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Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker - Blu-ray Review

4 beersHaving journeyed down a Colorado mountainside highway when the brakes have just gone out, there’s certainly nothing funny about the tragic car accident that brutally takes the lives of a young mother and father in the opening few minutes of Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker (aka Night Warning).  That log in the back of the logging truck goes right through the man’s poor, poor noggin.  Ouch.  And, for the wife, it doesn’t stop there, making this low-budget horror flick a very interesting (and quite disturbing) find.

The first thing you should know is that this flick features a very young Bill Paxton as the bully who taunts Billy Lynch (Jimmy McNichol) mercilessly due to his gifted basketball prowess.  The second thing you should know is that this tale is completely fucked up.  After the opening car accident, the young Billy is raised by his overprotective aunt, Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell, Shoot Out), and she, due to all her fawning over the teenager, seems to have a bit of a crush on her young ward.  But, wait, folks, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.  Poor Billy.  It. Gets. So. Much. Worse.  

She’s crazy as hell and it comes to a head when Billy starts to flex his muscles as he seeks out a basketball scholarship that would take him far out and away from the house.  Suddenly, Cheryl is all over a repairman and, because he refuses her advances, she kills him.  “I need a man,” she screams with her tits hanging out of her shirt, stabbing down toward his chest and then again right in his neck. The man she really wants has just arrived home.  

It is Billy who pulls the knife from the man’s neck, having witnessed the final seconds of the murder.  And he thinks he has to protect his poor, sweet aunt.  She claims the man tried to rape her.  But not even Billy is sure of the truth.  So both he and the local newspaper suspect that all is not right.  And director William Asher (Bewitched) makes the most of the suspense about to unfold by keeping his cards close to his chest.

Enter a narrow-minded police detective, Detective Carlson (Bo Svenson), who suspects Billy to be gay, and all the drama of the murder gets whittled down to a police procedural against homosexuality.  There are other investigators on the case and they disagree with Carlson’s dogmatic suspicions concerning Billy and the victim, but nothing truly gets in his way until it is way too late.  And the showdown between a stubborn cop and psychotic woman is one for the record books.

Billy is trapped.  And this is a narrative about how he gets out of his aunt’s prison.  The film is bizarrely surreal as the aunt takes control of Billy’s life, isolating him from his friends, moving his room upstairs and, finally, surrounding him with a shitload of religious imagery in an attempt to turn him into the man she wants him to be.  And the screaming as Billy learns more and more about the stranger that his aunt and primary caretaker will haunt for days after. 

Tyrrell gives a frighteningly unhinged performance as Billy’s aunt.  She’s intense and psychotic and, as the movie goes on, totally hawks the “sanity” seen in the opening 30 minutes like few other actresses can in similar roles.  And the blunt brutality that echoes in the final arc of the screenplay written by Stephen Breimer makes for a twisted 90 minutes where anything can (and certainly does) happen.  I mean, you suspect something is amiss by the freeze-framed smile as she clutches the young child in her arms, but what is unleashed – including the frenzied secrets – make for an unforgettable movie.

Thanks to Code Red, Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker is made available on blu-ray with a brand new 2017 HD transfer from the original camera negative misplaced years ago.  Talk about edge of your seat entertainment, man, because this shit right here truly is b-a-n-a-n-a-s and, as a result, is only available through DiabolikDVD!


[tab title="Details"]

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
98 mins
: William Asher
Steve Breimer, Alan Jay Glueckman
Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell, Bo Svenson
: Horror
She was lonely. He was all she had. No-one would take him from her - and live...
Memorable Movie Quote: "College is for rich kids and people with brains- you wouldn't fit in."
Theatrical Distributor:
Comworld Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
February, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 11, 2016
Synopsis: Terror begins when a night of murder and bloodshed leads bigoted police detective Joe Carlson (Bo Svenson, Walking Tall Part 2) to try to frame orphaned high school basketball player Billy Lynch (Jimmy McNichol, Escape From El Diablo). However, Billy’s aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell, Fat City, Forbidden Zone) is the real knife-wielding culprit, and with Billy about to graduate, her twisted urge to keep him all to herself is about to erupt in a wave of carnage.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Diabolik
Available on Blu-ray
- August 8, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH
English: Dolby Digital Stereo
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Code Red has simply outdone itself with the blu-ray release of this film.  With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the new 1080p MPEG-4 AVC upgrade of Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker is pretty appealing.  The film has never looked as crisp and clean as it does here.  Even the DVD release from 2012 can be ditched now.  Blues are steadier and the location is detailed.  Shadows a bit more engaged and the film just looks a bit more professional than remembered.  Thanks to Code Red, the title certainly looks better than it ever did on previous releases.  Cleaner and with a bit more life, the audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA English mono track.



  •  There are two commentaries included with this release.  The first is moderated by Nathaniel Thompson and features Alan Glickman and Stephen Breimer talking about the creation of the movie and the second features actor Jimmy McNichol discussing his memories of the movie.

Special Features:

We get reversible cover art with Night Warning as the film's chosen title and brief (but hilarious) on camera interviews with Susan Tyrrell, Jimmy McNichol, Stephen Breimer, Alan Apone and Steve Eastin.  These are great fun and exactly the same as the ones included on the DVD release a few years back. 

  • Susan Tyrrell Interview (11 min)
  • Jimmy McNichol Interview (9 min)
  • Stephen Breimer Interview (12 min)
  • Make-Up Artist Alan Apone Interview (5 min)
  • Steve Eastin Interview (9 min)


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[tab title="Art"]Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker - Blu-ray Review