Five things we learnt from watching The Strangers special features
Bryan Bertino's modern horror classic gets a limited-edition Blu-ray release
Written by Katherine McLaughlin
Screenwriter and director Bryan Bertino terrified audiences in 2008 with the release of his debut feature The Strangers. Suspenseful and taut, the film depicts a couple in turmoil who retreat to an isolated holiday home and are attacked by masked intruders. Over the course of one night they are forced to fight for their lives. It’s a simple premise perfectly executed and designed to scare the hell out of the viewer. That sense of terror is somewhat repeated in Bertino’s latest film The Dark & the Wicked which was predominantly filmed at his family farm in Texas.
The limited-edition Blu-ray from Second Sight released on 28th September is packed with special features including both the extended and theatrical cut of the film, and new interviews with Bertino, star Liv Tyler, editor Kevin Greutert and actor Laura Margolis who played The Pin-Up Girl.
Here’s what we learnt from watching the special features:
1. Stephen King was really taken with The Strangers when he watched it back in 2008, even penning an article for Entertainment Weekly on what makes an effectively scary horror film, titled: Why Hollywood Can’t Do Horror. In the interview with Bertino, he reveals that it was an honour to have King write about his film in such an appreciative way and even printed the article out to keep, as he also did with Roger Ebert’s less favourable review. In the article King examines why the film is so terrifying, underscoring the banality of evil and stating, “Horror is the scene in The Strangers where Liv Tyler tries to hide beneath the bed…and discovers she can’t fit there.”
2. Bertino penned a draft script for the sequel to The Strangers many moons ago and it went through years of limbo until it was eventually made, with adjustments, by Johannes Roberts in 2018. In the interview with Liv Tyler she reveals she was initially asked to direct Bertino’s sequel at the time of filming the original, which she was very enthusiastic about doing. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
3. Editor Kevin Greutert is famous for his work on the Saw franchise - he’s edited every single one of the films so far. In the interview with Greutert he recalls working with Bertino in the editor’s suite to perfect the needle drops integral to film. He loved the use of Sprout and The Bean by Joanna Newsom, but the producers did not. Thankfully it played well to the test audience and it remained in the film.
4. It came as something of a shock to Bertino when he was asked to direct The Strangers, after being taken off the project initially. He was new to the game and wasn’t clear on how the Hollywood business model worked. Eventually his film, which was purchased by Universal was given to a genre focused offshoot company, Rogue Pictures, who decided to put him back in the director’s chair. In between prep for the film Bertino madly rushed through a copy of Making Movies by Sidney Lumet.
5. Bertino first read Helter Skelter at the impressionable age of 10 years old and it stuck with him. As well as hugely influential 70s films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Two-Lane Blacktop and Halloween, the book was a huge inspiration on how the masked characters in the film interact with their victims.
To be in with a chance of winning a copy of The Strangers on Blu-ray please follow us on Twitter and like and share this tweet. Terms and Conditions apply.
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activity has occurred that is designed to excessively manipulate the Competition; or
entries have been made in breach of the General Terms or Specific Terms; or
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6. EVENTS PRIZES
6.1 Where the prize for any of our Competitions involves the winner’s attendance at (or tickets to) an event, the prize winner acknowledges that we are not liable or responsible if any part of the event is cancelled, varied or rescheduled for any reason. If this means that the winner (and/or any accompanying Guests) cannot attend the relevant event, we shall be under no obligation to provide any alternative prize, cash equivalent or alternative tickets.
6.2 If a Competition that you participate in or a prize that you win involves travel, stunts or physical challenges you should notify us of any medical condition that you (and, if applicable, your Guests) have and at our absolute discretion we may require you (and your Guests) as a condition of entering the Competition or receiving the prize to:
(a) submit to a medical examination by a medical practitioner approved by us and to obtain medical clearance to participate in the Competition and/or redeem the prize; and/or
(b) execute a legal document to exonerate us from liability in a form prescribed by us in order to participate further in the Competition and/or redeem the prize.
6.3 Where prizes comprise or include “meet and greet” elements with celebrities, the prize may be subject to the availability of the celebrity in question and we will have no liability for any inability or failure of any prize winner to attend any “meet and greet” session offered on any date nor will we offer any alternative prize or cash alternative or compensation for such failure. We cannot guarantee that the celebrity will fulfill all elements of the prize and accept no liability in this regard.
7. WINNER CONTACT AND CLAIMING PRIZES
7.1 The winner will be contacted as soon as practicable on or after the draw date or judging date (as appropriate) as indicated in the Specific Terms. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact a winner on the contact details provided when entering the Competition. Unless the prize is time critical or time sensitive, all prizes must be claimed within twenty-one (21) days of our notification of winning unless otherwise stated.
7.2 We reserve the right to award prizes unclaimed after these periods to alternative entrants or not to award them at all. If you call to claim a prize from a “withheld number” line, you must provide us with your contact details: otherwise we may be unable to contact you and you may as a result forfeit your prize.
