Friday, January 14

The Supernaturals (1986) - 1986 Embassy Home Entertainment VHS

Could have sworn I talked about The Supernaturals on here before, but I can't find it. Anyway, this still-landlocked-on-tape horror concerns a modern day platoon, lead by Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Uhura), on field training menaced by tall earthen Confederate zombies with vengeance burning in their powdered heart cavities. The infantry is the 44th, sharing their number with the murderous Union soldiers that forced the now living dead to march across a minefield to their deaths during the waning days of the Civil War. The living's only hope is a young soldier (Maxwell Caulfield) who becomes smitten with a mysterious local woman and an old vagabond recluse living in the forest.

Armand Mastroianni's (Cameron's Closet, Friday the 13th: The Series) The Supernaturals is a serviceable '80s quickie. It's the type of horror film that probably wouldn't even be granted a theatrical release today, that's not a slight, as the simple aims of the no-frills story are accomplished with a dollop of atmosphere. Unfortunately, most of the 90 minutes is spent talking and the ghouls, with looks recalling the decaying gardeners in Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground, only really show up in the last ten. This one is actually suitable for young horror fans first getting into the obsession with no nudity and very little blood as the slow raisin Confederates dispatch the soldiers mostly off-screen. The "worst" content aspect is LeVar Burton fresh off The Midnight Hour cursing like a sailor in his few lines. The prolific Robert Ragland provides an overachieving score that often sounds quite similar to Harry Manfredini's Friday the 13th work.

Not an essential zombie exercise, but if you find a cheap copy it wouldn't hurt if only for the cool artwork. Embassy's VHS is a fine presentation retaining that welcoming "'80s tape look" and sound. It's also always nice to endure no trailers at the beginning and just shoot directly into the movie. Here's a chunk of the best segments on YouTube, from user THESMELLOFBRAINS, to save you the time...

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