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Berserker: The Nordic Curse (1987) - Blu-ray Review

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Berserker (1987)

No, this title isn’t connected to Silent Bob’s Russian cousin.  You know, the one that kept singing, “BERRRRRSERRRRRRKER!” in Clerks.  That might have improved Berserker greatly.  Instead, we get a killer Viking warrior offing dumbass teenagers in Utah while they dance and listen to some pretty awful jams deep in the woods. 

"might not be your cup of tea, but it certainly fed my need for gonzo flicks"


If you thought the prologue, set during the 10th Century, would make sense of this slasher-ific mess, think again.  We jump time periods rather quickly as an elderly couple strolls through Big Cottonwood Camp before they are gutted by what seems to be a bear.  It’s the modern day and yet the Viking killer remains tucked inside the woods . . . on a rampage of brutality, killing everything in sight, including old people. With shitty music and even shittier acting from the sex-crazed teens out camping, this B-grade flick has cult interest written all over it. 

Okay, I’ll bite.  You had me at hello, Viking killer.  Something this insane must be checked out and somehow, during the VHS boom, I missed this title at my local Mom and Pop video store.  Unfortunately, the promise in the chaos is lost in the delivery as this one gets swallowed up in its own fake fog.

This movie right here, full of teasing nubile coeds and greased-up jocks celebrating all things manly and rage-tastic, is one fucked-up horror flick.  I mean that quite honestly, too.  It has the balls to suggest that the northern part of Utah was settled by Viking Warriors.  I mean, a crazed Viking hiding out in the woods offing a group of toking teens?  And he’s all dolled up in bear skins and a mask, too.  What. The. Fuck.

Taking a Norse concept of a crazed warrior and thrusting it, in all his trance-like fury, straight into the Utah wilderness of 1987 is pretty damned ingenious.  It’s also damned crazy which makes this flick, written and directed by Jefferson Richard, pretty unforgettable.  Even if it does largely suck, this beer-guzzling beauty is pretty entertaining, just keep drinking.  The “bear” kills are hilarious as the bear loves to get the clothes off the girls before shredding their guts. Berserker (1987)

Thing is, this 85-minute “gem” just feels so entirely long that you absolutely want the teens at the center of this title to get killed a lot sooner than they do.  Forget about all the fucking and the drinking.  Just kill them already.  If the haunted park ranger that pulls them over at the onset of their camping trip doesn’t leave you in stitches, then maybe the Norwegian immigrant, Pappy Nyquist (George ‘Buck’ Flowers) will. 

Beserker, now available on blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome’s dedication to bring VHS titles back from the dead in stunning 2K, might not be your cup of tea, but it certainly fed my need for gonzo flicks.  And this release looks damn good, too, having been newly restored from the long lost original camera negative. 

We come from the land of the ice and snow!  Berserker is now out on the prowl again.

3/5 beers

Berserker (1987)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- October 29, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; two disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding:
Locked to Region A

Recently restored in 2K from a lost print of the movie, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present Berserker on blu-ray with a fine grain transfer.  A special limited edition embossed slipcover, designed by Earl Kessler Jr., is limited to 2,000 units and is only available at VinegarSyndrome.com.  Get your copy quick as this title – due to its absolute insanity – is bound to sell out.

Video:

While mainly a woodsy-type film, there are several moments of softness and poor resolution – especially when we go lights out – but colors are typically strong throughout. White specks and very minor scratches clutter a majority of the images, and contrast is pretty bland, making the 1.85:1 image appear flat and somewhat dull, this is still a BIG improvement to what was seen previously in this flick.  The AVC-encoded transfer does show strong colors; bold and cleanly rendered.  Black levels are strong and accurate for the most part, and a nice, thin layer of grain is consistent. The video transfers are as sharp and detailed as film of this vintage could be with close-ups looking particularly excellent and revealing. 

Audio:

A DTS-HD provides the sounds of a Viking killer.  Dialogue is crisp and clean.  The music selections are awful.  You will be thankful for the muddy sound. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a commentary track with Justin Kerswell & Joseph Henson of The Hysteria Continues!

Special Features:

Complete with reversible cover artwork, this release from Vinegar Syndrome is loaded with a video interview from director Jefferson Richard and actors Joseph Alan Johnson and Shannon Engemann.  There is an audio interview with Mike Riley, a historical commentary, and a stills gallery, too.

  • A Family Affair
  • Beware of Bears
  • Valley Girl
  • Audio interview with actor Mike Riley
  • Stills Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Berserker (1987)

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
85 mins
Director
: Jefferson Richard
Writer:
Jefferson Richard
Cast:
Joseph Alan Johnson, Greg Dawson, Valerie Sheldon
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
It's too late to run. There's no time to scream... Just close your eyes and pray to die.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Whoever or whatever did this is probably still out here."
Theatrical Distributor:
Shapiro Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
July, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 29, 2019
Synopsis: A group of friends have set out on a camping trip in a rural part of Utah. Although warned by kindly Norwegian immigrant, Pappy Nyquist (George ‘Buck’ Flowers), of a series of recent killings, supposedly the result of a bear, the campers are undeterred and decide to spend the night outdoors, getting drunk and sharing stories of berserkers, ruthlessly violent viking warriors who wore bear skins and snouts. Not long after pairing off for romantic escapades, they find themselves terrorized and ripped apart by a large and violent bear...but is it actually a bear, or perhaps a real life berserker who has somehow been transported to the 20th century....

Berserker (1987)

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