Blood Rage is a slasher flick from the ’80s which has gone through a number of guises, made in 1983 but then released in 1987 just as the slasher genre was petering out.
Taking place in the Shadow Woods trailer park in Jacksonville, Florida, there’s the censored theatrical version, an uncut version retitled Nightmare at Shadow Woods, and a composite cut, mixing them both together. I went for the latter, so I got the best of both worlds. This means the picture isn’t always brilliant, but you know what to expect. It’s like the Unrated version of Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth which had the same thing happening, yet I preferred to watch that version which was most ‘complete’, even if it might not be the final, intended version, as it were.
The loose premise is based around murderous children! Between the two twins in the film, One of them shoves an axe head in a man attending a drive-in movie. One of the brothers is Todd. Who’s the other? Rod?? No, it’s Terry. Move on ten years, Todd’s remembering what happened, and his memory cast suspicion on Terry. But then Todd goes missing…
As special make-up effects creator Ed French, who also has a cameo in the film where he comes to a sticky end, alights in the extras, when they wanted the gore they really went for it. And that results in some great offings such as a man who gets his hand chopped off, yet when it’s on the floor, the fingers keep moving… not that the victim notices it because he’s too concerned about the oodles of blood spurting out of his gaping wound. And the moment when his body was discovered was hilarious, but I’ll leave you to discover that one.
There’s also an amusing moment when two young men were playing videogames. As one of their dates commented, “With one of those things around, you can write off this night.” I tried to work out which console it was at first, but it was clearly ‘Night Driver’ Atari-style footage (but a lot more impressive) made for the film, with daft controllers and their wires disappearing behind the TV. Hence, not a real console.
Blood Rage isn’t the best slasher movie ever made, but it’s certainly not the worst, and there’s a reasonable frequently of murders to keep you going over the 85-minute running time, and when they do come, they are nicely gory!
Oh, and is this where music maestro Todd Terry got his name from?
The film is presented in the original 1.85 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and aside from the obvious issues with the slotted-in footage in the composite cut, the majority of the film looks surprisingly clean for a near-30-year-old slasher flick. I’m watching on my Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
As for the audio, the film was originally shot in mono, but this print is in 2.0 Stereo. There’s nothing that particularly stands out from it that you wouldn’t expect, but at the same time, there are zero problems with it.
Taken from the Collector’s booklet about the video and audio transfer:
- “Blood Rage is presented in 1.85:1 with stereo 2.0 sound and has been exclusively
restored in 2K resolution for this release by Arrow Films.
The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered
Arriscan at OCN Digital. Kodak Digital Ice software was used to remove thousands of
instances of negative dirt and debris. Additional image restoration was performed using
Pixel Farm’s PF Clean software.
The film was graded on a DaVinci Resolve by OCN Digital. Due to severe fading and
instances of chemical stain, a select number of short sequences and shots appear soft
and exhibit a slight strobing effect.
The original stereo soundtrack was transferred from the 35mm optical negative using a
Magnatech Dubber. The soundtrack was conformed by Marc Morris.”
(I’m here all week, tip your waitress)
The extensive extras are as follows:
- Double Jeopardy (11:01): Mark Soper (Todd and Terry) talks about playing the twins. It’s a fairly straight-forward look back at the film, but he also makes reference to the fact there are three versions of the film.
- Jeez, Louise! (10:21): Louise Lasser (Todd and Terry’s mother) takes the interview stand. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata plays throughout, a sombre piece to contrast against the complex character character she portrays in the film.
- Both Sides of the Camera (9:58): As well as being the producer, Marianne Kanter also takes the role of Dr. Berman, accidentally because the intended actress didn’t turn up!
- Man Behind The Mayhem (12:48): An interview with special make-up effects creator Ed French, who also gets a role in the film, but he loses his head…. As he says of his gory work, “I didn’t really want to skimp on subtlety” 🙂
- Three Minutes with Ted (3:18): Actor Ted Raimi, that is. Brother of Sam Raimi, and he plays a condom salesman in this film.
- Return To Shadow Woods (5:36): Location revisit in Jacksonville, Florida where Blood Rage was originally filmed.
- VHS Opening Titles (5:01): Rest assured, this segment is NOT in HD 😉
- Behind the scenes gallery (4:31): Plenty of pics as the theme plays in the background.
- Outtakes (26:39): Does exactly what it says on the tin, and they’re presented mute as per the original source material. This extra is on disc 2 along with the ‘Shadow Woods’ version of the film as well as the composite cut.
- Collector’s booklet: A 20-page booklet featuring production stills and a new article Thanks Be To Blood Rage by Joseph A. Ziemba.
- Audio Commentary: director John Grissmer and now co-owner of the film, John Dally.
Subtitles are in English, and as you put either disc in, the main menu features clips from the film set to the score. There are 12 chapters to the main film, and, as always, I’d prefer more than 12 for the main film.
Blood Rage is out now on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack Limited Edition and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 85 minutes (composite cut)
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: November 23rd 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Disc Format: BD50
Director: John Grissmer
Producer: Marianne Kanter
Screenplay: Bruce Rubin (as Richard Lamden)
Music: Richard Einhorn
Todd/Terry: Mark Soper
Maddy: Louise Lasser
Dr Berman: Marianne Kanter
Karen: Julie Gordon
Julie: Jayne Bentzen
Maddy’s Date: Bill Cakmis
Little Girl: Dana Drescher
Artie: James Farrell
Bill: Ed French
Brad: William Fuller
Drive-in Boy: Brad Leland
Beth: Gerry Lou
Gregg: Chad Montgomery
Condom Salesman: Ted Raimi
Andrea: Lisa Randall
Slasher: Dylan Riggs
Drive-in Girl: Rebecca Thorp
Jackie: Doug Weiser
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.