Spontaneous Combustion Blu Ray Review (Cheezy Movies)
Spontaneous Combustion is a 1990 horror film co-written & directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1/2, Poltergeist, Salem’s Lot, Eaten Alive, & Lifeforce). It was written in 3 weeks & it was shot in 8 weeks. It was produced by Arthur M. Sarkissian (Rush Hour trilogy, Last Man Standing, Wanted: Dead or Alive, & Kill the Irishman) & Sanford Hampton (Relentless, Silk Stalkings, Power Rangers, & Dorm Daze 1/2). It was nominated for best film at the 1991 Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Awards. Peggy (played by: Stacy Edwards from Chicago Hope, The Fear, In the Company of Men, & Skeeter) & Brian Bell (played by: Brian Bremer from Pumpkinhead, Society, & Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker) are expecting a child. They are experimented on by the U.S. Army to test the effects of exposure to atomic energy while testing a nuclear bomb. Everything seems fine until one day they spontaneously combust & their son Sam is the only survivor. Years later, upcoming actor Sam Bell (played by: Brad Dourif from the Child’s Play franchise, The Lord of the Rings franchise, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dune, & The Exorcist III) is starting to experience strange problems especially when he gets angry.
Sam’s ex-wife Rachel (played by: Dey Young from The Serpent and the Rainbow, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Strange Behavior, & The Running Man) seems a little too close to his former associate Dr. Marsh (played by: Jon Cypher from Masters of the Universe, Hill Street Blues, Probe, & Valdez Is Coming). Something isn’t right & it starts to bother Sam. Every time he gets angry he ends up blacking out & someone gets burned to death that same night. Lew Orlander (played by: William Prince from Shakedown, Vice Versa, Spies Like Us, & The Gauntlet) raised Sam since he lost his parents & watches over him. One of the few things that keeps Sam stress free is his new love Lisa Wilcox (played by: Cynthia Bain from Pumpkinhead, Police Story: Gladiator School, & Swim Team) but he can’t control his recent powers. Sam really loses it when he calls radio DJ Dr. Persons (played by: Joe Mays from Future Kick, The Seventh Sign, & Ain’t No Way Back). A woman named Nina (played by: Melinda Dillon from Harry and the Hendersons, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Magnolia, & A Christmas Story) calls in & says she knew his parents. Sam tracks her down & finds out more about his mysterious past. Who can be trusted now? Sam is falling apart & doesn’t know where to go.
Spontaneous Combustion is highly under-rated! Yeah, some of the special effects are a little dated now but they were top notch at the time. It was produced in 90s but it definitely feels like an 80s horror flick. It’s honestly one of Tobe Hooper’s last good features. The movie industry wasn’t kind to him from 1990 to 2013 & only a few solid productions were made out of all those years. I think this is much more than a Firestarter clone. Horror Icon Brad Dourif gives one of his best performances here. This is one of my all time favorite characters from him & considering all his previous work that’s saying A L OT! Dourif also has a quality supporting cast that includes Dey Young, Jon Cypher, William Prince, Cynthia Bain, & Melinda Dillon that helped boost the production value for this. Plus it had cameos from Hooper himself, directors John Landis, André De Toth, actors Dale Dye, & Dick “Michael Myers” Warlock. It does have some unintentional humor but it kinda adds to the charm of it. It’s really entertaining & so much fun, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation & special features from Cheezy Movies! This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer is very similar to the original Code Red blu ray release but the big change is the different cropping here. I own this film in several different formats including that one & the older Anchor Bay double feature. It also had a German release but that was much darker so this is the best it’s ever looked on home video so far! One odd thing I should mention about this transfer, the Cheezy Movies watermark is at the bottom for a few seconds at the beginning. This is Cheezy Movies best looking release & I really hope they put out more blu rays in the future. For a 90s flick, this still holds up in this updated format especially compared to the past VHS & DVD efforts. Tobe Hooper’s weird little horror project has survived nostalgia. I will say the Code Red release had better sound but the English: Dolby Digital 2.0 track still sounds really good on this release. The dialogue is crystal clear, all the chaos is elevated, & the music is great on this! The only two extras are non related “Trailers” which include Stripperland! & Penance. This blu ray is much cheaper than the previous version so it’s worth adding to your collection. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!