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Paramount Studios presents
Strange Frequency 2 (2001)

"You won't get my soul!"
- Mitch (James Marsters)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 14, 2005

Stars: Peter Strauss, Wendie Malick, Jason Gedrick, Lindsay Sloane, Roger Daltrey
Other Stars: John Hawkes, Patsy Kensit, James Marsters
Director: various

MPAA Rating: R for (drug content)
Run Time: 01h:24m:33s
Release Date: March 15, 2005
UPC: 097368749443
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B+B-C D-

DVD Review

Horror anthologies used to be all the rage back in the 1980s and '90s, when movies like Creepshow and Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, and TV shows like Tales from the Crypt were extremely popular. Once Tales From the Crypt went off the air, the whole anthology craze seemed to die down. Then, in 2001, the VH1 network of all places tried to spark a revival in the subgenre with their airing of the TV movie, Strange Frequency, and while it didn't garner huge ratings, it were good enough for the network to turn Strange Frequency into a TV series, with eight more "episodes" airing soon.

A DVD, simply titled Strange Frequency, was released in 2003 and represented the "episodes" from the original TV movie. Now, thanks to Paramount Home Video, the first four separate shows in the series are on DVD, in a package titled Strange Frequency 2. The show itself is a rare blend of horror tales with a rock-and-roll twist. Each story is hosted by The Who's Roger Daltrey (Tommy), who even pops up as a character in a few of the tales. The four stories on this disc are as follows:

Soul Man: Mitch is a guitar tech for a band led by a successful, arrogant lead singer. When Mitch comes across a lost Jimi Hendrix song that is said to be impossible to play correctly, he makes a deal with a mysterious talent scout that promises him fame and fortune.

Cold Turkey: Rock-and-roll star Jerry is a recovering alcohol and drug addict who would do anything to completely shake his habits. Unfortunately, he can't write new material while he's sober, but a beautiful fan assures Jerry that she can be his key to continued success.

Instant Karma: Lara has been obsessed with rock star Vince Brava forever, and she finally has the chance to meet him backstage one night. When he forces himself upon her, she exacts her revenge with a mind-altering kiss that just might change his womanizing ways.

Don't Stop Believin': Ben Stanton is a senate candidate on the verge of defeat as the result of bad press for a car accident in which his young mistress was killed. Every time Stanton plays his campaign song, he is transported in time to a few minutes before the accident, giving him multiple chances to prevent the tragedy.

The segments in Strange Frequency 2 are surprisingly entertaining, and sure to please horror anthology fans especially. The actors seem to be having fun as well, with Jason Gedrick having the most fun in a role where he has to have the brain of a man half the time, and a woman for the rest of the show.

While all of the segments are good, the best is Soul Man, as not only do we get to see James Marsters (Spike from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel) in a new light, but the story is a fresh look at the classic "making a deal with the devil" tale. Cold Turkey is the weakest, but the blame for that should fall on the shoulders of the writers and not John Hawkes and Patsy Kensit, who deliver great performances.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Each of these episodes is presented in their original format, and they all look about as good as one could expect given the source material. The images are relatively crisp and detailed, with a nice color scheme in use. Black levels are strong, and fleshtones are accurate, with hardly any grain or other blemishes to bog the presentation down.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio stays mostly in the front of the soundfield. This results in a near lack of dynamic range, with the music and sound effects sounding cramped. Dialogue isn't a problem, though, as it works nicely with the music, staying easily decipherable throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There aren't any extras at all on this disc.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

The underappreciated subgenre that is the horror anthology is given new life with Strange Frequency 2. Here's hoping that future DVD releases of the series feature a few more extras than this effort, which doesn't have a single one.

 


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