Death Valley (1982) (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review)
Director: Dick Richards
Where to get it: TLA Cult
A divorced mother, her young son (Ralphie from A Christmas Story) and her new boyfriend set out on a road trip through Death Valley and run afoul of a local serial killer. we also need to note we have Wilford Brimley playing our town sherif who may be too old for the job! I never saw this film as a kid, but I think if you did the memory of that could make it better than it turns out.
Now every year at least once I see a boy who wants a Red Rider gun for Christmas, but here we have that same child actor in a whole different situation and playing a character that oddly enough doesn’t seem that different than the one we are used to. But this little boy named, Billy, doesn’t just have to deal with getting use to his mom’s new boyfriend; he has to deal with his own curiosity getting him in a whole slew of trouble with some bad cats in Death Valley. There isn’t a lot of magnificent gore; the film does seem to drag on for a bit in a few areas, but still I think we have a rather cool little story that doesn’t seem to take its own self serious enough to the point that it can’t slow down to have a laugh here or there. Honestly, it is a film that is on the lower end of all the lists for its time and genre. Still I’d say Death Valley is unique and built up well enough to make you at least halfway liked it.
I think one of the highlights of this release, since we don’t have much in the way of features, it the transfer. We have a film here that looks way better than the film actually is. So if we aren’t getting anything else out of this besides the film and commentary, we can at least take comfort in knowing it’ll look outstanding on your sets. We will end up still rather seeing young Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story, but you won’t mind seeing him be chased around by some bad guys with weird necklaces in the desert either.
– Commentary with Dick Richards