Alien (chest) bursts out on Blu Ray! – Review

The Alien Anthology

Blu Ray Review

By Jessica Dwyer

Alien and its subsequent sequels is one of the all time classics of horror/sci-fi.  It’s a hybrid of the two and its some of the best of both.

This Blu-Ray release is one of the most highly anticipated of the year and with good reason.  It’s so jammed pack full of goodies and extras for fans of the series or fans of what Blu-Ray can really do when put to good use.

Alien, Aliens, Alien3, and Alien Resurrection are all here.  Each disc is packed with extras, tons of them.  And not only that, there are two additional discs in the back of the slick slip case that have even more things on them for you to watch.  So here’s the breakdown (and trust me it’s a lot):


  • 1979 Theatrical Version
  • 2003 Director’s Cut with Ridley Scott Introduction
  • Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Writer Dan O’Bannon, Executive Producer Ronald Shusett, Editor Terry Rawlings, Actors Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and John Hurt
  • Audio Commentary (for Theatrical Cut only) by Ridley Scott
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream



  • 1986 Theatrical Version
  • 1991 Special Edition with James Cameron Introduction
  • Audio Commentary by Director James Cameron, Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Alien Effects Creator Stan Winston, Visual Effects Supervisors Robert Skotak and Dennis Skotak, Miniature Effects Supervisor Pat McClung, Actors Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn and Christopher Henn
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score by James Horner
  • Composer’s Original Isolated Score by James Horner
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream



  • 1992 Theatrical Version
  • 2003 Special Edition (Restored Workprint Version)
  • Audio Commentary by Cinematographer Alex Thomson, B.S.C., Editor Terry Rawlings, Alien Effects Designers Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Producer Richard Edlund, A.S.C., Actors Paul McGann and Lance Henriksen
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Elliot Goldenthal
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream



  • 1997 Theatrical Version
  • 2003 Special Edition with Jean-Pierre Jeunet Introduction 
  • Audio Commentary by Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Editor Hervé Schneid, A.C.E., Alien Effects Creators Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor Pitof, Conceptual Artist Sylvain Despretz, Actors Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon and Leland Orser
  • Final Theatrical Isolated Score by John Frizzell
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience with Weyland-Yutani Datastream




In addition to over 12 hours of candid, in-depth documentaries, you now have the ability to go even deeper into Alien Anthology history with nearly five hours of additional video Enhancement Pods created exclusively for this collection, presenting behind-the-scenes footage, raw dailies and interview outtakes from all four films. At topical points in the documentaries, you may access these pods to enhance your experience, or watch them on their own from the separate Enhancement Pod index.


The Beast Within: Making ALIEN

  • Star Beast: Developing the Story
  • The Visualists: Direction and Design
  • Truckers in Space: Casting
  • Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978
  • The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet
  • The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design
  • Future Tense: Editing and Music
  • Outward Bound: Visual Effects
  • A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film
  • Enhancement Pods


Superior Firepower: Making ALIENS

  • 57 Years Later: Continuing the Story
  • Building Better Worlds: From Concept to Construction
  • Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization
  • This Time It’s War: Pinewood Studios, 1985
  • The Risk Always Lives: Weapons and Action
  • Bug Hunt: Creature Design
  • Beauty and the Bitch: Power Loader vs. Queen Alien
  • Two Orphans: Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn
  • The Final Countdown: Music, Editing and Sound
  • The Power of Real Tech: Visual Effects
  • Aliens Unleashed: Reaction to the Film
  • Enhancement Pods


Wreckage and Rage: Making ALIEN3

    • Development Hell: Concluding the Story
    • Tales of the Wooden Planet: Vincent Ward’s Vision
    • Stasis Interrupted: David Fincher’s Vision
    • Xeno-Erotic: H.R. Giger’s Redesign
    • The Color of Blood: Pinewood Studios, 1991
    • Adaptive Organism: Creature Design
    • The Downward Spiral: Creative Differences
    • Where the Sun Burns Cold: Fox Studios, L.A. 1992
    • Optical Fury: Visual Effects
    • Requiem for a Scream: Music, Editing and Sound
    • Post-Mortem: Reaction to the Film
  • Enhancement Pods



