Plot: In order to live it up to the fullest, a group of teens decide to spend Spring Break at an isolated cabin in the woods, where no one can bother them. The kids plan to booze it up, venture out into the woods on nature walks, get laid whenever possible, and of course, go down to the pond to engage in some nekkid swims. But one of the friends sees the potential for some real trouble, as he has seen a ton of horror movies and to him, this all seems like a rotten plan. This teen is Mike (Craig Peck), who tries to warn his friends about impending doom and avoiding horror movie cliche situations, but they pass him off as having an overactive imagination. But when some unusual events start to happen, it seems like something might be out there, perhaps even the kind of things that Mike tried to warn them about. As the kids are attacked and the bodies start to pile up, can Mike use his horror knowledge to guide the survivors to a safe conclusion?
Entertainment Value: This is one of my favorite movies of all time, a smart and creative horror picture that overcomes budget restraints to deliver an insanely fun, over the top ride that never disappoints. There’s Nothing Out There brought us a meta take on horror well before Scream, but takes a much wackier approach and is steeped in low rent, b movie style charm. The narrative runs in the usual horror directions, but having that one self aware character changes the entire experience of course, leading to in jokes and fresh takes on well worn elements. There’s not a hint of pretension either, just a love letter to horror cinema that pays tribute, but also has a unique spirit that ensures There’s Nothing Out There stands on its own merits as well. I think the best word to describe it is fun, as the movie is just a blast right from the jump, the pace is brisk, and the blend of horror and humor is on point. The tone is over the top, so some won’t connect as well and a passion for the horror genre helps a lot, but you don’t need to be an expert to be entertained here. To me, this one just has it all, I always have an absolute blast with There’s Nothing Out There. I’d highly recommend the movie to anyone with even a casual interest in horror or cult cinema.
There’s some nakedness involved here, with several topless scenes with several actresses on deck, as well as some bare asses. The nudity is by no means brief, but it is also not graphic or all that frequent. Even so, always nice to have some light sleaze involved and the naked flesh fits in well with the other genre conventions. This is about as low rent as horror gets, but the effects are better than expected and if nothing else, add humor and ridiculousness to the experience. The alien creature is hilarious and looks like some kind of intergalactic frog monster, while there are some low end visual effects that are like green laser beams. This is not a blood soaked escapade, but there’s some fun bursts of violence and as with the rest of the movie, the results might be low-fi, but they’re always fun to watch. The dialogue is pure cheese and thanks to the enthusiastic performances, the one liners shine here. The cast might not be packing in awards, but energy runs high and the performers seem to run with the material, so even (especially?) the stilted exchanges are humorous, or at least very least, enjoyably awkward. Mike has most of the best and most quotable lines, but there’s some fun barbs spread out across the entire cast, quite fun stuff. On the craziness front, we have a steady stream of wackiness, with colorful characters, oddball moments, low end special effects, and silly dialogue, not to mention just an offbeat, unpredictable vibe throughout.
Overall Insanity: 6/10
The Disc: I never expected the two disc DVD set to be surpassed, but Vinegar Syndrome has more than delivered, complete with a new restoration and 2k scan from the original interpositive. The movie looks better than I ever thought possible, but this is often the case when Vinegar Syndrome is involved. The print is exceptional and aside from some light, inherent softness at times, the movie looks almost brand new and fans will be beyond thrilled here. Superb detail levels, accurate colors & contrast, and just a crisp, refined visual presentation all around.
A host of new supplements have been included, including a new audio commentary with director Rolfe Kanefsky and a group of others, including some well known filmmakers, while a podcast team provides a more fan driven take on a second new audio commentary session. You can also listen to the archival commentaries from the DVD edition, which includes Kanefsky’s solo track and one in which he is joined by other cast & crew members. So if you’re a fan of audio commentary tracks, you have a lot to look forward to with this release. A pair of Kanefsky’s short films, Just Listen and Mood Boobs, have been brought back, while his early feature film Murder in Winter is also on deck, adding some great value. New interviews with Kanefsky, his father Victor Kanefsky, and actor Craig Peck are on hand and these are in depth pieces, with almost two hours of content between the three. The extras also include a music video, animation tests, cast auditions, still photos, , rehearsal footage, and the film’s trailer. In other words, this is a stacked release.