As big of a fan of Walter Hill as I am, it is shocking to me that I made it to the age of 36 without seeing Southern Comfort along the way. In fact, I’m not even certain I knew of its existence until I saw that Shout! Factory was releasing it to Blu-ray. This is the service that Shout! Factory provides. With their Scream Factory banner, they are providing the new generation of horror fans with an expert education in the genre, by establishing a brand that they trust, and then introducing them to titles that they probably wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Apparently, even a genre veteran such as myself can be taught a thing or two by the label as well, and have pointed out for me that such a great “lost-in-the-woods” film exists. With a genre legend like Hill behind the camera, and acting legends such as Peter Coyote, Powers Boothe and Fred Ward in front of them, it is amazing to me that not a single person has recommended this film to me, in all of the years that I have been participating in public film discussion. That’s okay, though, because that means the first time I was exposed to this great film was in the form of a Shout! Factory Blu-ray release, with noteworthy extras, and an all new HD transfer of the film.
It’s The Land Of Hospitality…Unless You Don’t Belong.
From the director of The Warriors and 48 Hrs. comes this gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror that “draws you into the eerily beautiful Louisiana bayou…then has you running for your life” (Pauline Kael, New Yorker)! Keith Carradine (The Duellists) and Powers Boothe (Sin City, The Avengers) lead a “first-rate ensemble” (Newsweek) in this “exciting, arresting and tautly told suspenser” (Variety).
Nine National Guardsmen enter the Louisiana swamp for routine training, but an error in judgment by one of the team incites an all-out war with some angry Cajuns who know the territory like the backs of their hands. Armed with a precious few bullets, and confused by the dimly lit, moss-covered maze into which they’ve stumbled, the guardsmen know they’ll be picked off one by one, until they come up with a solution using the only resources they have left…their wits.
Also starring Fred Ward (Tremors, 2 Guns), T.K. Carter (The Thing), Peter Coyote (Jagged Edge) and Brion James (Blade Runner).
Southern Comfort is a beautifully photographed film, and gorgeously captures the Louisiana swamp lands, and uses it to make the viewer feel a real sense of disorientation. While this isn’t a war movie, it really does feel at times like the group is in some far-off land, being hunted by an indigenous force of evil. The Blu-ray does a great job at showcasing the landscape, in a new HD transfer that both cleans the film up enough for the superior format, and retains film elements that reminds the viewer that they are watching a classic motion picture, shot on film. Grain is evident, very rarely to the point of hindering the video presentation. There are some slight compression artifacts that viewers with a better-trained eye than most will notice, but I can assure you that it is nothing really worth complaining about. The colors are spectacular, and I can’t imagine this film having ever looked better than it does here, save for the original theatrical exhibition. The DTS track does an exceptional job at relaying the spooky audio presentation, both with standard sounds one would hear lost in the Bayou, as well as the spectacular original soundtrack to the film. There are some extras on the disc, though not what some would call a lot. What is present, though, is worth perusing. You get new interviews with Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Lewis Smith, Walter Hill and more, as well as the original trailer, outtakes from the film and a still gallery. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release of Southern Comfort is available starting today, and is highly recommended. Visit their website to secure your copy, because this is something you’re going to want for your archives.
- NEW High Definition Transfer
- Making of SOUTHERN COMFORT featuring new interviews with director/writer Walter Hill, producer/writer David Giler and actors Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Peter Coyote and Lewis Smith
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery