Destroyer / Edge of Sanity – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Destroyer-Edge-SanityAnthony Perkins hasn’t been himself lately… Scream Factory presents Destroyer & Edge of Sanity, a double feature of horror featuring Anthony Perkins, the legendary star of Psycho. Both films make their Blu-ray debut with this release on April 12, 2016.  The Destroyer features a new HD transfer of the only surviving film elements found in the vaults.  This electrifying thriller also stars Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl) and Clayton Rohner (I, Madman).  In Edge of Sanity, Anthony Perkins (Psycho) stars as an outwardly rational Dr. Jekyll who rapidly descends into a world of sexual obsession and murder as Mr. Hyde… and who may also be Jack the Ripper! A shocking new twist on one of the most infamous crime stories of all time, this terrifying thriller will keep you on the cutting edge of fear!

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When Ivan Moser (football great Lyle Alzado), a convicted serial killer, is set to be electrocuted, a devastating prison riot erupts on the day of the execution. In the wake of the destruction and mayhem, the prison is shut down and Moser becomes a legend. No proof of his death exists.  Eighteen months later, a film director (Anthony Perkins), intrigued by the legend of Moser, decides to use the prison as a film set. On the last night of filming, the truth of Moser’s fate is about to be revealed. The film crew, trapped inside the prison, begin to disappear one by one.

A slasher, not of the Psycho series, with Anthony Perkins.  And he’s not doing the killings!  Destroyer has a fun little setup for a slasher that plays to both horror and comedy genres.  As a matter of fact, most of the comedic stuff in the film lands better than the horror.  Yeah, there is some good blood here and some cool sets, but its all the in-joke movie-making gags and lines that bring a good genuine smile to your face while watching.  Perkins leads the way on all that stuff, and he’s terrific at chewing scenery and never tries to overtake the movie, even though the opportunity is there.

The print (only known existing elements) used for the film has its original title, Shadow Of Murder.  It was later retitled Destroyer, which fits its more over the top pulpy attitude.  The film starts pretty strong and runs good until its overly long third act.  Former NFL player Lyle Alzado’s killer is…eh…well he’s menacing looking.  Something about him kinda takes me out of the movie every time he comes on.  This was during the era post-Freddy where it was okay for the killer to jibber jaw and throw dark stingers at his victims.  It was a rather hit and miss thing with those of that ilk, where only lucky ones like Freddy or Chucky could really manage it.  The film is solid for a late 80s slasher, but really is about 17 minutes too long.

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After a lab experiment unleashes mysterious fumes, Dr. Henry Jekyll undergoes a horrifying transformation into a savage alter ego who calls himself “Jack Hyde.” Meanwhile, the depraved killer Jack the Ripper is slicing his way through the alleys of Whitechapel, leaving mutilated streetwalkers in his wake. Is there a connection between Jekyll/Hyde and Jack the Ripper? And can anyone stop this reign of terror?

Edge of Sanity is one that displays a range for Anthony Perkins.  His straight man role as Dr. Jekyll has him in period piece mode, with a British accent.  On the reverse side, his Mr. Hyde is something of a fun over the type psycho-sexual revelation.  When he’s not Hyde, the movie is very procedural and a tad boring.  As Hyde, the film gets into this weird, sexual David Lynch-inspired abstract horror that you just can’t take your eyes off of.

Overall, the film itself is kinda half and half just like the subject matter.  Its no surprise that the Hyde stuff is far more entertaining, but its HOW its entertaining that services the film so well.  The avant-garde sexual hellhole drug trip of a brothel that is visited is really something to be seen.  Perkins is top notch as he pretty much always was and seems to really dig the depths to which this film fears not going.  I remember constantly seeing this one in the horror section growing up but never picking it up thinking it was some sad attempt to replicate Psycho.  Its not even a bit like that, and I REALLY would like to see how freaked out and disturbed my young self may have gotten seeing this movie at that age.  Bummer, I’ll never know.  Unless Brian finished building that time machine…

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: Destroyer – 1.78:1 / Edge of Sanity – 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Both films come looking very good on Blu-ray.  The pretty, more clean picture is easily Edge of Sanity, but Destroyer looks good too.  There’s a foggier murkier picture with that one, but its inherent in its source.  Though, still Destroyer has some good detail as stuff like the prison walls looks impressive.  Every bloody detail looks quite lovely on Edge of Sanity as it has a crisper, sharper picture with more crisp detail.

Depth:  Destroyer is fine, but definitely a bit more of a flatter picture than Edge of Sanity.  Edge looks loose, free and more 3-dimensional in its grace.

Black Levels:  Blacks are a bit more pronounced and rich on Edge of Sanity, but still solid on Destroyer.  No crushing witnessed on either.

Color Reproduction:  

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the duration of both films.  Detail in Destroyer is best service in close-ups, but the film’s faces have a smoother look to it.  Edge of Sanity looks quite lovely with every bit of make-up, lip texture, wrinkles and brutal damages from murder showing up quite clear.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain and light specs/dirt.  Very minor compression issues present.

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

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Both films feature some really good stereo track.  Movement back and forth is nicely displayed and the sound on both is loose and free sounding.  Effects are well rounded and distinct.  Destroyer features a bit of a pop and crack in its (I’m very sure) source during the final chase scene of the film. 

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clean.

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This release features some promotional photos for each film on the reverse side of the cover.

Destroyer Trailer (HD, 1:03) 

Edge of Sanity Trailer (HD, 1:08) 

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Scream Factory links up two late 1980s films with the common theme of Anthony Perkins to whip up this latest double feature.  Destroyer is  slasher with Perkins in a small supporting role, but he’s having a blast.  A better look at a more Perkins movie is Edge of Sanity, which is quite the trip to check out.  Both films sport adequate and very good transfers with their trailers to offer as bonus material.  Any fan of Perkins needs this in their collection and those into stuff like Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me should check this one out for Edge of Sanity.



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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