Actors: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Marianne Kanter
Synopsis: Just in time for Thanksgiving, Blood Rage combines killer 80s synths with some of the most gruesome special effects in slasher history.
When Maddy (Louise Lasser) takes her two sleeping twins, Todd and Terry, to the local drive in to make out with her lover, the two boys sneak out of the car and watch other couples make out. Terry is violent and discovers how to use of a hatchet but blames his brother, Todd for what went down. framing his brother for the incident. The film flashes forward ten years and the unfortunate Todd (Mark Soper, playing both brothers) is incarcerated in a mental institution. Because we know from the start who the murderer is, there is no tension in the film and there is no attempt to confuse the audience with which one of the brothers is on screen at any one time; we are then watch the film for the brutal but effective murder scenes.
Arrow Video has gone all out with this blu ray release and offer three distinct versions – the theatrical release, renamed as “Nightmare at Shadow Woods”, the harder home video release and a new composite cut of the two – all of which have been remarkably cleaned up and remastered. The home video cut is superior, retaining the gore and cutting the pace-killing extra scenes.
Blood Rage is a film that defies criticism; the acting remains terrible, the cinematography flat and the script either abysmal or inspired, depending on how one reacts to dialogue like “It isn’t cranberry sauce”, “I’d say this big bird is ready for carving” and “Looks like you’re going to get to meet the rest of the family; my psychotic brother just escaped”. Nonetheless I love this movie. It is cheap, daft and totally entertaining. I am not sure whether we scream with laughter or we scream with fear. “Blood Rage” is both a slasher film set at Thanksgiving and an identical twin story.
Todd is locked up in a mental institute and Terry is left tending to Thanksgiving dinner. We then learn that Todd escaped and, we’re led to believe he’s the psychopath when in reality (which is blurred), it is his evil twin who is sitting at the Thanksgiving table. Terry “loses it” upon seeing his mom with a new boyfriend, Brad, who’s just proposed to her on Thanksgiving. We know nothing about her former husband and the twins’ father.
Terry has a total of nine victims and the film is filled with nudity, severed heads, torsos, and limbs. When we consider that the movie was made in the 80’s, we see just how much gore is here. It only takes about five minutes in the beginning to figure out where the film is going and the real begins as we move down that road.
Maddy is given the news by Todd’s doctor that Todd has snapped out of his trance-like state and has begun to remember what happened, blaming his brother Terry for the murder and claiming his innocence. Refusing to believe him, Maddy carries on with her Thanksgiving celebrations, which includes breaking the news to Terry that she is about to marry her boyfriend Brad (William Fuller) and this causes Terry to go crazy. An unwelcome phone call tells Maddy that Todd has escaped and this pushes Terry him into a murderous rage that sees the unstable twin embark on a night of bloodthirsty terror. The question is which one of the twins will get the blame?
“Blood Rage” has some decent gore beyond the usual throat slitting and chest stabbing. Louise Lasser plays it her part as an eccentric and a kook yet manages to gain our sympathies for the grief that her children have given her. She also comes into her own at the end and is the most interesting character in the film. Mark Soper also does a good job in handling the dual roles of Terry and Todd (although the filmmakers could have used a better ‘lookalike’ than the one they did during the one scene where the two brothers are in the same shot). I know I said the acting was terrible so please understand the above as related to that statement.
“Blood Rage” is a slasher movie that places itself firmly in the middle of the genre output of the 80s. It is gorier than most of the other non-franchise slashers and it does try to add a bit of intensity by beginning with a brutal kill and barely letting up for most of the running time.
Some of the Blu ray extras include:
- Brand new 2K restoration from original vault materials of three versions of the film
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand new extensive making-of documentary featuring interviews with various cast and crew
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork from Marc Schoenbach, to be revealed
- Fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film