Over here in the land of The Liberal Dead, we have all found Stake Land to be one of the better vampire/apocalyptic films in recent years. While some may love it more than others, this film is worthy of some sense of admiration. With its aupoicious begininng at the Toronto Film Festival, Stake Land has headed towards compete sucess even though it did poorly in theaters. With a horror film nowadays, it’s all about VOD and DVD/BLU sales to merit success.
Stake Land has already been reviewed by Justin LaLiberty and he gave it a solid 7 out of 10 (though I would probably rate it higher, he was fair), you can also head over to The Blood Sprayer, where Shawn Savage gave his opinion (he loved it). If I can give my brief take on Stake Land, I would say that this movie was a breath of fresh air in a market where horror comedies seem to be the only thing people talk about. The sexual-ization of vampires is overdone at this point and we need to make them horrific again. Stake Land is dark, bleak, and intense. It’s everything you want a film like this to be, similar in the vain of The Road but a little less dreary. I must say, there are some really powerful and heart wrenching scenes in this film that make this title stand out from anything I have seen in recent years. If you love horror, then please, pick this up.
The Blu Ray release of Stake Land has over 2 hours worth of material, which goes behind the scenes to show you how the film was made and there are some short films that expand on the overall story (or universe). Included in the cheaply priced Blu Ray there are 2 different Cast and Crew Audio Commentaries, a behind the scenes featurette called “Going for the Throat: The Making of Stake Land”, Characters Prequels: 7 Short Films, Video Diaries, and Toronto Film Festival Premier with Q & A. Pretty chock full for a $13.49 (as of right now) Blu Ray not to mention an indie horror film. Let’s take a look at the features.
Going for the Throat: The Making of ‘Stake Land’
Featured as the first special…feature on the list, this “Behind the Scenes” look is nothing special to talk of. Playing for close to an hour, this section will provide some entertainment for cinematographers but anyone else will most likely be bored. Not to say that it’s a bad featurette, it’s just that, it doesn’t have a narrative or voice-over. It is literally just filming guys filming the movie. You watch the director watch a scene taking place and then he yells cut, to which is the cue for the next segment of BTS footage.
Character Prequels: 7 Short Films
This section was rather fun but at the same time, a bit irrelevant to the overall story of the film. The stories show some of the film’s characters in situations that happen before we actually see them in the Stake Land. For example, they have the Nun hanging around her convent, Willie walking in the wilderness, and Danielle Harris’ character waking up after a car accident. They must have been made for the internet or some sort of viral marketing campaign before the film’s release because after every short there’s a brief trailer for Stake Land. They don’t add anything to the actual narrative of the movie but it’s fun to see these characters in something else other than the main script. Other than that, it doesn’t serve any real purpose.
Video Diaries (TFF is included)
This would be my favorite addition to the Blu Ray because it shows a lot of the “movie magic” being created. Much like the ‘behind the scenes’ doc, this piece shows people doing their job onset but being more intimate and casual with their audience. One part has a choreographer showing some of the girls how to move like a mutant vampire, another section shows the composers writing the music. It’s fantastic to see how they make a movie more three dimensional. The best part of this feature is that, they show you in real time how the effects worked in the movie. If they’re teaching a girl to be a vampire, they may cut to the actual film to show her skills in place and then cut back to her practicing. I like ‘movie magic’ being broken down and shown to us simpletons.
Overall, this Blu is worth every penny and as of right now you can get it cheap. Though I may not have sold you with the rather ho-hum extras, read the reviews and your mind will be changed. It’s a phenomenal film and it is right above Wake Wood for my favorite horror film of the year. The extras are a little bit of a let down but there is a lot of content for a low price and you really can’t pass up the chance to pick this up.