The Kindred (1987, Synapse Films, Blu-ray, NR, 93 min.). If oozing creatures with tentacles are your stuff of nightmare, “The Kindred” is for you. It is an early horror film about genetic manipulation that leads to mayhem and deaths. The brilliant, practical creature effects are by Michael McCracken Jr.

The film has star power in Rod Steiger (“In the Heat of the Night”) and Kim Hunter (“Planet of the Apes” films), who both play scientists doing genetic manipulation. Dr. John Hollins (David Allen Brooks), who also works at Geneticell with Dr. Philip Lloyd (Steiger), visits his mother (Hunter), who has just emerged from a coma, and she beseeches John to destroy all traces of her research, including Anthony, whom she refers to as his brother. It turns out that mom created Anthony using some of John’s DNA.

When mom passes – thanks to Dr. Lloyd – John and his friends and co-workers, head for mom’s house to follow her wishes. Among the young crew are eye candy Hart (Timothy Gibbs) and Brad (Peter Frechette), John’s girlfriend Sharon (Talia Balsam) and Cindy (Julia Montgomery). An unexpected arrival is Melissa Leftridge (Amanda Pays, “Max Headroom,” TV’s “The Flash”), who says John’s mother was helping her research.

Soon enough, mom’s unsuccessful and successful hybrids surface from storage below to wreak havoc on the young team in the house. There is an icky creature in a watermelon that goes for a memorable car ride, a creepy baby thing in a jar, a gross spray attack and someone turns into a fish! The characterizations and the script, credited to four, including co-directors Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow, may only be serviceable, but oh those creatures.

This is a new 4K high-definition remaster of the film’s unrated version. Extras include audio commentary by the directors, narrated by Steve Barton; an excellent, interview-laded making-of featurette (51:16); McCracken’s unseen on-set creature rehearsal footage (17:52); and still images and storyboards. Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 3.5 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

The Count Yorga Collection (1970-71, Arrow Video, 2 Blu-rays, NR, 190 min.). This release contains “Count Yorga, Vampire” (92 min.) and “The Return of Count Yorga” (96 min.), the latter a somewhat mysterious sequel as the Count was reduced to sandy ash in the first film. Both times Yorga is played by Robert Quarry (“Dr. Phibes Rises Again”), who makes a handsome albeit a bit cold vampire, yet one who can make drawing blood erotic. The main gimmick of the films is that the vampire legend is in America in modern times, taking place in Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, respectively.

In the first film, which still bears the title card “The Loves of Count Iorga,” apparently the title of the original, more soft-porn screenplay, Yorga and coffin arrive via ship from Bulgaria (the unloading scene also was used in 1972’s “Blacula”). We first see the Count conducting a séance with six people, one of whom, Donna, is trying to contact her deceased mother. The Count uses the occasion to hypnotize Donna and when Paul and Erica give him a ride home, he manages to have their VW van get stuck in mud, and then he attacks during the night. Paul (Michael Murphy, “Nashville”) and Erica do have sex in the van, a rather chaste scene, the sole leftover, perhaps, from the original, spicier script.

The Count feasts on Erica and the next thing you know, Paul catches her feasting on a kitten! Yorga has two of his female blood slaves in the basement, along with his throne. It is Dr. Hayes (Roger Perry), a blood specialist, who broaches the vampire possibility. It takes a full 53 minutes before anything scary happens.

Extras include a new audio commentary by Tim Lucas and an archival one by David Del Valle and C. Courtney Joyner (both films); an appreciation of the film by Heather Drain (9:44); Frank Durabont’s memories of the film (14:53); an interview with Murphy (9:30); an audio-only Fangirl Radio Podcast tribute to Quarry with host Jessica Dwyer and guest Tim Sullivan, a Quarry friend (45:55); and two image galleries.

