The Mangler

The Mangler (1995)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Robert Englund, Ted Levine, Daniel Matmor
Extras: Edit comparison, Theatrical Trailer

When a number of horror greats get together to create a movie you’d expect something really great, right? Like in this case, we have a film based on a Stephen King short story, directed and co-written by Tobe Hooper with Robert Englund as his star. What could go wrong? Sadly, a lot.

’The Mangler’ is the story of a sheet-folding machine in a laundry that has developed an appetite for human blood and begins killing people around it. Its evil goes back for generations and the townspeople have a dark secret that Mr. Gartley, the operator of the laundry is protecting.

As freaky as the premise sounds, as freaky it turns out in the film. For me, it just doesn’t work if inanimate objects suddenly start having a personality and start deliberately killing people, no matter how well the explanation may be – and in this case the explanation is just plain out non-existent. The acting of the film is adequate but not even Robert Englund can fully convince in his plasticky prosthetic make-up. The film has a dark atmosphere that could have worked well, but isn’t lit to full effect and as such ’The Mangler’ is really just a trip down Stephen King’s low-end fare in a mediocre movie.

New Line is bringing ’The Mangler’ to DVD in its original widescreen aspect ratio. The transfer is solid and without blemishes or notable grain. Colors are faithfully reproduced and black levels are solid throughout. The compression is without flaws ensuring a good level of detail at any time.

The audio comes as a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, as well as an optional DTS and Dolby Surround track. The audio is engaging and makes good use of the surround sound field with a wide frequency response that contains a good bass extension and clean high ends. Dynamic range is equally well reproduced adequately driving home the film’s sonic experience.

As extras the DVD contains the movie’s theatrical trailer and three scenes from the film in alternate edits, allowing viewers to compare them to the final version as they appear in the film.

’The Mangler’ is standard horror fare with a dubious premise. Die-hard Tobe Hooper, Stephen King or Robert Englund fans may find some pleasure in this film, but for the most of us, it’s just a forgettable little romp. Rent it, if you want to give it a try.