BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
When it comes to b-grade entertainment, there is literally NOTHING quite like 1987’s Blood Rage. As ballsy as it is shoddy, this poorly acted slasher is in fact quite effective in is delivery of a twisted tale about twins and the psychotic mother who has the wrong son committed for murder. Blood Rage is their Thanksgiving-themed reunion and the body count is larger than the guests who’ve arrived to eat some turkey.
Back in 1974, Terry did a bad, bad thing at the local drive-in and his twin brother, Todd, got blamed for it. A decade later, Todd escapes from his mental institution with one thing on his mind: clear his name of the murder his brother committed. Terry, seemingly unfazed by his brother’s escape and his mother’s news of her engagement, suddenly announces to his future father-in-law at the table that he will soon be meeting the rest of the family. Or at least another side of this busted family tree.
What follows is a series of gruesome kills – gutted torsos, hands whacked off, heads chopped off – that both stand the test of time and one-up each other at every opportunity presented. Ridiculous, charming, and effectively chilling, Blood Rage is a B-movie that is long overdue for a new polish and appreciation. Arrow Video answers the call with a 3-disc director-approved release that covers every aspect of this cult classic.
Forget about a plot. Surrounding these gruesome kill sequences (composed by Ed French of Terminator 2: Judgment Day fame), Blood Rage was originally filmed in 1982. It wasn’t released until 1987, right when the horror genre – namely the whole slasher format – was growing a bit stale and long in the tooth. The film; however, still has the spark that had long since faded the other releaser of its type. Director John Grissmer (The House That Screamed Murder, Scalpel) allows for some elements of the horror flick to breathe and, in turn, forces the actors to create demented characters that take chances.
“That isn’t cranberry sauce, Artie. That is NOT cranberry sauce,” warns Mark Soper in his dual role of Terry & Todd. It’s a damn good line as it is both hilarious and chilling and, in this manner, Blood Rage scores BIG TIME points with me. Oh, it’s insane and poorly assembled, complete with a hilarious voice-over when the dubbing goes wonky in the psychiatrist’s office where Todd and his mother are apparently receiving services.
And Louise Lasser’s unhinged performance, as the mother of these machete-wielding twins, is as shocking as it is detached and original. I mean, for fuck’s sake, who will ever forget seeing her sprawled out in front of an open refrigerator dumping leftovers into her mouth? No one. NO ONE. It works brilliantly. She absolutely loses it when confronted with the past and newly-discovered split heads. Her response to Thanksgiving leftovers and simple logic is equally as unsettling. Meanwhile, Soper chews the scenery with a maniacal laughter as he chases down the rest of the guests (and more) from the dinner table.
The truth must never be revealed. And Terry – who loves his mother a bit too much – will be damned if Todd becomes the favored son. Any person in his way is simply going to get it. With dialogue as unintentionally funny as are the demented performances, Blood Rage aka Slasher aka Nightmare at Shadow Woods is one hell of a grand time of murder and mistaken identities.
With a pulsating synth score from Richard Einhorn (Shockwaves), Blood Rage proves there’s more than one way to get stuffed at Thanksgiving. Arrow Video has, once again, done gorehounds and cult film enthusiasts a solid with this release.
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 82 mins
Director: John Grissmer
Writer: Bruce Rubin
Cast: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Julie Gordon
Tagline: Not all the evil is on Elm Street ...
Memorable Movie Quote: "Here's to the new family"
Distributor: Film Concept Group (FCG)
Release Date: June, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: December 15, 2015
Synopsis: As kids, Todd is institutionalized for a murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.
Available on Blu-ray - December 15, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set (2 BD-50, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Arrow Video proudly presents Blood Rage with a brand new 2K restoration of the hard home video version, transferred from the camera negative and featuring the original title card Slasher. Visually, the remastering is a thing of beauty. Black levels are strong and lines are clean. The color is a little too peachy in some scenes (the dinner one) but that’s too be expected. The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ration with stereo 2.0 sound and has been exclusively restored by Arrow Video. Colors are strong and vivid and dirt and debris have been cleared up through the process of graded, only a select few scenes are problematic with faint strobing effects.
The audio commentary with director John Grissmer is a solid one that offers the director’s take on the filming, its history, and its production. It is worth a listen.
Arrow Video has simply outdone themselves with this release. There are three versions of the film Blood Rage, the original home video version, Nightmare at Shadow Woods, the theatrical re-cut, and an alternate composite cut combining footage from both versions. The Original Stereo 2.0 sound (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) is included. There is reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach and a fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joseph A. Ziemba. The release also features the following:
- Both Sides of the Camera an interview with producer/actress Marianne Kanter (10 min)
- Double Jeopardy an interview with actor Mark Soper (11 min)
- Jeez, Louise! an interview with actress Louise Lasser (10 min)
- Man Behind the Mayhem an interview with Ed French (13 min)
- Three Minutes with Ted Raimi an interview with actor Ted Raimi (4 min)
- Return to Shadow Woods featurette revisiting the original locations in Jacksonville, Florida(6 min)
- Alternate opening titles (5 min)
- Motion still gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes make-up photos (5 min)
- Nightmare at Shadow Woods the re-edited 1987 theatrical cut featuring footage not seen in the Blood Rage home video version (79 min)
- Alternate composite cut of the feature combining footage from the home video and theatrical versions (75 min)
- Never-before-seen outtakes (27 min)