7.3 Where the prize must be taken up within 1 month of the close date of the Competition, the Competition will be considered “time critical”. As a winner needs to be found before the time to take up the prize passes, the Specific Terms will indicate the date(s) when entrants must be contactable and the Promoter will try to contact the winner on the contact details provided.
7.4 If the winner cannot be contacted or successful contact is not made within the time periods set out in clauses 7.1 to 7.3 above, or as otherwise set out in the Specific Terms (as applicable), or if the winner fails to meet any of the eligibility requirements or is otherwise unable to comply with the General Terms or Specific Terms, this may result in forfeiture of the prize and the Promoter reserves the right to disqualify that entrant (without further liability to that entrant) and offer the prize to the next eligible entrant and thereafter until a winner is found.
7.5 Any entrant and/or winner must comply with any directions given to him or her by the Promoter, prize provider(s) and/or their agents and with all relevant laws, rules and regulations, restrictions, itinerary. Failure to comply with instructions, itineraries, rules, restrictions, requirements, laws and guidelines may result in an invalid entry and/or forfeiture of the prize.
8 PUBLICITY AND PERSONAL INFORMATION
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8.3 Entrants, particularly prize winners and their guests if applicable, may be required to participate in photo, recording, video and/or filming session(s). You agree that we shall have the right to use all the resulting publicity materials in any media and in any manner, we see fit, unless you advise us at the time of entering the Competition that you wish to retain your anonymity. You agree that the Promoter (or any third party nominated by the Promoter) may in its sole discretion use the winner’s (and if applicable their guest’s) name and image and their comments relating to the prize and their experience for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes in any media worldwide without notice and without any fee being due.
8.4 If you elect for anonymity, we may not be able to include you in certain Competitions. This includes providing these materials to our third-party prize providers for the purposes of promoting their association with the Competition and awarding the relevant prizes. No fees shall be payable to any entrant in relation to the use of publicity materials.
9 PRIZE DRAWS
9.1 Where any prize is awarded via a prize draw, prize winners will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries within twenty-eight (28) days of the Competition closing date.
9.2 If we become aware that the same person has been selected as a prize winner more than once, we will draw another name.
Where entrants are required to submit a contribution (which may include but is not limited to photograph(s), video, audio, live-media images, drawings, essays and/or other similar designs or artistic works) as part of their entry, entrants warrant that they have all the rights necessary to submit the contribution and have the right to grant to Through the Trees a non-exclusive royalty-free licence in all copyright therein, for use worldwide and in perpetuity. Entrants hereby warrant that they have all the rights necessary to submit the contribution and have the right to grant this licence to Through the Trees. It is recommended that entrants send in copies rather than original material as such material will not be returned unless otherwise specified in the Specific Terms.
10.1 By entering our Competitions all entrants:
(a) assign to us all rights (including present and future copyright) in their entry and their publicity materials in all media (including, without limitation, the internet) and whether in existence now or created in the future;
(b) agree not to assert any moral rights in respect of their entry and the publicity materials (wherever and whenever such rights are recognised) against Through the Trees, its assigns, licensees and successors in title;
(c) undertake to us that their entry is not in breach of any third party intellectual property rights and will not contain anything, which is defamatory, indecent, harassing or threatening and that they will indemnify us for any loss, damage or liability arising should this turn out not to be true. If relevant, we reserve the right, but not the obligation (and without limiting entrants’ warranty and indemnity as set out above), to screen, filter and/or monitor information provided by the entrant and to edit, refuse to distribute or remove the same;
(d) confirm that they have the right, power and authority to grant the rights set out above and that they have obtained all consents and permissions necessary to grant us the same.
10.2 For the avoidance of doubt, all rights in the name and title of the Competition and the format rights for the Competition are our sole property and we may exploit the same our absolute discretion.
11.1 If any prize winner is a child or young person (i.e. under the age of 18) we may require that the terms and conditions applicable to the Competition (including these General Terms) be signed by the prize winner’s parent or legal guardian before the prize is awarded. Any such prize may at our discretion be awarded to the prize winner’s parent or legal guardian.
11.2 Holiday prizes are not available to persons under the age of 18 without written consent from a parent or legal guardian and unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
11.3 Where entrants or prize winners are required by us to sign a release or other document before participating in a Competition and/or redeeming a prize and the entrant and/or prize winner is under the age of 18 years, such document must be signed by that person’s parent or legal guardian prior to their participation in the Competition and/or the prize being awarded.
12 TAMPERING AND OTHER MATTERS
If for any reason any Competition is not capable of running as planned as a result of any (including but not limited to) technical failures, unauthorised intervention, computer virus, mobile network failure, tampering, fraud or any other causes beyond our control which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of a Competition, we reserve the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition and/or any draw/s or judging related to the Competition and/or to disqualify any individual who (whether directly or indirectly) causes (or has caused) the problem.
