Gate II - Scream Factory

Scream Factory Presents: Gate II (1990)

In 1987 a dark PG-13 film entitled The Gate was released to theaters. While making it’s money back at the box office, it was in fact how it performed on home video that forced talk of a sequel. Thankfully after three years, Gate II was filmed. However it would take until 1992 for it to reach home video shelves. Which is a pity. Because the Gate II is a worthy successor to the original film.
Gate II - Transformation

I feel that one of the reasons that The Gate stayed around was that while being a PG-13 movie, it was still a horror film. With it’s rating it was able to traumatize many young children and teenagers. It was scary in parts but still had humor and even a lot of heart. Of course there was also the fact it had some awesome forced perspective effects as well as stop-motion.

I had already graduated High School by the time Gate II hit video store shelves. As a matter of fact I was working at a local video store when it was released. I remember being surprised that the filmmakers went with an R this go around. Besides some language and drug humor, I found it was actually far tamer than the original.

Gate II - Terry and John

Mostly tamer.

Gate II picks up a few years after the first film. Terry (Louis Tripp) has grown into a teenager and has come to a decision. The horrible demonic forces that he and his best friend summoned up wasn’t a bad idea. Afterall it was for good intentions. It just went wrong because they quite frankly performed the ritual incorrectly. To help his Father get his job back as a pilot, to help him pull himself out of his drunken stupor, Terry plans on harnessing dark forces again.

What would be a good spot for our would be sorcerer? Naturally the abandoned, boarded up, and fenced in remains of his best friend’s house. A gate to the other side was opened there, right? This time however, the young man finds he has some unexpected company. A borderline psychotic bully named John, his girlfriend Liz, and their toady Moe. As you can guess, all four teenagers are going to regret tampering with the gate.
Gate II - The Pentagram

In the Gate II, there are some truly nice performances. Not just from Tripp but Simon Reynolds who plays Moe as well as Pamela Segall who plays Liz. Director Tibor Takacs, who also directed The Gate certainly knows what he is doing. While they totally could have rehashed the original they expand the universe and of course the character of Terry. Thanks to the return of screenwriter, Michael Nankin.

Furthermore, those stop-motion and perspective effects are even better in the sequel! Obviously, special visual effects supervisor Randall William Cook is proud of the work. Word of warning, there is just a bit of salty language at the end of this clip.

Being a Scream Factory release you can rest easy knowing they have in fact included extras. While I am of course a little disappointed there was no commentary. They did however deliver a 2K scan of the interpositive, so it looks better than ever before. As well as:

  • Return To The Nightmare – A Look Back At Gate II -Featuring Interviews With Director Tibor Takacs, Screenwriter Michael Nankin And Special Visual Effects Creator Randall William Cook.
  • From The Depths – An Interview With Make-up Effects Artist Craig Reardon
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Video Promo And Video Store Contest Promo
  • Still Gallery

The nearly 30 minute discussion between Takacs, Nankin and Cook is really interesting to be sure. As is the interview with Reardon. Hands down though the extra that made my head spin was video store contest promo. It was in fact a cassette tape that was given out at the time of it’s release for a chance to win a thousand dollars. Scream Factory has totally included the entire audio recording for our listening enjoyment!

Gate II will be released on Blu-Ray next week on February 27th. Naturally you can hop on over to the official Scream Factory site and pre-order your copy right this minute. In closing Gate II while being tamer with the gore offers another type of terror. The horror of getting what you wish for and then having to live with the consequences as they are twisted. While goofier in some ways, this sequel delivers what to the characters might appear to be a magic lamp…but is in reality a monkey’s paw.

As an example of how clean the picture quality is now for Gate II. Why not check out how it looked before Blu-Ray with the original trailer?

Hell Night - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: Hell Night Collector’s Edition (1981)

Happy New Year, friends! While 2018 might have barely rolled around, hopefully you all had a safe and happy Holiday. Scream Factory is already unleashing retro fright films. Case in point the 1981 cult classic Hell Night. So what better way to usher in a bright and shiny new year than with some retro horror? Furthermore, how can you top 80s horror when Hell Night stars the like of Linda Blair?
Hell Night - Original Poster

The filmmakers on Hell Night were definitely inspired by the likes of 1980’s Friday the 13th. As well as possibly Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse. However having said that I would be remiss in pointing out that Hell Night has something those two films did not possess. Namely a VERY strong H.P. Lovecraft vibe to the plot of the movie.

Hell Night focuses on four college students who are experiencing a legendary hazing ritual. To be inducted into their chosen fraternities and sororities. Marti (Blair), Denise (Suki Goodwin), Jeff (Peter Barton), and Seth (Vincent Van Patten) must spend a whole night in the abandoned Garth mansion.
Hell Night - Garth manor

Obviously, our teenagers aren’t going to have it quite so easy. For one thing, the head of Alpha Sigma Rho, Peter (Kevin Brophy) and his cronies Scott and May, have set up the mansion with all manner of electronic devices. All of course in the hopes of giving the four youngsters a very sleepless night.
Hell Night - Ghost

However, for all involved – they should have listened to the legend of Garth Manor. The urban legend that 12 years previously, something horrible happened at the mansion. Raymond Garth decided to end his Family line. Killing his Wife and deformed children before taking his own life. But what about that other part of the legend? That one of the children survived and might very well be hiding in his old home?!

