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The Dentist Collection – Collector’s Series (Blu-ray Review)

In the Blu-ray era, when it comes to the horror genre, its nice to see that every movie has some sort of cult audience and that the format is more than willing to deep dive into these flicks. The Dentist was a series of films with Corben Bersen that I personally remember as video store staples. Probably somewhere under the B-grade even, but fun, fond memories nonetheless. Vestron Video is scratching that itch, to continue to go through the backlog of Lionsgate owned horror titles yet to hit the format and proving the wait for them is worth it. This 2 disc collection that includes commentaries and new interviews will be out on January 24th. Be sure and pre-order a copy from the paid Amazon Associates link below.

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The Dentist (1996)

Dr Alan Feinstone is a rich and successful Beverly Hills dentist. There’s only one problem, he’s insane. Dr Feistone loves perfection, and he expects it of everyone. Unfortunately, no one is perfect. This unacceptable fact annoys the good doctor and leads him to commit his one small imperfection: murder.

The Dentist makes the best of its low budget genre affair with a star attached to the titular role. Tongue seems firmly placed in cheek as this haunted mentally disturbed and scorned dentist goes on somewhat of a spree. Corbin Bernsen, in the titular role, is a site to behold and a reason alone to recommend the film to a buddy. The guy is all in and lets loose into pure insanity. Its not bad, its not embarrassing, its absolutely top notch and perfect for what this film wants and is almost better than it deserves. He’s a real treasure in this role and its easy to see why there is a cult following.

In addition to the star led film, you get some gleeful gory effects, sound design and make-up to bring dental horrors to life. It also is overtly more sexual than I anticipated, with some scenes to showcase it off to something like CineMax for late night viewings. Brian Yuzna is a name familiar with cult horror and Blu-ray collectors, so you know you’re in some solid hands with The Dentist. Also be on the lookout for a young Mark Ruffalo in a small pair of scenes.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Dentist provides no information on its restoration. The aspect ratio is listed as 1.78:1 but there is a slight thin black bar to the left side of the screen, so while the encoding probably takes up that space the actually image is a hair smaller. The image itself is very average and probably could see a lot of improvement, but that would cost money and time nobody is wanting to give to this one. There’s plenty of detail and good clarity to it overall and its a more brighter looking picture.

Depth: Depth of field is pretty average.  Some lenses open up and make things a bit more big or pushed back feeling, but everything else is pretty pedestrian. Movement is smooth and natural with little issue causing blur or jitter from rapid movement or action.

Black Levels: Blacks are kinda light gray and can carry more heavy grain and noise in the darker areas of the image. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural and a little flat in terms of their pop. Its a pretty decently saturated look and blood red is probably the most stand out color on the wheel.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film. Facial features and textures are discernible in close up and decent in any further angles from that at reasonable expectations.

Noise/Artifacts: There are some instance with some noise in more darker lit scenes in the film.

Audio

Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Dentist has a pretty solid stereo track that does about all you’d hope for it to do on minimal expectations. It has good balance between vocals, effects and music. There are some surprising moments of good nuance and the score can hit deeply at times for good impact, but overall its merely average.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

The Dentist 2 (1998)

After spending some time in a mental institution, Dr. Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen) escapes his incarceration and heads to the small town of Paradise. He assumes the persona of retired dentist Dr. Caine, and is looking forward to starting over. But when Feinstone falls for his beautiful landlord, Jamie (Jillian McWhirter), his insane jealousy drives him to start killing again. No one in Paradise seems to suspect Feinstone — until a detective and a victim from his past show up in town.

There’s more of what came before in the ridiculously silly sequel to The Dentist. This one seems to know that the premise is completely dumb, but the dialogue suggests a self awareness. It features some dentist vs dentist action as well as love story for our deranged tooth inspector. Clint Howard even joins this party to add to the street cred of this being a straight to video horror flick with some sort of legitimate value to it.

