Director: Camilo Vila
Cast: Ben Cross, Ned Beatty, William Russ
Release Date: June 27, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
In New Orleans, a city with a dark underside of black magic and satanic worship, 2 priests have been brutally murdered at St Agnes Church. Now The Unholy Reign only to be challenged by the purest of mortal souls. Father Michael is appointed to the ungodly parish. Is he really strong enough to fight off this terrible evil? Or will he be the third priest to die?
Marking the tenth entry in the ongoing lineup of Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray releases from Lionsgate, the late 80’s religion-focused horror flick ‘The Unholy’ tells the story of an evil demon that has already claimed the lives of two priests within the same church, and Father Michael, a man who after miraculously surviving a drastic fall unscathed takes over the same church, with many believing him to be the chosen one meant to do battle with the evil entity on that same fateful night that proved deadly for the previous two holy men that held the church prior. Directed by Camilo Vila (TV’s Resurrection Blvd.) and starring Ben Cross (TV’s Banshee), Hal Holbrook (Wall Street), Trevor Howard (The Dawning), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), Jill Carroll (Psycho II), William Russ (TV’s Boy Meets World) and more; ‘The Unholy’ was initially unleashed upon audiences in 1988 by Vestron Pictures with a modest theatrical release of over 1000 screens and still serves as an entertaining and fairly enjoyable little horror film, albeit suffering somewhat from an over the top ending which just feels excessively silly and out of place.
‘The Unholy’ comes to Blu-ray for the first time ever as the tenth release in the Limited Edition Vestron Video Collector’s Series lineup and it makes its BD debut sporting quite impressive high definition video and audio presentations on the feature film, along with following the trend set by previous entries in the Vestron lineup by offering a number of brand new extras created specifically for this release, featuring a new Interview with actor Ben Cross, an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Camilo Vila’ and quite a bit more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). Altogether it should easily make this release a definite must own for fans of the movie itself as well as those trying to collect each and every entry in the numbered Vestron Video Collector’s Series lineup. Those who haven’t previously had the pleasure of ‘The Unholy’ probably won’t want to cough up the cash for a blind purchase just to check out the movie, but if you’re collecting the releases anyway or able to find a rental option it may be worth your while. Nonetheless I probably wouldn’t go too far out of my way just to see this film if you’re not already interested in doing so, it’s not necessarily terrible, merely one of the least impressive film selections in the collection thus far.
Overall, fans of the film itself and the fellow genre fans who have been making a point of collecting all of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray releases from Lionsgate will both likely want to make sure they pick up a copy of ‘The Unholy’ to add to your collection as well. Vestron’s Blu-ray release of ‘The Unholy’ (which also marks its first time ever available on Blu-ray) offers quite solid high definition video and audio presentations on the film, in addition to a number of noteworthy extras, many created just for this Collector’s Series Blu-ray. Those who aren’t necessarily interested in seeing the movie and haven’t been collecting all of the Vestron BD titles on the other hand may want to disregard this one unless you’ve already been meaning to check it out.
The Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray release of ‘The Unholy’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole, especially for a film nearly three decades old. It offers a sharp, clean and surprisingly detailed presentation from start to finish without any notable faults to be found within, yet still making certain to retain some grain, mild pops and other welcome elements representative of the source. Overall, this is another top notch high definition video presentation of an old classic from Lionsgate that should easily thrill the fans.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless stereo soundtrack sounds pretty impressive for what it is and provides a crisp, clean and smooth audio presentation throughout, balancing the music, dialogue and other various auditory elements between the two channels splendidly and aside from a couple of brief moments which almost just feels like odd cuts to the music during a scene shift, sounds wonderful. Overall, this is a solid DTS-HD MA stereo soundtrack that delivers in every way necessary and shouldn’t disappoint fans of the movie.
The Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray release of ‘The Unholy’ includes a number of worthwhile extras, many of which were created specifically for this Blu-ray Collector’s edition of the film. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Camilo Vila’, along with two additional Audio options to accompany the film; ‘Isolated Score Sections and Audio Interview with Composer Roger Bellon’, or an ‘Audio Interview with Production Designer and Co-writer Fernando Fonseca, featuring Isolated Selections from his Unused Score’. We are also treated to a few Featurettes that include brand new interviews with members of the cast and crew: ‘Sins of the Father with Ben Cross’ (running approximately 19 minutes), ‘Demons in the Flesh: The Monsters of The Unholy’ (approximately 22 minutes) and ‘Prayer Offerings with Production Designer and Co-writer Fernando Fonseca’ (19 minutes), plus an ‘Original Ending featuring optional commentary with Producer Matthew Hayden’ (running approximately 15 minutes in length). A ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (1 minute) and a collection of ‘TV Spots’ (2 minutes combined) and ‘Radio Spots’ (2 minutes altogether) for the movie, plus an ‘Original Storyboard Gallery’ (19 minutes) and a ‘Still Gallery’ (12 minutes) are also included.