October 7th, 2022
MOVIE: THE KINDRED- DVD-BLU-RAY REVIEW
STARRING: DAVID ALLEN BROOKS, ROD STEIGER, AMANDA PAYS, TALIA BALSAM
DIRECTED BY: STEPHEN CARPENTER, JEFFREY OBROW
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
One of the greatest parts of being a lover of the art of cinema is the moment of discovery. It’s not equal to a scientist discovering a new species or finding a new way to prevent sickness but it is a moment of awe for the viewer. For me that is the feeling elicited when I watched Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow’s The Kindred, which is now finally available on blu-ray in a limited edition steelbook from Synapse Films. I’m incredibly happy to have discovered this film, which captures a snapshot of what the horror genre was doing in 1987, during a year that was filled to the brim with great horror. Because of that it’s understandable why The Kindred might be forgotten but with this release we can give it the praise it rightfully deserves, as a movie about science experiments gone wrong, with goopy gore, practical effects, and bonkers scares. The Kindred is a movie concocted in a basement and once you discover it you will never forget it.
The star is David Allen Brooks as John Hollins, a doctor working at the genetics lab of Dr. Phillip Lloyd (Rod Steiger in a great role), where the research is extensive, but behind the scenes there is some shady work being done by Lloyd. When David receives word that his mother (played by legendary actress Kim Hunter) is sick in the hospital, he goes to her immediately, but when she tells John that her own research must be found and destroyed, the family secrets start to come crawling out. The setting turns into the old family home, where John brings an entire team of scientists and Melissa (Amanda Pays), a woman obsessed with John’s mother’s work, and a secret motive. What’s discovered is someone or something not human, a monstrous entity that has been waiting to get out, but now the group of scientists must survive before they’re next.
With the debut and success of Alien in 1979, there was a shift in horror, where the B-movie with creatures became elevated and sought after, where the budgets were still low, but the creativity was in top shape. Movies such as The Thing in 1982 or Cronenberg’s The Fly in 1986 revealed voices that took earlier works of the 50’s and 60’s and put a nasty spin on them. In many other varieties we would see original films but with the same kind of inspiration and one of those is The Kindred. The nastiness of The Thing or the debilitating terror of The Fly is present in What Carpenter and Obrow’s work achieves. It is a bit of a mix in the moment, where the acting isn’t stellar by any stretch, but perfectly loud. And the performances work because they can exist among the practical effects, the tentacles, the monsters in jars, or the evolving creatures that can hunt the humans in their chance for survival. In many respects, The Kindred steals everything from the movies that come before it in the style, but still stands out uniquely on its own, mixing a haunted house with a creature feature.
If memorable moments are also something that is needed from a movie like The Kindred, then it has plenty of that, especially the most memorable scene when the entity explodes out of a watermelon, only to latch onto a woman while driving her car. If the goal of the moment in horror was to do things such as having chestburster scenes or shower curtains pulled back to reveal a killer, then be sure to catch The Kindred because I can’t get this moment out of my mind.
On top of the movie being a lot of fun, a bit campy, always wild, and certainly unpredictable, there are also plenty of excellent special features on this release from Synapse Films. There’s raw, behind the scenes footage of practical effect, a featurette with interviews from Jeffrey Obrow and company. It really is a must-have for any horror fan and something for audiences to delightfully discover for the first time. Trust me on this one, The Kindred is a keeper.
THE KINDRED IS AVAILABLE IN BLU-RAY/DVD STEELBOOK FROM SYNAPSE FILMS ON OCTOBER 25TH, 2022. BUY YOUR COPY HERE!
Written by: Leo Brady