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Dark Harvest & Escapes - Dark Harvest & Escapes( DVD) [Intervision/Severin Films - 2017]

From Intervision (Severin Films mainly SOV/ obscure VHS  Imprint) here are two examples of cheesy, lo-fi,  badly acted/ madeĖyet at times enduring horror cinema from the late 80ís/90ís.  Dark Harvest is dumb tourist meets hillbillies & scarecrow film from 1992. And Escapes is a fairly tame horror anthology from 1986, featuring one of the last performances of horror legend Vincent Price.

The release is an all-region DVD, and like the other Intervision DVDís Iíve seen, both films remain fairly untouched & un-remastered. So you very much get that genuine VHS experience, with an often washed-out picture, and uneven sound quality- so donít come into expecting crisp colors &  sound here. But I guess this adds to the feeling of authenticity. On the disc, we also get a few extras, and Iíll discuss these later after Iíve covered the films themselves.

So first up we have 1992ís Dark Harvest, and itís fair to say this is one of the less eventful SOV films Iíve seen, with little of the write-ups promise of scarecrow action. Though on the plus side we get a shed load of awkward & at times unintentionally amusing dialogue, annoying characters, a few what-the-hell moments, the odd bit of female flesh, and a very light sprinkling of gore.  The whole thing starts off kinda-of promising, as we get a couple lost  in the desert- she suddenly & rather randomly decides to take her top off uncovering naked flesh- then they go & investigate a noise in some ruins, and promptly get gorily attacked by a clearly latex mask-wearing scarecrow- and this all happens in the first five minutes!.  Sadly the pace of gore & action slows almost completely after this point, and we get a collection of stupid & badly contrived characters deciding to trek across a US desert after their van breaks down. So we get lots of badly written dialogue & stupid decisions, weird red necks, and finally in the last twenty or so minutes we get fairly sparse scarecrow action. Iíll have to admit quite often this film did feel like a real slog, with serious pacing issues, lack of proper plotting, and truly inane characters. But from time-to-time itís shines in its badness,  be it unintentionally funny dialogue, particular bad acting, contrived bickering, or the occasional quirky/ wacky scenes. If youíre going into this looking for a good Ďní creepy scarecrow movie, youíll be sourly disappointed. But if you go in expecting an uneven, though at times rewarding bit of 90ís SOV youíll be satisfied enough.

 

Next, we have Escapes from 1986, and this is a rarely seen & just about forgotten anthology film. As mentioned early- it features the horror legend Vincent Price in one of his final roles- Price features in the wrap around the story which is all about a young man getting a video tape. Mr Price looks very frail & elderly in the dual role as a strange mailman (delivering the VHS), and host on the tape its self. The film takes in seven stories in itís nearing hour & a half runtime, and to be honest, the stories here often feel a little short/ rushed, and more often than not they donít have any sort of resolve or twist. The six stories are Something's Fishy- where an unpleasant fisherman lands up been the bait. Coffee Break- about a delivery driver who canít get out of a town. Who's There- about a man who finds & follows a baby Sasquatch. Jonah's Dream- about a cash struck widow, who finds something from another world in her dead husband's effects. Think Twice- features a homeless man whose rob, and then gets revenge on his robbers with a strange glowing stone. Hobgoblin Bridge- which is about a young boy scared to go through a covered bridge. And lastly, Hall of Faces- which finds Matt( the young man who was given the tape), lost in the lo-fi surreal world that Mr. Price is hosting from. As anthologies go I canít say itís great, as many of the stories just feel half told & sudden in their ends, but as a late 80ís horror curio go itís ok- though it is sad to see the once so powerful screen presences of Mr. Price so diminished.

Extras wise we get three interviews- which in total add up to around twenty-five minutes. We get an interview with two male & female actors from Dark Harvest- both have fairly fond memories of the films shooting, and each have had a fairly interesting lifes beyond the film- the female actress is now a psychic medium, and the male actor (who now works in tech) appeared in one of the early adverts for AOL when the net was in its infancy- so both  of these interviews are worthy.  Lastly, we get an around the five-minute interview with the distributor of Escapes- and this gives a few nice insights into the film's director.

In finishing, itís great to see Intervision uncovering another two obscure horror films from the past. Neither film is really long lost gems, or anything close- but if you have the penchant for trashy & cheesy movies from the 80ís & 90ís, itís certainly worth checking this out.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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