The Mangler – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

One cool thing that can happen with the horror genre is that team ups of legends tend to happen with a low-key frequency. Not in the shared universe sense, but camera from behind and in front of the lens. The Mangler, coming from Scream Factory on December 11th, boasts the written talents of icon Stephen King, the directorial mastery of Tobe Hooper and the performance bliss of one Robert Englund. Quite a trifecta. One other thing under the radar for The Mangler is that Ted Levine, who put a legendary stamp on Silence of the Lambs is here too. Its packed, and Scream Factory is giving it the beloved Collector’s Edition treatment. See their showcase by pre-ordering a copy using the Amazon link below and having it just in time for those mangy, mangling holidays!


Based on King’s short story, this white-knuckle chiller follows a cop (Ted Levine, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Hills Have Eyes) as he investigates a series of grisly accidents … and uncovers a deadly town secret that has been hidden for years – a terrifying entity that threatens to destroy everything in its path. With time running out and a young girl’s life in the balance, he races to destroy the beast before it becomes too late!

The Mangler as a straight-laced horror film? Eh. The Mangler as a sort of Midnight Movie genre entertainment? Definitely! And I don’t mean that in a hilariously bad kind of why. This is a pretty competently shot and performed movie. The thing is, it just has such a high concept, its pretty ridiculous. But why it works so well is that Tobe Hooper, Robert Englund and the rest of everyone involved is taking the material very seriously. They believe in it and are going to do what they can to tell it in the best way possible. Its only when it comes to the genre elements, like the Mangler or the gore that they relish in the zany factors.

Tobe Hooper’s has some fun stuff going on in terms of its monster, Englund’s leg braces, religious exorcisms and the gore on display in the film. When someone gets mangled, we get terrific amounts of blood sprayed abound, usually followed with some gross aftermath bodies, parts and whatnot. Robert Englund is a creature of himself. Aside from his walking sticks and braces, his face is “mangled” to an unrecognizable and very horror movie-lookin’ dude make up on. We are also treated to big, theatrical religious-spell casting kind of scenes as well. I’m sure this movie was hoping to be taken a bit more seriously than it is here, but its working because its hoping to be, even if the page was never going to let it in the first place.

I’ve not read Stephen King’s story this came from, but I’d wonder if it took things to these great heights. A police investigation, sacrifices, the exorcism of a piece of a equipment. Overall, its trying to be one giant metaphor for a good many things that come with small towns, factory working and whatnot. I’m not the film’s biggest fan, but it does seem to have a pretty good cult audience as its been quite remembered and requested by many over the years. I’m happy they were able to land a Blu-ray release for the film with one of the best and most caring distributors around.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Mangler’s Blu-ray debut boasts a 4K transfer of the original camera negative for the uncut version. I imagine that The Mangler has never and probably will never look pretty as a film. This new transfer has some really good detail while at the same time, retains a lot of grain. Where things definitely impress are toward the end with the deep dwellings of the laundromat and such. There are some good moments with color that do stand out and make you feel the good of the transfer.

Depth:  This has a pretty solid depth of field that helps the character and camera movements feels pretty smooth and cinematic with no real distortion issues regarding rapid motion.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and impressively carry a lot of saturation and discernible details. Darkness and the darker corners of scenes see a hefty uptick on the grain. No crushing found anywhere.

Color Reproduction: Colors have a nice natural, rustic and very steampunk feel to them. There is a nice glow on red and blue police lights as well as orange with fires.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are discernible in all medium and close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The Mangler comes to Blu-ray with a decent 5.1 track that is a bit bigger on the low frequency sounds, making it feel a little muffly at times. The default volume on it is a bit lower than usual, so you’ll want to turn it up. This one is okay and does the trick, but with the light focus on the rear channels, the 2.0 might be the way to go.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The mangler itself roars and thunders your subwoofer as well as explosions and crashes going on throughout the film.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a rather front-heavy track, using the rear channels mainly for ambiance and to build on big moments. Travel and placement toward the front is very accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are plenty clear and cleanly audible at any given time.


The Mangler – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover featuring the original poster artwork.

Audio Commentary

  • With co-writer Stephen David Brooks

Gartley’s Gambit With Robert Englund (HD, 22:40) – An interview with Robert Englund. He’s very proud of the film, thinks it holds up and is better than some Stephen King properties from the same time that did a bit better financially. Englund is his natural educational, enlightened self and he richly analyzes and recalls the film, working with Tobe Hooper and other aspects of the film. Its always a treat to hear Englund speak on ANYTHING.

Behind-The-Scenes Footage (SD, 12:42) – This at least gives us the presence and on some onset commentary from Tobe Hooper.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:26)

TV Spot (SD, :33)


The Mangler isn’t really a great film by any means, but I appreciate it as a midnight movie kinda entertainment. Scream Factory has brought it to Blu-ray, adding to their Tobe Hooper section, with a nice looking and sounding film. There’s a great new Robert Englund interview here , which means they got the one big thing that was realistic for them to land (Hooper has passed and King doesn’t show up on things) and a commentary with the film’s writer. They’ve put together the most solid release they could given the film and the movie. Fans of it should pick it up.


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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