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Deadly Eyes (1982) - Blu-ray Review

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Deadly Eyes - Nlu-ray Review

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2 stars

Hailing from the early part of the dreaded 1980’s, it is safe to say that Deadly Eyes is not the most technically brilliant film ever made about marauding rats terrorizing humans and trains alike in subway tunnels. It is a Canadian low budget film made in the era of practical effects which means no computers and no easy way out and you have to respect that. Without much of a budget how would you “sell” the idea of larger than normal rats running rabid through the streets?

Director Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon) knows exactly what to do. Dress dachshunds up as rats. Seriously. Small dogs wear vicious rat costumes and it hysterically works. These bloodthirsty rats eat everything in sight.   From a small baby left defenseless in a high chair to the legendary Scatman Crothers (The Shining), these rats know no limits to feeding their bellies. And they are always hungry.

There’s really not much of a story. The movie takes its cue from Joe Dante's Piranha and focuses more on rat-themed set pieces to deliver the goods. Everything else is secondary. While there is an entertaining side story featuring a cheerleader (Lisa Langlois) trying to seduce her college professor (Paul Harris) by breaking into his apartment and waiting for him in bed (all through the night as he is on a date), the rest is just survival of the fittest as mutant rats invade movie theaters, homes, and ruin one politician’s dream of re-election.

It is reported that Scatman Crothers was paid or made happy with a steady supply of weed for the shoot. That should tell you all you need to know about the environment surrounding this flick. The principle cast – including Sara Botsford and Cec Linder – know what kind of film they are in. They seem to be having a lot of on-screen fun even if there is no character development or character fun written. They get to wrestle giant rats in subways and basements after all. Some of the rats even hop on the subway to get their prey which makes for a pretty shocking ending.

Screenwriter Charles Eglee (Dexter) bases most of the story upon aged-old fears and stereotypes of rats and not really from the credited source material, The Rats by James Herbert, or on science fact. Who needs that? The effect is a scarier experience and a lot of POV shots as rats scurry closer and closer to unsuspecting victims. Unless you have seen the movie, you really don’t know what to expect. This is a harmless turn-off-your-brain type of teenage trash in the era of real moviemaking effects. The movie is suggestive and not overly violent and, at times, it is downright hilarious sue to its own budgetary limitations.

Deadly Eyes currently has a cult-like appreciation due to its humorous situations and filming techniques but, even with Clouse’s involvement and it being Golden Harvest’s only horror film, I seriously doubt anyone ever thought the movie was terrifying. Having said that, the sequence involving the baby being dragged from his high chair is pretty intense and, in the pre-PC era, the filmmakers don’t shy away from their intentions.

Deadly Eyes is seriously dumb fun. There’s nothing more to it. If you find yourself mildly entertained by schlocky B-movies, I wholeheartedly recommend you pick up Scream Factory’s release. The stilted dialogue and wooden characters might sink the film for everyone else.

Deadly Eyes - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Robert Clouse
Writer:
Lonon F. Smith
Cast:
Sam Groom, Sara Botsford, Scatman Crothers
Genre
: Horror
Tagline: 
Tonight they will rise from the darkness beneath the city... to feed!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Despite our vaunted technology, there are 24 rats for every man, woman, and child alive today."
Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 1, 1983
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 15, 2014
Synopsis: Contaminated grain breeds overgrown, killer rats in this Golden Harvest production. Dachshunds were dressed up as rats for the special effects.

Deadly Eyes - Nlu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 11, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Having suffered years of the muddy VHS release and equally shoddy late-night cable TV screenings, we are pleased to report that Scream Factory finally gave a shit about this film and ordered up a new HD master, and the results are pretty spiffy. Gone are the murky mysteries of the third act and now viewers can see what the hell is going on as puppets and puppies are rescued (for better or worse) from the shadows. Black levels are consistent and colors are strong. Presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, this new transfer while not perfect, goes a long way to correct the hideous releases of the past. The original DTS-HD 2.0 English mono track is the only audio option and luckily it's a good one. Nothing too crazy to involve the surrounds, but just some well-balanced center channel fun.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Starting things off is the retrospective piece offering new interviews with Writer Charles Eglee, Production Designer Ninkey Dalton and Special Effects Assistant Alec Gillis. Each offer candid insight to their time involved with the production, working with Director Robert Clouse and how it feels knowing you're working on something less than award-worthy.   Up next are a quartet of interviews that include the special effects artist and cast members, each sharing their thoughts on the film and how they became involved. Lastly, a brief TV spot offers a glimpse of the original marketing for the film.

Deadly Eyes: Dogs in Rats' Clothing (24 min)

Interview with Alan Apone (14 min)

Interview with Lisa Langlois (19 min)

Interview with Lesleh Donaldson (14 min)

Interview with Joseph Kelly (13 min)

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