One Step Beyond: Making ALIEN RESURRECTION

  • From the Ashes: Reviving the Story
  • French Twist: Direction and Design
  • Under the Skin: Casting and Characterization
  • Death from Below: Fox Studios, Los Angeles, 1996
  • In the Zone: The Basketball Scene
  • Unnatural Mutation: Creature Design
  • Genetic Composition: Music
  • Virtual Aliens: Computer Generated Imagery
  • A Matter of Scale: Miniature Photography
  • Critical Juncture: Reaction to the Film
  • Enhancement Pods


  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience to Access and Control Enhancement Pods




  • Pre-Production
    • First Draft Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon
    • Ridleygrams: Original Thumbnails and Notes
    • Storyboard Archive
    • The Art of Alien: Conceptual Art Portfolio
    • Sigourney Weaver Screen Tests with Select Director Commentary
    • Cast Portrait Gallery
  • Production
    • The Chestbuster: Multi-Angle Sequence with Commentary
    • Video Graphics Gallery
    • Production Image Galleries
    • Continuity Polaroids
    • The Sets of Alien
    • H.R. Giger’s Workshop Gallery
  • Post-Production and Aftermath
    • Additional Deleted Scenes
    • Image & Poster Galleries
  • Experience in Terror
  • Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
  • The Alien Legacy
  • American Cinematheque: Ridley Scott Q&A
  • Trailers & TV Spots



  • Pre-Production
    • Original Treatment by James Cameron
    • Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Videomatics with Commentary
    • Storyboard Archive
    • The Art of Aliens: Image Galleries
    • Cast Portrait Gallery
  • Production
    • Production Image Galleries
    • Continuity Polaroids
    • Weapons and Vehicles
    • Stan Winston’s Workshop
    • Colonial Marine Helmet Cameras
    • Video Graphics Gallery
    • Weyland-Yutani Inquest: Nostromo Dossiers
  • Post-Production and Aftermath
    • Deleted Scene: Burke Cocooned
    • Deleted Scene Montage
    • Image Galleries
    • Special Collector’s Edition LaserDisc Archive
    • Main Title Exploration
    • Aliens: Ride at the Speed of Fright
    • Trailers & TV Spots



  • Pre-Production
    • Storyboard Archive
    • The Art of Arceon
    • The Art of Fiorina
  • Production
    • Furnace Construction: Time-Lapse Sequence
    • EEV Bioscan: Multi-Angle Vignette with Commentary
    • Production Image Galleries
    • A.D.I.’s Workshop
  • Post-Production and Aftermath
    • Visual Effects Gallery
    • Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
  • Alien3 Advance Featurette
  • The Making of Alien3 Promotional Featurette
  • Trailers & TV Spots



  • Pre-Production
    • First Draft Screenplay by Joss Whedon
    • Test Footage: A.D.I. Creature Shop with Commentary
    • Test Footage: Costumes, Hair and Makeup
    • Pre-Visualizations: Multi-Angle Rehearsals
    • Storyboard Archive
    • The Marc Caro Portfolio: Character Designs
    • The Art of Resurrection: Image Galleries
    • Production
      • Production Image Galleries
      • A.D.I.’s Workshop
      • Post-Production and Aftermath
        • Visual Effects Gallery
        • Special Shoot: Promotional Photo Archive
        • HBO First Look: The Making of Alien Resurrection
        • Alien Resurrection Promotional Featurette
        • Trailers & TV Spots



  • Two Versions of Alien Evolution
  • The Alien Saga
  • Patches and Logos Gallery
  • Aliens 3D Attraction Scripts and Gallery
  • Aliens in the Basement: The Bob Burns Collection
  • Parodies
  • Dark Horse Cover Gallery
  • Patches and Logos Gallery
  • MU-TH-UR Mode Interactive Experience

  Got all that?  Yes, it’s what I lovingly say is a “shit-ton” of extras.

