THE FOREST (1981) Reviews and Blu-ray re-release news

 

The Forest will be reissued on Blu-ray by Code Red in association with Kino Lorber on March 9th 2021. The film was remastered in high definition in 2016. A limited-edition slipcase is included. Special features:

Audio commentary by writer/director Don Jones and actor Gary Kent
Audio commentary by writer/director Don Jones and cinematographer Stuart Asbjornsen
Making-of featurette
Theatrical trailer

Meanwhile, here is our previous coverage of The Forest:

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‘If you go into the woods today you might not get out alive!’

The Forest aka Terror in the Forest is a 1981 American supernatural-slasher horror feature film directed, written, edited and produced by Donald M. Jones [as Don Jones] (AbductedThe Love Butcher; Molly and the Ghost). Jones has cameo roles as a forest ranger and Officer Ed Geza.

The movie stars Gary Kent, Tomi Barrett, John Batis, Ann Wilkinson, Jeanette Kelly, Corky Pigeon, Becki Burke and Tony Gee.

Plot:

Two American hikers, Steve (Dean Russell) and Charlie (John Batis), venture into the local forest along with their girlfriends, Sharon (Tomi Barrett) and Teddi (Ann Wilkinson). However, John (Gary Kent), a cannibalistic woodsman, is lurking in the forest…

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Reviews:

“One thing that is enjoyable about the film is its cheesy score which included four so bad they are good early 1980’s pop ditties. To create music so diabolical and use it as the backdrop for a film in which nothing exciting occurs takes guts. If you are looking for great or even adequate performance from the cast look elsewhere.” 10K Bullets

The Forest is unlike any other slasher you’ve ever seen. Sure, it has murders in the woods, campers and stalking scenes. But it gets weirder than almost any other slasher would dare, pushing itself to the edge of absurdity while subverting anything you’d expect.” B&S About Movies

The Forest is definitely lower tier trash, even by the often times very low standards of the slasher and it really doesn’t have a whole lot going for it aside from a few moments of unintentional humor.” DVD Talk

” … an underrated slasher tale that’s enlivened by a sudden leap into the supernatural; just the ticket for fans who think they have seen all the “slice-and’dice” format has to offer.” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA

Nightmare USA Stephen Thrower FAB Press

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“…an incoherent mess of a flick. There is almost no redeeming value to the film, as the acting is terrible, the music is generic, and the direction is mediocre.” Oh, the Horror!

“The Forest is a good example of how comedic and entertaining a ‘killer in the woods’ picture can be. If at times over simplistic and pedestrian in delivery, the film manages to be suspenseful in its structure, allowing us to empathize with its victims at the same time that we thrill to moments of savage slaughter and mystery — the later represented by the ghosts of the children who lurk the shadow-haunted woodland.” SGM

“Jones’ entry is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination and offers zilch in terms of suspense, scares or tension … Nothing can be taken away from an admittedly very unique story, a soundtrack that is totally loco and a knife clenching cannibal in a baseball cap.” A Slash Above…

” …the first victim gets a few stabs in the face which look pretty real, or at least that’s what it looks like from the bad lighting and jerky movements. And oh yeah, a few belty tunes canvas in the background; these classic ditties appear to have been written specially for this one, as we kept hearing the same theme song. Interminably.” The Terror Trap

“There’s very little skill used behind the camera to depict the various murders. I will admit that the opening sequence, showing the stalking and murder of two anonymous hikers, does show a little flair. Some suspense is built as the hikers start to realize that they are not alone. But when they are actually killed, the mood is broken by showing John simply and slowly stabbing the victims in a way that shows absolutely no spark or jolt.” The Unknown Movies

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Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 23.18.54

Cast and characters:

Dean Russell … Steve
Gary Kent … John (as Michael Brody)
Tomi Barrett … Sharon (as Elaine Warner)
John Batis … Charlie
Ann Wilkinson … Teddi
Jeanette Kelly … Mother
Corky Pigeon … John Jr.
Becki Burke … Jennifer
Tony Gee … Plumber
Stafford Morgan … Man
Marilyn Anderson … Woman
Jean Clark … Mechanic (as J.L. Clark)
Don Jones … Forest Ranger

Filming locations:

Sequoia National Park, California

Release:

The Forest was released in the USA on June 11th 1982.

Offline reading:

Nightmare USA by Stephen Thrower has a whole chapter, ‘Let’s Play Nasty’, dedicated to Don Jones’ exploitation filmmaking career.