Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Blood Rage aka Nightmare at Shadow Woods (Arrow US Blu-ray)

Looking for a Thanksgiving Horror movie? Can’t seem to break away from Thankskilling or Thankskilling III? Well Blood Rage is here on beautiful Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow US. You now have the chance to come home for the holiday, get stuff and then watch a couple o’ twins try to sort out some crazy psychological messes complete with murder and mystery. I can’t stress how much fun a movie like Blood Rage is. I first had the chance to enjoy it under its alternate title at the Exhumed 24 Hour Horrorthon in 2014 under the title Nightmare at Shadow Woods (a title I still like better). This was a late night laugh fest that fit perfectly into its time slot. You could either snooze through the quite moments or create a ruckus during the rather sinister kill sequences.

This is how you make an entertaining slasher movie with a moderate amount of suspense, preserving all the semi-comedic aspects (intentional or not) and creating enough gruesomeness on screen to keep the Horror fan ready for seconds. It’s not perfect. It’s a slasher movie made in 83 (and released even later). That means it was at the end of the slasher boom when movies were looking for the gimmick and when the body count was paramount to narrative. That does show in Blood Rage, but as we fans of slasher movies know, that works to our advantage in the gonzo department. We get the overload our pubescent minds desire.

The transfer is Arrow beautiful. That means it looks clean, good black and contrast with good color saturation. You get two alternate cover choices, a booklet with essay to help provide a context for the release and the movie’s history. With this set you get three different versions of the movie: 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. I watched the original home video version this time around having seen Nightmare at Shadow Woods on the big screen. You get a pile of interviews, a director commentary and even an interview with Ted Raimi. There’s a featurette that revisits shooting locations.

As a slasher classic, this is clearly one to revisit. The production value is quite good, the story is fun and has enough novelty from keeping it plain Jane and the overall tone of the movie is exciting with mystery that may actually surprise you. Arrow takes another movie that might just be in the bargain bin and gives it a truly special treatment for this Blu-ray release. Blood Rage often gets left out of the discussion when discussing slasher movies because it didn’t do a whole lot to drive the genre forward, but as a work of entertaining Horror, it has plenty to offer in the way of good humor and good kills.

You can order Blood Rage now:

From Arrow Video US:


What do you get if you combine Thanksgiving, American TV star Louise Lasser (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), killer 80s synths and some of the most gruesome special effects in all of slasher history courtesy of Ed (Terminator 2) French. Why, it’s Blood Rage of course!

Twins Todd and Terry seem like sweet boys that is, until one of them takes an axe to face of a fellow patron at the local drive-in. Todd is blamed for the bloody crime and institutionalised, whilst twin brother Terry goes free. Ten years later and, as the family gathers around the table for a Thanksgiving meal, the news comes in that Todd has escaped. But has the real killer in fact been in their midst all along? One thing’s for sure, there will be blood and rage!

Shot in 1983 but not released until 1987, Blood Rage (re-cut and shown in theatres as Nightmare at Shadow Woods) is a gloriously gruesome slice of 80s slasher heaven now lovingly restored (in 3 versions no less!) from original vault elements for its first ever official home video release.

       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
       Original Stereo 2.0 sound (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
       Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
       Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach
       Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joseph A. Ziemba, author of BLEEDING SKULL! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey
       Brand new 2K restoration of the “hard” home video version, transferred from the camera negative and featuring the original title card Slasher
       Audio commentary with director John Grissmer
       Both Sides of the Camera – an interview with producer/actress Marianne Kanter
       Double Jeopardy – an interview with actor Mark Soper
       Jeez, Louise! – an interview with actress Louise Lasser
       Man Behind the Mayhem – an interview with special make-up effects creator Ed French
       Three Minutes with Ted Raimi – an 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
       Nightmare at Shadow Woods – the re-edited 1987 theatrical cut featuring footage not seen in the Blood Rage home video version
       Alternate composite cut of the feature combining footage from the home video and theatrical versions

       Never-before-seen outtakes

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