HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Outing/The Godsend
HTS Overall Score:62
WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM BOTH FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW
Scream Factory is back once again with another double feature of cheez, gore and horrific endings with more 80s horror flicks. This time we have a double feature of “The Outing” (originally titled “The Lamp”) as well as a good old fashioned demonic child story with “The Godsend” (who doesn’t like those “Omen” type stories of horrific children)? Both of them are a lot of fun, although each has their own low budget problems as well, with “The Outing” having the most problems due to some studio interference in the editing department for the U.S. release.
The Outing :3.5stars:
Ah yes. Genies. Besides Disney’s version of “Aladdin”, how many genie stories turn out well? Originally known as “Djinn”, they inhabit lamps for a reason. They’re Arabic demons who are stuck in a lamp for all eternity and give out wishes. Unfortunately demons aren’t exactly reliable partners and things very rarely turn out well for the person who rubs said lamp. “The Outing”, originally titled “The Lamp”, and even called “The Lamp” in the opening credits, tells the tale of one such genie and his lamp. The international release was actually 18 minutes longer than this American cut, trimmed for U.S. audiences, and the trimming unfortunately makes a bit of a mess of the film. The opening sequence of the film got a HUGE trim for some reason and is a bit confusing, despite being one of the most important sequences of the film. Basically, we get the idea that an Arabic lamp is taken from a ship decades and decades ago from a Gypsy and is frittered away somewhere. Years later this thief is old and on her death bed, out in the Louisiana swamp. Three young hooligans come to try and rob her of her supposed wealth, only to end up killing the old lady and accidentally unleashing the genie in the process, which of course ends horrifically for them.
Fast forward another few years and the lamp has been transferred to a museum where the curator’s daughter, Alex Wallace (Andra St. Ivanyi) becomes enamored with its power. As you can probably guess, the genie is once more unleashed and it begins inhabiting and controlling the bodies of people, both living and dead, around the museum and causing general mayhem. Having the ability to inhabit people, the genie causes them to commit acts of murder, torture and other horrible things without emotion, only to have their lives end just as horribly as the acts they commit. The walls are splattered with blood, guts, pieces of brain matter and all the other fun things you really want in a horror movie.
The real problem with “The Outing” is the strange editing for American audiences. The cuts are a bit awkward and if you’ve ever seen the original cut, then you’ll understand why I have to give the score a slight cut. Some fairly significant scenes were altered making the story less comprehensible, albeit a little simpler. That opening scene on the boat is supposed to be the opening of the entire film, but it serves as a slight curiosity, as the opening scene for the American version is really the murder of the old Gypsy woman by the ruffians. Don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of fun watching the Genie wreak havoc on the museum, but I really wish that long dead original cut would have made its way to the disc instead of the hacked up American one.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=49562[/img]The Godsend :2.5stars:
“The Godsend” is based off of Bernard Taylor’s 1976 novel of the same name. Similar to “The Omen” in the respect that it deal with possessed children, it is unfortunately not nearly as classic, although, rather satisfying at the same time if you’re looking for a bad movie night. The film begins with a very blatantly evil woman with some demonic connections (Angela Pleasance) dumps her newborn spawn on an unsuspecting couple. This couple, Alan (Malcolm Stoddard) and Kate (Cyd Hayman), are more than happy to adopt a new child, but then again, this is no normal child. After taking in the little girl, things only get weirder and weirder for the innocent couple. Their first baby dies in its crib next to Bonnie (said demon baby) and suspicions aren’t raised. Sooner rather than later, another one of their children drowns with Bonnie nearby, yet surprisingly the couple doesn’t figure it out.
Disturbing and a little rocky, “The Godsend” is part of a sub-genre of horror that can be really stupid, or wildly fun. Little children who kill while under possession of some sort is one of those nightmares that can cause chills to run down your spine. I mean, who doesn’t see the horror in in a supposedly innocent child doing something we would only think capable by a hardened criminal. Yet, at the same time it can come off cheesy as all get out if done improperly because of the same inconceivable premise. If not handled correctly the disconnect is almost too much to handle. “The Godsend” is a little bit of both really. It’s horrifically creepy to watch the aftermath of Bonnie’s murderous rampages, especially when you watch the father carrying his children away during the film. However, the execution is a little flat as Bonnie’s kills become a bit repetitive and the suspense feels more than a bit drained at times.