Since the sequel goes off the deep end a little, its sort of more entertaining as it strays from being “normal” or as “serious” as its predecessor. We get more of Bernsen losing his mind as well as some dream or vision sequences that include some funky lenses and lighting and in some cases as monstrous figure to haunt his brain. The gore and kill scenes up the ante in this one and its honestly a good chuckle at some kills movie to take in on a late night.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Dentist 2 comes with a slightly less vivid, tho still pretty bright, transfer than the first film. Details are a little above average with some nice pattern and texture showing up in closer shots of clothing. Colors have decent saturation and its a rather cleaner image to take in.

Depth: Depth of field comes off as average like the other film, only finding more depth with whacky lens choices in certain scenes. Movements are filmic and smooth.

Black Levels: Blacks are again that lighter side with a touch of gray to them. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are just a hair richer than the previous film, with reds once again being the stand out. But there are some moments with good enough contrast to get a nice pop out of blues or greens.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural with a consistency going from start to finish. Facial features and texture is good in close up shots, most mediums and diminishing returns as characters fall further back in the frame (as to be expected).

Noise/Artifacts: Again, some lighter noise in darkened, grainier scenes.

Audio

Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Again, a solid, no big frills just the meat and potatoes kind of transfer for The Dentist 2’s stereo track. Some good balance in the mix, to go along with some rather nice hits from the score. There are some nicely placed and tracked sound effects here in this mix, including the constant usage of the jump scare punch up from 1981’s Halloween II (which was bizarre and threw me for one every time it popped up).

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

The Dentist Collection is a 2-Disc set and comes with a redeemable code for each film.

The Dentist

Audio Commentary

  • with Director Brian Yuzna and Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Isolated Score Selections & Audio Interviews with Composer Alan Howarth and Director of Photography Levie Isaacks

The Doctor Is Insane (HD, 16:12) – An Interview with Actor Corbin Bernsen. He talks about having to “go for it on these movies”. Bernsen was pretty upset on the second film as they offered him less money for it. At the end he reflects on his varied career and not knowing what stuff he’ll be recognized for at conventions.

Medical Malpractice (HD, 13:54) – An Interview with Cowriter Dennis Paoli. He talks about the “complexities of character” that was meant to bring across with the film as well as the fear of dentists which inspired the writing. “Just seeing the title, you know, you KNOW what the stakes are!”

Mouths of Madness (HD, 17:28) – Interviews with Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Anthony C. Ferrante and Makeup Effects Artist J.M. Logan. They go over how they got into the business and onto the movie before moving into the effects they pulled of for the film.

Trailer (HD, 1:55)

Still Gallery (HD, 5:24)

The Dentist 2

Audio Commentary

  • with Director Brian Yuzna and Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Isolated Score Selections & Audio Interviews with Composer Alan Howarth and Editor Christopher Roth

Jamie’s New Neighbor (HD, 14:20) – An Interview with Actress Jillian McWhirter. She very peppy about the film and working with Corbin Bernsen and Brian Yuzna. She has plenty of anecdotes to give an idea of the vibe on set and what it was like working with a lot of the cast and crew.

A Tale of Two Dentists (HD, 10:15) – An Interview with Producer Pierre David. “I am not a hired hand, I am a company that makes movies…I do things my way…I want full control”. He goes over from when the script came by his desk, how he runs things and how he felt things went through when making the movies.

Trailer (HD, 2:09)

Still Gallery (HD, 4:17)

The original press release listed a featurette Mouths of Madness: The Dentist 2, which is not found as that is just one featurette covering both movies on the first disc. 

Summary

The Dentist movies aren’t high art, they are high B and they are a bit of goofy late night fun to remember in this new Blu-ray collection. The presentation, both audio and video, comes as pretty decent. Extras features some really good interviews and commentary. Altogether for the effort put in and at a super duper low price, no real complaints should be found for fans who have been hoping for its Blu-ray debut.

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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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