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Kindred, The

Synapse Films // Unrated // October 25, 2022
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted October 6, 2022 | E-mail the Author
The Kindred:

I was under the impression that the late, great Chas Balun had written about The Kindred(1987) in 'More Gore Score' but maybe I'd seen reference elsewhere. It certainly seems like a movie about which he'd have a strong opinion, arriving in the heyday of gloppy animatronic creature effects. Alas, there's no mention in that book; maybe this is just one of those films I'd pondered frequently at the video store, only to pass it up for something that seemed more like a safe bet.

Directed by Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, the goofy genre effort sports no less than five writers, (including Joseph Psycho Stefano) as well as the acting talents of Amanda Pays, Talia Balsam, and Rod Steiger (who really must have fallen on hard times by the '80s). With a slumming 'big name' star and multiple hands cooking the stew, the chances for The Kindred to be a suck-fest were high. That it, in the end, is a pretty enjoyable monster-mash (albeit one that saves most of the goods for the final 15 minutes) is a testament to the value of gallons of spewing slime.

The Kindred opens in disorienting fashion as a hot-headed idiot slams his sports car into the side of a mobile home that has been unceremoniously dumped in the middle of a country road. Somehow, this incident ties into an unscrupulous scientist's experiments in genetics. It's an awfully chancy way to get brain-dead fools on which to experiment, but at least it gives us entry into the mind of Steiger, who wants to continue the bizarre experiments of his colleague Amanda Hollins (Kim Hunter, the second slumming, award winning thespian in this movie).

And that's about as far as I care to delve into the plot. If it took five people to concoct, it would likely take five reviewers to recount. Plus, you might want to just go into this blind, in hopes of increasing your enjoyment. But is it 'good'? Sure, why not? The 'Oscar-worthy' performances from Steiger and Hunter really do lend an amount of legitimacy to things, Hunter takes her hysteria seriously and Steiger generates a small amount of legitimate menace. The rest of the cast does the best they can with the lunacy of the set-up, involving an anniversary, (I think) a mini-treatise on the difference between a cantaloupe and a watermelon (the biggest I've ever seen, mind you) and a towering, tentacled mutant menace living in what appears to be a gigantic, stinking cavern under the house, a hell-pit that pretty much escapes notice until it's too late.

And so we come to what we were hoping for, which is not so much human carnage (although there is a great scene in which someone basically turns into a fish) but in fact consists of the gloppiest, slime-spewing creature scene you can imagine. Were the spraying fluids blood, this would be a movie for the ages. (I won't reveal my own thoughts on what the the tentacles whipping about spraying pale viscous fluids evoke, but whatever your imagination comes up with, this scene is a real corker.) Rest assured, the creature on display (Anthony's twin, apparently) is definitely worth the price of admission.

The Kindred starts with a bang and then bubbles along amiably until the final act reveals a slimy, greasy, glop-spurting creature not even a mother could love. If late-'80s animatronic creature horror is your cup of tea, The Kindred will fill that slime-slick cup to overflowing. Synapse Films delivers this (for me at least shamefully ignored) horror feature with a sharp image and a great raft of extras. It's Highly Recommended for vintage horror fans.


The DVD

Video:
The Kindred spurts out on Blu-ray in a new 4K high-definition remaster in a 1.78:1 ratio, which was originally released in a limited edition steelbook in December of 2021. It looks pretty fantastic, with good detail levels that hold up nicely throughout the depth of field and in darker sequences, of which there are plenty. Colors appear fairly natural, with warm tones coming through especially nicely, and are deeply saturated, showcased especially in the bonkers final scenes. There is some nice film grain that gets somewhat heavy here and there, but otherwise no digital distractions in the mastering, and little to no film damage.


Sound:
Though the creature itself doesn't have a terribly horrible screech, both the 5.1 stereo surround sound remix and the original 2.0 mono theatrical mix (in 24-bit DTS-HD) sound great. The mono mix is clean and clear, appropriately mixed and balanced, and sporting a good dynamic range. The 5.1 does a great job of opening up the sound field and goosing the dimensionality.


Extras:
Synapse has larded on the extras, with a great Steve Barton-moderated, wide-ranging Commentary Track featuring directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter. A 51-minute Making Of Featurette covers some of the same ground as the commentary track, but also covers oh-so-much more, with reminiscences from actors and production crew as well. Very worthwhile. 18-minutes of Behind The Scenes creature effects footage is illuminating, entertaining, and somehow feels more 'behind-the-scenes' than a lot of other similar tidbits are. A Stills Gallery, Storyboards from the climactic scene, English SDH Subtitles and Trailers and TV Spots round out the (un)healthy package!


Final Thoughts:
The Kindred starts with a bang and then bubbles along amiably until the final act reveals a slimy, greasy, glop-spurting creature not even a mother could love. If late-'80s animatronic creature horror is your cup of tea, The Kindred will fill that slime-slick cup to overflowing. Synapse Films delivers this (for me at least shamefully ignored) horror feature with a sharp image and a great raft of extras. It's Highly Recommended for vintage horror fans.

www.kurtdahlke.com

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C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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