Blu-ray Review – Deadly Eyes (Scream Factory)


Unfortunately for me, before Scream Factory announced that they would be releasing Deadly Eyes to Blu-ray, I had never even heard of the film. As often as I frequented the video store(Daily, for the 5-for-5-for-5 deals), I never even saw Deadly Eyes on the shelf. Had someone explained to me back then, or any time since, that a film exists wherein they strap giant rat costumes to the backs of small dogs, and get them to attack people by stuffing dog food in their pockets, I would have been on a mission to find said movie, because that sounds awesome. Does it not? On the bright side, this means that my first exposure to this film, was Scream Factory’s gorgeous Blu-ray release, stuffed with extras exposing everything I could ever want to know about these dogs dressed up as killer rats. Even before I watched the interviews on the disc, I thought to myself “This is Piranha with killer rats instead of killer fish, and it’s AWESOME). Soon after someone involved in the production would make that same comparison, and it made me smile. Not only that, but we get Scatman Crothers, who most of you should recognize as Dick Hallorann from The Shining, as a disgruntled city employee. Also, based on the interviews on the disc, he was supplied with ample amounts of weed to perform in the way that he did. This movie is fantastic!

From Shout! Factory’s Website:

Meet mankind’s deadliest enemy!

Each year they plunder one fifth of our food, spread our deadliest diseases and destroy billions of dollars worth of homes and property.

Grain contaminated with steroids produce large black rats that begin feeding on the citizens of Toronto. A college basketball coach (Sam GroomThe Baby Maker) teams up with a local health inspector (Sara BotsfordThe Fog 2005) to uncover the source of the mysterious giant rats. When they discover that the rats are living in the subway, they try to prevent a new subway line from opening before all hell breaks loose underground. This is man’s last desperate, bloody battle to preserve the existence of the human race!

Based on the novel The Rats by James Herbert with a screenplay by Charles Eglee (Dexter, The Walking Dead), this nail-biting thriller is directed byRobert Clouse (Enter The Dragon) and co-stars Scatman Crothers (The Shining), Lisa Langlois (The Nest) and Lesleh Donaldson (Happy Birthday To Me, Curtains).

One of the main things that I loved about Deadly Eyes, is the fact that not a single person, no matter how innocent, is safe from the terror that awaits. This is made plainly evident by the video clip I have embedded above, where an eating baby is turned into a trail of gore, after being tipped over and devoured by a pack of these giant killer rats. These guys are turned into mutant rats by a batch of infested corn that is destroyed by the CDC at the beginning of the film. They’re big, they’re hungry, and they don’t give a rat’s ass(haha) who or what you are. They are going to eat you. As I mentioned before, the structure of the film is extremely similar to the original Piranha. You are introduced to some characters, that one might assume are going to be the main focus of the film, until half of them are devoured in one way or another, and we begin to focus on the real main characters, which consist of the CDC agent that was responsible for destroying the corn, and a professor from the local university, the two of which have made a love connection. Previous characters, such as one of the professor’s female students who has become obsessed with him, her boyfriend, and several people from that group of friends, make later appearances, mostly for the purpose of being eaten. The core of the story is prevalent, and coherent, but it does skip around quite a bit, mostly to reintroduce cannon fodder from earlier on in the film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know some people are nitpicky, though, so I wanted to put that out there, in case you lack the ability to suspend disbelief, as some people do.

None of that bothered me, though. I had a hilariously fun time watching this movie from beginning to end. Originally, my plan was to watch the movie, then go to sleep and watch the extras the next day, as I didn’t even put the disc in my player until around midnight last night, but I had so much fun that I watched this disc cover-to-cover, and sat up for an extra hour reading about it on the internet, because I wanted to know everything possible about the production of this movie. The disc itself does a great job of giving you the insider info you crave. If you will glance at the official list of extras, it will look somewhat bare compared to some Scream releases, but that’s simply not the case. All of the interviews on the disc are individual extras on the disc, and none of them repetitive. If you really do what to learn as much as you possibly can about this movie, the cast and crew involved, the special effects, and even the dogs that they dressed up as rats, Scream Factory have you covered. In addition to the new interviews, there is extra titled Deadly Eyes: Dogs In Rats Clothing, that delivers exactly what the title promises. It is a feature focused entirely on those involved in the film, talking about their experiences with these wiener dogs dressed up as killer rats, chasing them around on the set. There are quite a few unlisted extras, actually, so when you sit down to take this disc in, be sure to clear about three hours worth of time, if not a little more, so that you can get as much of it in in one sitting as possible.

This marks the first time that I know of, at least in the US, if not everywhere, that Deadly Eyes has even been released to DVD, let alone Blu-ray. Also, as I stated above, this was my first viewing of the film, so I don’t exactly have a frame of reference for the purpose of comparing the audio and video quality to past releases. I will say, however, that for what this movie is, and when it was made, it looks fantastic. If you’ll excuse the dated clothing, and the occasional print damage, this looks like it could have been filmed a few years ago. The PQ is crisp and detailed, the colors pop wonderfully, and there are no visible signs of digital manipulation. The audio is less impressive than the video, but still exceptional for a low budget Canadian monster movie from the early eighties. In very few scenes, making up probably 3 seconds of the entire running time, there was some noise/distortion noticeable during a couple of dialog deliveries. Also, very on in the movie, there was a weird wobbling effect in the video, where you couldn’t tell if it was a film print problem, or perhaps even an unstable camera during production. As I said, though, these issues add up to maybe a few seconds of footage throughout the entire film, and most of it is noticeable right at the beginning of the film. So it is a minor complaint, nitpicking, almost, about an otherwise fantastic Blu-ray release. This is one of the best releases out of the Summer of Fear lineup so far, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you have never seen this film, and have no idea what to expect, buy it anyway. You’ll thank me later. You can pick your copy up today, by visiting Shout! Factory’s website. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray/DVD release of Deadly Eyes deserves a spot on your shelf. 


About Shawn Savage

I say stuff. @theliberaldead
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