Mosquito found theatrical distribution with Hemsdale only to have its big-screen dreams snatched away at the last minute when the company went bankrupt. It ended up building its following when it became a home video staple. Synapse picked it up for a hi-def update and the results do the film a justice that earlier versions never could, giving it a slick new presentation along with an array of impressive extras that will knock out all the film’s monster-kid fans.
Things start off with a fresh HD transfer that does well by a challenging remastering project. Mosquito was most shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm with the exception of a number of FX shots that were natively shot in 35mm. Thus, the finished film has some shifts in texture and focus – Synapse even includes a paper insert explaining the nature of the film’s shoot – but this presentation handles all the challenges with style, bringing new levels of color and clarity that would have never been expected by those who got used to this film on VHS.
In terms of audio, the original 2.0 stereo mix and a new 7.1 remix are both included n lossless form. The latter was used for this review and it’s an impressive listen. There’s a lot of surround activity, which works nicely in all the forest-based exteriors, and the film’s electronic score has a real sonic depth in this presentation.
This 20th Anniversary Edition also adds plentiful extras. First up is a commentary track featuring director/co-writer Gary Jones, producer David Thiry and cinematographer/co-writer Dan Cheney. It’s a good scene-by-scene commentary that discusses everything from what it was like working with the cast to explanations of how the various effects were shot and staged. Jones leads the charge but everyone has interesting details to offer and the track has a nice sense of cameraderie.
However, the big knockout here in terms of extras is Bugged Out, a 76-minute documentary helmed by Michael Felsher. It features Jones, Thiry and Cheney as well as every surviving featured cast member. You learn about how Jones came up as part of Sam Raimi’s group of filmmakers, how all the key actors were cast, some hairy tales of shooting stunt sequences, the film’s tale of distribution woe and nice tributes to the sadly departed Ron Asheton and Steve Dixon. The proceedings never get dull thanks to taut pacing and an array of fun anecdotes – and the finished product warmly reflects fondness of everyone involved for Mosquito.
Next up is a set of deleted and extended scenes, with optional commentary from Jones. It’s about seven minutes’ worth of stuff that fleshes out character intros and adds a little extra comedy. There are also forty minutes’ worth of behind-the-scenes video footage, again with optional commentary from Jones. You get to see the FX shop, the film’s soundstages, a bit of the table read and plenty of on-set footage depicting FX highlights being shot. Along the way, you get some interesting info on the homemade camera rigs used for the Raimi-style moving shots and Jones offers fond thoughts on his cast as well as plenty of technical details on the special effects.
A few promo materials close the bonus features. The first is an animated image gallery that runs four and a half minutes and offers a mixture of color stills and behind the scenes shots. The final inclusion is a theatrical trailer under the alternate title of Night Swarm. It shows off the film’s array of special effects to nice effect and surprisingly mentions each lead cast member by name.
All in all, this is great special edition for a deep-catalog cult favorite. All the Mosquito fans will want and it’s worth the buy for any adventurous cult film fan into retro-styled monster fare.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Mosquito, click here.