Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 25th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: UK / Canada, 1980
Director: Alvin Rakoff
Writers: John Robins, Jack Hill, David P. Lewis
Cast: George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid, Victoria Burgoyne, Jennifer McKinney, Danny Higham, Saul Rubinek, Murray Cruchley
DVD released: November 6th, 2012
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: The survivors of a ship wreck seek refuge on a haunted ship.
Death Ship was directed by Alvin Rakoff, who’s other notable films include Say Hello to Yesterday and Hoffman. Key collaborators on Death Ship include composer Ivor Slaney (Terror), cinematographer René Verzier (The Pyx, Rituals) and co-screenwriter Jack Hill (Coffy, Switchblade Sisters).
Content wise, Death Ship follows the blue print that countless other horror films which have come before have followed. The bulk of the plot is set in one primary location, a ‘ghost ship’ that was once inhabited by Nazi’s.
Trying to maintain momentum in such limited surroundings can be a tricky proposition. And though the ship does give this film some much needed atmosphere. There are way too many lulls in the narrative that the films is never able to maintain any sense of momentum.
Also the scares in this film are more in line with the supernatural and for the most part the death which occur are rather tame. With that being said, there are a handful of memorable moments visually like a scene in which a woman taking a shower in drenched in blood and the film’s finale features what is arguably this films most gruesome moment.
Performance wise, the cast can be best described as serviceable in their respective roles. With this film’s most enjoyable performance coming from George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) in the role of a deranged ship Captain named Ashland.
Scorpion Releasing presents Death Ship in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. For this release Scorpion Releasing have created a brand new transfer from the films original interpositive and the end result is by far and away the best this film has ever looked on home video.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clear, clean and balanced throughout. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Also included with this release is the option of listening to this film score as a isolated music track.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (59 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), 2 deleted scenes (4 minutes 13 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and a featurette titled ‘Learn What the Ship is Saying’ (3 minutes 44 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and in this segment Katarina Leigh Waters translates the German language dialog that the ship says in the film, into English.
Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature.
Rounding out the extras are trailers for Silent Scream, Humongous, The Hearse, Don’t Answer the Phone and Mortuary. Overall Death Ship Scorpion Releasing gets its best audio / video presentation to date.
Note: Scorpion Releasing are going to be releasing Death Ship on BluRay on December 16th, 2012.