Mandy
Available on Blu-ray October 30, 2018

How does one even begin to describe Mandy? I think a quote from this psychedelic mind-fuck sums things up nicely: “The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.” Here, Nicolas Cage goes up against “bikers and gnarly psychos and crazy evil” as we watch, wide-eyed and slightly terrified.

Mandy is out of it’s goddamn mind, yes. And Cage is an actor who gravitates towards bombast. But this isn’t your typical “Nic Cage goes crazy!” movie. Save for a few freak-outs, Cage is actually somewhat reserved here, and he gives one of his very best performances. It’s a heart-sick performance, loaded with rage and grief, and it’s quite a sight to behold.

In this work of dangerous art from director Panos Cosmatos, Cage’s Red Miller and his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) run afoul of a crazy cult, lead by icky psycho Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). In the face of tragedy, Red strikes out for revenge. But this isn’t a simple revenge thriller. Instead, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness. A gorgeous, horrifying nightmare brimming with cultish imagery, throwing off an overwhelming, dangerous energy. You’ve never seen a film like this, and you probably never will again.

Special Features to Note:

A dreamy, trippy making of featurette unfolds for almost a half hour. Rather than talking heads and clips from the film, we get slow zooms on still images as various people involved with the production narrate. Linus Roache confesses that when he first got the script, he “didn’t get it.” “I had no idea what this movie was,” the actor says, but he slowly started to see that the film was an “extraordinary, mythological revenge story”, calls it a “phantasmagorical, allegorical” story.

Director Panos Cosmatos adds that when he approaches a movie, he never thinks of terms of story. “The story is just a catalyst around which all these elements can be grown,” the filmmaker says. He goes on to reveal he was inspired by all the stuff he liked as a kid – Fangoria, heavy metal music, cover art for horror movies, and so on.

Producer Elijah Wood had worked with Nicolas Cage previous, and he recommended Mandy to Cage, telling him to watch Cosmatos’ previous film, Beyond the Black Rainbow. Cage did, and said it gave him nightmares.

Beyond that featurette, we get several deleted and extended scenes. This is one of those cases where every single cut scene was necessary – adding them back in would throw off the film’s mad rhythm, Still, they’re here if you’re curious.

In one deleted scene at a gas station, the sheriff confronts Red and calls Mandy “a little slut” while continuously trying to goad Red into a confrontation. Red just laughs it off, and puts 6.66 worth of gas in his truck. Beyond that, we get a nice little moment where Red and Mandy cook dinner and tell jokes to each other. Another deleted scene has Jeremiah complaining to one of his followers. And there’s also an extended sequence with actor Bill Duke. Best of all, though, is an extended version of the now-infamous Cheddar Goblin commercial.

Special Features Include:

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes

 

Trick ‘r Treat

Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat is a love letter to that most wonderful of holidays: Halloween. A triumph of production design, Dougherty’s horror anthology film is a hoot – although I’ll admit to wanting more. Part of that has to do with the overwhelming hype that built up around the movie.

After Dougherty completed the movie, Warner Bros. put it on a shelf, unsure what to do with it. Little by little, Trick ‘r Treat began screening at festivals, and a steady wave of positive buzz began to build. It became something of a legend – a cult movie that demanded to be seen. When Warners finally dropped it on DVD, I snapped it up, very excited to finally lay eyes on this thing. By the time the end credits rolled, I couldn’t help but think: “Is that it?”

In the year’s since, I’ve grown to appreciate the movie more, which makes this new Blu-ray from Scream Factory a must-have. While I’m still not entirely on board with the tone – the movie leans into comedy far too often – I love the feel of the movie. Dougherty is very good at conjuring up the Halloween feel – warm orange light, scattered leaves, candles flickering behind jack-o-lantern grins. This movie looks incredible.

Like most anthology films, the stories are hit or miss. The best of the bunch involves Brian Cox as a miserable man dealing with a very unwelcomed trick-or-treater. Dougherty has teased a sequel to the film for years now, and while I’m not as enamored with Trick ‘r Treat as some of my peers, I’d love to see it happen.

Special Features to Note:

There are a wealth of featurettes here about the production. One has Dougherty talking about the origins of the film. He originally made an animated short for film school, and from that, the feature grew.

This origin segment is good, but the real draw is the feature about the making of the film. Dougherty breaks down what it was like to make his feature debut, and his approach to the movie – and it’s tone. “To me, Halloween isn’t just about the horror,” the director says. “There’s a quality of fun.” As a result, he wanted to make sure the movie wasn’t full-blown horror – he wanted a playful element to it. He also pushed for practical effects, and won – the practical effects work here is a real highlight.

There’s also a feature about the film’s troubled release. Here, Dougherty discusses how the film didn’t fit into the horror scene at the time, which was mostly made-up of torture porn and remakes. The studio didn’t know what to make of the movie, but a cult following via film festivals helped ensure an eventual home video release. The rest is history.

Special Features Include:

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements Supervised And Approved By Director Michael Dougherty
  • NEW Tales Of Folklore & Fright: Creating Trick ‘r Treat – Including Interviews With Writer/Director Michael Dougherty, Conceptual Artist Breehn Burns, And Storyboard Artist Simeon Wilkins
  • NEW Tales Of Mischief & Mayhem: Filming Trick ‘r Treat – In-depth Interview With Michael Dougherty On The Making Of The Film
  • NEW Sounds Of Shock & Superstition: Scoring Trick ‘r Treat – Including Interviews With Michael Dougherty And Composer Douglas Pipes
  • NEW Tales Of Dread And Despair: Releasing Trick ‘r Treat – A Look At The Release And Fandom With Michael Dougherty And Writer Rob Galluzzo
  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original 16mm Elements of Season’s Greetings – A Short Film By Michael Dougherty With Optional Commentary By Dougherty
  • NEW Storyboard And Conceptual Artwork Gallery
  • NEW Behind The Scenes Still Gallery
  • NEW Monster Mash – A Story From The Trick ‘r Treat Graphic Novel
  • NEW FEARnet.com Shorts
  • Audio Commentary With Director Michael Dougherty
  • Trick ‘r Treat: The Lore And Legends Of Halloween Featurette
  • Deleted And Alternate Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Michael Dougherty
  • School Bus FX Comparison
  • Theatrical Trailer

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