Next of Kin was one of those 80s horror films with a cool poster, but no real good release on home media, save until the DVD came out. We at Cultsploitation wrote about how it deserved a Blu-ray release, and what do you know, Umbrella Entertainment heard our pleas and released it on Blu-ray this past October (2018). I’ve never seen the movie before and was only going by what the poster was telling me, so I had no idea what the film was going to be about when I finally popped it in the Blu-ray player. Was it worth the long wait to watch it, or was I better off having the film be one of those flicks that you say you’ll get around to watching but never do? Read on to see.
It’s hard to discuss the story for Next of Kin without spoiling the whole damn thing, but I’m going to try my best.
After her mother passes away, Linda Stevens (Jackie Kerin) inherits the entire estate, which brings with it the Montclare Nursing Home. She moves into the home to work on the books and figure out whether she wants to sell it or not. Soon, Linda discovers her mother’s diaries and starts to learn that things weren’t entirely normal at home, as taps turned on by themselves, noises could be heard during the night, and people started ending up dead in bathtubs. It isn’t long for the same events to start happening with Linda, but things aren’t exactly as they seem, as something more sinister might be at work here than just a simple haunting.
Honestly, if I were to dive into the story any more than that, I would be doing you a great disservice, as the fun of watching Next of Kin is seeing how the story plays out and trust me, you probably won’t guess what’s going to happen. It’s a pretty crazy film, but damn it’s a good one.
It isn’t just the story that makes Next of Kin a great film; it’s also the fantastic cinematography by Gary Hansen, who has plenty of long panning shots to wet the pants of those who love those kinds of things (myself included). The end scene was one long take that just rocked my socks off. The interview with director Tony Williams on the disc goes into a bit more detail about the scene, and it’s pretty amazing how it all turned out. The next thing that makes the film stand out is the ear-pleasing soundtrack from Klaus Schulze, who rocks the score with some heavy synth work. Fantastic stuff.
As I mentioned before, Umbrella Entertainment has the honour of releasing Next of Kin on Blu-ray for the first time, and the results are worthy of popping your money down on it. The video transfer is a bit on the rough side at times, with a bit of damage here and there, and some blacks that come across crushed, resulting in some loss of detail in shadows, which this film has plenty. Nevertheless, for the most part, it looks great. The same goes for the audio presentation, which Umbrella has offered in both 5.1 and 2.0. After having listened to the 5.1 track, the surround sound use is a bit on the low side, but not absent.
Special Features included on the disc range from two audio commentaries with the cast and crew, extended interviews with both the director Tony Williams and actor John Jarratt, which runs 25 minutes long and 20 of those minutes are spent with Tony Williams, who provides plenty of interesting information on the flick. We also have filming location visits, deleted scenes (presented as reel photos as the footage is considered lost), trailers, ballroom footage, and two short films from Tony Williams. Lots of goodies to digest.
- Audio commentary with Director Tony Willams and Producer Tim White
- Audio commentary with cast members John Jarratt, Jackie Kerrin, Robert Ratti and Not Quite Hollywood Director, Mark Hartley.
- Return to Montclare: Next of Kin Shooting locations revisited
- Extended interviews from Not Quite Hollywood
- Deleted Scenes
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- VHS Trailer
- German Trailer
- German Opening Credits
- Before the Night is Out – Complete ballroom dancing footage from 1978
- Image Gallery
- Tony Williams shorts from 1971: Getting Together + The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe
Next of Kin presents itself as one thing and before you know it, the film flips into something completely different, taking you by surprise. It’s a beautiful looking and sounding film, that I think everyone should check out. There is no better way now than with the Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment. Pick it up!