As a childless person, I’m sure the effect is not as great as for those of you who ARE parents. Seeing the effect on Kate and Alan is saddening enough as an outsider, but for “one of the club” I’m sure it’s even more heartbreaking. Despite its rocky execution and obviously low budget origins, “The Godsend” is more than enough to satisfy that itch for some bad 80’s horror with a group of guys, or even with a 2:00 AM watch (just don’t let your cats sneak up on you just before a kill happens. I still think my heart hasn’t come out of my throat after that experience).
The Outing :3stars:
“The Outing” carries the most problematic transfer of the two films, with the opening scene on the Arabic ship being the worst. It almost looks like it was shot from an inferior source, but then once we get to the Bayou where the hooligans murder the old gypsy, it clears back up. The image is never perfectly crystal clear, but is a bit soft and lacking in fine detail at times. Still there is plenty of detail to go around and is more than passable by HD standards, especially considering how awful the DVD was. Blacks are a bit crushed and there is plenty of print damage to go around, but overall it’s a rather decent transfer for an old 80’s horror title.
The Godsend :4stars:
“The Godsend” is the obviously superior transfer with much more resolved detail and a solid uptick in black level support. Fine detail is also quite pleasing and while there is definitely some print damage present, it’s not as bad as “The Outing”. Black levels are quite decent, and show off some rather impressive shadow detail at times. Neither transfer will win best picture, but “The Godsend” is definitely the one to showcase more HD “pop” out of the two films on the disc.
The Outing :3.5stars:
Sporting a DTS-HD MA 2.0 lossless track, “The Outing” sounds a little bit better than it looks. With a 2.0 track you can expect the limited front soundstage of a non-surround track, but it replicates the theatrical experience with solid dialog and well defined ambient effects. Vocals are crisp and decently clean, with no distortion at all that I could detect. There was the occasional background hiss, but it was REALLY minimal and didn’t affect the overall score at all. There was a little LFE baked into the stereo track which added some oomph to the kills, and I have to say that I was rather impressed with the results.
The Godsend :3.5stars:
Much like “The Outing”, “The Godsend” uses that same style of 2.0 lossless experience that replicates a very faithful 80s style audio track. Vocals are crisp, clean and while a bit boxy, very listenable. LFE is almost nonexistent and we don’t have any surrounds, but the 2 main speakers handle the job rather nicely with only a minimal amount of tinny vocals and strained highs.
• Theatrical Trailer
Neither film is great, but really, that’s not the point here. Bad horror is good in it’s own right, especially classically bad horror from probably the greatest decade the genre has ever known. No one is going to be buying these old double features looking for the next “It Follows” or “Halloween”. They’re looking for awesome nostalgic cheese that would almost certainly have been forgotten about had it not been for Shout/Scream Factory rescuing them. Are they 5/5 star transfers? No, but they look a SIGHT better than their DVD counterparts. “The Godsend” has a noticeable uptick in quality, and while “The Outing” isn’t a perfect transfer, it is finally in its original theatrical aspect ratio and still manages to look better than the old VHS master that the nasty looking DVD had. There really isn’t any special features, but for the price, I don’t think anyone can complain. Recommended for nostalgic cheese.
Starring: Deborah Winters, James Huston, Andra St. Ivanyi : Malcolm Stoddard, Cyd Hayman, Angela Pleasance
Directed by: Tom Daley : Gabrielle Beaumont
Written by: Warren Chaney : Olaf Pooley (Screenplay), Bernard Taylor (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC/1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Both Films)
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R : R
Runtime: 87 minutes : 93 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Buy The Outing/The Godsend Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Fun for a Watch
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