Featurette - The Making Of... (53:38)
Cast & Crew Biographies
|Running Time||91:42 Minutes|
Columbia Tristar Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.86:1 (Measured)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The entire film takes place in an outback town somewhere in America called Perfection, with a receding population totalling fourteen as shown during the opening credits, and most of said populace are what we like to call hicks. The main characters of the film, Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward), are handymen who travel from one end of the town to another, fixing such things as broken septic tanks. After meeting a seismologist by the name of Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter) and having an unfortunate accident while trying to clean one such caravan septic tank, they make the decision to get out of town and pursue their dreams of hitting it big elsewhere.
Fate, however, has other plans for them, and they find themselves trapped in town when a bunch of giant mutated worms decide to trash the main road that leads to civilization. Eventually, the townsfolk discover exactly why the populace has been slowly shrinking, and some hilarious action ensues. Other constituents of the town include a storekeeper named Walter Chang (Victor Wong), the gun-crazy Gummers, Burt (Michael Gross) and Heather (Reba McEntire), as well as Doctor Jim (Conrad Bachmann) and his wife, Megan (Bibi Besch). The latter two wind up being buried in their car while the worms go digging on their land, incidentally. From then on, it's basically a hilarious rush from one plot point to another as the citizens argue over what they should name the creatures, and how best they deal with them. I don't think it is giving away too much to say that the film had me laughing myself into muscle spasms from start to finish.
Obviously, one should steer clear of this film in they are in search of intelligent, meaningful entertainment. But if you're looking for something that is so bad that you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the whole idea from the outset, then this is definitely the film for you. Cult movies just don't get any better than this, at least where entertainment value is concerned.
Thankfully, in spite of this omission, the transfer is as sharp as you can reasonably expect from a non 16x9 Enhanced transfer, with excellent definition both in the foreground and background. The shadow detail is very good considering that almost all of the film takes place in the middle of a desert with bright sunlight. The one extended sequence that takes place at night is very well-detailed and takes on an almost right-before-your-eyes quality. There is no low-level noise or grain to spoil the transfer.
The colour saturation is a very accurate reflection of both the environment and the way in which it was photographed, with an abundance of reds and greens blending together to present a perfectly natural look to the desert. Sometimes, the skin tones looked a touch too red, but this was a transient problem that depended a lot on my own perception. The presence of blue in the picture, minimal as it may be, was also well-handled in this transfer, with the skies looking as smooth and natural as you could ask for.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem in this transfer, where much care appears to have been taken to keep the compression loose and more than adequate to the picture's needs. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some moderate aliasing in chrome objects, as well as many other objects with smooth, fine lines in them. This is a common problem to transfers of Universal films, and it is not quite as bad in this one because chrome, fine greenery and neon lights are the exception here rather than the norm. Film artefacts are occasional, with a handful of black and white marks on the source material showing up every few minutes. If it weren't for the fact that this transfer wasn't 16x9 Enhanced, I would firmly state it to be the best that Universal and Columbia Tristar have worked together on all year.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 60:50. This is in the middle of a tense action sequence, with a noticeable pause taking place in the music, making the position of the layer change somewhat less than ideal. If it were any quicker, however, I wouldn't have noticed it at all.
The dialogue in the English soundtrack is clear and easy to understand at all times, much to the embarrassment of the actors, I'm sure. This is in spite of some very broad and obviously put-on rural American accents, as well as the fact that some lines were mumbled. Nothing of importance to the overall film was lost in spite of these considerations. There were no problems with audio sync, unless you count the mismatching of the creature sound effects with the creatures' lip movements.
The score music is credited to Ernest Troost, with some uncredited score music by Robert Folk, and a song entitled Why Not Tonight by Reba McEntire. Overall, the score music adds to the rollicking B-grade comic horror fun of the film, adding an exciting atmosphere to sequences that test credulity to the absolute limit. Some sequences are lent a tense, eerie feel that also serves to highlight their patent ridiculousness. Overall, the score is a living, breathing part of the film that it cannot do without, so there's nothing to complain about here.
The surround channels are used quite frequently and consistently to support the sounds of the monsters, the music, and the miscellaneous sources of rumblings in the ground. A discrete mix would have been slightly better at this than a matrix mix, but what we have here does the job quite well, much better than the job done by the discrete mix offered on The Thing, as a matter of fact. There are some occasions when the surround field seems to collapse into straight stereo, but these occasions are few in number and almost over before they begin. The subwoofer was frequently called upon to support seismic events and other special effects, and did so without making itself conspicuous.
The video quality is good, let down only by moderate aliasing and lack of 16x9 Enhancement.
The audio quality is good enough that you will soon fail to notice it hasn't been remixed into 5.1 channels.
The extras are slightly limited, but their quality is very good.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
November 8, 2000
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|