Berserker (1987) (BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Jefferson Richard
STARRING: Joseph Alan Johnson, Greg Dawson, Valerie Sheldo
RATED: UR/REGION O/1:85/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 2
AVAILABLE FROM Vinegar Syndrome
A group of friends have set out on a camping trip in a rural part of Utah. Although warned by kindly Norwegian immigrant, Pappy Nyquist (George ‘Buck’ Flowers), of a series of recent killings, supposedly the result of a bear, the campers are undeterred and decide to spend the night outdoors, getting drunk and sharing stories of berserkers, ruthlessly violent viking warriors who wore bear skins and snouts. Not long after pairing off for romantic escapades, they find themselves terrorized and ripped apart by a large and violent bear…but is it actually a bear, or perhaps a real life berserker who has somehow been transported to the 20th century…
Berserker is a strange slasher and isn’t what I’d call a traditional one. We have your typical teens running out and being killed, but the killer comes into question a few times. Sure, we see a man dressed with bearskin at the start and just assume that’s it, but the movie also keeps showing a bear during killing scenes and makes you wonder if its really man or bear. That is probably the only real question here for the most part as everything else seems to come by as usual and straight forward. There’s clearly a few scenes set up just to make time and there really isn’t much in the way of good characters but the violence does seem to make up for the most of it regardless. There’s a certain charm in seeing folks being mauled to death be it by bear or human.
The weird style of this one and the overall bizarre at times tone is what makes this one what it is, whatever you might think that is. It isn’t a first or second string slasher by any means, but it manages to hold your attention for the most part and you are never too sure what will happen next. The ending is also a bit out of left field, so it has that going for it as well. Berserker finally comes to Blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome and with it comes a good transfer, a commentary, and a nice set of interviews that puts a little more ideal into what went on when making a movie like this.
– Region Free Blu-ray/DVD combo
– Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 16mm original camera negative
– “A Family Affair” – video interview with director Jefferson Richard
– “Beware of Bears” video interview with actor Joseph Alan Johnson
– “Valley Girl” – video interview with actress Shannon Engemann
– Audio interview with actor Mike Riley
– Historical commentary track with Justin Kerswell & Joseph Henson of The Hysteria Continues!
– Stills gallery
– Reversible cover artwork
– English SDH subtitles
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 93%