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Killer Workout (Blu-ray Review)

Killer-WorkoutSlasher // Video presents Killer Workout, directed by David A. Prior (Deadly Prey, The Deadliest Prey) and starring Ted Prior (Deadly Prey), Marcia Karr (Maniac Cop), David James Campbell (Scarecrows) and Fritz Matthews (The Deadliest Prey).  Going to the gym may be hazardous to your health. In fact, it could kill you.  Who’s behind the grizzly slayings? What’s their motive? And, who will be the next victim?  Killer Workout features a group of actors (Ted Prior, Fritz Matthews and David James Campbell) who would appear together on screen in several David A. Prior films including Deadly Prey, The Deadliest Prey and Relentless Justice.

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Film 

Entertainment 

Valerie, a model with a promising career, Valerie heads out to the local fitness club to use their sun-tanning bed. She needs to look her best for her Cosmopolitan magazine cover shoot. Alas, Valerie’s visit will end in tragedy when the machine malfunctions, burning her to death. Despite Valerie’s death being a public relations nightmare, things are back up and running at the club with the iron-fisted Rhonda in charge. But tragedy is lurking just around the corner when another club member is soon found stabbed to death. Enter Lieutenant Morgan, the cop on the case. Tasked with solving the crimes, he’s in for more than he expected as the body count rises.

1987 was a landmark year for director David A. Prior, it seems.  Not only did he hoist up the glorious Deadly Prey upon us, he also delighted with Killer Workout (Also known as Aerobicide on this print of the film and elsewhere).  His mastery of straight-to-video schlock continues on through this slasher film set around an aerobics building/class/students/whatever.  If you’ll notice with David A. Prior’s films I’ve added an “Entertainment” rating, because I think it needs to credited as he may not have made technically “good” movies, but he made some fine entertainment.

As a horror film or even, lets go American giallo, it doesn’t work one bit.  And I’m sure this movie was reviled upon its release.  There are no real good bits of jumps and suspense.  The deaths and gore effects are super lame.  But age and an increased admiration/nostalgia for material that is so off key, weird and different has made Killer Workout a more entertaining film.  If you’re unaware, watching it alone may prove drull, but with a friend or a group, there’s enough here to make this quite enjoyable.

What’s enjoyable?  An over abundance of silly aerobic exercise shots/scenes/montages to buffer this runtime to feature length.  You get a lot of the very loud and crazy 80s workout stylings.  The music, the hair, its all there for a good chuckle.  To add, we also get some David A. Prior regulars, including his brother (?) and star of Deadly Prey, Ted Prior.  He even gets to do some brawling.  No, the film isn’t some high form of art, but for the right minded people, its pretty entertaining and funny.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Killer Workout is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD Master; remastered from from PAL Beta SP and upconverted to Blu-ray and DVD specifications.  Like Deadly Prey, it has less than ideal methods of coming to Blu-ray, but for all that it is, it does work and its just fine.  If anything, I think it transferred out better than Deadly Prey.

Depth:  Its flat, obviously.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and can consume detail.  However, some closeups do manage to impress, given the circumstances.

Color Reproduction:  While this is a film that embraces some of the wild 1980s stylings, its all toned down due to the nature of the sourcing.  Colors are decent and ok.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural, with detail that can be made out in closeups.

Noise/Artifacts:  There are some very minimal typical VHS tracking issues that do show up as well as ghosting, aliasing and the like.  Its nothing you wouldn’t be expecting and won’t deter you at all once you’re in the mode of watching it the way it is.

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Audio 

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

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This one sounds pretty clean compared to the other title I’ve reviewed so far.  Yes, its VHS sourced and feels a bit held back, but there’s nothing you can do about it.  A big compliment I can give the movie is that the audio is consistent and doesn’t waver from distorted to clearer to muffled and whatnot.  Its a fine sound throughout the duration.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and clear enough not to have any problems.  It has a muffle but is nowhere near as bad as Deadly Prey.

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Extras 

Photo Gallery (HD, 8:25) – VHS box art, poster art, advertisements and promotional stills

Original Killer Workout Title Sequence (HD, :42) – Same thing, just a different title.

Killer Workout Trailer (HD, 2:10) – This is trailer for this release, not the original one from when it came out new.

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Summary 

While, no, this wasn’t the ideal way for Killer Workout to get to Blu-ray, it is what it is.  And I think given the constraint, its just fine.  These Slasher // Video releases have been aware of that and Olive Films is putting them at a decent price.  I have this odd hunch that some of these are going to be collector’s items in the future when they’re out of print and we’re onto some new format and you just can’t find them.  So, deal with the sourcing, enjoy them for what they are, and snatch them up.

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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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