Scalpel (1977) (Blu-ray Review)

Scalpel (1977) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: John Grissmer
Starring: Robert Lansing, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder
Rated: UR/Region O/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Arrow Video

In Scalpel, Lansing plays Dr. Phillip Reynolds, a man whose daughter Heather (Judith Chapman, As the World Turns, General Hospital) has run away from home a year prior following the suspicious death of her boyfriend. When he happens across a young woman one night, her face beaten beyond recognition, the unhinged Reynolds sees his an opportunity to put his trusty scalpel to use – hatching a plan to “reconstruct” her face in the image of his missing daughter, and so claim her sizeable inheritance.

Scalpel was made by the very same director that gave us Blood Rage and was the very first movie he ever directed. Sadly, this and Blood Rage are the only movies directed by John Grissmer. Scalpel isn’t anywhere as bloody and out of left field was Blood Rage, but it does have its own share of craziness going on from start to finish to keep you having a whole lot of fun with it. In the movie, we join a crazy surgeon. Now that isn’t a spoiler because it doesn’t take long for us to see this to be true. His father in law has kicked the bucket and his daughter who has had all the money left to her has split, so the doc takes it upon himself to take a deformed Jane Doe (left that way after an accident) and make her look like his daughter to get the money. Naturally, this doesn’t go down without plenty of issues and when you take into account he seems to be all about his daughter in a creepy way it makes things all the more crazy.

I liked this movie for what it was and I liked it mostly for the unpredictable nature of the whole darn thing. Robert Lansing plays a good psycho and he may be what keeps the movie really rolling. Judith Chapman pulls double duty as the daughter and Jane Doe. Up until now, I had only seen her on the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless. She does a fine job as well. Above all else, however, is Arrow Video who does a great job with this. The Blu-ray has the movie twice on it. Once with a more yellow tent to it because they wanted that “Southern Gothic” look (Like the first 5 pics here) and then a more normal color tone version as well (Like the last 5 pics and an overall better look IMO). Add in some nice extras and we really have a good release here from Arrow for a movie I had never heard of until now.


– Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
– Original Uncompressed Mono Audio Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Brand new audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
– Brand new crew interviews
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
– FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Bill Ackerman

Quality of Transfer: 90%