First up in the extra features department is an audio commentary with writer/director Stuart Gordon and lead actor Ezra Godden joined in spots by producer Perry Martin. Gordon dominates the track and does most of the talking, but that's okay as he's a pretty interesting guy. Gordon knows his Lovecraft, he's one of the few filmmakers who 'gets it' when it comes to adopting his work, and when you listen to this track you'll come away with a better understanding of just how important the man's writing is to Gordon. We also hear about some on set oddities, working with babies in a few scenes, difficulties with the stunt rat, and how some of the effects work was done. He talks about what he was going for in both his direction and his script and overall, it's a pretty interesting discussion.
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Dreams In The Witch House is a brief look (just over seven minutes) at the making of the movie. It's mostly just a collection of random on set footage set to some music. There are some interviews conducted randomly throughout but it's difficult to hear the speakers. This is alright if you want some behind the scenes footage, but it doesn't really go into much detail at all.
A better featurette comes in the form of Working With A Master: Stuart Gordon, which is a very good twenty-four minute documentary that gives us a primer on the director's background and his film career right up to this Masters Of Horror entry. Most of the focus is on Witch House but clips from Re-Animator, The Pit And The Pendulum, From Beyond, Dolls and even Robojox are used to bring us up to speed on who he is and what he's done. There's some good on set footage in here as well and Gordon talks about his filmmaking, his work in live theater, and his thoughts on Lovecraft.
Complimenting the last documentary is Dreams, Darkness And Damnation: An Interview with Stuart Gordon which is a twenty-one minute that fills us in on how he got into movie making, where his love of Lovecraft stems from, and how he came on board with this project. It covers some of the same ground as the commentary and the other featurette but it's interesting stuff none the less. Gordon proves himself a very intelligent and well spoken man and it's great to see someone be honest and forthright about his genre work rather than shy away from it as some have in recent times.
Focusing on the lead actress is On Set: An Interview with Chelah Horsdal which is a seven minutes interview with the lovely actress in which we hear her side of the story. She tells us about her character, what she tried to bring to the performance as an actress and how she felt about the project and working with Gordon and Godden.
SFX: Meet Brown Jenkin is a quick, five minute documentary on Brown Jenkin, the man who designed the effects for the movie. You'll notice there's a refreshingly distinct lack of CGI used in this production, and he's the man who, along with Gordon, is responsible for that. Here he briefs us on a few of the tricks used in the movie.
Rounding out the supplements on this release are a Stuart Gordon text biography, trailers for the first batch of Masters Of Horror entries and a few other Anchor Bay horror titles, a still gallery, a storyboard gallery, and if you're DVD-Rom equipped you'll find the screenplay, a screensaver and the original short story Dreams In The Witch House by H.P. Lovecraft on which this movie was based.
If you're a fan of Stuart Gordon's work or of H. P. Lovecraft, then his Masters Of Horror entry, Dreams In The Witch House will be right up your alley. It's a creepy and atmospheric horror movie and Anchor Bay has done a very nice job on the DVD presentation. Highly recommended!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.