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By James Whittington, Thursday 11th April 2019 Scared Stiff Arrow Video Certificate TBA
Arrow Video continue to trawl the vaults of 80 horror fodder and have dug up a title that's taken too long to come to Blu-ray, Richard Friedman's Scared Stiff. Starring Mary Page Keller and Andrew Stevens the movie follows the classic 80s formula of slow-burn, some gore, more slow-burn and cracking final reel, it's a classic well worth getting re-acquainted with.
Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries with it a dark and blood-stained past - and one that is about to terrorise them in the present.
Steadily paced with above-average acting, Scared Stiff is as hokey as 80s horror comes but with a touch of polished film making to rise it above similar movies. Don't be put off by the exploitative title, the film has more to offer than it suggests. There's plenty of scenery chewing moments and the plot offers little surprises but this is an entertaining and nostalgic reminder of the era. The effects are kept under wraps for a while and the plot twists are signposted well in advance, plus the idea of being haunted by events of the past is not new but Friedman's direction keeps it all moving in the right direction and its short running time leaves little padding of the plot.
The transfer is excellent, the colours are bold without looking garish and never bleed around the images whilst the night sequences do hold a lot of detail if you're looking for it. The soundtrack keeps everything at the front and is clear with being too shrill in the louder moments.
The release comes with a brand new audio commentary with director Richard Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner and film historian Robert Ehlinger, brand new documentary Mansion of the Doomed: The Making of Scared Stiff, brand new interview with composer Billy Barber, Image Gallery, Original Theatrical Trailer, Limited edition slipcase featuring original Graham Humphreys artwork and Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options.
If you've never seen this one or are new to 80s horror this is fine place to start your education.
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