3 stars ... and an asterisk
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 12/14/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I give this DVD release three stars, but I need to explain its positive and negative points for you to understand it (hence the asterisk).The good points: 1. The price is unbeatable. 2. You get TWO movies for that price. 3. The movies REALLY aren't all that bad. Ignore for a moment the mediocre acting, the corniness and the poor special effects, and THE KILLER SHREWS has at its heart a terrifying siege while THE GIANT GILA MONSTER has some genuinely well-drawn characters and a surprisingly decent script.The bad points: 1. Yes, the transfer is sub-par. A lot of pixelation, especially during bright flashes in darkness (like the lightning strikes during the hurricane in THE KILLER SHREWS). 2. Two chapter stops per film, and one of each is the beginning. 3. Few 'extras' per se, but some interesting trivia bits on difficult-to-read text screens.Now that you know all that, take into consideration the fact that most VHS copies are recorded in EP, and this DVD (despite its below-average quality) is miles ahead of those VHS tapes... and the price is probably better, too. So, overall, I think it's worth it."
Mixed-bag DVD is OK for the price
Surfink | Racine, WI | 09/16/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Others here have hashed over plot details, etc. so I'll just weigh in with the general consensus that Killer Shrews is the better of the two flicks here. The budgetary limitations are obvious, but if you can get over the fact that the monsters don't look anything like shrews, and the silly duck-walking thing, there's a fairly taut little thriller in there. Giant Gila Monster is less effective, with cornball humor, cringeworthy musical numbers, liberal doses of maudlin sentimentality, and a really blah monster dragging down its 'camp' appeal. This movie really needed Eddie Cahn or Herb Strock at the helm. Watchable but probably not quite bent enough for many C-movie enthusiasts.
The Diamond DVD is a mixed bag as well. First, I did not experience any of the technical problems that others have reported here; my disc played fine (other than some visible pixelation during the lightning flashes in Shrews) and I had no problem accessing any menu items, etc. Second, while neither source print is spectacular, they are definitely NOT transferred from mediocre VHS tapes as one reviewer stated. Compared to my VHS copy of Killer Shrews, the print used here compares quite favorably. There is some light speckling and scratching, but no major damage or jump-cutting. The tonal values are quite decent, (slightly richer than my VHS) and sharpness and shadow/highlight detail are much improved. For the money spent I'm quite pleased with Killer Shrews. Giant Gila Monster fares not so well. Compared to my VHS copy taped off public TV the DVD source print is sharper but also quite a bit darker, particularly in the night scenes and toward the end of the film in general. The highlight and midtone detail are thus actually improved in many scenes, but the shadow detail fills in a bit in the lighter scenes and a lot in the darker scenes, rendering much of the climax of the movie very murky. The DVD also exhibits more overall wear: light speckling and scratching, distracting reel change 'dots', jump cuts between reels, etc. In other words, even though the DVD is sharper, I'm hanging on to my videotape.
For me, Killer Shrews alone is worth the price of this disc (I'm assuming Madacy's version is as horribly butchered as their other Killer Creature Double Features). I wouldn't recommend spending the bucks just to get The Giant Gila Monster unless you have no other copy available. Does anyone have specific info on the quality of Elite's version?"
Robert E VandenHeuvel | 01/20/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Out of the many, many DVDs in my collection, this one I can honestly say is the worst in technical quality I have ever seen. To begin, my high-end player was unable to understand the pitiful menu, rendering it utterly useless. Not that you really need it. There are really only 2 chapter stops per film. Did they actually think we would forget this? Also, I was unable to access the "bonus" features other than Diamond's promotional screen (like I will ever buy another disc from them again!) Want to skip ahead to your favorite scenes? Good luck! My player stopped the disc when I tried to navigate through one of the chapters! Whew! Also, there were a lot of annoying pauses all throughout GILA MONSTER. Never have I placed such an inept disc in my player. After this experience, I probably never will again...unless I want a headache!Why does this disc get one star? Well, if for no other reason than the fact you are getting these two wonderfully campy films on one disc. I just wished the geniuses who authored this disc had put for a little more effort. In this case, you certainly GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!"
Only an extra large pizza would offer more delicious cheese!
Chadwick H. Saxelid | Concord, CA United States | 10/12/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fairly low rent disc, four chapter stops and a hard to read bio page that offers little of real interest. The picture quality is quite poor, one posted review offers the idea that this is a copy of a VHS tape rather than a film negative, during one scene the image breaks up in a cluster of squares (I guess that is what some call refracting?).The movies themselves remain equally low rent 50s swiss cheese fests. Drive-in misfires from an alomst forgotten era. Still monster fans will find more than enough fun in the movies to gobble them up, but they may wish to look elsewhere for better looking transfers of these...gems. The movies are recommended, this particular disc release is not."