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Review: These releases show fear comes in all shapes and sizes

This week’s releases include scary monsters; a possession movie; and a pair of callous serial killers

A scene from 'Insidious: The Red Door'
A scene from 'Insidious: The Red Door' courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment
A scene from 'Insidious: The Red Door' courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

This week’s releases include countless scary monsters; a possession movie that’ll bug you; and a pair of callous serial killers.

Creepy Crawly on Blu-ray
Well Go USA

Creepy Crawly (Blu-ray)
While quarantining at a Thailand hotel, guests begin disappearing with no explanation from staff, leaving the group to wonder whether there may be some truth to local urban legends about a terrifying creature rumored to possess its victims.

While the title of this picture may be an accurate description of the monster’s natural state or even the centipedes that do its bidding, it’s really more of a possession movie than a creature feature. It seems to be based on an obscure legend, so it’s almost surprising someone at the hotel would even know it. But with few details, everyone is kind of on their own when it comes to figuring out how to defeat it. A lot of people are already freaked out by the many-legged insect, so the movie will have some viewers’ skin crawling before the ancient beast even appears. While most of the picture is a guessing game of who’s possessed, the last act takes an interesting turn as it’s discovered this creature is smarter than the average monster.

There are no special features. (Well Go USA)

Ghoulies II on Blu-ray
MVD Rewind Collection
Ghoulies on 4K
MVD Rewind Collection

Ghoulies (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)& Ghoulies II (Blu-ray)
Ghoulies: Take a creepy old Hollywood mansion, a naïve young man and a pretty girl, add an over-the-top orgy and some slimy, winged goblins who crawl out of toilets, and you have Ghoulies. Conjured during a party thrown by the mansion’s new owner, the hairy, fanged demons waste no time wreaking havoc on the scene — and declaring the unsuspecting owner their new lord and master!
Ghoulies II: The demonic, toilet-dwelling goblins are back. Stowed away in ‘Satan’s Den,’ the travelling House of Horror operated by carnival workers Larry and Uncle Ned, the Ghoulies merrily devour the sideshow attraction’s patrons… until Larry realizes his horror house is for real and tries to flee the scene.

With the popularity of Gremlins, other studios wanted to capitalize on audience’s new obsession with little mischievous creatures. However, unlike their counterpart, there’s no lovable little furball with which viewers can fall in love. Instead, these pint-sized monsters are ugly and dangerous. In the first picture, most of the party guests are so preoccupied with having a good time, it’s pretty easy for the Ghoulies to reek havoc. An aged carnival horror attraction is the perfect setting for the monsters’ return as they are able to surprise guests who are only expecting a hokey sideshow. These movies are right at home with other absurd ‘80s genre films, but with the bonus of bizarre practical creature effects.

Ghoulies special features include: commentary with director Luca Bercovici; commentary by director Luca Bercovici moderated by Jason Andreasen of Terror Transmission; video introduction by Luca Bercovici; “Editing an Empire: Interview with Ted Nicolau”; “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Interview with Scott Thomson”; “’Just for The Chick Man’ interview with Luca Bercovici”; “’From Toilets to Terror:’ The Making of Ghoulies”; photo gallery; TV spots; theatrical trailer; and mini poster.

Ghoulies II special features include: deleted scenes; introduction by screenwriter Dennis Paoli; “More Toilets, More Terror: The Making of Ghoulies II”; “Under A Magic Moon: Interview with Dennis Paoli”; photo gallery; theatrical trailer; and mini poster. (MVD Rewind Collection)

Insidious: The Red Door on Blu-ray
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Insidious: The Red Door (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
To put their demons to rest once and for all, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and a college-aged Dalton (Ty Simpkins) must go deeper into The Further than ever before, facing their family’s dark past, and a host of new and more horrifying terrors that lurk behind the door.

In 2010, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell reunited to frighten audiences with the Lambert family’s horrific brush with the other side. Now, the horror franchise’s original cast has returned for the Lamberts’ final chapter as they hopefully confront the monsters in The Further for the last time. Josh and Dalton actively blocked the terrors of their past from their memories, but now their lives rely on remembering their supernatural encounter and figuring out how to close the door permanently. The integration of Dalton’s art and his nightmares is a fresh approach to this particular franchise, creating eerie, atmospheric scenes in which something lurks in the dark and waits in corners. It’s a fitting end to the Lamberts’ ordeal that requires everyone play their part one last time.

Special features include: “Past, Present, Further”; and “A Possessed Director.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Natural Born Killers on 4K
Shout! Studios

Natural Born Killers (Collector’s Edition) (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)Fugitive serial killers Mickey and Mallory (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) are two crazy, mixed-up kids that’d give a demon nightmares.

