Director – David Blyth (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, My Grandpa is a Vampire)
Starring – Michael Hurst (Hercules in the Underworld, Andromeda), Margaret Umbers (Smash Palace, Mr. Wrong), and William Upjohn (Dark City, Water Rats)
Release Date – 1984
Rating – 2.5/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “I’ll get you. I’ll get you all…”
When horror fans think of New Zealand they rarely think of it as a country that has contributed to the genre. They often forget that New Zealand is the home to legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson who gave the world Dead Alive and Bad Taste. Aside from the Peter Jackson films, New Zealand has released several great horror films like Black Sheep, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, and 1984’s Death Warmed Up.
The last is one film I had never seen before. Sometime back Severin Films announced that they was releasing the film. I couldn’t wait to see it but I was unable to grab a copy when it was released. Not too long ago I was able to grab a copy at a con and I was at to add to my collection. A few weeks later Umbrella Entertainment released the film on blu as well and I was lucky enough to get a review copy. Thanks Umbrella for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a young boy who has experimented on with a mind-controlling substance. He goes home and promptly murders his parents. We jump forward and he was institutionalized for the murders and has since been released. He is stable and has a girlfriend and friends. They all go out for a holiday and visit the island that the company responsible for his brainwashing owns and he has more things on his mind than relaxing. He want’s to kill all those responsible for making him kill his parents. **Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from Death Warmed Up but I did go into it with a lot of excitement. I absolutely loved the cover used by Severin Films which I believe is from a VHS release. The Umbrella Entertainment uses a cool cover but I really like the old painted artwork from the 80s. It just looks so much fun. Sadly, the film just wasn’t as fun as the artwork was. The movie had me scratching my head until the last 15 minutes or so which wasn’t enough to save it.
The acting in this one is not that entertaining. Some of the minor characters were actually more entertaining than the leads. I especially liked the dude foaming at the mouth. He was funny and actually did a decent job. I also liked the dirty guy with bad teeth. He was quirky and added some light humor to the film. Sadly, the leads were unable to deliver that much fun.
The story for this one had a lot going for it but it failed to actually pull it all together into an entertaining film. The first hour of the film I struggled to pay attention. The character were not that entertaining and the story was just very uneventful and the action scenes were still very lackluster. With that being said, the last 15 minutes or so of the film was very entertaining. It wasn’t enough to save the film but it was fun. I think its safe to say that this film was the inspiration for, or at least inspired certain events in the 1993 Australian horror comedy Body Melt.
Finally, this film doesn’t shy away from carnage. We get several pretty gruesome deaths. Some make great use of gore but the kills are rather quick and not as entertaining as the gore itself. We get great practical effects throughout the film that does spice up a few of the slower scenes. Overall, Death Warmed Up is a movie that could be something so much more but we are given flat characters and a story that doesn’t build momentum until the last portion of the film. With that being said, this is a solid release from Umbrella Entertainment and collectors will want to grab this one.
I’LL GET YOU ALL: Interview with actor David Letch
Deleted/Missing scenes with optional audio commentary
Original New Zealand 4:3 VHS cut
Interview featurette with David Blyth and Michael Heath