• The Dark Side Of The Moon (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Unearthed Films
    Released on: June 25th, 2019.
    Director: D.J. Webster
    Cast: Robert Sampson, Joe Turkel, Camilla More, John Diehl, Alan Blumenfeld
    Year: 1990
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Dark Side Of The Moon – Movie Review:

    Set in the stark future of 2022, The Dark Side Of The Moon takes us into the bowels of a space ship called the Spacecore 1. Its mission is to investigate and repair the satellites that Earth depends on while they remain in orbit above the planet. While trying to hone in on the location of one such satellite, the ship experiences a serious malfunction and its systems go down. The ships unusually foxy robot/computer, Lesli (Camilla More), remains operational but the crew – made up of a scientist named Paxton (Joe Turkel), lead pilot Flynn (Robert Sampson), co-pilot Giles (Will Bledsoe), mechanic Jennings (John Diehl), fellow mechanic Cookie (Wendy McDonald) and unusually chubby doctor Dreyfuss (Alan Blumenfeld) - is now short on time and short on oxygen, even if Lesli assures them that everything is fine with the computer system.

    Then, out of nowhere, they detect an aged NASA space shuttle floating nearby. Figuring they can board it and maybe salvage what they need to get things back to normal on their own ship, they connect to the ship and board it – from there, things get weird as something begins to possess the crew members leaving Paxton to try and figure out what is happening and why.

    The Dark Side Of The Moon starts off as a bit of a rip off, really. The opening scene is clearly meant to conjure up images from Star Wars, with its text and ‘looking up’ view of a massive space ship floating across the screen. It doesn’t take too long for the movie to borrow from Alien either. Yet, despite the fact that the movie does wear a few influences on its sleeve, around the half way mark it takes a sharp right turn into far more unusual and unexpected territory. Without going too far into spoiler territory, the movie retains its sci-fi and horror trappings but introduces into these elements healthy doses of supernatural and Biblical influences while simultaneously pulling from that unexplained phenomena that is The Bermuda Triangle! So yeah, it starts off as shockingly unoriginal but stick with it, because The Dark Side Of The Moon soon starts to do its own thing and once it does, it does it well.

    Performances are pretty solid. It’s neat to see Joe Turkel, immortalized as the bartender in The Shining, given a prominent role here. He’s well-cast as the scientist on board and he does a good job here. It’s also cool to see Robert Sampson, best known as Dean Halsey in Stuart Gordon’s classic Re-Animator, given plenty of screen time. These guys do a fine job, as does the rest of the cast, really. Also worth mentioning, Camilla More, from Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, steals a few scenes as the weird humanoid robot.

    The movie was clearly made on a low budget. The sets are clearly sets and some of the miniature work is obviously miniature work – but this won’t bother those who appreciate practical effects. Better this than soulless CGI. The movie builds nicely and gets quite tense in its second half.

    The Dark Side Of The Moon – Blu-ray Review:

    The Dark Side Of The Moon arrives on Blu-ray from Unearthed Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen taken from a new 4k restoration. There’s a tiny bit of print damage here and there, but it’s relegated to small white specks, nothing more serious than that, and it’s never distracting. Detail is generally quite impressive here, especially in close up shots. Sometimes this does the effects work no favors but it’s a very nice-looking picture. Colors look really good, they pop nicely without looking oversaturated, and blacks are nice and deep. The picture looks filmic, there’s the expected amount of natural grain here, and there are no problems with any compression issues or noise reduction problems.

    The main audio option on the disc is an English language LPCM 2.0 stereo track that is clean, clear and balanced. It offers easily discernible dialogue, good sound effects and solid music reproduction. The disc also includes a ‘vintage’ LPCM 2.0 track that is basically the same, just without any additional cleanup work done to it – there’s a bit of audible hiss on this one. No alternate language or subtitles of any kind are provided here.

    Supplements start off with an audio commentary featuring producer Paul White and Unearthed Films’ Stephen Biro that proves quite interesting. It isn’t always scene specific, rather, it starts with White talking about how he wound up in the home video business before then making the shift into actually producing films. He details his partnership with Keith Walley, talks about coming up with the idea for The Dark Side Of The Moon, explains the unusual religious and supernatural angles that the film takes on, talks up the contributions of the cast, crew and director, notes the budgetary restraints and more. It’s a good talk, lots of interesting information in here for those who want to know more about the film’s history.

    After that, we dig into a few featurettes starting with an interview with Allen Blumenfield that runs forty-minutes. He talks about how he got his start doing live theater in California, some of the early gigs he took basically to pay the rent and feed his kids and then finally catching a few breaks that allowed him to work regularly after that. He talks about how he wound up in this picture, what it was like auditioning for the film, how he got along with the other cast members and how D.J. Webster was as a director. Up next, FX artist Chris Biggs is interviewed for thirty-five-minutes in a piece that sees him explaining how he got his start in the business, ideas that we created for the film but never used, working alongside Webster and more. Stuntman Chuck Borden also appears on camera in a twenty-minute interview where he shares some stories from the limited two-day stint that he had on the shoot. He shares a few stories from the set and also talks about how he got into doing stunt work professional for the film industry.

    Also included on the disc are some budget notes, a still gallery, a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for A Record Of Sweet Murder, DIS, The Unnamable, The Song Of Solomon and Nightwish. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided.

    The Dark Side Of The Moon – The Final Word:

    The Dark Side Of The Moon starts off like a cheap knock off of better known and better made films but soon takes some unexpected twists and turns into far more interesting territory than you first expect. It turns out to be a pretty entertaining low budget blend of sci-fi and horror, and Unearthed Films has done an excellent job bringing it to Blu-ray with a really strong presentation and a nice assorted of extra features too.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Dark Side Of The Moon Blu-ray screen caps!