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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Zero Boys [Blu-ray]


(Nico Mastorakis, 1986)




Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Omega Entertainment

Video: Arrow Video



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:55.000

Disc Size: 32,430,874,630 bytes

Feature Size: 25,475,026,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.97 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 25th-26th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English, none



Audio Commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop's Chris Alexander
Nico Mastorakis on... Nico Mastorakis - brand new interview with Mastorakis on the making of The Zero Boys (27:48)
Brand new interview with star Kelli Maroney (8:20)
Brand new interview with star Nicole Rio (8:30)

Music Videos
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:09)
Stills Gallery (1:24)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver





Description: From cult director Nico Mastorakis, the man behind such eclectic offerings as the controversial Island of Death and the Oliver Reed-starring actioner Hired to Kill, comes The Zero Boys the genre-bending 80s classic with gruesome sequences that anticipate the torture porn horrors of Hostel and Saw.

For a group of young friends, a weekend of survival games in the wilderness turns into a genuine battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead. Finding themselves hunted by a bloodthirsty band of maniacs intent on slaughtering them one-by-one, the self-styled Zero Boys must now play their war games for real.

Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) and featuring an early score from the legendary Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), The Zero Boys mixes action, survival and all-out slasher movie elements in a thrilling horror yarn that falls somewhere between Friday the 13th and Deliverance.



The Film:

What would have happened if three champion survival game players (you know, those paint-gun warriors) and their girl friends had stumbled upon the remote California cabin where Leonard Lake and his accomplice, Charles Ng, tortured and murdered dozens of men and women, including Lake's own brother? Well, that's the unlikely premise for this lame combination of shoot-'em-up and slasher film. Steve (Daniel Hirsch), Larry (Tom Shell), and Rip (Jared Moses) are the title team in paint-gun wars, and their weekend trip takes a turn for the worse when they enter an empty house up in the hills. Director-writer-producer Nico Mastorakis never manages to create more than fleeting tension, and the movie degenerates into a routine Spam-in-a-cabin knife opus. Only Hirsch gives some semblance of a performance.

Excerpt from TvGuide located HERE


A trio of survival game pros (christened 'The Zero Boys') and their female companions head out to the woods for a little R & R after a big contest win. There, they stumble on a vacated cabin where they can enjoy themselves in privacy...until an unseen killer decides he wants them all to play a game of *real* survival.

This action-tinged horror is surprisingly well-done and maintains interest throughout, thanks to a likable cast and some decently choreographed cat-n-mouse chases in the woods.

The ending is abrupt but intriguing.

Excerpt from The Terror Trap located HERE


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


This is the another Arrow Blu-ray release that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package on both sides of the Atlantic.


NOTE: As Michael Brooke informs us on Facebook in regards to Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.' The Zero Boys is the same situation.


The Zero Boys in arrow's hands gets another impressive transfer to Blu-ray.  It is dual-layered with a very high bitrate for the 1 1/2 hour feature. Detail, contrast and colors are at a very high level. The 1080P produces crisp, tight visuals depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's very clean with no visible damage. The film's later dark scenes don't produce any noise. This Blu-ray looks flawless to me - reproducing a very accurate and impressive video presentation. Excellent.
















Audio :

The audio is transferred via an authentic linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps (16-bit) in the original English-language. There are plenty of aggressive effects that export some depth. The score is credited to both Stanley Myers - who has Cimino's The Deer Hunter and Nicolas Roeg's amusing Insignificance on his resume as well as Pete Walker film's House of Mortal Sin and Frightmare, among others - and the notable Hans Zimmer (12 Years a Slave, The Thin Red Line, Broadcast News, Angels and Demons etc.) but I wouldn't say this was either composer's best work. It still seems to work well with the hyper-suspense and chaos. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' + 'B'.


Extras :

Arrow add many extras including an honest and fun audio commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop's Chris Alexander reminiscing about the production, director Mastorakis etc. Nico Mastorakis on... Nico Mastorakis is a brand new, 28-minute, interview with Mastorakis on the making of The Zero Boys. We also get new interviews, 8-minutes each, with stars Kelli Maroney and Nicole Rio (separately) plus an original theatrical trailer, a stills gallery and the package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and contains a fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver. A DVD is also included (NTSC for both packages) signifying it as 'Dual-Format'.



While this is not my #1 genre - I feel I know what Mastorakis was going for and I think he partially achieves it. The film's atmosphere has the appealing elements - secluded cabin in the wilderness delaying the inevitable senseless murder conflicts till the aura is well-established. It's no masterpiece but for some mindless slasher-style horror - The Zero Boys does its job.  It has many of the quintessential conventions and that gives it comforting expectations. The Arrow Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with appreciated supplements. I suggest this is one that would definitely suit fans of the genre. I, honestly, got a kick out of it as my expectations were not too high. 

Gary Tooze

April 21st, 2016


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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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