Reel Reviews - Official Site

social fbsocial twitter

BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Details

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Trailer

  • Art

Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersHoly gonzo grindhouse flicks!  Effects is the ultimate high in DIY horror.

There’s a forward-thinking mechanic to much of Effects which makes this low budget affair a horror title to keep remembering.  That’s saying a lot when you get to the classification of snuff films.  Effects is NOT one of those types of films, mind you.  It is; however, ABOUT one of those of type of flicks or, more specifically, about the making of one.  And the lines it crosses, weaving in and out of a fictional narrative, are often challenging for viewers.

With the 4K restoration and release of Effects on blu-ray, Alamo Drafthouse's American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) has answered a lot of prayers for many horror fans out there.  Others will be hearing about this title for the very first time.  Either way, this release is a win-win for the horror and b-movie community.  Independent classics like this are few and far between.

Made by some of writer/director George A. Romero’s friends and zombie co-conspirators with whatever money they could come up with, Effects is a low budget horror movie about the filming of a low budget horror movie in which various members of THAT cast are actually killed by the on-screen events.  It stars Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead), Joe Pilato (Day of the Dead), and John Harrison (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) and reveals just enough about the film-within-the-film plot – at the very beginning with tight close ups on the tools of the trade – to remain wholly charged throughout its 80-minutes.

In form and function, it comes across as a student film.  It’s expressive, filmed in murky light, and forces an ultra-real world upon the viewer with an uncomfortable grittiness in its shock and schlock. 

It is a horror film that is heavy on meta-minded implications.  The Kills are always teased.  The early shower scene merely reinforces murder and, as a result, doubles down on sleaze by way of an acknowledgment of how horror operates.  It knows the ways and means to secure audience engagement and because you have artists discussing their approach to horror while making it at the same time, reinforces a philosophy we already know from watching the films they’ve made.  

Written and directed by Dusty Nelson (Sakura Killers), Effects is definitely a successful and wholly interesting approach to capitalizing on the methods of horror.  It won’t be for the easily offended or the distracted viewer (and some will probably dismiss it altogether), but do we even care about those fools?  This is initiation level horror in my book and if you can’t pass this test and just shut-up and watch, then what the fuck are you doing here?  Move along. 

With Effects unleashed upon the public for consumption, never before has spare change been so deadly.

Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
84 mins
: Dusty Nelson
Dusty Nelson
Joseph Pilato, Susan Chapek, John Harrison
: Horror
Making movies can be MURDER!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Look at that guy over there. Look at that, Gene Kelly should have one of those things. I'm singin' in a bar."
Theatrical Distributor:
International Harmony
Official Site:
Release Date:
June, 1980
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 22, 2017
Synopsis: It's a low-budget horror film about a low-budget horror film gone very, very wrong. As the cast and crew's madness settles in, a second crew clandestinely makes "the ultimate horror picture": real victims, real blood, real death. In a Roy Scheider-like slow-burn performance, Joe Pilato stars as a cameraman targeted as the next victim -- or was his cast to be snuffed from the very beginning?

Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: AGFA
Available on Blu-ray
- August 22, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

When AGFA discovered they had the ONLY remaining 35mm print (blown up from 16mm which has been lost) of Effects in existence, there was a celebratory cry of relief.  With grain levels in the film high and details revved-up, this film looks absolutely beautiful considering its age.  The 1080p transfer, thanks to an intensive remastering of the original (and only) surviving 35mm elements, looks better than ever thought possible.  Black levels are a bit uneven and the color, while never the sharpest, retains a natural quality to its expressions.  We get hillside locations, interior shots, and even a couple of city shots.  All are expressive.  This is all thanks to the 4k scan to create this MPEG-4 AVC encode and, as it took years to clean up, the patience at hand for the task.  It is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and sports a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix.



  •  First up is an archival commentary track recorded with John Harrison, Dusty Nelson, and Pasquale Buba.  They provide good details about the orchestrating of the film and its history.

Special Features:

The hour-long documentary concerning the making of the movie is the real deal.  In fact, it’s a must-see.  Also included are two short films.  We also get liner notes from AGFA’s Joseph A. Ziemba and reversible cover art by Charles Forsman.

  • After Effects (60 min)
  • Ubu (12 min)
  • Beastie (15 min)

Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review


Movie Reviews

Our Tweets


You are here: Home Home Video BADass B-Movies Effects (1980) - Blu-ray Review