As a matter of fact, a lot of blood and tears could have been avoided. If of course Peter and his cronies had done a little more research on the mansion. But on the other hand that would have certainly made for a less entertaining film.
Hell Night - Garth

Hell Night is a great example of 80s horror done right. It has atmosphere, some nice scares, and more importantly you care about the characters. Thanks in no small part to the chemistry between Blair and the rest of the cast.
Hell Night - Linda Blair

Now Hell Night is a Scream Factory release so that means it has plenty of extras. Friends, let me tell you this one is chock full of goodies worthy of this Collector’s Edition!

Blu-Ray Features:

  • New 4K Scan Of The Film Taken From The Best Surviving Archival Print
  • Brand New Interviews With Actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy, And Jenny Neumann
  • Audio Commentary With Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans, And Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots
  • New Interview With Director Tom DeSimone
  • Interview With Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Interview With Writer Randolph Feldman
  • Anatomy Of The Death Scenes With Tom DeSimone, Randolph Feldman, Make-up Artist Pam Peitzman, Art Director Steven G. Legler, And Special Effects Artist John Eggett
  • On Location At The Kimberly Crest House With Tom DeSimone
  • Gothic Design In Hell Night With Steven G. Legler
  • Original Radio Spot
  • Photo Gallery Featuring Rare, Never-before-seen Stills
  • The DVD disc contains the following features:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Film Taken From The Best Surviving Archival Print
  • As well as the NEW Interviews With Actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy, And Jenny Neumann
  • Audio Commentary With Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans, And Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots

Hell Night is being released this very Tuesday, January 2nd! So that gives you more than ample time to rest up from your Holiday revelry, before heading out and picking up this classic. Of course you can also just hop on over to the and pre-order your copy today.

Enjoy one last vintage television spot for 1981’s Hell Night!

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory

It’s A Christmas Miracle. Silent Night, Deadly Night Is Out On Scream Factory Blu-ray!

Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill. It’s savage, violent and punishing. The story opens with young Billy Chapman whose dreams of a white Christmas are obliterated when he witnesses a deranged criminal, dressed in a dime store Santa suit, brutally murder his father and mother on Christmas Eve. Orphaned after the killing of his parents, Billy and his little brother are raised under the oppressive arm of a devout nun who teaches Billy the consequences of being naughty, which mostly ends up with him being tied to his bed or beaten.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Old Man Peabody

Old Man Peabody sharing the bad news to young Billy about Santa Claus.

When Billy turns eighteen, he half-wittedly gets a job at a toy store around (wait for it) Christmas and ends up having to play (wait for it) Santa. Needless to say, the years of pent up anger and confusion surrounding the death of his parents at the hand of jolly St. Nick rip loose the fractured wiring in Billy’s head and off he goes hacking up anyone he deems is on the naughty list, which is pretty much anyone he meets. Nothing is left to the imagination as Billy dices his way through a blood splattered winter wonderland and the film’s conclusion shares very little with the Capra’esque triumph of George Bailey – it is inevitably not a wonderful life.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Snowman

“Snowmen were absolutely harmed or injured during the making of this film.”

I LOVE this movie. Like many kids of the 80s who remember the TV commercial, I was terrified and mesmerized at the same time. The image of Santa pulling the gun from his red velvet pocket was burned in my brain, etched there to this day. The film’s poster of an axe wielding Santa sliding down a chimney is macabre and brilliant marketing. However, all this violent Santa imagery didn’t sit well with parents and they pressured TriStar Pictures for the film’s removal from theaters. At the Beyond Fest screening of the film a few years back, the producers discussed this controversy and explained the money trail : Tri-Star Pictures (the distributor), Columbia Pictures (partnered with TriStar) and Coca-Cola (owned Columbia). Coca-Cola has a long advertising history with Santa Claus and the stirrings from angry parents didn’t sit well with the family friendly soft drink company. Mind you, this anger was all based on commercials only! It’s not like the film was meant for kids. Regardless, it was yanked from theaters.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Poster

“Maybe he’s just a fireman?”

I finally discovered the film on VHS in the 90s and immediately started having Silent Night, Deadly Night parties that consisted of four guys sitting around my dumpy Miami apartment drunkenly watching the film. Those humble beginnings turned into a full blown event in Hollywood that lasted for several years. I’ve owned the film on VHS, Laserdisc and DVD. I’ve got the Death Waltz vinyl signed by the cast and crew. The film’s eerie Doo-wop styled Christmas carol “Santa’s Watching” becomes my ringtone every December. Setting aside the conventional slasher fare of numerous creative kills, Silent Night, Deadly Night adds a very rich backstory to why Billy becomes a killer. Instead of a five minute flashback origin story, the filmmakers treat us to twenty five minutes of set up. I think that’s what separates it from the rest of the Halloween/Friday the 13th knockoffs and why I think we are still talking about the film 30+ years later.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Laserdisc

“My new Scream Factory Blu-ray along with my signed Death Waltz Vinyl, my Laserdisc and a bloody axe hand crafted by my wife as a prop for our former SNDN/Die Hard Christmas Party.”

This year, it’s a Christmas miracle because Scream Factory has released Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray, and it’s the best I’ve ever seen it! Scream Factory has done their established awesome job of loading the release up with fun extras (notably a “then and now” locations tour), but the centerpiece is the disc’s HD transfer from the original camera negative. How these guys at Scream Factory dig up the bones of these classics is beyond me, but thank goodness they do. Now, this two disc set also comes with the un-cut version, which has been available on Laserdisc and DVD. Sadly, the original camera negatives from the extended scenes could not be found, so Scream Factory used the best available standard definition versions and cut them in with their new mastered footage. It’s a bumpy contrast, but they did the best they could and the serious fan will enjoy it. Honestly, after having seen both versions over the years, you aren’t missing much in those extended scenes – some blood, guts and the occasional added sleaze – but to view the crispest version would be to watch the theatrical release. One thing I wanted to shine the Retroist spotlight on is the incredible shots from Ira’s Toy Store.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Toy Store

“Ira’s reminds me of Cut-Rate toys on Devon Avenue in Chicago.”

The store is featured heavily in the film’s second act and showcased some big toys of the era. These days that would be problematic and tricky with licenses and clearances, but this was the 80s man! Greydon Clark’s Joysticks features every popular coin-op game of the era, think he got the licenses to use Pac Man? Think again, internet lawyer troll. Now, for full transparency, I had spent time doing a bunch of screen grabs to curate a collection of stills from the movie but then I thought, ‘Hey, I bet some other toy nerd has already done this.” Lo and behold, a quick Google search turned up a few sites that have done a marvelous (and probably better) job cataloging and identifying the toys in Ira’s. One was written by the supremely talented John Squires (aka @FreddyInSpace) and he’s got a nice post you can read over at Bloody Disgusting.

Also, here’s a funny post from 2010 by writer David W. About how disorganized Ira’s shelves are.

I will add one more to the mix. Seen behind the shrewd Mr. Sims is the Zaxxon board game. I had that game, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how to play it. In doing some research, I had no recollection of the board or pieces. My guess is I didn’t play it much, but I do love that artwork!

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Zaxxon

“Mr. Sims is nobody’s friend.

So, grab your milk and cookies and get your copy of Silent Night, Deadly Night on Blu-ray here!
Silent Night, Deadly Night - Scream Factory - Blu Ray

One last thing, I started my review stating that “Silent Night, Deadly Night is not necessarily one of the “must sees” for the casual horror fan looking for a campy thrill.” Please take that to heart. It’s not a goofy slasher romp. With the right audience, it’s totally entertaining. But with the wrong audience, you might get a few raised eyebrows. Definitely not for the faint of heart and certainly not for anyone who might take offense with a raging, axe throwing, homicidal Santa Claus. Before you share with your loved ones this holiday season, consider your audience.

Silent Night, Deadly Night - Patrick J. Doody and Patrick Brian Wilson

Meeting Billy Chapman himself, Robert Brian Wilson. The Egyptian Theater, Hollywood. 2014.”

Paul Naschy - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: The Paul Naschy Collection II

Paul Naschy has been described as being the Spanish equivalent of the legendary Lon Chaney. I think that is a rather apt comparsion. In fact with Scream Factory’s Blu-Ray release of the Paul Naschy Collection II. I think you too will see why he is held in such high regard as well.
Paul Naschy - Table

You might remember back in June of this year, when I wrote about Scream Factory’s release for the first Paul Naschy collection. For this go around they are presenting another set of five films. Representing a good dose of the actor’s filmography.

Paul Naschy - Hunchback
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (EL JOROBADO DE LA MORGUE)

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Rod Barnett And Troy Guinn Of The Podcast, NaschyCast
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English)
  • Still Gallery

Paul Naschy - Devil's Possessed
THE DEVIL’S POSSESSED (EL MARISCAL DEL INFIERNO)

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English)

Paul Naschy - Werewolf
THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (LA MALDICION DE LA BESTIA) (I won’t lie, friends. This is absolutely the one film I would had given anything to have had commentary on as a special feature.)

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • Still Gallery

Paul Naschy - Exorcism
EXORCISM (EXORCISMO)

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Author Troy Howarth
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English)
  • English Credit Sequence
  • Still Gallery


A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (UNA LIBELULA PARA CADA MUERTO)

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Author Troy Howarth
  • Still Gallery

Now that you know what is in the Paul Naschy Collection II, how about where to get it?

The 5-disc collection will be available this Tuesday at better Blu-Ray dealers everywhere. Of course you can also order your copy from Scream Factory itself. I should also add that the collection contains a 24-page booklet written by Mirek Lipinski!