit for the label, being the cult sensation it once was. Truly a labor of very independent, underground filmmaking, this film has had a nice legacy in the horror genre. This almost feels like a nice home video passing of the torch considering it was an Anchor Bay title prior. This release will contain a pair of new interviews as well as the old commentary with  the film’s director. You can pre-order it now using the Shout! Factory website or you can do us a solid her at Why So Blu and use the Amazon link provided below the review to land your copy (On release day, too no doubt). Either way, a big thumbs up to you and yours.

Film 

God has appointed three archangels to fight against Lucifer, who has assumed human features. Archangel Raphael, in the guise of Father Damon, kills Lucifer and ends his life in jail. But his sister, Archangel Mikhail, knows that one day the Devil will reappear. Eighteen years later, Lucifer returns, now in the form of Andrew, a brilliant but shy schoolboy at Alexandria High who becomes conscious of his devilish nature on his birthday. Archangel Mikhail, allies with Gabrielle to defeat Lucifer.

Fear No Evil is a rather solid, interesting and impressive satanic horror film that is sure to enthuse and impress the atmospheric horror junkie to no end. Its a bit of a long 98 minutes, but it never fully loses your attention span as something freakish or weird is about to snag you back if even for a brief moment. The film is pretty ruthless, not shy on the gore and can still provide some shocking elements in the year 2019. I had never experienced it before, and while it wasn’t the easiest to get through, I still was entertained and glad to have seen it on this newly remastered Blu-ray.

An important factor in going back and watching Fear No Evil, is knowing what the production had to work with. This was a super low budget, scraping along by their teeth experience for Frank LaLoggia and company. And once you see what they were able to pull off, the more impressive the film becomes. LaLoggia’s film looks like almost any reasonably budget studio horror film or Italian import horror film of its day. They really know how to craft a set, shoot locations, build horror and find the best looks on their actors. Many times in this film, I was taken away by how epic a castle look or how effectively they were able to shoot Andrew to maximize the creepiness. Sure, there’s some goofy looking stuff here as well, but for  the most part, these things hold up.

Surprising to me was the soundtrack for the film. Featuring the radio hit music of the Ramones (“Blitzkrieg Bop”), Talking Heads (“Psycho Killer”), Sex Pistols (“Anarchy In The UK”) as well as the B-52s and Patti Smith, you wonder how much of the budget went into acquiring those songs for the film. Retroactively, its almost distracting to recognize multiple songs used in the film. But, ultimately its really cool and nice to see a film of this one’s production quality land such name acts for their soundtrack.

For the vintage horror enthusiast, Fear No Evil isn’t the greatest, but its quite a treat. Its a cross between the things you love about the religious horror of the seventies mixed with the boffo gore effects and pop eighties. I don’t know how many times you’ll go back to it, but it may be a rare item that you’ll want to have for your shelves while its easy to pick up.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: There is nothing mentioned on the release regarding the transfer of the film, which comes courtesy of Studio Canal. We could assume its at least a 2K transfer. The image is a bit grainy, but has plenty of good clarity, depth and detail. This has a very slightly dated, film print look to it, which adds a bit to the fun of watching the film. Fans will likely be pretty happy with how this turned out.

Depth:  Solid depth here, especially present in the dolly shots that happen around the exterior of the school or showdowns at the castle. Motion is natural and cinematic with no real distortions hampering the viewing experience.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and not all too consuming. Many of the dark moments contain some heavier grain but its nothing bothersome. Details can still be made out in shirts, hair and other dark surfaces. No crushing appears to have occurred.

Color Reproduction: This one isn’t a looker, but it gets some nice flash out of colorful fabrics (Like the “The Bs” jackets), the bully’s car and of course, gushing blood.  Many of the natural colors keeps a good rustic, full look to them to fill the scenery.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Wrinkles, make-up, sweat, moles, acne and more come through quite clear in medium or close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Fear No Evil comes with an adequate mono track that feels a little low but its pretty good for what it is in more impacting moments. There is a trace of analog sourcing present the whole time, but its not bothersome and to me adds to the experience. It features a pretty good balance, though vocals are just a hair lower here in the overall mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear with a little analog hiss present.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • By Stefan Arngrim

Interview With Actor Stefan Arngrim (HD, 37:12) – The film’s lead goes through a nice, lengthy interview that isn’t just limited to Fear No Evil. Title cards prompt questions that send him on a journey through his entire career with specifics on the film and his thoughts on looking back. In true Reverend Entertainment fashion, they make the most of their opportunity to speak to someone involved in the project.

Interview With Special Effects Artist John Eggett (HD, 28:23) – Just like Arngrim before, the interview is prompted with a full look at the man who would do a boatload of effects work for MANY classic genre films beside just having Fear No Evil as his early work to jump off to things like Hell Night, Dreamscape, The Seduction and Maniac Cop 2, just to name a couple.

Theatrical Trailer (SD, :39)

TV Spots (SD, 3:25)

Still Gallery (HD, 3:37)

Summary 

Fear No Evil is a fun little Satanic horror film for throwback fright enthusiasts. Scream Factory debuts it on Blu-ray with a very good presentation to go along with a couple in-depth interviews and a good audio commentary that looks to have changed since the original announcement (Original listed as “with writer/director Frank LaLoggia and cinematographer Frederic Goodich”, now is with only Stefan Arngrim). This may be one you’ve never seen that could add fun to your fall viewing festivities.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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