This Double Feature release from SCREAM! FACTORY, brings together two films that had previously released together as a 4 movie pack by SCREAM! FACTORY, titled All Night Horror Marathon(The other films in the set were WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN (1971) , and THE VAGRANT (1992) ). in 2013. There are no special features(aside from the Theactrical trailer for THE GODSEND). However, each of the films, for this release have been given new HD transfers.
The Outing - 1987 - Directed by Tom Daley -
First : The myth of genies and magic lamps is real in the 1987 film, THE OUTING(also known as THE LAMP).
The film starts off in Galveston Texas, in the year 1893. We are at sea, and we come upon a suspiciously quiet ship. But there's a reason for that. Yes, it's because the ship, as well as its crew, have been viciously slaughtered by someone, or some-thing unseen to us. In the last moments of the opening scene, something revealing occurs, when we see a woman, snatch an old, seemingly valuable lamp from the ship. Fast forward to present day, when we are introduced to a trio of would-be robbers as they plan to raid the house of an elderly woman, robbing her of her supposed valuables. But just when they believe that they have hit pay dirt, something goes tragically wrong after they chose the open the lady's antique lamp. Now, with the old lady dead as a result of the attack, the lamp, eventually makes it's way to a local Houston museum, in which Dr. Wallace is the curator. When the lamp arrives,Wallace and the rest of the museum crew know little about the new piece, but little did they know that they'd be in for a hell of a surprise. Trouble begins when Wallace's daughter, Alex becomes possessed by the supernatural power which lies inside the lamp. With the Genie(or "Jinn"), now in control, Alex convinces a group of friends, which includes her boyfriend, Ted, to spend the night in the museum after hours. Of course it doesn't end well. Sooner than later, the supernatural force unleashes havoc as it begins to kill off the teens in a variety of ways, by manipulating various items. With time running out, coincidentally, it's up to Alex to put an end to the ancient evil (which eventually takes the form of an imposing monster), by successfully destroying the lamp.
When receiving this Blu-Ray to review, I had previously mistakenly identified this film as being another film by the same title. I had mistaken this film with a film released in 1981 as SCREAM, which was later titled THE OUTING in other film markets. The other film, is one that I have been meaning to see, but have yet to do so(no matter how awful it seems to be). So, when I realized that this film(which is mostly known as THE LAMP), was not the film titled THE OUTING, that I was looking for, I was a little disappointed. However fortunately enough, this one ended up being a film that i'd rather enjoy, regardless.
THE OUTING is a film, which takes to ancient mythology. The idea that genies spring from lamps at the request of their "master", in order to grant wishes. Here, the design of the Jinn(Genie), takes on the shape of evil, to eventually grant a wish. A death wish, that is! It does take the Tom Daley directed film, a little while to take shape of its own. However, when things get started, the film becomes pretty fun. THE OUTING, is full-on camp and silly, and shouldn't be judged beyond such. Going into this film, I wasn't quite sure how I would receive this film, but to be honest, I didn't think that I would enjoy it. While, I did like the idea of teens spending the night in an empty museum, I wasn't so sure about the possibility of a "haunted lamp", or anything having to do with Middle Eastern culture. It just isn't my thing. However, I was surprised to find here, a combination of the two things that actually works in a cheesy, '80s Horror kind of way. The film has the classic '80s setup, along, with the types of characters which were staples of the time period. We have the ex-boyfriend/bully, and his sidekick, the teacher that opposes him, the boyfriend of the film's main heroine, who seems desperate to prove himself, to her. And of course, there is a diverse group of friends, whom die in diverse ways. Actress Andra St. Ivanyi, leads the film as Alex Wallace, the typical teen who longs for a better relationship with her dad, but finds that happiness in her circle of friends and boyfriend. St. Ivanyi, whom makes her debut here(and seems to have not acted since), is '80s cute, and has charisma that makes rooting for her, rather easy for the viewer. The good thing is that the film spends most of its time focusing on Alex and her friends, instead of trying to dive further into the background of the lamp. Had it done so, THE OUTING would have been very different, and possibly very boring. Luckily, instead, we have a steady moving Horror film that is not unlike similar films such as THE INITIATION, and CHOPPING MALL. All of them having to do with teens staying in an empty building overnight - thus inevitably facing some sort of danger in the end. THE OUTING, takes a supernatural route, which is firmly rooted in fantasy. The end result is a film that is silly in concept, yet fun to watch. It's the type of campiness that's worthy of multiple viewings.
