Movie Review: BLOOD BEAT (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

BLOOD BEAT was written and directed by Fabrice A. Zaphiratos and stars Helen Benton, Terry Brown, Dana Day, Claudia Peyton and James Fitzgibbons.

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…

Blood Beat follows this family that gets together for Christmas and there’s a killer on the loose that’s slowly making their way to this holiday get together. You can tell there’s some tension between a couple of the characters immediately, but for what reason? The mother seems to have some psychic abilities and her son’s girlfriend ends up having an extremely awkard connection to the killer. She stays isolated in one of the bedrooms throughout most of the watch but when she gets a little excited (if you know what I mean), the killer is making sushi out of some unsuspecting victims. And when I say sushi I mean it because this killer is dressed like a samurai from head to toe and takes no prisoners. Side note – Play a drinking game and look for the flip flops! Anyway, this all leads to a final showdown when the mother comes face to face with the samurai and this is when her son’s girlfriend makes her full reveal as well the mother’s two offspring who end up showing off their supernatural abilities. In the end, it’s a battle between good and evil in the most cheesy and confusing way I’ve ever seen! I mean, why was all of this happening anyway?

Blood Beat is one of the strangest movies that I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life and I’ve watched a lot of movies in my day. Simply put, it’s just plain weird from top to bottom, beginning to end. The concept is interesting because it’s a full blown slasher movie with a supernatural element thrown in for a little something extra. What got my attention is that there’s a supernatural samurai on the loose and this mysterious figure is killing people and this fool is appearing all over the place. One of the biggest downfalls to me is the cast because you can tell these people were not real actors because most of the acting was really bad. The practical effects looked okay and that’s one of the few good things about the movie. There are some cheesy visuals that were used for some of the scenes and they sadly look extremely dated. Fabrice A. Zaphiratos did what he could with his low budget horror outing but unfortunately the movie just isn’t that good of a watch. It’s not a boring movie, it’s just confusing and extremely strange.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features artwork that matches the front cover and the DVD disc features matching alternate artwork.  Vinegar Syndrome uses the clear keep cases for these titles and I really like the look of them. It kind of helps them stand out from the normal old blue keep cases. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The movie has gotten a brand new 2K restoration from its original 35mm camera negative and it looks and sounds okay considering the obscurity of this film. There is a disclaimer in the beginning from Vinegar Syndrome letting the viewer know that the negative had suffered some damage and they used the best surviving video sources to complete this all-new upgrade.

Bottom line is, Blood Beat was another first time watch for me and this 1982 horror obscurity was a bizarre viewing experience to say the least. It’s just a flat out weird movie but I’m always game for an old horror romp that I’ve never watched before so it’s all good. It’s kind of a slasher with a supernatural element thrown into the mix and that’s about the only cool part of the movie. Most of the acting was extremely amateurish and the story and directing weren’t much better. With that being said, Blood Beat is an ambitious low budget production and I know the filmmaker went into this with good intentions but unfortunately the outcome is a confusing train wreck. Fabrice Zaphiratos’ super strange arthouse slasher is now available for the first time ever on Blu-ray and DVD (Combo Pack) and has been fully restored from its original negative. The first 2,000 copies sold through will include a double-thick embossed limited edition slipcover.

Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.33:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

DVD Video: Fullframe (1.33:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include some audio commentary, a couple of interviews, a short movie remix, a short film, stills and more. Not too bad for an obscure horror movie like this.

  • Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
  • Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative
  • Commentary Track with Writer-Director Fabrice Zaphiratos
  • Video Interview with Fabrice Zaphiratos (18:04)
  • Video Introduction with Fabrice Zaphiratos (00:23)
  • Video interview with Cinematographer Vladimir Van Maule (18:44)
  • BLOOD BEAT: Silent Version – featuring Nervous Curtains and Horror Remix (28:08)
  • “L.U.N.C.H.” – short film written and directed by William Zaphiratos (son of Fabrice) (13:54)
  • Stills Gallery (01:03)
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles


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