Li'l Horrors-Volume 1: Spacemen Cometh, The (2000)

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Released 1-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Quiz-5
Audio-Only Track-Music Themes (8)
Featurette-Character Intros (11)
Interviews-Cast-11
Web Links
Easter Egg-Sneak Preview Vlad/Duncan; Behind The Scenes Snippets (2)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 62:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ralph Strasser
Chris Langman
Helen Gaynor
Studio
Distributor
December Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Al Mullins
Janine DeLorenzo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Li'l Horrors is a children's show aimed at kids about 5 to 9 years old by my reckoning. The characters are all puppets with rubber faces, similar to the characters that used to appear on Spitting Image. It is a very clever show which centres around a school - a school for some very unusual children.

    The children at the school are junior versions of many of the staple horror characters. Vladimere is a young Dracula and the main trouble maker, Medusilla has snakes for hair, Duncan is the somewhat dim-witted Frankenstein, Claudia is a werewolf whose day revolves around digging holes, Webster who is afraid of water is the monster from the dark lagoon, Cleopatra is a mummy that is very into the 'cosmic all' and Abacrombie is a zombie that you definitely do not want to feed (causes excess flatulence). Running the school is a retired horror movie actress that only appears as a shadow on the wall. Other characters include Qasimodo the bell ringer, a rat, two gargoyles and a range of special guests.

    Each episode has a little moral attached; the consequences of lying, don't be greedy, and so forth. I think the message is delivered very well particularly considering the target age group. The sets for the school are excellent and the puppet work fantastic. The stories are also very entertaining and the humour perfect for the target audience. It is also not too bad from an adult point of view - at least you won't be tearing you hair out after the 20th time that your kids have watched it.

    The disc is very well set out with lots of activities for the kids. Each episode is accompanied by a quick 3 question multiple choice section that is driven from the remote. There are special features, including cast interviews, that will also appeal to the kids. On a side note - if you are going to let this age group loose with the remote make sure that you have set the parental lock out password if your DVD player supports one. If the default is no password and your children then set one, you could be a very long time trying to guess it. Some players have a reset function, but not all do. I sat down one night to play a film and found the player locked in 'G' film only mode - very embarrassing.

    On this disc are five episodes:

    The Space Man Cometh: A visiting alien plays some tricks on the students for their past treatment of Quasi.

    Ghost Of A Chance: There is a ghost in the attic. Is it real or is it a trick, and who could be playing the trick if it is a trick?

    Now You See Me, Now You Don't: Vlad is in trouble again, this time with invisible paint. (Yes there is a semantics problem there, invisibility paint maybe?)

    The Cubby House War: Who will win control of the cubby house ?

    Time Out: A remote control that does more than change the TV channel.

    I really only have one complaint about the whole package - the Umbrella trailer that plays before the main menu appears is FAR TOO LOUD! It blares out at a very high level and has you grabbing the remote to turn down the volume. You then play an episode and have to turn the volume back up. A real pain in the proverbial.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer on this disc is really nice. It is sharp, clear and features bright colours, making it perfect for the kids.

    The show is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is very good, particularly during close ups and medium shots. It loses a little detail on long shots. The shadow detail is excellent and there is no low level noise.

    The colour is very good, with rich bright colours throughout the disc with no chroma noise.

     There is a very minor amount of pixelization present when objects move very quickly or at some of the scene changes, such as at 2:13 in the first episode. You really need to be looking closely to see these so they should not be a problem. There is no aliasing and the total lack of film artefacts may well indicate a video source.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is a perfectly functional Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. While nothing happens outside the front speakers, I don't think the kids will notice.

    Dialogue quality is excellent, with no problems understanding everything that is said. In regards to audio sync, the puppets are very cleverly controlled and appear to be in sync with the dialogue, at least as much as a rubber face can be.

    The theme music for the show and for each of the characters is great. It reminds me of the Adams Family music and works a treat for this show.

    There is no surround or subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

 

Menu

    The menus are very clever. The main menu has selections for each of the episodes across the bottom with 'play episode or answer questions' within each selection. As you press left or right on the remote to select a new episode, one of the characters describes the episode and reads out the menu options. This is followed for each menu in the special features, where the characters describe what is available. The menus are very colourful and easy to navigate. As you return from each episode you are asked whether you wish to answer the questions or play the next episode. There are usually multiple ways to navigate each menu; the enter key, left and right, menu and sub menu from the special features menus.

Quick Quiz

    Each episode has a quick quiz section; three questions with multiple choice answers. Select the wrong one and the narrator tells you to try again. Select the right one and a quick clip is shown depicting the whole human and puppet crew dancing.

Music Themes

    There are eight selections in this menu. You can select random play or a particular character to hear their theme music. Each theme lasts for an average of about 30 seconds.

Character Introductions

    Each character gets a chance to introduce themselves. These play in an inserted window and vary between 30 and 60 seconds in length.

Cast Interviews

    Played as if the characters are real and are actors in the show. Kids will have a pretty good giggle at this one. Again played in a window and running for 30 to 60 seconds.

Web Link

    A quick description of the website and the link: www.lilhorrors.com

    There are a series of Easter eggs accessible from each episode selection menu and from the special features menu. The following instructions assume that you have just changed to the episode selection menu for a particular episode and are on the default entry "Play episode". They are basically the same for each menu but not all the hidden bats lead anywhere. If you select one and press enter and nothing happens that particular entry is empty. There are also some repeats where the same material is played even though you selected it from a different place.

Easter Egg: DVD Credits

    Go to the first episode: Press the up arrow and two small bats appear above the menu on the background. Press the up arrow again and the Li'l Horrors logo at the top lights up. Press enter to see the DVD credits.

Easter Egg: Vlad and Duncan screen test sneak preview.

    Go to the first episode: Press the up arrow, press the left arrow, press the left arrow, and press enter for a 1:30 clip showing Vlad and Duncan doing their screen tests.

Easter Egg: Vlad being nice to the director.

    Go to the third episode: Press up arrow, right arrow, and enter. A very short clip from backstage.

Easter Egg: The whole crew.

    Go the fourth episode: Press up arrow, left arrow, left arrow and enter. A shot of the classroom with the entire human crew.

Easter Egg: Vlad in trouble with the director.

    Go to the fifth episode: Press up arrow, left arrow, and enter. A short clip showing Vlad being chewed out by the director.

Easter Egg: Duncan feeding worms to crew member.

    Go to the Extras menu. Press the up arrow, the right arrow, the right arrow again and press enter. A short clip showing Duncan trying to feed his lunch to a cast member.

Easter Egg: Talking to the crew.

    Go to the extras menu. Press up arrow, right arrow, right arrow, up arrow, and enter. A short clip showing Vlad talking to the crew.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc available.

   

Summary

   I think these discs and the show are great for the target audience - something that is entertaining for the kids but still carries a message. In this day and age, I think letting your children loose on free-to-air or even restricted pay TV channels is a real risk - not just the shows but the blatant advertising is a real problem. Anyone whose children were infected by the Pokemon phenomenon will know what I am talking about when I say it is great to have a disc that you can throw on that the children like and that is not a concern from a parenting point of view.

    The video is really good.

    The audio is functional.

    The extras will keep them entertained for some time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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