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Alone In The Dark – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

One of the most demanded for Blu-ray horror films from the 1980s for many years has been 1982’s Alone in the Dark. Heck, it even made my Wishlist one year, and that was rather late as I’d been forgetting it since the first one I did 8 years ago. This early New Line Cinemas movie has been a cult favorite for many years, even receiving a special edition back in the DVD days. Luckily it has wound up in the caring hands at Scream Factory for its debut on the Blu-ray format. It features some new bonus material and the old stuff as well as new 2K transfer. Alone in the Dark was released back on September 14th, but there was a delay in the distribution facilities getting them out. This title wasn’t alone in that, as many have seen delays or late shipping in production. To grab yourself this wonderful horror collector’s item, use the paid Amazon Associates link below to secure yourself a copy!

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Film

At a secluded mental institution, electricity fuels the asylum’s hi-tech security system that keeps the nearby neighborhoods safe from menaces like Frank Hawkes (Jack Palance, Batman) and “Preacher” (Martin Landau, Ed Wood). Dr. Bain (Halloween’s Donald Pleasence) maintains strict order while a new doctor, Dan Potter (The A-Team’s Dwight Schultz), arrives in town with his family. But the inmates don’t take kindly to Potter’s presence and believe he has killed off their former therapist. Suddenly, a power outage leaves the town in chaos … and now the maniacs are free to roam the streets and hunt down the man they believe has invaded their lives. With the area quickly descending into riots and chaos, the innocent few must fight for their lives when they’re left terrified, cornered and Alone in the Dark!

Alone in the Dark gets tossed in with the slasher crowd when people jumble of and sub-genrize horror. Its got a bit more to it than that, which makes me think one might get a little disappointed if that’s the expectation. Surely, it delivers those goods, but this one would fall more into the home invasion side of things, which has a lot in common with the slasher film. There is also some darkly comedic elements on display in the film as well as the lunatic asylum kinda vibe but extending it outside of the bin. That it juggles all angles so well, really shows the film is confident in its own shoes and knows fully what it is and where its going to go at all times.

Jack Sholder makes a rather strong feature film directorial debut here after serving plenty of time as an editor. Having that background makes him pretty precise and really envisioning and respecting the film beyond his footage while he shoots. While he’s no household name beyond horror of Freddy nuts, there are many traits upon display and an overall look to the film that tells you Sholder has a look, feel and style when watching one of his films. Many of the shots, cuts and way he looks and follows his characters feel right at home with moments in the second A Nightmare On Elm Street movie or The Hidden. He’d touch on some notable franchises and have a couple more cult favorites, but his run of those first three films which I’ve mentioned, is enough to have the guy hold a special place in many a genre or cult fanatics’ hearts.

We are treated to a trilogy of all star cast members in Alone in the Dark as well. Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau and Jack Palance all relish in this fun opportunity. They all play in differently levels of crazy at some point. Its a marvel to sit and watch them switch between creepiness and intimidation to more comedic and campy bits and then back again. There’s an unease with them and in different ways. Pleasence sees the more straight role, but even with that he’s hamming it up in a professional manner. The finale at the home brings all that was built up earlier to an actual frightening chapter in this story and its drawn out by its veteran performers who really spray the third act with such menace.

Finding where the love for Alone in the Dark comes from won’t take much beyond the opening scene of the film. Its a mesh of enjoying Sholder’s work, the actors really giving something unique, the gore and just overall being a well made horror film. This one also has a nice fall feel and setting to it, which makes it perfect for this time of year and really cool that Blu-ray has come out when it did. Many have been asking for this movie to get a Blu-ray, and now here it is with top notch treatment. And its a lot of fun to revisit.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream Factory’s new 2K scan on the interpositive for Alone in the Dark yields some gorgeous and rich results. There’s a terrific boldness and saturation of the colors in this. It also has a pretty sharp and clean picture with a healthy bit of grain intact. Details and textures in every frame are quite strong. The film also showcases a nice fall look in a good way that is a plus to really any horror fan out there in terms of aesthetic.

Depth:  The film has a rather solid depth of field on display. Some nice scale shows up on the exteriors at the hospital campus, but the interiors of the house showcase nicely, making it look pretty deep and grand. Character movements are filmic and smooth with no issues from any motion blur or jitter.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich and really have great nighttime scenes and shadowy sequence that look rather lovely. Great contrast work to help sharpen the image and bring out the colors in it. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite bold and striking in a good way. Reds, greens, blues and the like are strong and really solid with out bleeding or popping off the screen too much. Saturation is strong and they intended colors really pop nicely with the contrast in the image.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures come through quite clear in any given close up or medium shot in the film.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

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

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Alone in the Dark has a very nice, clean stereo track that features some good balance and depth within its two channels. The score and effects really do bring a plenty deep and loud experience to be quite engaging in a lot of the more heightened theatrical scenes in the movie. A nice gem of a stereo mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Alone In The Dark – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original poster art.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Jack Sholder
  • With Genre Film Critic Justin Kerswell and Film Historian Amanda Reyes

Out Of The Dark (HD, 39:45) – An interview with director/co-writer Jack Sholder. Sholder talks how he started getting involved in film, hooking up with New Line, his career as an editor (Won an Emmy, also edited The Burning) and the story of how Alone In The Dark came to be and anecdotes through his making of it.

Mother Choppers: The Sic F*cks Remember Alone In The Dark (HD, 9:38) – A new interview with the band featured in the film as they talk how they got their start and their experience in the film.

Sites In The Dark: The Locations Of Alone In The Dark (HD, 11:38) – Michael Gingold takes on a trip in Northern New Jersey through the locations from the film.

Bunky Lives! (HD, 16:24) – Interview with Actress Carol Levy which was carried over from the previous DVD release.

Still F*cking Sic: Catching Up With The Sick F*cks (HD, 16:30) – An archival interview with the band featured in the film from the previous DVD release.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:11)

TV Spot (HD, :33)

Radio Spots (HD, 1:22)

Still Gallery (HD, 2:34)

Summary

Alone in the Dark manages to be spooky, silly and fun. There’s  a very fall vibe to the film that makes it perfect for this time of year. Scream Factory give the film some wonderful treatment as the transfer on it is terrific and the new and old bonus material paints quite a well rounded picture. The Jack Sholder interview is quite awesome. Horror fans will want to snatch this one right up and add it to their spooky season viewing right away!

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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