So yes, this collection gets glowing marks for nearly everything.  Its just got so much you could spend an entire weekend just watching everything and maybe not see it all.

The MU-TH-ER Mode is really neat and packed full of trivia for those of us who’ve seen Aliens enough times we won’t mind text on the screen.  The mode itself is available on all the films (and it can be a bit intrusive.)  But it does add a lot to the experience for the movie buff.

Out of all of the films, the first one is probably the best quality picture wise.  It looks practically new, not 30 years old and a beautiful transfer. 

I have to say I was disappointed with Alien Resurrection’s appearance since it was the newest of the films.  It looked grainy and dark to me, which was sad as the film has a beautiful style to it.  I forgot how slapstick some that movie was, and the newly added credit sequence only adds to it.  Aliens looks good, but not as good as the first film.  I was surprised by this too, although it is a clear and brighter picture. 

Other than the picture lacking a bit, the other problem with these discs are the load times.  THEY ARE HUGE.  Now this is no doubt due to them being packed full of stuff.  Just be prepared for this.  I have a newer LG Blu Ray player and it still took a while.  There’s also the fact that I was having issues with switching from MU-TH-ER mode to regular mode.  It would restart the movies from the beginning. And boy did that get old.  Granted, that might be user error, but I don’t think so. 

So the other issue…the price tag.  The Anthology comes in at a hefty $139.99 MSRP.  But I can tell you that this is worth it, especially if you haven’t bought any other editions of the films before…or yours are really old.  If you have a geek (be it a horror or a sci-fi…or both) that you need to find a great Christmas present for this year, this is the one to get them. 

The Anthology hits shelves this week, right before Halloween.  So before we all watch Walking Dead, I can’t think of a better way to spend the Saturday before Halloween then watching the Alien flicks in this beautiful format.

Fangirl Approved!

The Brits are taking over Middle Earth – Casting the Hobbit

The news about the Hobbit is rolling in.  Half a billion dollars is being spent on the film.  And after losing a game of hardball it sounds like New Zealand is not going to be the land of the elves any longer.

Now casting is being announced and oh my word…

Martin Freeman is offiically Bilbo Baggins the younger version (something that had been rumored for a bit.)  But now we know that The Guy is going to be playing a dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield will be played by Richard Armitage, he of the hot hot leather.  Being Human’s resident vampire, Aidan Turner will be playing a dwarf as well, Kili. 

The rumors are now flying fast and furious about other casting choices.  Genre vets like David Tennant, Bill Nighy, and James Nesbitt are also up in the air (this sounds like the maybe list for Doctor Who all over again.)  But damn I’m excited.

Deadline has more details here.

Here are a few pics for your reference.  Middle Earth just got way sexier.  Eat your heart out Legolas.

Adian Turner

Martin Freeman

Richard Armitage

James Nesbitt

Oink Oink Kill – Pig Hunt DVD Review

Here, piggy-piggy


By J Fountain

Of all the giant killer pig movies, Pighunt is perhaps the best.  The reason: the film refuses to simply retread the clichés of Razorback (1984) [essentially a pop music video with a killer boar] and Chaw (2009) [essentially Jaws with a pig…and set on land, otherwise the pig would drown], and move in a different direction.  But first, let’s set the scene.  The movie opens with a hunter being chased by something and betting caught.  So far, so run-of-the-mill.  The credit sequence kicks in with some naïve paintings of a happy-land style liberation of Iraq.  This is actually an important underpinning for the film, so pay attention.  We then are introduced to young former soldier John Hickman (Travis Aaron Wade) and his sexy Asian girlfriend, Brook (Tina Huang), who we soon learn is the artist responsible for the painting.  John is the hunter’s nephew, and has decided to gather a group of his friends (none of whom really seem to get on) to go to his deceased uncle’s cabin in the woods and hunt some pigs.  It’s never really clear if he knows what has killed his uncle, but he does seem to have an ulterior motive. 

