Thursday, April 4, 2019

SCARED STIFF (1987) Blu-ray review

Scared Stiff (1987) d. Richard Friedman (USA) (84 min)

Following a nervous breakdown, recovering rock star Kate (Mary Page Keller) and her young son (Joshua Segal) are planning to move into an old colonial mansion with her handsome psychiatrist beau David (Andrew Stevens), unaware of the sinister occult habits of the previous owner, a tyrannical plantation owner named Masterson (David Ramsey). When pigeons (oh, so many pigeons) make their presence known in the boarded-up attic, the songbird stumbles upon a collection of bones and an ancient journal that may hold the secret to banishing the evil forever, but Masterson has other plans...

The second feature from Friedman (although the first released), who went on to direct such genre favorites as Doom Asylum and Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, is undeniably clunky and slapped-together in that time-honored late-’80s fashion. The performances are as often as cardboard as the title and the (by Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner, and Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost!) and its narrative devices surrounding the supernatural goings-on are hardly groundbreaking.

However, what makes this oft-forgotten curio (I’d never even heard of it before Arrow’s recent blu-ray release) worth unearthing are Tyler Smith’s elaborate practical make-ups and special effects, all of which kick into overdrive in the final batshite bonkers 15 minutes. The shot of a jumbo-sized version of a sculpted Native American lamp base (to which Keller’s onscreen offspring has developed an odd and potentially worrisome attachment) rolling down a dry-ice fog-filled hallway is something you won’t soon forget!

Trivia: Tyler Smith worked with Steve Johnson on the "Puttermans" Duracell battery campaign in the 1990s!


Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements

Original uncompressed Stereo audio

Brand new audio commentary with director Richard Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner, and film historian Robert Ehlinger (who is in many ways responsible for the film’s high-def revival).

"Mansion of the Doomed: The Making of Scared Stiff" – brand new documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner, historian Robert Ehlinger, actors Andrew Stevens and Joshua Segal, special effects designer Tyler Smith, and FX crew members Jerry Macaluso, and Barry Anderson (34 min)

Brand new interview with composer Billy Barber (7 min)

Image Gallery

Original Theatrical Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by James Oliver

Scared Stiff will be available April 23 from Arrow Video and can be pre-ordered HERE:


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