The Film (3.5/5)
During their recent "Summer of Fear" Scream Factory have done horror fans a great service by bringing out Blu-ray's of many established genre classics with solid transfers and nice extras packages. The other thing that they have accomplished during that time span is unleash 2 obscure genre gems The Final Terror and Without Warning that have either never been released on home video, or never been on a home video format since the early 1980's. In an era where seemingly everything that can be released on DVD or Blu-ray has been released on one of the two formats has been, Scream (along with the recent Synapse release of Curtains) keeps finding new genre obscurities to keep fans satisfied.
Greydon Clark's Without Warning is a film that could only have been made in the late 70's or early 80's. It is a horror film tailor made for the decade ahead, in that it combines two increasingly popular genre elements that would define that decade, the alien and the slasher. In this case the alien in a way IS the slasher of the film. The film feels like an active combination of Ridley Scott's Alien (but Earthbound), and the camp slashers to come.
Honestly, Without Warning is sort of a mixed bag. The overall look of the film I found quite charming. This film is 80's horror through and through, and felt like something I would be caught renting on a Friday night as a kid, except I never had that chance. The two strong points the film has going for it are the performances from Landau and Palance, who absolutely dominate the screen any time they are on. The other is the FX, from the fleshy bloodsucking discs to the alien itself the FX in this movie are a whole lot of fun.
As far as the negative the film is kind of slow. It takes a little bit of time for it to find it's footing, which is around the 2/3's point. There are some interesting moments up until then, but it seems to not be able to decide the direction it wants to take until that point. That being said once there the film picks up a bit, and becomes a quite a bit of fun. Following from that, I do wish the alien had been utilized a bit more in the film. We see glimpses throughout, but it takes a good while before we are given the full picture, and then not for a great deal of time. The design of the creature is outstanding with a nice mix of scary, menace, and humor.
The film follows a group of teenagers up to a campsite in the mountains. As they approach they are warned by one of the locals (the "Crazy Ralph" of the piece) to turn around. They, of course, write him off and continue up for their trip where they begin to get attacked by an alien hunter. This hunter uses fleshy discs that drain the blood from their victims. The group head back to town for help, and end up in guerilla combat against the creature with an alien obsessed army veteran (Martin Landau), and a local (Jack Palance).
Scream Factory present Without Warning in a 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that looks quite good, and very natural. There is organic film grain present, nice detail, good solid colors, and decent blacks. The film does have some soft moments, but his has more to do with the production then the transfer itself.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA Mono in English. Similarly, the audio is solid with dialogue, music, and effects coming through nicely, and nothing to complain about.
Scream Factory have presented Without Warning with a solid selection of extra features for it's digital debut. We got an audio commentary with director Greydon Clark. This is followed with a series of interviews including Dean Cundey (Cinematographer), Daniel Grodnik (Co-Writer, and Co-producer), Greg Cannon (Special Makeup Effects), and the actors Christopher Nelson, and Tarah Nutter. The disc is rounded off by the films trailer, a stills gallery, and other Scream Factory Trailers.
Scream Factory have unearthed another long lost genre obscurity in Greydon Clark's Without Warning. The Blu-ray looks quite nice, and the extras package is a solid offering for the film. RECOMMENDED.