In Critters, the terrified Brown family are trapped in a deadly nightmare and must fight for their lives against a litter of extraterrestrial, bloodthirsty monsters. But it’s a losing battle until two intergalactic bounty hunters arrive, determined to blow the creatures off the planet! In Critters 2: The Main Course, some eggs have survived and are popping open, bringing another horde of the little creatures! Brad Brown (Scott Grimes) returns to fight them along with three bounty hunters. Critters 3 stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Josh, a beleaguered Angelino who must lead the fight against the little monsters as they invade an L.A. apartment building. In the final film, Critters 4, a super strain of genetically engineered monsters are designed to take over the universe. This time, Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett must battle the little bloodthirsty hairballs.

Studio: Shout! Factory
Year: 1986-1992
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Run time: 345 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 4 BD50
Region: A

Critters

‘Critters’ was a fun sci-fi spoof about a Kansas family who finds themselves under attack from small fur balls that can shoot out poisonous darts and have an appetite for flesh. ‘Critters’ was New Line’s reply to ‘Gremlins’ and for my money it’s the better movie. There’s no question that this film was made for a rather small budget but I think it’s a perfect example of how the genre can be done right without having to spend a lot of cash on special effects. The film offers up some fun homages to other films, some great characters to root for and we’re also given some terrific villains who you just love to hate. I think the creatures themselves are certainly the highlight of the picture. Their design really was a work of genius in the way that they can roll to wherever they’re going and the darts are just an added goodie. I really loved the way that they looked and there’s no question that those teeth are priceless.

While the things aren’t ever scary I really don’t think they need to be because this picture really isn’t about being scared but it’s about just having fun. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re given a great family to cheer for along the way. Dee Wallace Stone play the mom, Billy Green Bush the dad, Scott Grimes the son, Nadine Van Der Velde the daughter and M. Emmet Walsh plays the local Sheriff. We also have Billy Zane in a small role as a boyfriend. The performances are also extremely good here including the always reliable Dee Wallace Stone. Grimes makes for a good guy to cheer for as well. The film really doesn’t contain any major violence, which wasn’t the norm for the horror and sci-fi genre from this period but the creativity here really makes up for that. Director Stephen Herek really does a nice job mixing everything up and he keeps the film moving at a terrific pace. The film has plenty of laughs but best of all is that you can just sit back and have a good time with it.

Critters 2

Two years after the first Krite attack on the Browns’s farm, everything was peaceful in Grover’s Bend but there are some remaining Krite Eggs still left and Brad Brown ( Scott Grimes) has traveled from Kansas City to visit his grandmother for Easter vacation. Soon the Eggs hatch as it makes trouble as the Krites has returned and the bounty hunters from space Ug ( Terrence Mann), Lee ( Roxanne Kernohan) and former town drunk turned bounty hunter Charlie ( Don Opper) head back to Earth, will they rescue the humans with the help of Brad or will everyone end up on the space monsters’s menu?

Very entertaining and action packed sequel that is almost better than the original and THE only sequel in the series worth watching. What works here for this sequel is there’s more action, bigger special effects, off-the-wall humor, a more intense and dramatic score, Mick Garris’s directorial debut and of course there’s a memorable moment where Lee the faceless bounty hunter from space looks at a Playboy magazine and transforms into a beautiful nude blonde centerfold babe played by B-movie beauty Roxanne Kernohan.

Critters 3

The storyline in “Critters 3” is very easy to keep up with, and it was very much in the spirit of the previous two. Except that they moved the story from the outdoors setting of Grover’s Bend and taking it indoors in a New York Apartment complex. This change of scenery was actually quite interesting and fun.

The creature (read critters) design definitely got an improvement, and there is more life-like movement to the ferocious little dangerous creatures. And they have taken on more of a personality trait as well, making them more than just monstrous eating machines. The details on the critter designs is better than in the previous two movies. It would seem that the paralytic quills that the critters can fire off are less potent in this third movie, for some reason, in comparison to the previous two movies.

“Critters 3” does take quite a while before it gets up into gear and starts to deliver what the audience wants; which is the critters, of course. That being said, don’t get me wrong, because the movie is not boring or anything, it just takes its sweet time to establish some characters and setup the setting for the remainder of the movie.

Critters 4

Critters 4 was a complete disaster. It takes place immediately after the third one and this time they invade space about 50 years in the future. A space ship unknowingly brings the critters on board not knowing the danger of the little monsters. I’m not really sure of the plot, or why the space ship is roaming around space. I;m not even sure if Earth exists in this fourth Critters. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, but I don’t think much of what is going on is ever explained in the film. About 50 minutes in, we see three critters. For a Critters movie, that is a major disappointment. The other three films were actually funny and had some good “scares” and special effects. The scares in the Critters movies were never bone chilling, but they were fun scares. This fourth one skips all that and is about 90 minutes of nothing.

Movie Content: 8/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Shout Factory does another superb job here with all four films, which I haven’t watched on DVD in years. The film was sourced from a new 2K transfer and it is apparent here. When compared to previous home releases, this is night and day, especially in the color timing department where we see more vibrant and natural colors. Colors hold up rather well with expansive amount of colors used in each film. Grain is intact throughout the film and is rather consistent without any issues. Overall, the Blu-ray versions of Critters are the ones to own.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio mix is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. All four ‘Critters’ films are not going to really impress you in terms of having a sound design that fills the entire soundfield. There are some sound effects here and there that make their way into the soundfield, but not as much as I would of hoped. Dialogue is handled very well with a nice dynamic range with no issues. None of these films have had their audio expanded like this before, so this is a real treat for long time fans.
Audio Quality: 9/10

Special Features

  • Disc One: Critters (1986)
  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW They Bite!: The Making Of Critters Featuring Interviews With Actors Dee Wallace, Don Opper, Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye,
  • Producer Barry Opper, Writer Brian Muir, Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs, Special Prop Supervisor Anthony Doublin, Composer David Newman, Second Unit Director Mark Helfrich, Critter Voice Actor Corey Burton, And Miniature Effects Supervisor Gene Warren Jr.
  • NEW For Brian: A Tribute To Screenwriter Brian Domonic Muir
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
  • Disc Two: Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)
  • NEW 2K Scan From The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mick Garris
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • NEW The Main Course: The Making Of Critters 2 Featuring Interviews With Director Mick Garris, Actors Liane Curtis, Don Opper,Terrence Mann, And Lin Shaye, Producer Barry Opper, Critter Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo, And Make-Up Artist R. Christopher Biggs Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Additional TV Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
  • Disc Three: Critters 3 (1991)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Barry Opper And Star Don Opper
  • NEW You Are What They Eat: The Making Of Critters 3 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery
  • Disc Four: Critters 4 (1992)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer/Director Rupert Harvey
  • NEW Space Madness: The Making Of Critters 4 Featuring Interviews With Producer Barry Opper, Screenwriter David J. Schow, Stars Don Opper And Terrence Mann, Director Of Photography Thomas J. Callaway, And Critters Designers Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, And Stephen Chiodo
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Special Features: 8/10

Final Thoughts

Critters is a great exciting Horror comedy that i grew up watching all the time, and if you have never watched this series before it is a real treat to sit back and enjoy. If you are a long time fan, dump the DVD’s and make sure to pickup this set.
Overall Rating: 8/10