Blu-ray Review: Blood Rage (1987)

Blood Rage BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 18

MPAA Classification: Not Rated

Director: John Grissmer

Starring: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Marianne Kanter, Julie Gordin, Jayne Bentzen

Blood Rage is a straightforward 1987 slasher that will tick all the boxes needed for a good killing spree. You know the ones – high body count, teen sex, tragic event in child’s life, good kills… you get the idea. Also known as Slasher and Nightmare at Shadow Woods, the version under consideration is the recent Arrow Video release in both the UK and US. Welcome to the US Arrow Video.

Blood Rage was written by Bruce Rubin, directed by John Grissmer (False Face) and stars Louise Lasser (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), Mark Soper (White Oleander) and Marianne Kanter. Todd and Terry are two 10-year-old twin boys both a little off-kilter in the brain departments, and the movie opens with Terry killing a young couple at a drive-in theater and blaming it on his quiet brother Todd, who gets put away for it. Years later, Todd finally comes to realize the he did not kill the young lady and breaks out of the institution to go find Terry and end this once and for all.

What sets this one apart from other slashers and gives it charm is there are characters you can get behind and care about, such as the mom trying to be a good mother to both her sons. Ms. Lasser plays this part well and really gets the audience invested in her character. Mark Soper does a great betrayal of both Terry and Todd, and really garners the hate for Terry and makes us feel sorry for Todd. This trait is what sets this off from other slashers like The Mutilator and Headless Eyes and gives it that extra push to consider this a top tier slasher film of the ’80s. You have a well-acted film, high body count, sex and good kills. By the way, my favorite shot was a rather bland hand getting hacked off but somehow that hand managed to hold onto the old style beer can. Great shot! It is the small details like this that bolster the movie and push it into the top tier of the slasher genre.

Arrow Video has assembled a really great package for this film. First off we get a new 2K transfer from the original 35mm negative of Blood Rage plus we get the Nightmare at Shadow Woods theatrical cut which features alternate footage to Blood Rage.There is also a composite cut of the film that features footage from both versions. Also included is a wonderful multi-page pamphlet with great photos and a nice essay written by Joseph A. Ziemba.

As with a lot of Arrow Video packages this one is loaded with special features. Most notable is the audio commentary provided by the director John Grissmer. It was both insightful and entertaining. All in all a fantastic package put together by Arrow Video and one of the best I have seen. This is a package that contains a special movie and it is a brilliant restoration, sometimes from many different elements. This is truly the definitive restoration and history of this film to date.

When you strip away the bells and whistles what we have in front of us is a great example of an ’80’s slasher flick. It brings all things slasher related into on well-made film. Add back in the bells and whistles and we have a must have package for any horror fan. This is truly a piece of horror history and thank you Arrow Video for the exceptional restorative work to preserve this gem.

Blood Rage

Special Features: Audio commentary with director John Grissmer, Both Sides of the Camera interview with producer/actress Marianne Kanter, Double Jeopardy interview with actor Mark Soper, Jeez, Louise! interview with actress Louise Lasser, Man Behind the Mayhem interview with special make-up effects creator Ed French, Three Minutes with Ted Raimi interview with actor Ted Raimi, Return to Shadow Woods featurette revisiting the original locations in Jacksonville, Florida, alternate opening titles, motion still gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes make-up photos, never-before-seen outtakes.

UK/US Release Date: 23rd November 2015

Arrow Films – Website


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