Blu-ray Review: Blood Tide



The summer of 2020 is being noted for the return of the Drive-In. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, movie theaters across America were shutdown. This was a good move since who wants to spend two hours in a dark room fearing every cough and sneeze will infect them with the deadly disease. No matter what genre you bought a ticket to see, you were having a horror movie experience. Several places in recent months have constructed make-shift drive in movie theaters knowing that people will feel a bit more safer outdoors and in their cars. But a majority of these new drive-ins are showing the same old hits that people have been watching on TBS for decades. They aren’t truly embracing the true wonders that deserve to be witnessed at the Drive-In. You want to see things that will make you and your passenger overcome the gap in bucket seats or hide under the dashboard. Sadly no drive-in near me is running Blood Tide this evening. This is a classic drive-in film with an exotic location, a classy cast and a fierce monster lurking under the water.

The movie opens in an earlier time with a young woman be prepared ritually for a trip inside a Greek island cave on a raft. Everything seems cool until she approaches a mystic gateway and an unknown thing comes up from below the raft. The action flashforwards to contemporary times (with that time being 1982). Neil Grice (The Karate Kid‘s Martin Kove) and his wife Sherry (National Lampoon’s Animal House‘s Mary Louise Weller) arrive on the Greek island with their boat. He’s trying to locate his sister Madeline (Body Double‘s Deborah Shelton), but doesn’t seem to get a warm welcome when he runs into Mayor Nereus (Dune‘s José Ferrer) or Sister Anna (Zorba the Greek‘s Lila Kedrova). But they find her there in the village. She’s kind of spacy on her spiritual journey. She’s not ready to go back to America. The Grices also bump into Frye (Star Wars‘ James Earl Jones). He’s a diver hunting supposedly hunting for local sponges with pal Barbara (Too Close for Comfort‘s Lydia Cornell. Turns out he’s found the ancient cave and is blasting his way through the mysterious gateway. Madeline receives strange dreams that she’s going to be eaten by whatever creature once needed human sacrifices to stay happy. Things get ugly including when one of the people ends up taking a fatal dip in the sea. Can Neil keep his sister from being served up like Greek Yogurt?

You know Blood Tide is going to be worthwhile when Brian Trenchard Smith’s name pops up in the credits as Co Producer and Creative Consultant. He’s one of the kings of Australian’s Ozploitation era having made Stunt Rock, Turkey Shoot and Dead End Drive In. It’s hard to tell how much influence he had on producer Nico Mastorakis (The Wind) and director Richard Jeffries (screenwriter on Tron Legacy) on the script. But there’s enough weirdness on the screen with the strange dreams and offering virgins to the underwater terror. The film doesn’t go completely overboard as it plays the slow heat burn of the Americans dealing with the weirdness on the Greek island. This is a production with two Oscar winners in the cast and the voice of CNN so the cast keeps the pressure up. James Earl Jones sets the tone as we learn more about what he’s really collecting under the island. This is the 87 minute cut that’s five minutes longer than the version that was released back in 1982.

Blood Tide is one of those movies that deserves to be seen outdoors on a hot summer night behind the safety of your front windshield. Although you can also enjoy it in your TV room near the vent of your air conditioner thank to a serious upgrade to Blu-ray. Or you can get a video projector and an outdoor screen to hang on the gutter to watch the Greek supernatural action in your backyard.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the beauty of the Greek island location. The audio is LPCM mono. The levels are fine for the action around the beaches. The movie is subtitled in English.

Commentary Track with director/co-writer Richard Jefferies. He takes us on a journey down nightmare lane. He talks about starting at Cal Arts in animation, but transferring into live action. The project started as “Man Shark” and sounded like a SyFy Channel original. He made a deal that if he wrote the script, he’d get to be the director. He was able to survive the shoot without knowing there was an emergency director that would be brought in if the production floundered. He speaks of how the international crew made for translation issues.

Swept by the Tide (28:58) interviews producer/co-writer Nico Mastorakis. There’s a bit of fun as Ari Gerontakis interviews him with the opening question, “Are you a horror director?” “I am a horror of a director,” Nico replies. He speaks about his early days in Greece. He steps up to make his first feature after getting frustrated with State controlled TV in Greece. He viewed moviemaking as where the big boys play. He made Death Has Blue Eyes in 1974. He speaks of working with an international cast. He came to work on Paramount for two years and got screwed over by Don Simpson. He wanted to work on a film with John Carpenter and Don Simpson called Carpenter “a hack.” Simpson also screwed him over on making a horror film with Ridley Scott. He decided to go indie and that’s where Blood Tide was born.

Original Trailer (2:19) explains there’s something monstrous beneath the island.

2020 Trailer (1:50) creeps things up with the eternal struggle between good and evil plus the monster under the island. They had put the film back in cool theaters earlier this year.

Arrow Video present Blood Tide. Directed by: Richard Jefferies. Screenplay by: Richard Jefferies & Nico Mastorakis. Starring: James Earl Jones, José Ferrer, Lila Kedrova, Mary Louise Weller, Martin Kove, Lydia Cornell & Deborah Shelton. Rated: R. Running Time: 87 minutes. Released: May 26, 2020.

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