13 RESPONSIBILITY FOR TAKING UP A PRIZE
Obtaining time off work and/or study or related activities to participate in a Competition and/or take a prize will be the sole and absolute responsibility of each contestant. We accept no liability for making alternative arrangements for entrants to enter or finding alternative arrangements or prizes for prize winners who are unable to take up prizes as a result of their own personal circumstances, such as not being available on the necessary dates.
14 TERMINATION OF COMPETITION
Through the Trees may vary the terms of, or terminate, a Competition at any time at its absolute discretion if reasonably required to do so. Termination or variation of a competition is without liability to any contestant or other person. The Promoter will not award the prize if the Competition is terminated.
15 DECISIONS FINAL
15.1 All our decisions relating to the Competition and/or redemption of the prizes are final. No discussions or correspondence with entrants or any other person will be entered into.
15.2 Tiebreakers, disputes, conflicts, questions or concerns will be managed by us and, if required by law, by an independent adjudicator.
15.3 Where a Competition involves voting, the accuracy of the pooled results received and published by us will be deemed to be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
16 FAILURE TO ENFORCE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
A failure by us to enforce any one of the terms and conditions in any instance(s) will not give rise to any claim or right of action by any entrant or prize winner, nor shall it be deemed to be a waiver of any of our rights in relation to the same.
17 EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY
17.1 Except as specifically set out herein and to the maximum extent permitted by law, all conditions, warranties and representations expressed or implied by law are hereby excluded.
17.2 To the fullest extent permitted by law, we hereby exclude and shall not have any liability to any entrant or prize winner in connection with or arising out of any Competition howsoever caused, including for any costs, expenses, forfeited prizes, damages and other liabilities, provided that nothing herein shall operate so as to limit or exclude our liability for personal injury or death caused by our negligence. For the avoidance of doubt, this paragraph 17.2 shall also apply in respect of any prize provided by a third-party provider.
17.3 In the event that any provision of these General (or any Specific) Terms are held to be illegal, invalid, void or otherwise unenforceable, it shall be severed from the remaining provisions which shall continue in full force and effect.
17.4 In relation to all competitions, prize draws, votes and polls promoted by the Promoter:
17.4.1 Nothing in these terms restricts your statutory rights as a consumer.
17.4.2 Nothing in these terms shall exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our staff’s negligence or for fraud or for any other liability which cannot be limited or excluded by law or regulation.
17.4.3 We cannot guarantee that the services or systems for entering a Competition, will at all times be free from errors or omissions nor that they will be available uninterrupted and in a fully operating condition. These services may be suspended temporarily and without notice in the case of any problem with any network or line, system, server, software, or for any technical malfunction or failure, maintenance or repair or for reasons reasonably beyond our control.. Subject to 19.4.1 and 19.4.2, Through the Trees, do not accept responsibility where all or any part of the service relating to a Competition is discontinued, modified or changed in any way.
17.4.4 Subject to 17.4.1 and 17.4.2, the Promoter or other Through the Trees companies do not accept responsibility for any fault, malfunction, damage, loss or disappointment suffered by you as an entrant or participant howsoever arising from participating in a Competition or from accepting any prize whether due to any error, omission by the Promoter, Through the Trees or its or their employees, agents or others or by any other cause.
17.4.5 Subject to 17.4.1 and 17.4.2, we will not be liable to reimburse the cost or expenses incurred in making a Competition entry where applicable.
17.4.6 Subject to 17.4.1 and 17.4.2, we do not accept responsibility in the event that any entry is lost, delayed or not properly received, registered or recorded or for any incorrectly addressed or undelivered Competition entries, votes or polls or for any disruption, delay or misdirection of such entries.
17.4.7 Subject to 17.4.1 and 17.4.2, we reserve the right to amend any element of a Competition for reasons beyond our reasonable control, including but not limited to the unavailability of the Competition entry platform before the closing date, or for strike, lock-out, labour dispute, illness, act of God, natural disaster, adverse weather conditions, war, riot, civil commotion, accident, epidemic or pandemic, malicious damage, fire, flood and/or storm, compliance with law or governmental order, rule, regulation or direction, breakdown of plant, machinery or transportation. We are not responsible for any loss or damage caused to you as a result of any of these occurrences.
17.4.8 You agree to reimburse the Promoter in respect of any damages suffered by the Promoter or any losses by the Promoter resulting from any claim made by a third party in each case in respect of any matter arising from your use of the services relating to the Competition.in breach of the General Terms or Specific Terms or from your violation of any applicable law or regulation.
17.4.9 It is your responsibility to ensure that you control access to any phone number that you use to enter. Subject to 17.4.1 and 17.4.2, the Promoter shall not be responsible for any loss you suffer as a result of us dealing in good faith with anyone other than you who has access to any such number (or any device using any such number).
These General Terms (and any Specific Terms) are available in English only and shall be exclusively governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.