Joining him and Brook on the trip are loud-mouthed wannabe soldier Ben (Howard Johnson Jr), laconic Wayne (Ravij Shah) and lardy dog-lover Quincy (Trevor Bullock).  And Wolfgang the dog.  As a dogy-daddy myself, my heart sank when I saw that a dog was involved in the movie.  Things never end well for the dog in movies like this.  The group set out into the backwoods, stopping off at a stereotypical roadside convenience store for directions.  During this little break, the group meet Kukri-wielding hippy overlord Cimi and a couple of his drugged up beauties, and manage to kill a snake.  Once back on their journey, they pass through the territory of the local clan of inbred hillbilly rednecks, who are John’s former friends.  However, the meeting is brief as the city-folk drive straight through, sharing only suspicious glances with the locals. 

Once they reach the cabin, it seems as if John’s uncle was a little cracked; the place is festooned with skull, antlers, newspaper cuttings and various unpleasant phrases such as “Death Walks On All Fours” daubed on the walls.  Sensibly, the group decide to camp outside.  As the sun comes up, John and Brook are rudely awoken by two of the locals, Ricky and Jake.  It turns out that they and John share a rocky history; John gave Ricky a bad scar when they were children.  There is something of a rivalry between them.  While the men (save John) posture and swagger, and Brook suffers lecherous comments, Quincy tries to make friends and score some drugs at the same time. 

This is not a functional group.  Setting out to find the main wallowing ground of the wild pigs, things don’t go according to plan; a pig cripples Wayne, and relations deteriorate further when a crop of high quality marijuana plants are found on John’s property.  The deterioration of relations leads to a gunshot, and a very pissed of redneck.  Realising things have begun to spiral out of control, John decides to abort his mission of vengeance in favour of getting his friends home safely.  The group splits up…but those who survive will find themselves at the mercy of not just a giant, mutated pig, but also those who worship it…

 This is a great, entertaining movie.  From the opening shot of a sunrise, to the bloody finale, it doesn’t really stop moving for long.  Channelling the best of various exploitation movies from the 70s (indeed, a strong 70s vibe runs through the whole film), such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Death trap, both incidentally Tobe Hooper films, it doesn’t need the gimmicks of retrosploitation fare such as Deathproof and Planet Terror; it achieves it’s goals through an excellent verisimilitude, aided and abetted by wonderfully grimy cinematography, and expert direction. 

You can almost smell the rednecks, feel the mud in your eyes, and taste…well, taste the pig.  There is a fantastic musical sting that twangs into action whenever the heroes do, and it makes you want to yell “The South Will Rise Again”, even if you come from a middle-class British background.  Best if you don’t shout that, of course, or the neighbours may start to wonder what’s going on.  There is a subtext in the movie, perhaps more than one.  There is something in this film about the visceral nature of Man, and the fallacy in following the path of others.  More than that, there seems to be a comment about war.  Is this movie a metaphor for the war in the Middle East…no, but it wants to be.  There is something there, but it is so subtle as to be almost irrelevant.  That being said, the conflict between the three groups: city-folk, rednecks, and hippies, is well played.  Anyone who has seen Deliverance knows not to screw around with the locals, but hippies? 

There are some good performances in this film:  Travis Aaron Wade is excellent as the slightly distant, often lukewarm John; Tina Huang is excellent as the feisty and more than capable Brook, and Howard Johnson Jr is believable as a bravado-drunk loud-mouth out to prove himself a man.  Less remarkable are the rednecks, who seem to have fallen out of any number of “crazed-local” style films (with the exception of Nick Tagas and Jason Foster as Ricky and Jake, who are slight less broadly drawn). 

