BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Highway to Hell (1991) - Blu-ray Review

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  • Film Details

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Highway to Hell - Blu-ray Review

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4 beersWhen a young couple decides to elope and marry in Vegas, the road they take drags them straight into hell itself.  Literally.  Highway to Hell is an engaging and campy tale of just how far one man will go for the women he loves.  There is weirdness and laughs all around him as he stares the devil down.  Starring Chad Lowe and Christy Swanson, the film isn’t really a considered a success outside of the whole B-movie shtick but – with this blu-ray release from Kino Lorber – hopefully more people will hitch a ride into some really bizarre desert territory.

Directed by the Dutch filmmaker Ate de Jong (Drop Dead Fred) and featuring cameos from four members of the Stiller Family: Jerry Stiller, his wife Anne Meara, Ben Stiller, and Amy Stiller, Highway to Hell is not to be taken seriously.  The overall premise is absolutely batshit insane and so is the acting, ranging from poor to over-the-top to completely spot-on as Hell itself gets a bit roasted by the searing script from Brian Helgeland (writer of L.A. Confidential, Mystic River and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Warriors).

And with numerous references to “satanic mechanics” (Thank you Rocky Horror) how could it possibly?  So, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, this horror comedy flick has a tasty time serving up dishes for the dead and a celebrated young virgin – how refuses to “make it” in a beat up Ford Pinto – snatched up by the devil’s hand.

Thanks to the meth-fueled efforts of make-up artist Steven Johnson, much of Highway to Hell is a film for creature enthusiasts.  The creature designs – including the Hell Cop psycho Sergeant Bedlam (C.J. Graham) who begins the entire race to the finish line by abducting Charlie’s girl in the first place – are detailed and top notch, securing its place among only a handful of early ‘90s film to actually use solid practical effects.  The film itself is bizarre and unpredictable which results in expectations – especially if you are watching as a fan of Drop Dead Fred – to consistently be challenged. 

And it’s not like Charlie wasn’t warned of what not to do while traveling the stretch of road with his beloved.  At the last service stop, an elderly man named Sam (Richard Farnsworth) said as much.  Do not stop.  Keep going.  But that’s the price you pay when you fall asleep at the wheel!  Boom!  You’re in Hell.  And its dead denizens are not so pleasant, each and every one of them clawing their way for a chance to get outside of Hell’s gates.

Low-budget camp updates the classic tale of Orpheus with the release of Highway to Hell on blu-ray this week.

Highway to Hell - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for bizarre fantasy violence and for nudity
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Ate de Jong
Writer:
Brian Helgeland
Cast:
Patrick Bergin, Adam Storke, Chad Lowe
Tagline:
The cops on this road don't take you to jail... They take you to HELL.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Just close your eyes and picture a Porsche.
Distributor:
Hemdale Film
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 13, 1992
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 2, 2016
Synopsis: Charlie Sykes and his girlfriend Rachel Clark are traveling to Las Vegas to secretly get married to each other. The decide to follow through a secondary road, and while fueling their car in "Sam's Last Chance" gas station, they are advised by the owner and attendant Sam to not sleep after the second tree in the road. They fall asleep in the car, and a policeman arrests Rachel. Charlie returns to the gas station, and Sam tells him that she has been arrested by a Hellcop, and he has to go to hell if he wants to rescue his fiancée. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Highway to Hell - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 2, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Released from Kino Lorber, the AVC encoded image (1.84:1 aspect ratio) is a nice update to all those poor (and mostly unauthorized) DVD releases from yore.  The film is definitely in need of an upgrade and the transfer is beyond serviceable.  While nothing sticks out, there is a crispness to much of the image and the details in the make-up and creature effects is appreciated.  Black levels are solid and so is the overall color saturation.  The sound – presented here in 2.0 DTS-HD mix – doesn’t add much but it also doesn’t offend.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The commentary with de Jong is worth the purchase.  Seriously.  It’s pretty detailed and fun.

Special Features:

At least Kino makes the effort with this B-movie gem.  It’s not much but it is better than some of their previous offerings.  Outside of the commentary, you get a revealing interview with Johnson about his drug-fueled experience on the film, a trailer and then an animated image gallery of publicity shots.

  • Interview (11 min)
  • Animated Image Gallery (2 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2 min)

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