COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'Darkman' Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

Updated: 02/27/2014 8:00 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Shout Factory
Photo courtesy of Shout Factory

One of my favorite horror movie directors is Sam Raimi.  I really love the “Evil Dead” films, and he also directed the film “Darkman” that was just released by Scream Factory/Shout Factory on Blu-ray and DVD.

“Darkman” was released in 1990 and stars Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels and Larry Drake.  The music was also done by Danny Elfman.

The “Darkman” Collector’s Edition is awesome, and I highly recommend that you add this Blu-ray to your collection.

“Darkman” is about a scientist named Peyton (Liam Neeson) who is working on a way to make synthetic skin for burn victims.  He is very close to discovering how to do it, but once the skin is created, it will only last for a certain amount of time before it dissolves.  They soon learn that if the newly made skin is in the dark, it breaks down slower and will last longer than 100 minutes.

His girlfriend (Frances McDormand) is an attorney and zoning director who discovers a memorandum that a developer (Colin Friels) has been bribing the zoning commission.  The developer sends his henchmen who are led by a mob boss named Durant (Larry Drake) to get the memorandum. The henchmen know that the memorandum is at Peyton’s lab, and they go there to get it.  Durant’s men kill Peyton’s assistant and end up sticking Peyton into a vat of acid and burn his laboratory down.

Peyton ends up surviving but is badly burned and disfigured.  He goes back to his lab and salvages what is left of his scientific equipment.

Everyone thinks that Peyton is dead, but he creates a new face and hands from a photo.  He visits his girlfriend and explains everything to her.

Peyton wants to get revenge on Durant and the henchmen so he comes up with some really cool and clever ways to get back at them, by creating different identities for himself.

I really thought that “Darkman” was very exciting and very interesting to watch.  I thought the story was great and that the characters were also very interesting.  I felt that the film as a whole had a great premise and was pretty creative.

I also really thought the special effects looked great.  The make-up that was used on Liam Neeson, made him look like he was really burned and was pretty realistic.  There was not a lot of gore used in the film, but all of the scenes with the synthetic skin looked pretty good.

The quality of the film looks fabulous in 1080p.  Everything is crystal clear, and the film hasn’t looked better.

The think that what impresses me the most about all of the Scream Factory/Shout Factory releases are all of the special features that come on their Blu-rays and DVD’s.  They never leave us fans disappointed, and it is amazing the amount of content that they find.

The special features that are on “Darkman” are unbelievable and will have you entertained for hours.
The special features include:
 - New interview with Frances McDormand
 - Audio commentary with Director of Photography Bill Pope
 - “That Will Be Just Fine” – an interview with actor Larry Drake
 - “Durant’s Men” – interviews with actors Dan Bell and Danny Hicks
- “Darkman’s Design” – interviews with production designer Randy Ser and art director Philip Dagort
 - “The Face of Revenge” – an interview with special make-up creator Tony Gardner
 - Original Storyboards
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - TV Spots
 - Vintage Electronic Press Kit
 - Vintage cast and crew profiles: Sam Raimi, Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, and Larry Drake

I really enjoyed Scream Factory/Shout Factory’s “Darkman” Collector’s Edition Blu-ray a lot.  The film is very entertaining, and I really like how “Darkman” is a superhero in a way. The film looks and sounds amazing.  The bonus features that come included will blow you away.  I don’t know how Shout Factory keeps doing it.  Every new release is better than the last. 

As I said earlier, you must add “Darkman” to your Blu-ray or DVD collection.  This is a must have for any horror, Sam Raimi or superhero fan in my opinion.

“Darkman” is rated “R”

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Aaron Chalich is a KSTP.com entertainment columnist.