 The best thing about the film is, as has been said, that it refuses to bow down to established clichés.  What could have been a run of the mill giant pig movie with the whole hunter-prey dichotomy vacillating away at it’s centre does something more interesting: yes, the hunter-prey dynamic is there, but it is not focused on the pig.  The pig is merely the catalyst; the true dynamics of the piece are down to human interrelations and their failures.  Killing the pig won’t solves the problem, because the giant mutated killer pig isn’t the real problem: we are.  Many other movies have tried to present this philosophy and most fail because they flag the issues then try to drown the audience in their moralising and viewpoints.  Pig Hunt is not that blatant.  It is subtle in it’s voice.  Well, as subtle as a movie dealing with a giant mutated killer pig, psycho rednecks, and weird hippy-cults can be, anyway.

French Zombies eat more than snails: The Horde


The Horde

A Review for Fan Girl Magazine

By J. Fountain.


Welcome to the wonderful world of head trauma.  La Horde is a French zombie film, but don’t let that put you off.  Gone of the days of the “Grapes Of Death” and Jess Franco’s other forays into horror: La Horde is the way forward.

 Opening with the body of an undercover cop being angrilly surveyed by his boss, the Jeff Bridges-a-like Jimenez (Aurelien Recoing), the movie starts slowly…for about 5 minutes.  We meet the rest of the police task force: Ouessem (Jean-Pierre Martins), a moustachioed DeNiro impersonator; Aurore (Claude Perron) grim action chick with a secret pregnancy;  and beardy nice-guy Tony (Antoine Oppenhiem).  Together they raid the partially deserted tenement lair of Nigerian gangster Adewale Markudi (Eriq Ebouaney) and his hair-trigger head-case of a brother, Bola (Doudou Masta).  For a crack team of super-cops, they screw this mission up in a big way, very quickly: Jimenez critically injured, after which he comes down with a terminal case of bulletitus dans la cranium, and the others captured. 

Meanwhile, Adewale’s guards are noticing that all is not right in the wider world: the city beyond is lit by flames and flashes, and in Adewale’s bathroom, a recently executed police informant is alive…ish, and hungry for blood. Taking about 150 bullets in the body and limbs just seems to annoy him, and he sets about dismantling Adewale’s crew.  With his teeth.  When the victims begin to reanimate, the survivors decide to decamp, crooks and cops together.  When they realise the city is ablaze, and the zombies are coming, Ouessem makes a deal with the devil, Adewale, to work togther to get out alive.  From the start, you know this deal is never going to see the dawn, but you do extend some hope that human nature can be overcome  for the greater good. 

It’s not long, however, before Bola and 80’s throwback Greco (Jo Prestia) are shoving spanners into the works.  While Aurore helps Tony, shot in the leg during Adewale’s interrogation of the cops, Ouess takes point as they begin to descend through the building.  Suddenly the building rocks with a nearby explosion, and the horde sweep between the two groups, separating Aurore and Tony from the others.  Greco, trapped on the wrong side of a fire-door vents his crazy martial-arts skills (stabbing zombies repeatedly with a flick-knife) before getting let back in.  Ouess is left with the three crooks, goaded by Bola and threatened by Greco, while Adewale stays to the agreement.  Cutting back to Aurore, we find her utilising every bit of equipment in a kitchen to batter a zombie-chick’s head.  Once dispatched by the judicious use of white-goods (a refridgeratior), she returns to Tony who reveals he has been bitten.  All this, and it’s only 40 minutes into the movie.  Ouess and Adewale’s group meet crazed Vietnam veteran Rene (Yves Pignot), who refers to the zombies as chinks and gooks.  Noticing Greco has also been bitten, Rene offers to help him out but cutting off the offending limb: this suggestion doesn’t go down well, and they decide to leave the problem for later…

 The Horde is a fantastic film, full of action and some great characters.  The two standout performances are Jo Prestia and Yves Pignot, both of whom bring a smile to the proceedings with their various kinds of crazy.  Ouess, being the nominal hero, is fine, but although most of the movie is essentially asking us to see through his eyes, he doesn’t have much of a personality.  We find that Adewale is more enticing as a leading man.  The interplay between Aurore and Tony discussing the backstory of the character’s pregnancy is perhaps the most important moment of the film, and it is well played by both actors.  Perron’s shift in character from slightly passive victim to grim survivor who will stop at nothing to save her unborn child is beautifully played and totally believable, and beside, she totally kicks zombie arse.  The other great character moments are between Adewale and his brother Bola.  The sibling rivalry is tense and layered, so you can feel the resentment on Bola’s behalf, but sympathise with Adewale’s brotherly love.  It helps that Jo Prestia gives a lovely “Iago”-like performance as he twists Bola against his brother.

