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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blood Beat or "Bloodbeat" [Blu-ray]

 

(Fabrice A. Zaphiratos, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Huskypup Film Productions

Video: Vinegar Syndrome

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:26:42.572 

Disc Size: 39,553,268,832 bytes

Feature Size: 24,029,000,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.89 Mbps

Chapters: 5

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 24th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1094 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1094 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio French 128 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 128 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

• Commentary track with Fabrice Zaphiratos (writer/director) in French with English subtitles
• Video interview with Fabrice Zaphiratos (18:04)
• Video introduction with Fabrice Zaphiratos (0:17)
• Video interview with Vladimir Van Maule (cinematographer) (18:44)
• BLOOD BEAT: Silent Version (featuring Nervous Curtains and Horror Remix) (28:06)
• “L.U.N.C.H.” – short film written and directed by William Zaphiratos (son of Fabrice) (13:54)
• Stills gallery
• Reversible cover artwork

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Sarah and her boyfriend Ted have decided to spend Christmas with Ted’s mother at her home in rural Wisconsin. However, upon arriving, Sarah begins to feel a strange presence around her and soon after, a mysterious figure garbed in a Samurai outfit begins murdering the townsfolk, eventually setting his sights on Sarah, Ted, and his family…

A supernatural slasher film like no other, Fabrice Zaphiratos’ French-US co-production, BLOOD BEAT, applies an arthouse aesthetic to its American regional cinema stylings, resulting in a dreamy and haunting atmosphere to compliment the bloodletting and outrageous twists. Barely released on video in the US and never officially released on disc, Vinegar Syndrome presents the Blu-ray debut of this one of a kind horror oddity, restored in 2k from its original 35mm negative.

 

 

The Film:

This funky blend of haunted-house and slasher subgenres plays like a poor man's The House Where Evil Dwells, albeit without Susan George to keep things interesting. The story takes place at a Christmas gathering for a family of weird, annoying people -- two of which are gifted with psychic powers.. sort of. The festivities are disrupted when a spectral samurai warrior makes his presence known, stalking the family with his scintillating sword. Those wondering why the heck a Japanese ghost would be interested in haunting a rural family abode may not be totally satisfied with the answers provided, but there is at least some attempt at explanation (clue: the ghost and the psychic daughter have something in common.) An eerie atmosphere permeates and enhances this shoestring effort, particularly through the clever use of music and sound effects.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Ted (James Fitzgibbons) and his sister Dolly (Dana Day) are going to their mother’s home in rural Wisconsin for Christmas, and Ted’s brought along his new girlfriend Sarah (Claudia Peyton) to meet his mom Cathy (Helen Benton) and her boyfriend Gary (Terry Brown). However, the minute they get there, Cathy begins acting strangely around Sarah, and Sarah just begins acting weird period. And just to make matters worse, people begin showing up dead, the weapon being an ancient Japanese samurai sword. As it turns out, the ghost of a Japanese samurai warrior has been re-awakened and has created a psychic link between Sarah and him. Now, the family must find a way to put an end to the madness, but can they do it in time?

Excerpt from ObscureCinema101 located HERE

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

Blood Beat comes to Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome in a "newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative." Before the presentation though - we get a a screen that states "Blood Beat was scanned in 4K using the original camera negative. The negative suffered severe mold and moisture damage and, while every effort was made to remove as much of the damage as possible, some remains. Film elements for the end titles could not be located and, as such, the best surviving video source was used." The vast majority of the high-bitrate, 1.33:1, transfer looks excellent but I did see a few instances where the damage was visible although with the bizarre nature of the film and its unusual style (stock war footage is used at one point) - this could easily be dismissed as part of the production. The end title credits do stand out as being from a much poorer source.  This Blu-ray image is, generally, excellent producing a strong 1080P image and a pleasing visual presentation - very clear, crisp with bright, authentic, colors.

 

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

 

 

Sample - Commentary Subtitles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The film's audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1094 kbps (24-bit) in the original English. Effects, beyond gunfire, run secondary to the obtuse score credited to, the director, Fabrice A. Zaphiratos and Chris Zaphiratos - the latter's only film credit. It isn't as crisp as the video and can sound amateurish at times without much depth and scattered dialogue. There are English subtitle for the feature and the director commentary. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

There is a commentary track included with Fabrice Zaphiratos (writer/director) in French with, optional, English subtitles. He basically recounts some of the production details, hurdles he faced and solutions. There is also a brief introduction by the writer/director and an 18-minute video interview with Zaphiratos - also in French with English subtitles. Perhaps most revealing was time spent with Vladimir Van Maule the cinematographer who is frank and knowledgeable. An unusual inclusion is the 1/2 hour silent version of Bloodbeat featuring music by Nervous Curtains and Horror Remix. This précised version makes about as much sense as the main feature - mostly horror-establishing imagery. “L.U.N.C.H.” is a 14-minute short film written and directed by Fabrice's son William Zaphiratos. The package has reversible cover artwork and a second disc DVD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Wow - what a hoot! - Blood Beat is one of the most unusual, sophomoric, films I have seen in years. The wartime, vintage, footage - thrown in - capped the, self-indulgent, bizarre-ness. There are some positives - the performances are strong - the outdoor shots really helped establish tone and setting for this 80's horror. Strangely, I will watch this again because I liked the attempt - a cool story idea - but it had a wayward production that never came close to fulfilling its potential. It's hard to find descriptive terms that both condemn and defend Bloodbeat. The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray is a wonderful way to embrace the film that will mostly appeal to those who enjoy mid 80's VHS-bin popcorners. I'm still scratching my head at the reasons I liked it - when it really is so... oddball. The weaknesses give it a layer of enjoyment that, in itself, is unique. Not for the discerning! 

Gary Tooze

November 1st, 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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