Bloody Murder

Bloody Murder (1999)
Artisan Entertainment
Cast: Jessica Morris, Michael Stone
Extras: Commentary Track, Theatrical Trailer, Talent Files, “Jump to a Murder”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A group of teenagers go into the woods to renovate an old summer camp and get it ready for a grand opening. However, a killer in hockey-mask is loose in the woods and kills off the young campers one by one. It becomes up to a plucky young heroine to save the day. Yes, horror fans, Sean Cunningham’s lawyers should take a look at ’Bloody Murder’, a film that mirrors the ’Friday the 13th’ series in almost every way…except for the fact that there’s no blood!

The movie presents us with the legend of Trevor Moorehouse, a masked killer who has a chainsaw for a left hand (maybe Sam Raimi’s lawyer’s should be notified as well). Once our intrepid young camp counselors come into the woods, they start dying one by one. Is it Trevor Moorehous or someone else? ’Bloody Murder’ is the ’Plan 9’ of slasher films. This is the kind of movie the makes you wonder if you have a seizure disorder as the characters talk emphatically about scenes that we didn’t see and voice-overs don’t match the visuals. (’Are you going to punch ME in the stomach, too’ a character asks, following a scene where no one is punched!) ’Bloody Murder’ is slow and boring and doesn’t contain any on-screen violence or nudity. You’ve got to wonder if this was meant to be a joke.

Given all of that, the DVD transfer of ’Bloody Murder’ from Artisan Home Entertainment looks pretty good. The image is presented full-frame and is very sharp and clear, showing little artifacting or noise. There is a slight amount of grain present, leading me to guess that the film was shot on Super-16mm and then blown up. (I could be wrong about this.) Most of the night-time shots are overlit, but this only adds to the clarity of the image, though it does make one wonder what kind of full moon was happening. The audio on the DVD is a Dolby 2-channel surround mix, that offers constantly intelligible dialogue and no audible hiss. The surround sound action is limited to musical cues and some forest sound effects.

The DVD contains an audio commentary by director Ralph Portillo, but he doesn’t speak very often. This is the kind of commentary where you’re constantly checking your audio setting to make sure that it’s still on the commentary track. He does mention something about the film being shot in nine days; a fact I have no problem believing. There is a trailer, which is presented full-frame and brief talent files. The last special feature is something called ’Jump to a Murder’, which lets you immediately access the four, yes count ’em, four murders in the movie. If you are a ’Friday the 13th’ completist, or someone who thinks that there’s nothing worse than a ’Jason’ film, then check out ’Bloody Murder’. But don’t say that I didn’t warn you.