Blood Rage – USA, 1987 – reviews

 

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Blood Rage is a 1983 [released 1987] American slasher horror feature film directed by John Grissmer (Scalpel aka False Face, 1976) from a screenplay written by Bruce Rubin [as Richard Lamden].

The movie stars Louise Lasser (Frankenhooker), Mark Soper (Graveyard Shift II), Marianne Kanter (who also produced this and Dark August in 1976), Julie Gordon and special effects makeup artist Ed French (Amityville II: The Possession, Sleepaway Camp, The Stuff).

The soundtrack score was composed by Richard Einhorn (The ProwlerEyes of a Stranger; Don’t Go in the House; Shock Waves).

Although the film was shot in 1983 as Complex and then retitled Slasher, it was given only a limited release theatrically in the United States by the Film Concept Group under the title Nightmare at Shadow Woods in 1987. It was released on VHS by Prism Entertainment the same year under the title Blood Rage and this is the title it is now best known by.

The Nightmare at Shadow Woods version is missing an early scene where Maddy visits Todd at the mental hospital but includes a swimming pool scene not found in the Blood Rage version. The Nightmare at Shadow Woods version had a budget US DVD release in 2004 by Legacy Entertainment.

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

On September 29, 2015, Arrow Video released an uncut composite Blu-ray + DVD version with all the footage from both versions. On 23 January 2017, the same release is issued in the UK too.

    • Brand new 2K restoration of the original hard version, transferred from the camera negative and featuring the original title card Slasher!
    • Nightmare at Shadow Woods the re-edited, R-rated 1987 theatrical cut featuring footage exclusive to this version
    • An alternate composite cut of the feature combining all the uncut gore sequences alongside additional footage from the theatrical version [Blu-ray only]
    • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
    • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    • Audio commentary with director John Grissmer
    • Double Jeopardy an interview with actor Mark Soper
    • Jeez, Louise! an interview with actress Louise Lasser
    • Both Sides of The Camera an interview with producer/actress Marianne Kanter
    • Man Behind The Mayhem an interview with special make-up effects creator Ed French
    • Three Minutes with Ted an interview with actor Ted Raimi
    • Return to Shadow Woods featurette revisiting the original Jacksonville, Florida locations
    • Alternate Blood Rage VHS opening titles
    • Behind-the-scenes make-up effects gallery
    • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Plot:

Todd and Terry are twins. They are blonde, cute, bright and identical in every respect, with one exception. One of them is a murderer. This starts one night at a drive-in theatre when a teenager was slaughtered in the back seat of his car while his girlfriend watched. Todd is found guilty for the heinous crime and is locked away in an asylum.

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Years passed and Terry lives happily with his mother (Louise Lasser), who smothers him with enough love for two sons. All is fine until Thanksgiving when they receive news that Todd escaped. Terry goes on a killing spree to ensure that Todd goes back to the asylum.

His first kill is his mother’s fiancée, when he chops off his arm with a machete, before stabbing him to death. Meanwhile, Dr Berman and her assistant, Jackie, go out in search for Todd.

Jackie meets a sticky end, when he is stabbed by Terry. Dr Berman also suffers the same fate. Whilst in the woods looking for Todd, she comes across Terry, who cuts her in half with the machete, leaving her to die…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Nearly all of the deaths are inventive and gory thanks to French’s work. It brings this weird balance of realistic carnage to over the top acting and dialogue that somehow works. Though Terry’s affinity for cranberry sauce has become the tagline and mantra of Blood Rage, it can really be summed up with the cheesy, simple line, “The turkey was perfect!” Bloody Disgusting

“This fantastic slasher film impresses with some very ballsy gore; everything from bloody severed heads and split open brains to women chopped in half and guys stabbed in the neck with barbecue prongs.” Strictly Splatter

“The gore, like almost all films from the 80’s does look very dated and if you look closely, you can see how they achieved different effects. But there are some inventive kill scenes; the first kill in Blood Rage is a little kid taking an axe to the face of a guy whilst that guy is getting lucky… little cock blocker! The bad acting and crazy music bring the film down a lot…” UK Horror Scene

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“It’s all rather amusing yet somehow cruel at the same time, and it’s this element of mean-spiritedness that runs consistently throughout the film and hurts it to a degree … never quite knowing how to react in certain scenes had me a little alienated and made some of the funny stuff seem almost tacky or inappropriate.” Hysteria Lives!

“The acting was all quite good, and they only terrible acting I can really pinpoint is by Marianne Kanter as Doctor Berman, Todd’s doctor. Just look at her acting in her death scene to see what I mean. The rest are all quite good, even if the “mom” character was pretty over the top.” HorrorBid.com

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Choice dialogue:

“The turkey was perfect!”

“It’s not cranberry sauce!”

“Well, I want you to make love to me.”

“God, that’s horrible! How can they show that on TV?”

Cast and characters:

  • Louise Lasser … Maddy
  • Mark Soper … Todd / Terry
  • Julie Gordon … Karen
  • Jayne Bentzen … Julie
  • Marianne Kanter … Dr Berman
  • James Farrell … Artie (as James Farrel)
  • Chad Montgomery … Gregg
  • Lisa Randall … Andrea
  • William Fuller … Brad
  • Douglas Weiser … Jackie / Radio Announcer (as Doug Weiser)
  • Gerry Lou … Beth
  • Ed French … Bill
  • Dana Drescher … Little Girl
  • Brad Leland … Teen Boy at Drive-In (as Brad Williams)
  • Rebecca Thorp … Teen Girl at Drive-In
  • Bill Cakmis … Maddy’s Date
  • Keith Hall … Young Terry
  • Russell Hall … Young Todd (as Ross Hall)
  • Lauren Myers … Baby
  • Amanda Ball … Baby
  • Ted Raimi … Condom Salesman
  • Matthew Carlisle … Hospital Attendant
  • Kevin Williams … Hospital Attendant
  • Dylan Riggs … Slasher (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Jacksonville, Florida

Trivia:

Blood Rage should not be confused with the 1979 film Bloodrage (aka Never Pick Up a Stranger).

We are deeply indebted to Critical Condition for some images above.

 

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