The only complaint is that the zombies seem to arrive too quickly: although staged for maximum effect (the horde at the base of the building, their shadows stretching into the dark; a line of dead moving along the road from the distance) and they are indeed great shots, it just seems too soon.  The Horde seems to be homing in on this tenement only.  But, when that is the only complaint, things can’t be too bad.  The special effects are a mixture of practical and CGI; the practical works well, and the viscera is strewn around with abandon, while the CGI doesn’t quite work as well.  You’ll notice the more blatant use of CGI, and it will jar slightly.  However, you will forgive it, because they’ll be another crazy violent moment in a few seconds.  There seems to be a subtext in the film, probably one about colonial guilt, but it is so subsumed by the gore and the gunfire, it ceases to really matter.  The final moments of the movie are inevitable, but none the more shocking for that.

All in all, the movie screams out to be the first in a series, in the same vein as Romero’s work, because it is so gritty, so grim, and so full of zombie action, it would be a shame to leave this world of the Horde with a single movie.  A great film, that will leave you wanting to bash people’s heads against a concrete pillar screaming “I Am Nigerian!” for a few days.  And that’s not a bad thing.

Rocky Horror Giveaway filled with Anticipation…


Don’t just dream it…watch it!!

That’s right Rocky fans, Fangirl Magazine is giving away a sweet (transvestite) copy of the fabulous that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show 35th Anniversary Blu Ray.   See all that pretty below.  It can be yours to fondle.


But how you may be asking?  Well as always you have to participate…just like the movie wants you to.  Comment below and tell us what your favorite cult classic is and why.  You have until the 25th of October and then we pick our winner.  And no throwing rice at your monitor.

Rocky Horror Blu Ray of Awesome

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Blu Ray Review

By Jessica Dwyer

No one put the cult in cult classic quite like Rocky Horror.  There’s really nothing more I can say about the beauty that is Tim Curry in fishnets and high heels or Richard O’Brien and his gaunt lunacy.  35 years is a lot of time (warp) and the movie and the music still stand up.

So for the 35th anniversary 20th Century Fox has released the film on Blu Ray and it is quite possibly one of the best I’ve seen.

The packaging is in a book filled with some beautiful shots of the actors and Curry in particular in glammed out glory.  The Blu Ray is packed too with not the least of which is a beautiful, clear presentation of the film.  So clear in fact I noticed things I’ve never seen before on the darker regular DVD’s and VHS copies.

Within the Blu Ray is the ability to watch a ShadowCast in the bottom right of your screen while the movie plays (just like in the theater).  There’s a callback track in the top right that tells you what you should be shouting.  There’s a prop box in the bottom left so you don’t have to ruin your living room and that you can activate to throw rice, toast, shoot water, etc at the appropriate times.  Commentary tracks by O’Brien and Patricia Quinn, deleted scenes, a Rocky-oke (kareoke) feature, alternate endings, just TONS of stuff and featurettes too.

There are only two issues I have with the release.  One is the fact that (and this may just be my player but it’s a pretty new one) the load times are insane.  The disc is packed with content and it shows.  It also seemed to get confused a couple of times on what it was trying to do.

The other problem was I was hoping that the 25th Anniversary Special would be included on the disc.  I loved that thing, not the least of which was due to this (click the picture to see the video):

There were other performances too.  But damn Giles.  Anyway, that was a neat special and would have been a great addition to an already awesome release.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show 35th anniversary edition is awesome fun and just in time for Halloween.  Frank-N-Furter and the gang look absolutely beautiful.  This is one that you need to pick up.   MSRP $34.99 and worth it.