Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder (1988)

Remember how awesome the video store was? MVD sure does and their Rewind Collection series is here to celebrate “cult classics and more from the video store” with blu ray and DVD collector’s sets loaded with special features. Many of the films in this series — which are numbered and come in a slipcase that looks like an actual beat up rental box — haven’t been released on blu ray in North America and some have never even been released on DVD!

The first MVD Rewind release I’ve had the chance to watch is 1988’s Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder. It’s all about an evil archbishop and his followers who have brought a demon to our world with the hopes of destroying it. It’s able to turn anything to shadows which fade away in the light, but that very same demon is also afraid of light. Yet with each kill, it grows stronger and harder to kill, as well as gaining the power to control dogs.

Now, the demon has a young boy in its crosshairs, as that child has the potential to be a saint. Killing him will open the doorway to Hell and allow more demons loose into our realm of existence. Luckily, a renegade priest named Jacob Vassey (Michael Rooker from Guardians of the Galaxy, but I’m certain readers of this site can name many other films he’s been in) is ready to battle the Shadowbuilder. And hey! There’s Tony Todd with long hair and an eye patch (he’s also amazing in the making of feature, with every word out of his mouth sounding like poetry)! There’s also a really interesting section where actor Andrew Jackson, who played the Shadowbuilder, talks about how the voice of the villain came to be.

I’m certain that in 1988, having the Catholic Church be the bad guys felt pretty edgy. But today? I think today we can all accept that they’re probably housing Shadowbuilders. Also, if you’re guessing that this story has little to do with the original story, then you were renting movies in the 1980’s too! That said, the making of feature explains exactly how the original tale inspired it, including writer Michael Stokes, who has gone on to write for the kid’s show Paw Patrol!

Director Jamie Dixon keeps things moving. He only has one other directing credit to his name, the TV movie Bats: Human Harvest. However, he’s been the visual effects supervisor for films such as PrometheusThe Chronicles of RiddickTitanic and so many more.

Beyond the great packaging (complete with poster and reversible artwork) and 1080p transfer, MVD really brings it here with the special features, including commentary from the director and features like its visual effects, child star Kevin Zegers, who was also in the Air Bud series and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and the aforementioned making of the film.

Diabolik DVD has this release as well as the entire MVD catalog. This was just released on August 28, so hurry and grab it today! It hits all the buttons here — Michael Rooker, occult horror, killer dogs, a cool looking bad guy…it’s as if it was made for this site!

Disclaimer: I was sent this movie by its PR team, but as you know, that has no bearing on my review.

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