COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Scream Factory’s Death Valley and The Island Review

Updated: 12/06/2012 12:07 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Last week I received two Blu-ray/DVD review copies of two movies that I had never seen before from Shout Factory. 

“Death Valley” and “The Island” are the two latest installments to Scream Factory’s collector series. I watched both of them and really had a great time watching them. 

Death Valley

“Death Valley” came out in 1982 and stars Catherine Hicks(Child’s Play), Paul Le Mat(Puppetmaster), Stephen McHattie(The Tallman) and Peter Billingsley(A Christmas Story).

Catherine Hicks plays a divorced mother who takes her son (Peter Billingsly) on a vacation to Death Valley to meet her new boyfriend. 

It starts out as a normal vacation, but the son stumbles upon a murder and the maniac who is responsible is after them. 

I really liked the story a lot and thought that it was very entertaining. I had never seen or heard of the movie before so it was fun watching it. I just thought it was fun seeing Peter in another early role and I just kept thinking it was “Ralphie” every time I saw him. 

I did figure out the ending about half way through the movie, but it was still a very good movie.

The quality of the movie looked great and it was a good transfer. It didn’t look too grainy or have any scratches from the film transfer. The movie sounded great and it is in DTS HD Master Audio Mono and Dolby Digital Mono.

One thing that I don’t think I have mentioned before is the Blu-ray/DVD art on the covers of the Scream Factory movies. They are amazing. Each cover has two sides and they can be flipped to show a different cover.  

The art is unique for each movie and looks great.

“Death Valley” comes with a Blu-ray DVD and a regular DVD. There are only a couple of special features on the DVD. You get the theatrical and television trailers for the movie which was fun to see.  Plus there are trailers for “They Live” and “The Island.” The other special feature is that there is audio commentary with director Dick Richards. This was interesting and fun to listen to. I learned a lot about the movie.

I really enjoyed “Death Valley” a lot and I know that I will be watching it again.

The Island

The Island was made in 1980 and stars Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and David Warner (Time After Time).  The movie was written by Peter Benchley who also wrote “Jaws.”

“The Island” is about an investigative writer (Michael Caine) who hears about passengers and boats disappearing in the Caribbean. He talks his boss into letting him cover the story so he takes his son to Florida with him. During the investigation he along with his son are captured by pirates and taken to an island.

His son is eventually brainwashed and turned into a pirate. The writer has to figure out a way to escape from the island and also rescue his son. There is a lot of action and intense moments.

I really liked the story and thought it was original. The movie is almost two hours long and it did seem a little slow in some parts, but the action and drama made up for it.

The quality of the film looked really good and is in anamorphic widescreen. I was a little nervous because I watched the trailer and it was very grainy and I was hoping the movie wasn’t like that at all. It wasn’t and it looked great. The audio was also really good. It is in DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 and Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

“The Island” comes with both a Blu-ray DVD and regular DVD. I really liked this a lot and think it’s great that they do this. The only extras on the DVD are a trailer for the movie, along with the trailers for “Death Valley,” and “They Live. 

It would have been nice to have seen more extras, but I am guessing that there really was nothing else to put on there.

I really enjoyed watching Shout Factory’s “Death Valley” and “The Island” Blu-ray/DVD collector’s movies.  I had never seen them before and it is always fun watching something new.

I would highly recommend to horror movie fans to add both of these movies to your collections. 

For more information on Shout Factory go to www.shoutfactory.com

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.