Scream Factory has done well by the Chiller Network films they have released, giv­ing them all nice DVD or blu-ray releas­es with extras.  Beneath is per­haps the best film to emerge from this deal and Scream Factory has appro­pri­ate­ly given it an excel­lent disc release.

The trans­fer looks fan­tas­tic: Gordon Arkenberg’s dig­i­tal cin­e­matog­ra­phy shi­nes here, with a rich, earthy col­or scheme and an array of vivid details that pop off the screen.  The 5.1 loss­less stereo sound­track that accom­pa­nies this trans­fer is sim­i­lar­ly impres­sive, offer­ing a mix­ture of dia­logue, music and sound design that is immer­sive with­out being too showy in its sur­round effects.

Beneath-bluDirector Larry Fessenden pro­duced most the spe­cial fea­tures for this set and offers over three hours’ worth of mate­ri­al for the view­er.  It all begins with a com­men­tary track fea­tur­ing Fessenden and sound designer/2nd unit direc­tor Graham Reznick.  It’s a detailed explo­ration of the pro­duc­tion, both in cre­ative and tech­ni­cal terms.  Fessenden talks about how the script was revised for pro­duc­tion, offers a nice appre­ci­a­tion of his actors’ dif­fer­ent styles around the track’s mid­point and speaks philo­soph­i­cal­ly of how the hor­ror gen­re is all about con­fronting death.

Reznick pro­vides able sup­port, act­ing as a cheer­lead­er on the shots and sce­nes he loves and sup­ply­ing some inter­est­ing com­men­tary on sound design tech­niques and how he got par­tic­u­lar 2nd unit shots.  Both Reznick and Fessenden show a nice appre­ci­a­tion for their col­lab­o­ra­tors, prais­ing the work of the dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cians and point­ing out where dif­fer­ent cast mem­bers impro­vised a bit of busi­ness.  It’s a fine lis­ten for any­one inter­est­ed in inde­pen­dent film­mak­ing.

There are an addi­tion­al two hours’ worth of video fea­tures, most of them direct­ly involv­ing Fessenden in some capac­i­ty.  The biggest is an hour-long piece enti­tled “Behind Beneath.”  It’s not the EPK-style seg­ment you might expect.  Instead, it’s a behind-the-sce­nes trav­el­ogue filmed by Reznick that cov­ers the film from pre-pro­duc­tion through post-pro­duc­tion.  You’ll get glimpses at how the mon­ster was built, audi­tion footage, a peek at the table read, plen­ty of pro­duc­tion footage and even a few snip­pets of the ADR and musi­cal score track­ing ses­sions.

Next up is fif­teen min­utes of out­takes.  These are not bloop­ers or delet­ed sce­nes.  Instead, it seems designed to show how hard it was to orches­trate the fre­quent prac­ti­cal effects into the film­ing by show­ing how far they had to go achieve their effects.  A 2-min­ute seg­ment enti­tled “Poster/Première” fol­lows.  It’s a sort of visu­al tone poem that inter­cuts the print­ing of the film’s poster with footage of the film’s pre­mière.

TwoBeneath-05 inclu­sions con­sist of viral video pro­mo­tion done for the film.  The first is “What The Zeke?” and it’s a  series of short video pieces that illus­trate Zeke’s adven­tures pri­or to the film, con­duct­ing his own news show and try­ing to make a hor­ror film enti­tled Zombies Vs. Werewolves Vs. Ninjas.  The fun­ni­est bits involve him sneak­ing into the girl’s lock­er room and harass­ing Mike at his job while try­ing to cast him in his project. “What’s In Black Lake” is a faux-video blog in which Fessenden plays a weirdo con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist obsessed with the mon­ster depict­ed in the film.  The director’s loopy per­for­mance makes this fun as he lays out a Blair Witch-style lore for Black Lake.

The final inclu­sion, and the most unusu­al of the bunch, is “Fessenden On Jaws.”  It depicts him show­ing off a large-scale mod­el of the Orca from Jaws, which he cre­at­ed for an unfin­ished child­hood stop-motion remake of that film.  He proud­ly shows off all its fine details and how they were cre­at­ed.  He even throws in a clip of the film and does his impres­sions of some favorite lines from Jaws.

In short, Scream Factory’s disc of Beneath gives the view­er a great trans­fer and an array of bonus mate­ri­als that are as left-of-cen­ter as the film itself.  It’s worth the pur­chase price if you’re into mod­ern indie hor­ror.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Beneath, click here.