In “Return,” the setting shifts to a Catholic orphanage, where Yorga has turned young Tommy into one of his familiars. The other, returning one is scarred face Brudah (Edward Walsh), and this time Yorga has six female blood slaves in his basement. In the film, Yorga is smitten by love for Cynthia (Mariette Hartley, “Encino Man”). How does he hope to win her over? He kidnaps her and has his female slaves kill her entire family. This is just the most obvious connection to the then-recent Manson family murders of Sharon Tate and her friends. This time, it is David Baldwin (again Roger Perry) who brings up vampirism, although Sgt. O’Connor (Craig T. Nelson, TV’s “Coach”) is a nonbeliever. There is more action this time.

The new audio commentary is by Stephen R. Bissett. Maitland McDonagh talks about the film’s counterculture influences (18:13), while David Huckvale talks about Bill Marx’s (the adopted son of comedian Harpo Marx) music for both films (35:17). There is an archival interview with Kim Newman (33:02) and two image galleries. The set comes with 12 double-sided lobby cards, two double-sided posters and a collector’s booklet with four essays. Grades: Count Yorga, Vampire 2 stars, The Return of Count Yorga 3 stars; extras 4 stars

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932, Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, NR, 96 min.). Warner Archive recently issued the 1941 Spenser Tracy version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” based on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, and now issues this earlier version, starring Fredric March (“The Best Years of Our Lives”) as the dual title character. A previous silent version starred John Barrymore in 1920. March brings a strong athleticism to his portrayal of Hyde, the dark side of his nature that he separates from the good via his experiments.

The compassionate Dr. Jekyll is all about wanting to marry fiancée Muriel (Rose Hobart), although her father (Halliwell Hobbs) wants them to wait eight months, and helping the poor, including saloon singer Ivy (Miriam Hopkin, (“Trouble in Paradise”), whom he helps after she is attacked in the streets. When Hyde emerges — thanks to false teeth and primitive-man makeup effects — he takes up with Ivy, but basically brutalizes her.

Director Rouben Mamoulian uses several camera tricks, including starting the film from Jekyll’s viewpoint. We do not see Jekyll until his reflection in a mirror. Karl Struss’ cinematography contributes to the film’s moody nature. March won the Best Actor Oscar (tied with Wallace Beery, “The Champ”) and the film was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Writing Adaptation (Percy Heath, Samuel Hoffenstein).

Extras include two audio commentaries: one by Dr. Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr, both film historians; the other by historian Greg Mank; the 1955 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Hyde and Hare” (7:05); and the 1950 audio-only Theatre Guild on the Air radio broadcast with March, Barbara Bel Geddes, and narrator Hugh Williams (52:06). Grade: film 4 stars; extras 3.5 stars

Dougie and his new, killer friend play “Satan’s Little Helper.” Courtesy Synapse Films.

Satan’s Little Helper (2004, Synapse Films, Blu-ray, R, 100 min.). Nine-year-old Dougie Whooly is obsessed with the handheld “Satan’s Little Helper” video game, so much so that he even wears his Satan’s Little Helper Halloween costume when mom Merrill (a funny Amanda Plummer, “Pulp Fiction”) goes to pick up sister Jenna (Katheryn Winnick, “The Dark Tower,” TV’s “Vikings”) from the ferry. A bad surprise for Dougie is Jenna has brought along her college boyfriend Alex (Stephen Graham).

In anger, Dougie, who has vowed to wed Jenna, stalks out of the house, and comes across a Satan-dressed figure, of whom he asks if he can be his helper. The Satan, who never speaks, actually is a serial killer and those are not dummies he is artfully arranging on porches throughout the island town. There is a shocking scene involving a cat (no, not again!), and by midway through the film, Satan has killed all five of the town’s policemen, leading to some anarchic behavior by some town residents.

The film, written and directed by Jeff Lieberman, also has a broad streak of humor — sometimes funny and other times very dark, such as making the video game real by using a shopping cart with Douggie in it, to knock over pedestrians. There is a bit of gore, a taped-up Merrill in a Chiquita costume and not everybody survives.

The very good extras include an audio commentary by Lieberman, a Lieberman-heavy making-of (32:18); Lieberman’s tour of shooting locations (25:37; portions were filmed in Portland, Maine, including the first ferry shot and Red’s Eats is passed later); and vintage behind-the-scenes footage (4:59). Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 3.75 stars

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwest-ern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.

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