Before Rob Zombie’s Firefly family, there was Mickey and Mallory Knox, who are thought to be based on the same real-life criminal couple that inspired Badlands. But this pair is ruthless in their escapades, brutally murdering groups of people and leaving one survivor to cement their legend in history. The film is highly stylized, but still incredibly violent and gory, fueling debates about the influences of screen violence on real-life murders. Nonetheless, with its high-profile cast (that also includes Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Jared Harris and Robert Downey Jr.), satirical view and dark sense of humor, it gained a cult following over the years. In spite of the horrors they inflict on the innocent, there’s something alluring about the couple and their unwavering love for each other, not even letting jail keep them apart.

Special features include: commentary by director/co-writer Oliver Stone; introduction by Oliver Stone; deleted scenes with introductions by Stone; alternate ending with introduction by Stone; “On Dawn’s Highway Bleeding – Editor Hank Corwin”; “The Scream of the Butterfly — Producer Clayton Townsend”; “A Bloody Pail Of Nitro — Special Makeup Effects Artist Gordon J. Smith”; “Wilderness Of Pain — Cinematographer Robert Richardson”; “Natural Born Killers: Method in the Madness”; “Natural Born Killers Evolution: How Would It All Go Down Now?” documentary; “Chaos Rising: The Storm Around Natural Born Killers” documentary; and theatrical trailer. (Shout! Studios)

Night of the Demons 2 on Blu-ray
Scream Factory
Night of the Demons on 4K
Scream Factory

Night of the Demons (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray) & Night of the Demons 2 (Blu-ray)
Night of the Demons: It’s Halloween night and Angela is throwing a party… but this is no ordinary Halloween party. Everybody’s headed to Hull House, a deserted funeral home and formerly the lair of a mass murderer. But when the partygoers decide to have a séance, they awaken something evil — and these party crashers have a thirst for blood. Now it’s a battle for who can survive the night in Hull House.
Night of the Demons 2: It’s Halloween and the teenagers from St. Rita’s High School want to party at the neighborhood’s haunted house. For years, the Hull House has sat in eerie silence — tales of its haunted past have turned into gory jokes and no one really believes anything ever happened there. However, Angela (Amelia Kinkade), the hostess from hell, is summoning her army of teen demons to the blood-curdling contest between the school’s priests and herself, the princess of darkness. What was intended as an innocent evening of fun and games turns into a hell-raising, life-threatening ordeal … they wanted fun, now they’re in the trick-or-treat party of their lives!

This horror franchise felt heavily influenced by the Evil Dead movies as groups of young people are possessed by foul-mouthed  demons that have weird relationships with sex and want to control everyone. Even though the monsters look familiar, there’s also some very creative touches that make them uniquely bizarre. The fact that the villain returns for the sequel is not very common for this horror subgenre, but it works well in this instance. The classic rules apply in which the kids who sneak off to have sex and/or get wasted quickly fall victim to demons, while the ones who were hesitant to even attend the party must fight for survival — and avoid being consumed by the monsters.

Night of the Demons special features include: commentary with director Kevin Tenney, actors Cathy Podewell, Billy Gallo, And Hal Havins, and special make-up effects creator Steve Johnson; commentary with director Kevin Tenney, producer Jeff Geoffray, and executive producer Walter Josten; commentary with director Kevin Tenney, actors Linnea Quigley and Phillip Tanzini, and casting director Tedra Gabriel; “See You In Hell – An Interview with Writer/Producer Joe Augustyn”; “Contortions and Coffins – An Interview with Actor Jill Terashita”; “The Perfect Punk – An Interview with Special Effects Artist Nick Benson”; “You’re Invited – The Making Of Night of the Demons”; “Amelia Kinkade, Protean– An Interview With Actor Amelia Kinkade”; “Allison Barron’s Demon Memories”; “My Demon Nights – An Interview With Linnea Quigley”; workprint and alternate opening sequence; a short; still galleries; radio and TV spots; and theatrical trailer.

Night of the Demons 2 special features include: commentary with actors Cristi Harris, Jennifer Rose, Darin Heames and Johnny Moran; commentary with director Brian Trenchard-Smith and director of photography David Lewis; “A Tale of Two Demons – An Interview with Directors Kevin S. Tenney and Brian Trenchard-Smith”; “Trick or Treat, Sucker – An Interview with Actor Amelia Kinkade”; “Red Curls And Screams – An Interview With Actor Cristi Harris”; “Monster Mayhem – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Steve Johnson”; “A Sequel With Guts – An Interview With Producer Jeff Geoffray”; workprint and dailies; photo gallery; and trailer. (Scream Factory)

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Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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