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You know what the biggest problem with horror movies is?  You have to sit there for a good twenty or thirty minutes waiting for the character development and storyline to progress long enough for something horrifying to occur.  If only there was a way to capture the greatest moments in horror and play them back to back for about an hour… oh wait, there is!

Pinhead - Hellraiser
Programme
Ultimate Horror Boogeymen (let's refer to it as Boogeymen from now on) is a fifty-odd minute programme highlighting the better known lead characters to have appeared in horror flicks.  The format is similar in style to that of an intro just before an award is given at a ceremony.  Each segment highlighting the boogeyman, the key characteristics of the bogeyman and a short clip from one of the movies that it appears in – I say it, because they are not all male.

This disc features: Pinhead (Hellraiser), Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Wishmaster (Wishmater), Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Ghostface (Scream), The Leprechaun (Leprechaun), Chucky (Child’s Play 2), Candyman (Candyman), Simon Cartwright (The Ugly), The Fisherman (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Camilla (The Guardian), The Dentist (The Dentist), The Tall Man (Phantasm), Blade (The Puppetmaster), Norman Bates (Psycho), Jason Voorhees (Jason Goes to Hell the Final Friday) and Michael Myers (Halloween).

Of the above, the highlights have got to be Leatherface, The Dentist and Michael Myers; simply because I just couldn’t watch them in full without looking away or sitting on the edge of my seat!  Even Robert Englund couldn’t watch The Dentist clip in full (more about Englund later).  About the only clip that didn’t quite fit in with the rest was the Wishmaster clip; it wasn’t bad, I just think they didn’t select the best one from the movie.  On the black humour side of things, the cult classic Leprechaun features what has got to be the most wacky death scene on the disc.

Chucky - Child's Play 2
These clips can either be viewed as one large programme, or as 19 individual chapters (2 extra ones account for the intro and credits). The former is for the lazy among you because it requires absolutely no interaction apart from starting it.  Opting for the latter allows the special features to be accessed on a per clip basis, so if there is a trailer for that particular movie clip then it will appear in that listing.  I like both approaches and this is the sort of option I like to see on normal DVDs where deleted scenes are concerned.

Video
Standard 4:3 I’m afraid.  Essentially the disc is a load of clips of movies from the 60s right up to the 90s, and as you would expect, there is considerable aspect ratio variations.  As the disc progresses, it subtly jumps between full frame and various letterboxed modes;  something that can’t really be helped unless they were to opt for cropping all of them, but then many of the scenes would lose their shock value.

I can’t really comment on the quality of the print either, as it varies so much through the disc; the older the movie the lesser the quality – except for Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre which were better than expected.  Clips from Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer are the highlights visually speaking.

Audio
It is the same sort of situation with the audio.  Although the packaging boasts 5.1 surround, only those higher budget movies made in recent years make use of all the channels.  They have made no effort to remix the older clips so these only use the front two channels.  It isn’t that impressive but is what I expected.

Camilla - The Guardian
Extras
As mentioned earlier you can either watch the entire reel of clips as a whole, or view each of them one at a time as chapters.  Using the chapter option allows you to see what extras directly relate to the clip being played, and hence you can view these extras from the chapter menu.  The other approach is to go to the special features menu and select the type of feature you want to look at.

Legends of the Boogeymen is a series of double page texts supplying a background for each of the boogeymen.  It doesn’t cover all of them (possibly because not all of the boogeymen have know history) but those that it does describe are really interesting.  It did surprise me that so much effort was put into creating backgrounds for these characters – yet many totally forget to mention them in the actual movies.  In total there are eleven of these character backgrounds.

FlixFacts Animated Trivia is effectively an information bar that appears at the bottom of every clip when this feature is turned on.  It is used to display trivial bits of information such as the cost of creating the movie, the amount of money the movie made, famous people who appear in the movie and so on.  It was really interesting, sort of like a commentary track, but without losing the sound.  One thing I was expecting it to say was that Jennifer Aniston starred in Leprechaun early in her career – but it didn’t.

Robert Englund is possibly the highlight of this disc, as he provides a valuable insight into each of the horror clips via the commentary track.  Such useful trivia as the Wishmaster features an actor who gets killed in a morgue, that actor is in fact the nephew of Jack Klugman – Quincy. He also explains how they found the mask of Scream’s boogeyman Ghostface almost by chance.  This commentary covers all the clips.

The two features mentioned above can actually be both used at the same time.  I’m sort of used to absorbing information from more than one source at the same time, so it was fairly easy to listen to the commentary, watch the scene and read the FlixFacts appearing at the bottom at the same time.  Others may not find this; at least it means you don’t have to watch the whole thing more than twice – if that matters.

Michael Myers - Halloween
Whilst listening to the commentary and reading the FlixFacts I got the impression that something wasn’t quite right.  Every-so-often you would get Englund saying one thing and the FlixFacts bar saying something totally different.  At the beginning the bar mentioned one actor was someone’s cousin, yet Englund was determined that the relative was in fact a sister.  Another point about these two features is that they repeat each other; it would often be the case that Englund would say something and then a couple of minutes later a virtually identical piece of information would appear on the FlixFacts bar. It’s almost as if the people who did the information bar were a bit lazy.

Name that Fame Game is an interactive puzzle that randomly displays a still from one of the clips; it is up to you to select which of the films the still comes from.  There’s no real reward for getting the answers correct and provided you watched all the clips they are in fact really easy to complete.  It only kept me occupied for a few minutes.

On the other hand the trailers section was somewhat interesting.  Not all the films were represented here, just 12 of them, but what interested me was the style of the trailers.  For some reason I found that the older movie trailers actually attracted my attention more so than the more modern ones.  In addition to the normal trailers, there is one that advertises another disc in the FilmMix series called Ultimate Fights.  Ultimate Fights was the first in the series, and going by the trailer, it lends itself far greater to this format than this Boogeymen disc.

Finally there’s the DVD-ROM content; essentially it is a load of mp3 files of various horror related sounds such as screaming… they do appear to be good quality.  The other element worth mentioning is a web based quiz where you have to get so many questions correct in order to progress up a level.  I found this to be a lot more difficult than the alternative quiz feature mentioned earlier, but at the same time frustrating so I didn’t play the quiz for any considerable amount of time.

Jason Voorhees - Jason Goes to Hell the Final Friday
Overall
This is a disc for all the horror buffs.  Those that want to know who are the best bad guys of horror and see the best bits of their movies.  I guess it could also be good for those of you with little patience, those that like to get the adrenaline rush from watching a good horror movie but don’t like the all important character development and storyline.

Personally, I don’t think I would buy this disc.  Not because I didn’t like it, but for the reason that I have already seen most of the movies on this disc, and learned to appreciate watching the scenes within the context of the stories; as such this disc makes the movies feel like they lack substance – empty even.  My first viewing gave me the impression that I was watching one of those taster discs that companies like Columbia Tristar regularly post out to the general public - in the hope that the featured discs will be purchased.  On repeat viewings I realised that there was definitely a lot more to this disc.

So there you go, recommended for horror buffs, adrenalin junkies and, um, anyone that wants to get into horror but doesn’t know where to start.


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