Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat – Collector’s Series (Blu-ray Review)

After an “are they dead?”, “is Vestron over with?” period, Vestron Video returned last year with a pair of releases, then quickly disappeared again. Now, they seem to be finding a little bit of consistency with The Wraith last month and more announced for the future. August saw this release of Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat. Now, while I’m familiar with the works of Anthony Hickox, David Carradine and Bruce Campbell, I had never known or heard of anything to do with this movie until Vestron announced the release. And this sucker is plenty loaded with interviews and commentary. They also have it priced pretty stellar for a new Collector’s Series release of something. You can order yourself a copy of the film by using the paid Amazon Associates link below.



Count Margulak, the leader of the vampires, has ended their tradition of human bloodletting and has placed his followers on a diet of synthetic, bottled blood. But when a new family moves into the town, the natives start to crave “the real thing.” Rebel leader Shane and his army plan to overthrow the count, but it won’t happen without a fight! The battle for the “right to bite” begins at Sundown!

Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat brings upon a lot of ideas and alterations upon the vampire lore that feel influential to many, more known, things that followed it. Vampires finding ways to walk in daylight, synthetic blood, trying to find their place to be with society are all things I’ve seen other movies, tv and mediums look at. Everything in the film is quite tongue in cheek while playing it out. Doing things with a looser sense of comedy really helps this movie to be able to share these ideas and motif in convincing fashion.

Everyone in the film is chewing up scenery and having a ball. David Carradine relishes in the role of Mardulak, always giving his A-game even if the movie only offers a B-level. Bruce Campbell is interesting here in a straight role that he still finds way to inject a silliness and humor from. Deborah Foreman and Morgan Brittany are quite a treat, a pair of actors that you don’t get to see used much and used this deliciously. And M. Emmet Walsh is quite a joy.

Overall, Sundown isn’t really anything overly special, but its definitely a unique take on vampire movies. Heck, it feels like this is something that opens up the doors for the likes of John Carpenter’s Vampires almost a decade later. Its got some silliness that works, along with tradition horror mythology and bloody fun.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat comes with a rather solid transfer in its Blu-ray debut. While its an above average transfer, there’s still room for some improvement. That said, it has a nice clarity and filmic feel to it when watching. The print is in good shape as its clean up nice. Easy to make out textures and details really give this film a fresh new look for a format jump.

Depth:  Solid depth of field here, though it airs on being in the more flatter side of things. Motion is smooth and filmic with no motion distortion issues present.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich. No real issues with shadows and darkness consuming information. Still good texture shines through in the darker areas of the image. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are more browns, yellows and regular stuff. Though there are some reds on lip stick and other things that pop well with good contrasts. Overall, the colors are handled all right, but could see improvement. Perhaps its just the way this was shot and the design/look of the film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones have a slight warmth and are consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are decently represented in any given medium shot or close up.

Noise/Artifacts: None


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

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: This one comes with a pretty awesome little 2.0 track. While the mix itself isn’t the complete prettiest, it is loud and plenty engaging. There is a lot of playfulness and a send of jumping out, that makes it sound better than your average ‘ol 2.0 track. Improvements on the restoration could be made, but this should make fans more than happy.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat – Collector’s Series comes with a redeemable digital code for the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Anthony Hickox and Director of Photography Levie Isaacks
  • Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interviews with Music Historian Randall Larson and Producer Jefferson Richard

Wild Weird West With Anthony Hickox (HD, 16:03) – The director reflects on his dream project of shooting a Western in the classic stylings of John Ford and such. He also gives a good account of his work and the people he directed in the film.

Bloodsuckers From Purgatory with Tony Gardner (HD, 14:28) – “Working vampire hours on  a vampire movie”. The Make-up effects guy for the film, he talks about how busy his company was at the same time as taking the job for this film. He said Hickox had a good reputation which is why they took it on. Gardner gives a nice account on their contributions with anecdotes.

Memories of Moab with Bruce Campbell (HD, 12:43) – “Everything was too good to be true, that’s why no one ever saw the movie”. The legend himself talks about doing a Western and shooting in Moab, Utah attracted him to the job. He remarks that he was trying to raise money for The Man With A Screaming Brain when this offer came in. Campbell gets excited about being in the middle of nowhere and fills out the story of making the film in the best ways as you know he does.

A Vampire Reformed with David Carradine (HD, 13:08) – An archival interview with the late actor. “I think its the only time Dracula was a good guy in a movie. I can’t think of another one.” Its really neat that they have something clean and focused like this to add to the Blu-ray as Carradine gives a good account of his work on the film.

A True Character with M. Emmet Walsh (HD, 11:02) – I think this is an older interview. But, the actor gives a little bit of background of himself as well as finding his niche and strengths in acting and roles to seek. Walsh of course gives his thoughts on the script and his account on the film.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:03)

Still Gallery (HD, 14:58)


I may have only given the film 2 stars, but Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat is something to definitely seek out if you’re a curious horror fan looking for an old one “new to you”. Lionsgate’s Vestron Video delivers it on the Blu-ray format for the first time with a pretty solid transfer and some terrific extras. And for the cheap price point, if you dig this movie or maybe even are super intrigued, pull the money trigger on it.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


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).

  1. No Comments