As for the presentation of the film. As noted above both films included in this release, have both received new transfers. But when it comes to THE OUTING, the term, "new" doesn't necessarily mean that it is sparkly clean. The entire film is accompanied with a rather heavy grain. It's a little rough at times(especially in the more darker scenes), but not the worst we have seen. There are also the occasional dust and scratches seen throughout the print. But aside from picture quality, one plus is that the film is presented in widescreen on this release. Within the previous 4 movie All Night Horror Marathon release, while 3 of them were in fact, widescreen, THE OUTING was not. With that, THE OUTING has been given an upgrade for this release.
Overall Rating : 6.5/10
THE GODSEND - 1980 - Directed by Gabrielle Beaumont -
Next up - In the 1980 film, THE GODSEND, Alan Marlowe, an Illustrator and his wife Kate lead a normal life. Kate gave up her job working in TV, so she and Mr. Marlowe could raise a family - they have four kids and enjoy a peaceful life in the English countryside. However, their life soon changes when they meet a mysterious stranger at the park(Angela Pleasance - daughter of Donald). Kate invites the strange woman, who's very pregnant, into the Marlowe home for a chat and a drink, however Alan is suspicious of the woman, and urges his wife to ask her to leave. However, when it comes time for the stranger to go, a storm makes it nearly impossible to leave while in her condition. And so, the Marlowes ask for her to stay for the night. However, before they can all pack it in for the night, the woman suddenly goes into labor. Giving birth to a seemingly healthy baby girl that night, the woman mysteriously vanishes the next morning, leaving her baby behind. Following this, not fathoming the idea of giving the child up, the Marlowes add the baby to their growing family, making her their own. Naming the child, "Bonnie", the family continues on normally, and things for the family, seem as though they couldn't get any better. That is, until things seem to take a rather drastic turn, when suddenly, the Marlowe children begin to turn up dead under mysterious circumstances. With his family slowly diminishing in numbers, Alan and Kate both begin to suspect that Bonnie is in fact, more than just a "normal" child.
THE GODSEND is a CANNON FILMS Production, which was based off of the Bernard Taylor novel of the same name. And while it appears to have been an original work, one cannot help but to compare it to the 1976 film, THE OMEN. There is just no way around it, as the two ideas are basically, nearly identical in every aspect. Aside from the obvious gender change(this time the evil Terror is a girl, instead of a boy), and the introduction of the pregnant woman, who would give birth, the general idea, and overall story structure are nearly the same. THE GODSEND even moves along as we progressively watch as the child grows through several stages of life. And like THE OMEN, people die, and a family slowly deteriorates, seemingly at the will of a Devil's spawn. The biggest difference between the two films, is that the much more popular film, THE OMEN is much more grander scale, production-wise. THE GODSEND, is a CANNON production, and if there is any thing to know about CANNON, it is that most of their output, although fun, was more lower budget. Unlike THE OMEN,THE GODSEND makes no secret about what it is that we are getting here, as we know that Bonnie will be evil from the start. This is immediately apparent in the way that the pregnant woman causally talks about having bared many children before, yet she doesn't have any of them with her physically. Right from there, we know that all is not well. So there is no wonder, no mystery as to what would occur from there. With the Marlowes having a big family, which includes four children, it was rather obvious, that as Bonnie got older, she'd somehow pick them off one-by-one, it's inevitable. But is watching the story unfold enjoyable? Well yes, and no. While THE GODSEND isn't all that bad a film itself, it pays out pretty much by-the-numbers, when it comes to "demonic child" Horror. And it is most unfortunate for the film, that it plays out very not unlike THE OMEN, which has a far bigger fanbase. So instead of being its own stand alone film, it will likely be viewed by most as being a "copy cat" film of sorts. The film is just OK, and knowing that there is a far superior alternative out there, only further hurts the film. For the type of film that it is, THE GODSEND merely just does it's job, bringing to the table only faint signs of its own originality. It could have been a much better film, had it given us at least something that was not expected. But unfortunately, it is all pretty much routine. As mentioned, both THE GODSEND and THE OMEN share many similarities, from it's story, and structure, right down to the fact that they both were mostly shot in the UK. Only THE GODSEND is the more inherent of the locale, as it is "very British" in feel.
As for the transfer, like THE OUTING, THE GODSEND gets a new HD transfer here. Out of the two films featured in this double bill, it is THE GODSEND that has the better looking transfer. It has good color balance with a natural grain look. The overall appearance of the film is rather soft, but it would appear that this was the intention of the filmmakers.
Overall Rating : 4/10