Deadtime Stories (Blu-ray Review)

Deadtime-StoriesDuring horror’s heyday of the 1980s, one particular genre seems to flourish more than it ever has since.  The horror anthology became popular mainly after Creepshow burst onto the scene.  Doing multiple shorts in one film has been a sort of lost art that fans have been clamoring for and in recent years its made a bit of a comeback in the indie/VOD scene.  Deadtime Stories is one such anthology from the 1980s, bombing at the box office then later likely finding an audience on home video.  And for you, that audience, Scream Factory, as they’ve done many times before, has rescued it to Blu-ray.

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Travel on a mysterious journey to a medieval world populated by blood-crazed witches, evil experiments and captive maidens. Then from the catacombs and dark caverns of medieval Europe, you’ll plunge into modern suburbia and the adventures of a female jogger stalked by a savage werewolf. Finally, sensuality will become macabre, black comedy as you follow the trail of three bank robbers who share their country house hideaway with a sweet murderess.

I’m a newbie to Deadtime Stories. Going in, I figured it’d just be another 80s horror anthology.  Instead, this was something more wholly unique.  A trashy, low grade comedic take on the genre.  This is the kinda thing you gotta be the right person for.  While it includes some good gore, monster effects and some decent spooky imagery at times…its more interested in being silly, telling groaner jokes and leaning toward some exploitation above all else.

Where its all interesting, is that its all these dumpy, trashy, slightly sexual takes on 3 classic fairy tales from a kids boozed up, pervy uncle.  Its sorta perfect in that sense.  Its also SUPER soaked in the 1980s.  Fashion, hair and the music all make sure you don’t forget that.  And this score has some of that super trashy cheap synth music running the show which makes it a little extra awesome.

Most notably, the film features Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo as a part of its cast (She appears in the Goldi Lox segment).  Goldi Lox herself is played by Cathryn de Prume, whom like fellow castmate Scott Valentine, has a lot of credits to their names, but never really a breakout role.  Behind the scenes, too.  Nobody really went anway, so to speak.  This was “it” for a lot of people.

Deadtime Stories is a fun jaunt through some trashy renditions of classic fairy tales through the lens of anthology horror comedy dipped in the 1980s.  In a super b-grade, low rent, midnight movie mindset, I kinda had a lot of fun with this film.  The movie almost feels like a lost film of B-auteur Mark Pirro (But with some better equipment, cast and more cash).  So, if you’re into Nudist Colony of the Dead or Deathrow Gameshow, check out Deadtime Stories.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Deadtime Stories comes to Blu-ray with a rock solid film transfer from the original camera negative.  Details come through pretty neatly with clothing patterns and fabrics showing cleanly as well as paved surfaces with cracks appearing and little rust spots popping on cars.  Colors are stronger in this release.  Overall, I’m sure this is the best this film may ever look.  Fans should be more than happy with it.

Depth:  Decent depth work.  The movements are solid and cinematic in appearance. Spacing/3 dimensional depth is pretty much up to par with most 1980s Scream Factory releases of this ilk.

Black Levels: Blacks are done pretty well with the shading and minimal amounts of detail is hidden via darkness.  No crushing witnessed when doing the viewing for this review.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid and very 80s-natural.  Reds pop out the most, especially the sweater in the red riding hood inspired story.  Blues look decent too, and do stand out on some wallpaper, curtains and paint in the kid’s bedroom.  There is also a pillow on the kids’ bed with a rainbow on it that looks quite nice.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and maintain a similar look from the wraparound to the rest of the stories.  Close-ups and some medium shots detail make-up, blemishes, dried blood, dirt, dried up wrinkly skin and werewolf transformation make-up effects.

Noise/Artifacts: Some light grain.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Deadtime Stories sports a pretty rock solid mono track.  Ambiance is captured quite well here.  The score, vocals and effects feel well enough balanced and separate of one another.  Normal activity effects like leaves crunching sound pretty crisp and full.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clean and clear, doing the right amount for a satisfactory listen.

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Deadtime Stories comes with the DVD edition of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Jeffrey Delman

I Like The Grotesque (HD, 15:41) – A conversation with co-writer/director Jef Delman.  He discusses trying to make one film then realizing he can make an anthology. Delman goes over this little local production, effects, speaking with the Nightmare producer about it and also how it found itself on home video.

A Band Of Gypsies: The Making of Deadtime Stories (HD, 15:34) – Melissa Leo, Cathryn de Prume and Scott Valentine discuss how they still have their friendship from this movie to this day. They speak highly of Jef Delman and how he ruined working with other directors for them later in their career. Melissa Leo found the filming of Deadtime Stories to be in a sort of historic era of film and had a hell of a lot of fun making it.

The Black Forest (HD, 29:48) – This is the “short feature” version of the Black Forest segment.  Shot before they decided to do anthology, much of it was reshot later.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:31) – Features an introductions from director Jef Delman.  Removed segments from the Red Riding Hood and Goldi Lox stories.

Theatrical Trailers (SD, 3:11) 

Photo Gallery (HD, 4:14)

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Deadtime Stories is a charming bit of horror junkfood to consume.  Nothing nutritious, but it goes down fine and on some days probably hits the spot.  Hitting the spot for sure, is Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray of the film.  Not only does it include some really cool interviews (nabbing back  Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo to talk), but it features a rock solid, very good transfer in terms of both audio and video.  At the right price, if this movie sounds sorta like your thing, its worth taking a bit of a chance on.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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