Director(s) – Stephen Carpenter (The Dorm that Dripped Blood, The Power) and Jeffrey Obrow (Servants of Twilight, Legend of the Mummy)
Starring – Rod Steiger (American Gothic, The Amityville Horror), Kim Hunter (Two Evil Eyes, American Playhouse), and David Allen Brooks (Manhunter, The Doors)
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
I’m a huge fan of 80s horror but I’ve only seen a miniscule amount of films from the decade. I cut my teeth to classics like Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead, Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps, Night of the Comet and so on but there is thousands of films that I’ve missed out on for various reasons. That’s why I love these boutique labels like Arrow Video, Vinegar Syndrome Scream Factory, Severin, and Synapse Films.
Synapse really impressed me when they released Massacre at Central High. They have been behind some of my favorite blu releases in recent years and when they announced the standard edition of 1987’s The Kindred I was fucking pumped. I had never seen this one before and I couldn’t wait to see it. I quickly reached out to my friends over at MVD and they were kind enough to send over a review copy.
**spoiler alert** The film follows a scientist who visits his mother’s home after her passing to search for her experiments and lab notes before her competition could along with his assistants. However, what they don’t know is that her experiments resulted in an abomination living in the basement that has a knack for killing. Now, they are forced to not only fight for their lives at the hands of this creature but the other scientist that wants to use her work as his own. **Spoiler Alert**
The Kindred was not what I was expecting at all but I fucking loved it. As a parent I often find horror films centered around mutant babies, like The Suckling, It’s Alive, and The Kindred, to be extremely effective. Not only is it playing on fears of parents that something could be wrong with their child but it also has that element that humans could create something so heinous within their own biological makeup. The Kindred uses a little from both of these to make something that was pretty fucking fun.
The acting in this one is uneven but it’s not bad. Some of the cast acts as very well. They get into character, carry the scene, and do a fantastic job with their co-stars. However, some of the cast delivers decent performances in some scenes while other scenes are flat and very unenthused. It’s not consistent but isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen.
The story for this one is slasher like but with some fun monster mayhem. It is predictable but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. I really enjoyed the mutant offspring and the possibility of sequels with the jars in the basement. I also liked how it reminded me a lot of the scientists gone too far films from the 60s. I would have never expected this type of story to work so well with slasher elements but it did. The dialogue is a bit of a stretch but I don’t know how much of that was written and how much of that was improv.
Finally, the film has plenty of blood and one hell of a monster. The effects are great and they drive the film over the time. Overall, The Kindred really impressed me. I enjoyed the creature and the story behind it. The transfer from Synapse looks great as well. This is one of the few horror films that seems to be firing on all cylinders.
New 4K restoration of the unrated version of the film
New 5.1 stereo surround sound remix (Original 2.0 mono theatrical mix also included)
Audio commentary with directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, moderated by horror journalist Steve Barton
Inhuman Experiments – The Making of “The Kindred”, an all-new documentary produced by Red Shirt Pictures (52 mins.), nominated for the 2022 Rondo Award for “Best DVD/Blu-ray Extra”.
A special compilation of creature effects artist Michael McCracken, Jr.’s never-before-seen on-set footage
Still gallery and original storyboards
Original theatrical trailer, original video promotional trailer and TV spots
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing