Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2017
Release Dates: USA, 1990 (Dark Harvest), USA, 1986 (Escapes)
Directors: James I. Nicholson (Dark Harvest), David Steensland (Escapes)
Cast: David Zyler, Jamee Natella, Debbie O’Der, Cooper Steve Anderson, Patti Negri, Tina Moore, Tracy Vivat, Dan Weiss, Dawn DeNoon (Dark Harvest), Vincent Price, Todd Fulton, Jerry Grisham, Michael Patton-Hall, John Mitchum (Escapes)
DVD released: May 30th, 2017
Approximate running times: 89 minutes (Dark Harvest), 87 minutes (Escapes)
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame Academy Ratio (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Films)
DVD Release: Intervision Picture Corp.
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Dark Harvest is a one and only film directed by James I. Nicholson whose only other film credit includes co-writing the story for the screenplay for the film Prison Planet.
Dark Harvest was a shot on video Horror film that was made during the early part of the 1990’s and during this era the Horror genre was already in decline. And content wise, the film is a strictly by the numbers body count film. The premise is filled with many of the stereotypes that have become synonymous with Slasher Themed Horror films. And when it comes to pacing there are several moments that drag on a tad too long.
Though the performances are best described as a serviceable. This proves not to be too much of an issue, since this film’s bread and butter, are its murder set pieces. With a few of the more notable set pieces being, a scene where one of the young women is hung on a cross and a scene where two men with shotguns try to assault to women who have separated from the main group.
Escapes is another one off directorial effort that was also written and produced by David Steensland.
Content wise, Escapes follows the structure of an anthology film. And the seven tales that makeup this film’s narrative are, Hobgoblin Bridge, Something’s Fishy, Coffee Break, Who’s There, Jonah’s Dream, Think Twice and Hall of Faces.
These tales are more atmospheric, than straight forward Horror. With the strongest of these segments being Hobgoblin Bridge, a tale a young boy is stranded by a dilapidated bridged by his older brother and two other boys. And before they leave the younger brother, these three boys tell him a tale about a goblin that haunts the bridge. Another standout segment is Coffee break, a tale that is rooted in a purgatory reality.
Performance wise the cast are very good in their respective roles. With the standout performance being Vincent Price (Theater of Blood) in the dual role of the mailman and the host of the video that is delivered to the young man. And though his role is limited, his presence in this film elevates a role that would have not had the same impact in lesser hands.
Both of these films are presented in their intended aspect ratio. And when considering the limitations of their sources, these two films look as good as they are going to ever look.
Each film comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and both films come with removable English SDH subtitles. Both of these films were shot on limited budgets and their audio mixes are best described as serviceable. Dark Harvest has some issues with background noise and there are a handful of instances where the dialog sounds muffled. The audio for Escapes fares much better.
Extras for this release include, an interview titled Patti Negri Remembers Dark Harvest (10 minutes 36 seconds), an interview titled Dan Weiss Remembers Dark Harvest Via Video Skype (8 minutes 39 seconds) and an interview titled Tom Naygrow on Escapes Director David Steensland (4 minutes 56 seconds).
Topics discussed in the extra titled Patti Negri Remembers Dark Harvest include, her origins as an actress, why she decided to make Dark Harvest, background information about the film, onset memories, her thoughts about the film and her work as a medium.
Topics discussed in the extra tilted Dan Weiss Remembers Dark Harvest Via Video Skype include, actress Patti Negri and how she lea to him being cast in Dark Harvest, working with director James I. Nicholson, onset memories, his other contributions to Dark Harvest and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Tom Naygrow on Escapes Director David Steensland include, background information about director David Steensland, how their collaboration came about, how David Steensland was a talented director who had a unlucky career, why David Steensland did not take offers to direct larger budgeted films and his thoughts about the film.
Overall another strong release from Intervision Picture Corp.