At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Dec 27th, 2015 •

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Horror fans around the world lost what many consider to be the first modern horror icon. I`m talking of course about the larger than life Gunnar Hansen. Hansen, most notably portrayed the chainsaw-wielding, skin-wearing, social misfit known as Leatherface in Tobe Hoppers seminal classic, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. In deciding what to do for my next review, I thought it fitting to review MOSQUITO. I also admit that another reason for choosing this title is that I’m a sucker for giant insect movies like THEM, THE DEADLY MANTIS, etc. Cheesy? You bet, but, oh so enjoyable.

An alien spaceship makes a fiery plunge into a local national park and unleashes some deadly flying killers. It’s just a normal day for park rangers Megan (Rachel Loiselle) and her boyfriend Ray (Tim Lovelace), that is until their car smashes into one of the giant insects, taking the car totally out of commission. Megan examines the carnage and instantly knows something strange is going on, but of course, Ray doesn’t believe her. Getting the car fixed quickly becomes the least of their worries as the flying pests grow a monstrous appetite for campers. As the body count rises it’s up to Megan, Ray, and a motley crew including the clumsy but loveable ranger Hendricks (Ron Asheton of the Stooges) and a band of redneck survivalists lead by Earl (Gunnar Hansen). The fate of the world hangs in the balance and it’s going to take more than a rolled up newspaper to get rid of this intergalactic menace.

It’s obvious from frame one that Gary Jones has a passion for monster and B-films of the past and his first feature is a fun love letter to them. Thankfully, Jones walks a fine line, not taking the material too seriously, nor does he let himself and the film get ultra goofy. Cinema buffs will enjoy the many inside jokes sprinkled throughout, my favorite being the name Alan Smithee used on a news report.

Now a killer bug film hangs on the effects, and luckily Gary Jones is a pro in that department, having previously worked on such genre classics as EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS. It’s clear that his experience paid off as is evident in the masterfully executed practical effects, which give this low budget fare a sleek and polished look. Even the digital effects (though still primitive at the time) look good and don’t date the film as badly as others.

The cast is stellar, with new comer Rachel Loiselle and Tim Lovelace playing Megan and Ray. They have a nice chemistry together and are easily likeable. Not to be outdone is musician turned actor Ron Asheton, who rules every second of his screen time as Hendricks the ranger. Asheton always wanted to be in a B-movie and you can tell he is having a blast in the role and in turn it’s a joy to see him in it. He would go on to do other films but sadly passed away too early. And of course veteran actor Gunnar Hansen dusts off his chainsaw to play Earl, a man with a rather shady past. Hansen knows when to be serious and when to subtly wink at the audience all without going too far into camp. Also what horror fan isn’t thrilled when he cranks up that saw to fight giant bugs no less?

MOSQUITO hearkens back to the Cold War era giant insect movies with a nineties flavor. The result is a fun film chocked full of great actors, well done special effects and of course huge flying blood suckers. Unlike the real pests, this is something you do want to bring inside your home.

PICTURE: Before I get into this part of the review its worth noting something. Some of the shots come off blurry. Synapse states (quoted from “About the Transfer” card included in this release) “You may notice a number of out of focus shots in the film. This issue is inherent in the original photography, and is not a fault of the new scan or transfer” Since they have an amazing track record of great transfers I’m inclined to believe this. MOSQUITO was scanned in 3k using original film elements. The result is stunning and I’m willing to bet the film has never looked this good. Luckily the images aren’t over blown and skin tones look natural. As always Synapse brings it’s A game to its image restoration.

SOUND: The buzz is great with the wonderful new 7.1 mix created for this release. Sounds are crisp and dialogue (and roaring chainsaws) comes in crystal clear. Fans with a nice sound system will enjoy the bug noises coming from all sides of the room. A standard mono track is also available.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Once again I`m blown away by the plentiful extras. Without a doubt the best feature is the wonderfully made documentary on the making of this cult classic. The interviews are informative and lively and seeing Gunnar’s interview is bitter sweet. Equally entertaining is the audio commentary with Gary Jones, Tom Chaney and Producer David Thirly. Deleted and Extended scenes are included and its fun hearing Jones commentary on those. Rounding out the features is an original trailer and still gallery.

OVERALL: Why do I love Synapse so much? Because they can take an obscure B-classic like MOSQUITO and give it the star treatment it deserves. With a pristine print scanned in 3k and a brand new 7.1 sound mix this is without a doubt the best looking and sounding you`ll likely ever get. And of course like most releases this one is packed with great extras. A must own for B-horror film lovers.

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