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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Death Ship [Blu-ray]


(Alvin Rakoff, 1980)


Another Blu-ray is available out of Germany:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Artemis Films

Video: Scorpion Releasing / Scorpion (new transfer)



Region: FREE (both) (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:46.353 / 1:33:20.136

Disc Size: 21,580,838,004 bytes / 38,908,029,748 bytes

Feature Size: 20,111,812,608 bytes / 27,253,604,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.82 Mbps / 29.26 Mbps

Chapters: 11 / 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 18th, 2012 / August, 2018


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1903 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1903 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1686 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1686 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)


DTS-HD Master Audio English 3324 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3324 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1885 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1885 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1791 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1791 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



None / English, none



• Play in Nightmare Theatre Mode (1:39:03)

Isolated Music Track

Original trailer (1:00)

• Deleted Scenes (4:13)

Learning What the Ship is Saying Featurette (3:41)


• Director commentary by Alan Rakoff

Stormy Seas Featurette (41:15)
Play Movie in Nightmare Theatre Mode (6:22)
What the Ship is Saying featurette (3:46)
Blood Star short story script (3:43)

Isolated Score
Stills Gallery (4:25)
Trailer (0:58)



Scorpion Releasing (old) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Description: Academy Award- winner GEORGE KENNEDY stars with RICHARD CRENNA, NICK MANCUSO and SAUL RUBINEK in this terrifying tale of a possessed ship searching for new victims on the high seas! An ocean liner carrying vacationing passengers collides with a mysterious freighter. The handful of survivors seek refuge aboard the sinister freighter, which turns out to be possessed by the evil forces that once commanded it! The DEATHSHIP has a life of its own....pray you are never rescued by the DEATHSHIP!



The Film:

A crewless Nazi torture-ship malevolently hunts down and sinks Caribbean pleasure cruisers. Good enough. But a Ten Little Indians plot soon takes over which is as rusty as the evil vessel. Kennedy gradually, but without much conviction, becomes the demented embodiment of the Third Reich as the corpses pile up; the Psycho shower murder is 'borrowed' again; the direction never moves beyond endless zooms to mirror pumping engines.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

After a passenger liner is rammed and sunk by a derelict German freighter from World War II, the handful of survivors (which include George Kennedy and Richard Crenna) manage to board the unmanned hulk but soon discover that their perils have just begun. Apparently the freighter served as a kind of floating Nazi torture dungeon, and its corridors and bulkheads have somehow become imbued with the very forces of evil that once tormented its captive cargo. When the rather lethargic resident ghosts finally work up the energy to harass their new visitors, viewers are treated to a gallery of decomposing corpses, a supernaturally-triggered case of acne, and the somewhat bland demonic possession of Kennedy, who suddenly declares himself Nazi commandant for a day. This rusty, waterlogged variant on the standard haunted-house theme begins with the interesting premise of ship-as-predator, but provides nothing new in the way of shocks, effects or atmosphere -- and the sleepwalking leads don't help matters either.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Death Ship appears  on Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing.  80's film stock was often less than spectacular and this seems to support that contention. The visuals are soft and a bit muddy, however they are consistent probably indicating it is the source not a fault of the single-layered transfer. Nothing really stand-out as remarkable, colors and contrast aren't poor in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. There is a touch of depth here and there. The film probably didn't look significantly better originally than this 1080P rendering.


Thankfully, Scorpion Releasing have remastered the cult-favorite "Death Ship". It is a New 2K scan of the original interpositive of the longer cut of the film. It is a substantial improvement and the new dual-layered transfer exemplifies the weaknesses of the older BD which not only looks dull beside the brighter, crisper 2018 transfer, with warmer skin tones - but it looks as if the 2012 rendering had some warps. No contest the longer cut on the newer, more robust transfer, is the easy winner.             





Scorpion Releasing (old) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Scorpion Releasing (old) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Scorpion Releasing (old) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray screen captures
















Audio :

The audio is lossless, but unremarkable, in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1903 kbps. The film's score is by Ivor Slaney and adds a few suspenseful, if often oddly paced, chills. There are no egregious faults and some effects do have depth, but overall nothing worth writing home about. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


The new package uses a similar DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel as the old release and adds a 5.1 surround bump that has some impacting bass response and a few head-turns via separation. A nice addition. The Ivoy Stanley (Prey, Paid to Kill, Terror Street, Bad Blonde, Gambler and the Lady) score sounds crisp, clean and atmospheric enhancing the deserted ocean liner's spookiness. There is the same optional isolated score and this new release has the choice of watching with English subtitles. It is, likewise, region FREE - playable worldwide.


Extras :

It can be played seamlessly branched (I think) in 'Nightmare Theatre Mode' with a brief intro and interludes with Mystery Theatre 2000-style comments. There is also an accessible Isolated Music Track, an original trailer, 4-minutes of deleted scenes and another tongue-in-cheek Learning What the Ship is Saying featurette which mockingly translated the German in the film.


Beyond the ability to play the film in 'Nightmare Theatre Mode', What the Ship is Saying featurette and original trailer - found on the first release, Scorpion add a commentary with the director Alan Rakoff which fans should enjoy (I have yet to indulge but will do so soon!), an over 40-minute video piece entitled Stormy Seas about the production with George Kennedy and others reflecting on making the film. There is also a Blood Star short story script and a Stills Gallery. The package has a reversible cover and slipcase.


Scorpion Releasing (old) - Region FREE - Blu-ray



Scorpion Releasing (new) - Region FREE - Blu-ray



I don't know what could have made Death Ship a better film - but I think it could have escalated beyond what it is. It doesn't even have the campy-cool factor that would have scored it some extra points in my book. Still, I've seen worse. The Blu-ray is no prize - unless you are into the extras - for a lark. Some will see some value here - most, not so much.


Great job Scorpion Releasing! - the new Blu-ray release is as different as the new cover and it has plenty of value advancing handily on all fronts from the improved a/v, and extras including commentary plus the slightly longer cut. This is a keeper for genre fans - grab it while you can!  

Gary Tooze

December 12th, 2012

September 3rd, 2018


Another Blu-ray is available out of Germany:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze






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