The Dark: Collectorís Edition [Blu-ray]
(Keenan Wynn, Cathy Lee Crosby, William Devane, Jacquelyn Hyde, Casey Kasem, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1979) 2021 / MVD Visual)
Overview: In this chilling tale of alien terror, a writer (William Devane, Rolling Thunder) takes a personal interest in a series of baffling, shocking murders in Los Angeles - and evidence suggests the suspect may not be human!
Every night The Mangler stalks the streets, attacking and mutilating random victims.
On the creatureís trail is TV reporter Zoe Owens (Cathy Lee Crosby, Coach) and police detective Dave Mooney (Richard Jaeckel, The Dirty Dozen), but the truth behind the murders is far more strange and horrifying than they could ever imagine in this 1979 cult classic from director John Bud Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders, Mutant).
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, it feels like watching a blending of the two 70ís TV episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Zombie and They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be... but without the integral character of Kolchak present to hold it all together.
Adding to that feeling are the casting of both actors Keenan Wynn (Spanish Moss Murders) and Cathy Lee Crosby (The Youth Killers), let alone the lumbering giant, John Bloom, (named The Dark in the closing credits, if that helps spot him on screen), who is most definitely straight from the Richard Kiel School of Monsters!
The producerís post production re-edit which changed the monsterís origin and identity defies all logic, but interestingly, the results are uniquely off-beat and quite creepy.
The same cannot be said though for the filmís plot, which suffers from the re-edit to the point of being idiotic and pointless, sorry.
An alien comes to earth and begins tearing off a human head nightly, starting with writer Steve Dupreeís (William Davane) only daughter.
Next, a dig-a-ling gypsy woman with ESP called De Renzey (Jacquelyn Hyde), informs the baffled cops that she has had a premonition that a aspiring young actor whom she met at a crowded yacht party will be one of the night killerís next victims - and that all they have to do is find the actor, and he will lead them to the killer.
OK, easy enough, but thereís only one problem ... she doesnít know the unknown actors name!
Then, ambitious news anchorwoman Zoe Owens, (Cathy Lee Crosby) chases the night killer story, leading her to Dupree and De Rensy.
Zoe finds out about De Renzyís premonition and after a quicky in Dupreeís pad, they decide to go out and start combing the crowded nightclubs of the city together, aimlessly looking for an actor that not only do they not have a name for, but they donít even know what he looks like!
The clueless cops fall in, and decide to tail Zoe and Dupree, just in case their random searching leads them to the killer, and after their chance discovery of the unsuspecting actor leaving a nightclub parking lot, it turns into a high speed car chase that conveniently ends in a pile up ... that miraculously leads everyone to right where the killer is hiding out!
The cornered creature unleashes deadly laser beams from itís eyes, frying dozens of cops as they blast him with lead! Unarmed Dupree rescues Zoe from the alienís clutches, lighting him up with a torch, and Poof the alien goes up in a puff of smoke faster than the bandages of the Universal Pictures Mummy! (Thatís all it takes to kill a homicidal alien, it seems. Who knew?)
But, what I canít figure out is why did this film get an R rating? There is virtually no on-screen gore, profanity or nudity. It could have easily been a a 70ís Network TV Movie of the Week.
Possibly all of the R-rated violence was excised when they edited in the alien angle and they didnít resubmit the movie for another rating?
Anyway, and in closing, although this is still a fun, genuinely authentic flashback movie to watch, it would be interesting to see the original Zombie themed cut of the film. But, then again, I kinda like what i just watched and think Iíll watch it again tonight! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Commentary features producer Igo Kantor and director John Bud Carlos
Interview with Composer Roger Kellaway (SD, 25:29)
Interview with John Bud Carlos (SD, 13:32)
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:34)