I love the gems that Arrow and MVD continuously find and release. I have to confess, many of them I’ve never heard of. As such, these treasures quickly become classics in my book. Today’s entry, BLOOD RAGE, is such a case. I have never heard of this film prior to watching it, but it is definitely a worthy addition to the 80s Slasher Flick category. With a pretty unique premise and some excellent gore, this is one throwback film horror fans will want to snatch up for their collections soon.
If you are not familiar with BLOOD RAGE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video:
IT’S NOT CRANBERRY SAUCE!!!
What do you get if you combine Thanksgiving, American TV star Louise Lasser (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), killer 80s synths and some truly gruesome special effects courtesy of Ed French (Terminator 2: Judgement Day). 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 the face of a fellow patron at the local drive-in. Todd is blamed for the bloody crime and institutionalized, 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 theaters 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.
I love everything about this film. It’s quirky in some aspects, and it has a lot of demented charm. But primarily it’s just a whole lot of fun.
BLOOD RAGE looks like typical 80s fare, and it is for the most part. The cinematography is not stunning, but it doesn’t need to be. We are given what we need for the story, and therefore we are not presented with any artistic camerawork or scenery.
The acting is about what you’d expect from an 80s slasher, and that’s just fine. One bright spot, however, is Mark Soper, the actor who portrays the twins, Todd and Terry. Soper does a great job of bringing both characters to life, giving each unique qualities and portraying both on opposite ends of the personality spectrum. I am impressed with his acting abilities, and I am surprised we did not see more of him in later years.
The story in BLOOD RAGE is fun and intense. There are several “What the—?” scenes that will surprise and delight viewers, including some witty observations from the psychopathic Terry. The film’s tagline, “It’s not cranberry sauce”, is one such quote, and the expression on Terry’s face is perfect. I love how these lines are delivered, as they add some dark humor to the intensity.
BLOOD RAGE is a big win for me, and I suggest snagging a copy very soon. This 3-Disc Collector’s Set has a slew of extras and original content, including:
3-DISC DIRECTOR-APPROVED LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
* 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
BLU-RAY DISC 1 & DVD – BLOOD RAGE
* 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
BLU-RAY DISC 2 – NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE]
* 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