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Friday, July 19, 2024

Clive Barker’s Underworld (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


When a prostitute is kidnapped and taken underground by mutants, her former lover is hired by the brothel-running gangster she worked for to get her back.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Underworld (not to be confused with the Kate Beckinsale vampire franchise) is the 1985 cult horror film from director George Pavlou co-written by horror maven Clive Barker and James Caplin. Standard monster horror fare, the film focuses on a group of underground dwellers turned mutant from a horrific drug created by a mad scientist. When a beautiful prostitute is kidnaped from a brothel and taken underground by the mutants, crime boss and brothel owner Motherskille (Steven Berkoff) hires her former lover Bain (Larry Lamb) to recover her.

Rushed into production with a screenplay still being worked out as shooting began and obviously way under-budgeted, this mad scientist monster movie drifts aimlessly from one cult horror trope to the next, never settling in to let us care about any of the characters. The acting is just as bad, with Ham of the Year Award for 1985 having to go to Steven Berkoff as the gangster Motherskille with his “no, no, no, no” response to accusations he was manufacturing the deadly drug as ridiculous as it is unwittingly funny. Despite its cheesy atmosphere, bad makeup, and laughable acting, Underworld manages to look quite appealing.

Purchase Clive Barker’s Underworld on Amazon.com

  • Irina Brook in Underworld (1985)
  • Nicola Cowper in Underworld (1985)
  • Larry Lamb in Underworld (1985)
  • Clive Barker's Underworld 4K Ultra HD Combo (Kino Cult)
  • Clive Barker's Underworld 4K Ultra HD Combo (Kino Cult)
  • Clive Barker's Underworld 4K Ultra HD Combo (Kino Cult)

The Video

Underworld arrives in a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement from a brand new 4K scan of the original camera negative. The image looks fantastic, instantly leapfrogging over previous releases of this film. There is a fine, densely packed, crispy grain, and the Dolby Vision grading applies lots of three-dimensional ‘pop’ to the specular highlights.

The Audio

The original stereo mix for Underworld is provided in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. The sound fits the material, with good clarity and stereo spacing.

The Supplements

Clive Barker’s Underworld is packaged with a reversible sleeve. A newly restored Blu-ray is also included in the release. The on-disc extras include the 103-minute alternate cut of the film, Transmutations (on Blu-ray) and other archival extras. The audio commentary with George Pavlou is the best option for understanding the film and the details behind it.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary by director George Pavlou, moderated by author Stephen Thrower
  • Transmutations (103-minute Alternate Cut) (1080p)
  • Archival Behind-the-Scenes Footage (1080p; 00:04:03)
  • Artwork and Stills (1080p; 00:02:01)
  • Storyboards (1080p; 00:03:37)
  • Makeup Tests and Clive Barker Designs (1080p; 00:01:40)

The Final Assessment

Clive Barker’s Underworld on 4K Ultra HD from Kino Cult is a prime example of a bad movie still managing to look superb on home video. This film is not a hit with me but it is a good thing to see Kino continuing to give even films like these such beautiful restorations.

Clive Barker’s Underworld is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo December 19, 2023, from Kino Cult.

Purchase Clive Barker’s Underworld on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Limehouse Productions | Green Man Productions | Alpine | Kino Lorber
  • Director: George Pavlou
  • Written By: Clive Barker | James Caplin
  • Run Time: 92 Mins.
  • Street Date: 19 December 2023
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 400 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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When a prostitute is kidnapped and taken underground by mutants, her former lover is hired by the brothel-running gangster she worked for to get her back. Clive Barker's Underworld (4K UHD Review)