BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Mutilator (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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The Mutilator - Blu-ray Review

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5 beersWith lines like "that's strange, my dad's battleaxe is missing" and a copious amount of well-managed gore and humor, there's no denying that The Mutilator is EXACTLY what any true fan of horror could ever want in a flick. It even has a super-stylized Springsteen wannabe title song that's worthy of a laugh or two. Too bad then that it remains largely unknown and unappreciated because what it does right is so damn impressive.

It is a tale of familial deceit, with a shocking beginning that remains ethereal and timely as a young son accidently kills his mother after cleaning his father's shotgun. Forgive and forget, right? Turns out Daddy (Jack Chatham) can't let it go and when Ed (Matt Mitler) and his friends – now all in college – want to get away for a nice Fall Break (ironically, the original title of the movie), they can think of no better spot than Ed's family beach front property.

Directed by Buddy Cooper, this homespun B-movie is the reason the drive-in and all those nasty side-street VHS rental dives back in the day thrived. Yes, these venues were once my home away from home and, yes, it was there on a late Friday night where I discovered this gem, picking titles based on their sensationalized cover art alone. I was both shocked by the surefootedness of the flick and its reckless abandon as a group of teenagers – one of them being the niece of Claude Raines – have a particularly nasty run-in with Ed's deranged father, who apparently fuel his revenge by alcohol alone.

It immediately left me with an impression. And it wasn't just the boobs on display. From its swift beginning to its gruesome conclusion, the dark synths and grueling kills combined their efforts to make this self-referential title one filed with squirming unease.

Thankfully, the fine connoisseurs of b-movies over at Arrow Video have seen fit to (a) remaster the film with a brand new 2K restoration of the unrated version from the original vault materials, (b) release it in high definition blu-ray (1080p), and (c) celebrate it as the Holy Grail of '80s splatterific mayhem with a bountiful amount of special features. And, let me tell you, this film is worthy of your dime.

The Mutilator is armed with a collection of ghastly kill sequences thanks to the fine work of FX gore wizard Mark Shostrom (Videodrome, Evil Dead II). The body count is relatively low when you compare them to the standard of the time, but that doesn't make them any less shocking and, if we are being completely honest about slashers, that fact that there isn't a high number of offings AND this film is so revered speaks tremendously of its accomplishments.

Unfortunately, none of that translates to a successful career for co-directors Buddy Cooper and John S. Douglass, who wouldn't do anything beyond this. Too bad then for North Carolina. There was a lot of potential these two could have brought to the local scene.

The slasher flick might have been on the decline when The Mutilator was originally released, but that didn't stop the cast and crew of this blood-soaked from making an unforgettable grisly splatter classic.

The Mutilator - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
86 mins
Director
: Buddy Cooper, John Douglass
Writer:
Buddy Cooper
Cast:
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Their horrifying vacation was no day at the beach!
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's strange. My dad's battleaxe is missing."
Distributor:
Arrow
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 4, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 16, 2016
Synopsis: A teenager who accidentally committed matricide finds himself being hunted together with his girlfriend and mates by his now crazed father.

The Mutilator - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 16, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

This is quite impressive. The brand new 2K restoration from original vault materials of the R-rated and Unrated versions of the film make for a crisp viewing. The High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) transfer is good for a movie that looks a little dingy and cheap, offering solid film-like grain, accurate color representation and little to no digital artifacting, though there are signs of the movie's age. The film's original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) gets things as good as they can be and, with optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, there's really no complaints to be had with the 1.0 audio mix.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are two new commentaries. One with the film's directors, Buddy Cooper and John Douglass and star Matt Mitler and another with Buddy Cooper and star Ruth Martinez Tutterow. Both are interesting as the cast and crew recall the filming of the movie and they struggles they had to keep things together with the little funds that they had.

Special Features:

Complete with an introduction to the film with writer-director Buddy Cooper and assistant special make-up effects artist/assistant editor Edmund Ferrell, Arrow Video scores big with the supplemental material included here. You get a series of brand new interviews with cast and crew, then-and-now locations visits, a brand new feature-length documentary on the making of the splatter classic featuring interviews with Cooper, Douglass, Ferrell, Mitler, actors Bill Hitchcock, Jack Chatham and more. There's a fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film alongside archive articles from Fangoria magazine and reversible sleeve art featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork.

  • Introduction
  • Fall Breakers: The Story of The Mutilator
  • Mutilator Memories
  • Tunes for the Dunes
  • Behind-the-Scenes Reel
  • Screen Tests
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Fall Break Theme Song (Original and Instrumental Versions)
  • Opening Sequence Storyboards
  • Motion Stills Gallery
  • Original Fall Break Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM content)

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