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Monday, October 22

DVD Review: Shadow Stalkers: 10 Terrifying Features



Mill Creek Ent., R/Not Rated; 15 hrs; $14.98

With Halloween just over a week away, there's no better time than now to start watching a few scary flicks!

If you're a horror fan on a budget, then I would recommend looking for a Mill Creek Entertainment collection, like this year's Shadow Stalkers, which features 10 horror flicks on a 3-disc set.

The 10 movies titles are:

  • Out Of The Dark (1989)
  • Happy Birthday To Me (1981)
  • Eyes On Laura Mars (1978)
  • Bloody Pit Of Horror (1965)
  • Don't Answer The Phone (1980)
  • Nightmare In Wax (1969)
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night (1973)
  • Funeral Home (1980)
  • Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)
  • Drive-In Massacre (1974)

Out Of The Dark (R; 90 minutes) was directed by Michael Schroeder and starred Karen Black, Bud Cort, Divine (final role), and Lynn Danielson. The plot centers around a phone-sex service workers in Los Angeles who are being stalked and murdered by a serial killer wearing a clown mask.

Happy Birthday To Me (R; 111 minutes) was directed by J. Lee Thompson and starred Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey Bregman, and Lisa Langlois. The plot centers around Virginia Wainwright, a high school senior who suffers from blackouts. During the blackouts, her friends are murdered by an unknown psychopath. And all of this is occurring near Virginia's 18 birthday.

Eyes Of Laura Mars (R; 104 minutes) was directed by Irvin Kershner, written by John Carpenter & David Zealg Goodman, and starred Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, René Auberjonois, and Raúl Juliá. Dunaway plays Laura Mars, a photographer who stylizes in urban violence. Out of nowhere, she begins seeing real-time events through the eyes of a serial killer.

Don't Answer The Phone (R; 95 minutes) was directed by Robert Hammer and starred James Westmoreland, Denise Galik, and Nicholas Worth. The plot involves a radio talk show's patients being murdered by a madman.

Nightmare In Wax (R; 95 minutes) was directed by Bud Townsend and starred Cameron Mitchell, Anne Helm, and Scott Brady. The plot involves a disfigured ex make-up artist, Vincent Renard (played by Mitchell), taking his revenge on a studio's film stars by turning them into wax figures. (It's too similar to House of Wax.)

Bloody Pit Of Horror (Not Rated; 74 minutes) was directed by Domenico Massimo Pupillo and starred Mickey Hargitay, Walter Bigari, Luisa Baratto, and Ralph Zucker. The plot involves a group of photographers and models breaking into a castle to take a few photos, but they end up running into the owner, who is a demented executioner. 

Silent Night, Bloody Night (Not Rated; 82 minutes) was directed by Theodore Gershuny and starred Patrick O'Neal and John Carradine. The plot involves a man trying to sell his grandfather's mansion, which was once an asylum, but the mayor and the townfolk insists that nobody should ever live there. Things get really weird when a serial killer escapes from a nearby institution.

Funeral Home (R; 93 minutes) was directed by William Fruet and starred Lesleh Donaldson, Kay Hawtrey, Jack Van Evera, Alf Humphreys, and Harvey Atkin. The plot involves a teenager being sent to live with her grandmother to help her convert an old funeral home into a bed-and-breakfast. Well, that's until a serious of murders occur, which leads the teen to undercover a startling family secret.

Don't Open Till Christmas (R; 87 minutes) was directed by Edmund Purdom and starred Edmund Purdom and Belinda Mayne. The plot centers around a masked psychopath stalking and killing anyone who is dressed as Santa Claus.

Drive-In Massacre (R; 74 minutes) was directed and starred John F. Goff , Steve Vincent, and Douglas Gudbye. The plot involves an unseen assailant who brutally murders couples at a drive-in theater.


Let me start my final thoughts by pointing out the big error on the DVD jacket art cover. It states on both the front and back that the The Driller Killer is included in the set. This is the error, as the movie isn't in the set at all. Instead the set includes the horrible Drive-In Massacre, which is one of the worst movies ever made!

There are a few delights and gems on the 3-disc set. Happy Birthday To Me is a cult horror classic and it happens to be my favorite movie from this collection. If you don't already own it, then I would recommend skipping this DVD set and search for the special edition Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment that will be sold exclusively at Walmart.

Funeral Home is my second favorite from this release. It's an underrated slasher film that's fun to watch, even with the predictable ending.

Out Of The Dark, Eyes Of Laura Mars, and Don't Answer The Phone are average at best. They're not the greatest films in the world, but I didn't hate them either.

The other four movies aren't very good, with the exception of Silent Night, Bloody Night, but the film's picture quality is barely watchable on this release. Actually, the film quality on this release varies per movie, which is to be expected when there are three to four movies shoved onto one disc. However, I would say the copies of the films that Mill Creek Entertainment must have used weren't very good to begin to with.

Overall, I'm going to rate Shadow Stalkers a 3 out of 5, which is slightly better than what it probably deserves. If it wasn't for Happy Birthday To Me and Funeral Home, I would probably rate it a lot lower. Should you buy this collection? I would only recommend it for those who don't already own the movies individually or on another set. It's only really worth buying if you're on a budget and can find it cheap somewhere, like in the $5 bin at Walmart.



*Note: I received a review copy from Mill Creek Entertainment.
All opinions are my own.



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