Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 18th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1979 (Island of the Fishmen), USA, 1981 (Screamers)
Directors: Sergio Martino (Island of the Fishmen), Miller Drake (additional scenes US version)
Writers: Sergio Donati, Cesare Frugoni, Luciano Martino, Sergio Martino (Island of the Fishmen), Miller Drake (additional scenes US version)
Cast: Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson, Beryl Cunningham, Joseph Cotten, Franco Iavarone, Roberto Posse, Giuseppe Castellano, Franco Mazzieri (Island of the Fishmen), Mel Ferrer, Cameron Mitchell, Bobby Rhodes (additional scenes US version)
DVD released: June 24th, 2014
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Foreign cinema has long had a history of being altered when said films are released in America. Screamers original began as an Italian film known as The Island of the Fishmen. It was picked up for U.S. distribution in the early part of the 1980’s when those involved with this release felt it needed something extra to help it complete with the much more violent and gory Slasher films that were at the peak of their popularity.
Essentially the difference between Screamers and The Island of the Fishmen is a newly shot twelve minute opening sequence with Mel Ferrer and Cameron Mitchell and a series of more gory shots that has been well placed throughout the film. Also for the most part this newly shot footage actually blends in well with the original footage that was shot by Sergio Martino.
Plot wise though things are basically the same, the main difference between these two films being in their tones. Where The Island of the Fishmen is a more lighthearted action /adventure, Screamers goes for a more Horror / Sci-Fi vibe. Also besides adding new footage, the other new addition to Screamers includes the score which features some different musical cues. Overall though there is plenty to enjoy about this alternate version of this film, there is still a part of me that prefers to see it the way that Sergio Martino intended it to be seen.
Scorpion Releasing presents Screamers in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s intended ‘scope’ aspect ratio. For this release a brand new Hi Def transfer has been created from the original IP. Being that this film comes from two completely different sources, the original footage was shot Techniscope and the new footage was shot using a different albeit anamorphic process then Techniscope. This leads too there being a distinct difference between the two used sources. And it is not surprising that the newly shot scenes look a tad better than the footage that was shot by Sergio Martino. The Newly shot opening and other footage looks great as details look crisp, colors look vibrant, black and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. With that being said the Martino shot footage also looks very good. Overall this a strong Hi Def transfer that should look even better on Blu-Ray.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio mixes is also in great shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include trailers for Screamers and Something Waits in the Dark (1 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a stills gallery and interviews with Joe Dante (4 minutes 4 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Miller Drake (11 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Jim Wynorski (10 minutes 50 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Roger Corman (3 minutes 21 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and Clark Henderson (10 minutes 50 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Topics discussed include how each person got involved with this project, how producers Richard Kay and Harry Rybnick bought the U.S. rights to Island of the Fishmen and wanted to add some more scenes with American actors, casting, locations, the special effects involving turning a man inside out, how Roger Corman got involved and the multiple releases under different titles. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Seizure, Night of the Cobra Woman, Stripped to Kill, Sorority House Massacre, Sorceress, Day of the Animals, Dogs and Grizzly. Overall Screamers finally arrives on home video via an exceptional release from Scorpion Releasing, highly recommended.
Note: Scorpion Releasing are also releasing this title on Blu-Ray.