Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 26th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1976
Director: Arthur Marks
Writer: Jaison Starkes
Cast: Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr., Joan Pringle, Carl W. Crudup, Julian Christopher, Fred Pinkard, Jo Anne Meredith, Alice Jubert, David McKnight
BluRay released: November 14th, 2017 (USA) / October 31st, 2017 (UK)
Approximate running times: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), R (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £19.99 (UK)
“Law student Ike is enjoying a night on the town with his friends when his life changes dramatically. Taking part in a nightclub hypnosis act, he becomes possessed with the spirit of a violent gangster murdered in the 1940s. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of murderous J.D., Ike launches a revenge campaign against those who had done ‘him’ wrong all those years ago…” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
J.D.’s Revenge was directed by Arthur Marks whose other notable films include, Bonnie’s Kid’s, The Roommates, Detroit 9000 and Bucktown. Key collaborators on J.D.’s Revenge include, cinematographer Harry J. May (Friday Foster) and composer Robert Prince (Squirm).
Where the majority of horror themed Blaxploitation films, were campy adaptions of Iconic horror characters / films, Blacula (Dracula), Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide) and Blackenstein (Frankenstein). This cannot be said of J.D.’s Revenge, a film whose tone is in direct contrast to those aforementioned films.
The characters are well defined and the cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Glynn Turman (Cooley High) in the role of Isaac, a mild mannered young man whose life is turned upside down, after he becomes possessed by the soul of a murdered pimp named J.D. Walker. Another performance of note is David McKnight (Hollywood Shuffle) in the role of J.D. Walker.
From a production standpoint, the premise is well executed and the visuals perfectly capture the mood of the story at hand. And nowhere is more evident, then when it comes to this film’s use of flashbacks. Ultimately, J.D.’s Revenge is a very satisfying mix of supernatural horror and elements that have since become synonymous with the Blaxploitation cinema.
J.D.’s Revenge comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was created from a brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, there are no issues with compression, grain looks natural and black levels look solid throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix English. There no issues with background noise or distortion, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, radio spots (1 minute 49 seconds), a trailer for the film (2 minutes 8 seconds), an audio interview with actor David McKnight titled Here Lies J.D. Walker and a featurette titled The Killing Floor (46 minutes 3 seconds).
Topics discussed in the interview with David McKnight include, his audition for the role of J.D. Walker, how he prepared for this performance, Arthur Marks, Glynn Turman, Louis Gossett Jr., onset memories and his thoughts about the film.
The extra titled The Killing Floor includes comments from director Arthur Marks, screenwriter Jaison Starkes and actor Glynn Turman. Topics discussed in this extra include, the origins of the film, how the film’s original title was The Killing Floor, the screenplay, Samuel Z. Arkoff / American International Pictures, how this film was shot in New Orleans, their thoughts about Arthur Marks, the cast and the film and production related issues.
Other extras include, a Arthur Marks trailer reel that includes the following trailers, Bonnie’s Kids, A Woman for All Men, Friday Foster, Bucktown and The Monkey Hustle.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty our page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Psychic Connections written by Kim Newman and information about the restoration / transfer. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall J.D.’s Revenge gets an excellent release from Arrow Video.