Blood Beat (1982) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Fabrice A. Zaphiratos
Starring: Eric Larson, Francine Lapensée, Sherry Bendorf Leigh
Rated: UR/Region O/1:33/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Vinegar Syndrome
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.
I have no clue what I just watched and I literally just finished this movie before writing this review. At the heart of things, the movie is a slasher but it goes much deeper than that. Does it go deeper into a mess or genius is still up for debate? When this movie opens we see a guy introducing his girlfriend to his mom and his mom’s boyfriend. Things don’t click up front and the weird shots of people’s faces show it. We also take notice that his mom has some psychic abilities. One bad hunting trip with his girlfriend later and the next thing we know a Samurai ghost is somehow connected to this woman’s orgasms and when she gets her thrills this samurai is slashing his way through the locals in Wisconsin. No, I’m not making that up at all. I don’t really know what to make of Blood Beat and I’m not even sure if I really like it or was just so confused by what I saw that I somehow dig it on principle. I mean, I gave you the simple version of this film. It gets a lot more complicated and a lot more confusing in between all of that.
So we have an arthouse slasher in a number of ways here but it also comes with random psychic duels between family members, deer being gutted, and a guy really upset that his girlfriend won’t marry him. No matter if you end up loving or hating it, I think it should be one of those films that you just see at least once before you die. I know nothing about director Fabrice Zaphiratos besides what we learn in the extras on this disc but he sure does seem like a strange and interesting cat to say the least. This one baffled me and confused me, but it still kept my attention none the less. That counts for something but for the most that might see this I’m not sure that they will be as kind, but I have a general rule about slashers being kinda good even when they are by all means bad. The film here had a lot of work done to it to look as good as it does. We still have some damage here and there and they used the best thing they could find for the end credits, but this is a very odd movie that looks pretty darn good.
– Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
– Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative
– Commentary track with Fabrice Zaphiratos (writer/director)
– Video interview with Fabrice Zaphiratos
– Video introduction with Fabrice Zaphiratos
– Video interview with Vladimir Van Maule (cinematographer)
– BLOOD BEAT: Silent Version (featuring Nervous Curtains and Horror Remix)
– “L.U.N.C.H.” – short film written and directed by William Zaphiratos (son of Fabrice)
– Stills gallery
– Reversible cover artwork
– English SDH subtitles
Quality of Transfer: 95%
NOTE: The first 2,000 copies sold through VinegarSyndrome.com will include a double-thick embossed limited edition slipcover designed by Earl Kessler. If you see this message and you order the release, you’ll get the limited slipcover.