Scream (Paramount, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray or DVD, R, 119 min.). While cellphones are in use here, the opening telephone call from the killer is on a landline, same as it was in Wes Craven’s 1996 original, based on a script by Kevin Williamson, a film that spawned three sequels. As one of the young characters explains at length, this film is a re-quel – not sure I understood the difference, but it is something between a sequel and a remake, or else a combination of both. In effect, the film passes the torch of loving horror films to a new generation, although many of them do not survive the rite of passage.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (responsible for the amusing, satisfying “Ready or Not”), based on a script by James Vanderbilt (“Independence Day: Resurgence,”) and Guy Busick (“Ready or Not”), the film links to the original not only by story and the fact that the victims all are connected to characters from the original film, but also by bringing back three of those characters in supporting roles. They are now-former Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette in a deeper role), TV newswoman Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and mom Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell).

That opening call is answered by Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), who is asked questions about the “Stab” films by Ghostface. She barely survives, but the incident is enough to draw her estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) and boyfriend Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) back to Woodsboro. Among Tara’s friends are Wes Hicks (Dylan Minnette of “13 Reasons Why” as a character named in honor of Craven), son of current Sheriff Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton of “Scream 4”); siblings Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding of “Love, Victor”); and Amber Freeman (Mikey Madison).

In the world of the film, the first “Stab” movie was based on the Woodsboro murders committed by Stu Macher and Billy Loomis (aka the original “Scream” murders), but there have been seven subsequent “Stab” films, the last of which was actively hated by fans for messing with what had worked in the previous films.

The film is very satisfying and entertaining on its own and serves as a wonderful homage to Craven. The kills are bloody and rather gruesome, with the ending is set at a memorial party, of course. The only questionable part is a rather bizarre reason for the killing, but I guess it goes with the film’s meta-aspects.

Extras include a look at the film’s bloodlines (8:34), which points out the first victim’s tattoos that honor Craven; an homage to Craven (7:22); a look at the new characters (7:39); and three Dewey-centric deleted scenes (2:58). Grade: film 3 stars; extras 2 stars
Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Let the Wrong One In (Ireland, Dark Sky Films, select theaters and digital, NR, 101 min.). This vampiric comedy from writer-director Conor McMahon (“Stitches,” “Dead Meat”) revolves around too-nice supermarket worker Matt (Karl Rice of “Sing Street”), who has to decide just how thick blood is when his older, estranged brother Deco (Eoin Duffy) shows up at the house, having been turned into a vampire. While Deco thinks it is something that will pass, like his herpes, Matt is not so sure and steals the annoying neighbor’s rabbit for Deco to feed on.
When Matt rings a doctor for Deco, the doctor is replaced by cab driver Henry (Anthony Head of TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), whose fiancée Sheila (Mary Murray) got turned in Transylvania and is now turning as many Dubliners into vampires as she can, including opening a Crypt nightclub, so she and her new mates can rule the city.

The film is very funny and there are copious amounts of blood, including some hilarious projectile spraying; and despite some gore, the ending makes one smile. Grade: 3 stars

The Long Night (Well Go USA, Blu-ray or DVD, R, 91 min.). Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton) is searching for her parents but has not had a lead in 10 years until a phone call from Frank Caldwell. Boyfriend Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) decides to go South with her, but first to have her meet his rich, snotty Hamptons parents. That meeting is never shown, but I have a feeling it would have made for a much better movie.
When the couple arrives at Caldwell’s, they cannot find him, but all the lights are on. That turns out to be because he is dead in a closet, something they do not find out until Frank’s brother Wayne (Jeff Fahey of TV’s “Lost”) shows up. Then members of a cult dedicated to the serpent demon Uktenu start threatening the trio. It seems Uktenu has to be released from being bound on the property during the vernal equinox, aka the long night. The ending is silly and the whole movie just misfires.

It comes with audio commentary by writer-director Rick Ragsdale; his short film about the scariest movie ever, which actually is better than the feature (7:40); and looks at the birthing scene (5:44), the film’s look (5:59) and composer Sherri Chung (6:41). Grade: film 1.5 stars; extras 2.5 stars

The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (Hong Kong, 1984, Arrow Video, NR, 99 min.). This action film from Shaw Brothers Studio, the penultimate film directed and co-written by Chia-Liang Lu (“The Legend of Drunken Master,” “Legendary Weapons”) tells the history-based tale of how the Mongols, aided by inside traitor Gen. Pan Mei, ambush the seven Yang brother generals, strong supporters of the Song Dynasty. Here, two of the brothers escape. Fifth Brother (Gordon Liu of 2 “Kill Bill” films, “Shaolin Mantis”) retreats to the safety of the Qing Liang Temple, where he demands to be made a monk and learns the 8 Diagram pole techniques. Sixth Brother (Alexander Fu Sheng of “Five Shaolin Masters,” “Shaolin Temple,” “The Chinatown Kid”) returns home, but has gone mad. Lily Li plays the mother of the Yang Clan.

One iconic scene has the Fifth Brother shave his own head and burn his skull with incense sticks. There are many fine pole fights in the film, including one that makes use of giant candle holders. In another fight, Fifth Brother uses a cart of bamboo shoots like a machine gun, before continuing to fight on a pile of stacked coffins. He also gets to fight with his tied-up sister on his back.

The film has been restored from the original camera negatives. Extras include audio commentary by Jonathan Clements; a new appreciation by Tony Rayns (22:54); and 2004 interviews, in Chinese, with stars Liu (20:06), Li (32:43) and Yeung Ching-ching, who played Ninth Sister (32:09). Fu Sheng died in an automobile accident before the film was finished, necessitating some script changes. Included is a film tribute to him that was shown in theaters prior to the film (6:12). There also are alternate English opening credits and galleries of trailers and images, plus a booklet with a new essay by Terrence J. Brady. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extras 3 stars

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962, Warner Archive Collection, 2 Blu-rays, G, 140 min.). The only film I saw in wide triple-screen Cinerama was “How the West Was Won” (1962), part of a school trip as I recall. This too was filmed in Cinerama and is presented here in regular widescreen on one disc and in Cinerama “smilebox” style on the other. The basic story is that the two Grimm brothers – Laurence Harvey (“The Manchurian Candidate”) as Wilhelm, who wants to write down fairytales he hears, and Karl Boehm as more practical, nonfiction-writing Jacob – are writing the duke’s family history. Jacob also falls in love with a visitor (Barbara Eden of TV’s “I Dream of Jeannie”).

Interspersed in the film are recreations of three fairytales: “The Dancing Princess,” with a woodsman (Russ Tamblyn of “Peyton Place,” “West Side Story”) trying to figure out why the princess (Yvette Mimieux of “The Time Machine”) is wearing out her slippers each night (with Jim Backus as the king); “The Cobbler and the Elves,” using Puppetoons; and “The Singing Bone,” with knight Ludwig (Terry-Thomas) and servant Hans (Buddy Hackett) seeking to kill a dragon. George Pal directed the fairytale segments.
The film is colorful and comes with overture and intermission musical segments. A lengthy extra (40:19) looks at the restoration process, while related film aspects are covered in shorts. There are radio interviews with Tamblyn (5:11) and Mimieux (5:39) from 1962. Grade: film 3 stars; extras 2 stars

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.

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