'Blood Rage' (3-Disc Special Edition)
(Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Marianne Kanter, et al / 3-Disc Blu ray+DVD / R / (1987) 2015 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: 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!
Blu ray Verdict: Amid the slew of slasher films pumped out in the early 1980s, a few have been lost in the sands of time, available for years only in cut VHS form or rare DVDs (if they were lucky enough to even make the jump to that format) that have since gone out of print. 'Blood Rage' (aka 'Nightmare at Shadow Woods') is one of those films, but luckily for us lovers of all things thus-like, Arrow Films (UK) have re-released this incredible film in this brand new 3-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray-DVD set!
So, I hear you ask, just what makes 'Blood Rage' (shot in 1983, but not released until 1987) worthier than those other slashers and vastly underrated? Well for starters, the lead performance by Mark Soper - who does a double take as the twins Terry and Todd - is among one of the better performances in slasher movie history. If you've read the plot description, you'd know that the movie is about two identical twins - one good, the other evil. Soper manages to play both roles seamlessly, which is surprising given the film's low budget origins and the genre. Each twin's facial expressions, body language, and mannerisms are contrasted perfectly to make it believable.
Louise Lasser also hits the spot as the twins' mother, who slowly starts to lose it once she gets word that her son, Todd, has escaped his mental institution and may be on his way home for Thanksgiving. Little does she know that Todd is actually innocent of the crime that got him locked up as a boy - the brutal slaying of a teenage boy at a drive-in movie by way of a hatchet - and that Todd's evil brother, Terry, is actually the resident psychopath, living with her all these years undetected!
It seems (or is at least assumed) that Terry's homicidal tendencies have remained dormant all these years until, one night, his mother announces her engagement and gets a phone call that Todd is on the loose. All of this is apparently enough incentive for Terry to have some "fun" again while probably assuming he can blame all of the new murders on the escaped Todd.
Oh boy, and does he take advantage of his brother's escape! Terry hacks, stabs, and slices his way through most of the residents of the Shadow Woods apartment complex with much gusto. The gore effects in the uncut version are an 80's slasher fan's dream. The previously out-of-print DVD edition of this film entitled 'Nightmare at Shadow Woods' was a heavily cut presentation, but here (in this restored, re-released Blu-ray version, we get to see all those multiple hatchet whacks to the head - plus en mass of impalings, decapitations, severed limbs, bisections, and so much more!
Finally, and for the record (no pun intended!), the music on this soundtrack score is one of the best qualities about the film and one of the things that really sets it apart from most of its brethren. It really is one of the greater slasher scores I've heard, at times reminiscent of 'Halloween,' but with a more 80's vibe that you can really dig into. Oh, yeah, and the movie ends in the pool house with a little "twist," if you will, but I won't be giving that away, sorry! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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