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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Stone Cold Dead [Blu-ray]

 

(George Mendeluk, 1979)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Ko-Zak Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:48:09.649

Disc Size: 22,323,057,389 bytes

Feature Size: 19,546,398,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.96 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 3rd, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson

Interview with director George Mendeluk (9:06)
Reversible Blu-ray Art
Trailer (2:27) and other trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Sergeant Detective Boyd (Richard Crenna, First Blood, Wait Until Dark) has been assigned to a case with no ordinary circumstances. He is taunted by a sniper who selects only prostitutes as victims, and baits police with photographs of the victims at the exact moments of their deaths. Along the faint trail through the city's main streets, everybody is a suspect, from powerful dope dealer and pimp Julius Kurtz (Paul Williams, Phantom of the Paradise), to the attractive Monica Page (Linda Sorensen, Breaking Point), a spirited and classy hooker. Boyd enlists the help of a streetwise policewoman, Sandy McCauley (Belinda J. Montgomery, Blackout), who goes undercover as Boyd and McCauley slowly piece together the few elusive clues and await the sniper lurking in the dark corners of the city. Based on the best-selling novel The Sin Sniper by Hugh Garner (Waste No Tears), Stone Cold Dead marks the stellar writing and directing debut of George Mendeluk (The Kidnapping of the President). Alberta Watson (The Sweet Hereafter) co-stars in this unforgettable thriller with a shocking twist ending.

 

 

The Film:

This is a fast-paced, standard crime story with Sgt. Boyd (Richard Crenna) as a lone cop out to clean up the neighborhood. Kurtz (Paul Williams) is a wild gangster who manages a ring of prostitutes, and right now he has problems. Someone is shooting his hookers. A few of the undercover cops get killed as they try to infiltrate the hooker trade, so Sgt. Boyd is more or less alone in bringing in the sniper and giving Kurtz his due. While he is focusing on those tasks, prostitute Monica (Linda Sorenson) is focusing on him.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Based upon the superb novel The Sin Sniper by award-winning Canadian author Hugh Garner, Stone Cold Dead, written for the screen and directed by debuting filmmaker George Mendeluk, tells the flawed but entertaining tale of a serial killer knocking off prostitutes in Toronto's red-light district with a high-powered rifle with a camera affixed to the barrel, thus capturing a victim at the moment of their death. The photos are tauntingly mailed to the police, the press has nicknamed the killer the "Sin Sniper," and the city's top cop, Inspector Sergeant Boyd, is on the case.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Stone Cold Dead looks surprisingly strong in 1080P. The film looks almost brand new (mentioned in the commentary - as the source, probably, wasn't requested much for viewing.) It looks very sharp with plenty of depth, true, deep colors. The source is clean, and I noticed no noise. This Blu-ray gave me a remarkable viewing in regards to the picture quality!

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1557 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - but they are usually hollow. The score is credited to Paul Zaza (Porky's) and, pretty much the only credits for both Guidonna Lee and Alexis Radlin. It's unusually melodic, where something more disorienting would have pushed it closer to Giallo. Some will recognize Bob Seger's Fire Down Below and Bill Withers' Use Me. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

There is an audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson (from 2017) who do a decent job of finding some details that garner appreciation. They make light fun of a few production details, discuss the Toronto-location, director Mendeluk, Crenna, the cinematographer, Dennis Miller, and there are some pauses. They do an admirable job of discussing a film that doesn't really merit a commentary. There is also a new 9-minutew interview with director George Mendeluk who discuses the tax-shelter deals associated with filmmaking in Canada at that time. He claims he was always fascinated with 'Jack the Ripper' and its relationship to Stone Cold Killer. He seems like a very genuine guy. There is also a trailer for the film - and other trailers - and the package has reversible cover art (see below).

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Stone Cold Dead but I found it couldn't overcome the 'Canadiana' stigma of the production. Being Canadian myself - it' pretty transparent - the Toronto locations, and support players (legally, a certain number of Canadian actors had to get air time in the production.) It just reeks of modest quality although it does have a very direct link to Giallo - despite the poor script and obvious acting. Director Mendeluk had a certain style that belies the mid 70s carrying some 'camp'. As mentioned the commentary - there were some very decent slasher-cycle films from Canada in this period. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray escalate greatly in value because of the commentary. It helps appreciation and references so many similar flics. Keeping your expectations in-check, for most - but there is a niche who will have some bona-fide nostalgia for this title. Some may recognize Linnea Quigley (Witchtrap, Creepozoids, Nightmare Sisters) a the first victim.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 37% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

September 13th, 2017

 

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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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