10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on April 15th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1985
Director: Josh Becker
Writers: Josh Becker, Scott Spiegel, Bruce Campbell, Sheldon Lettich
Cast: Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Brian Schulz

BluRay released: April 10th, 2012
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
BluRay Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

Synopsis: Shortly after returning to his home town, a Vietnam Vet is forced to return to the killer instincts when a murderous cult of psychopaths kidnap his girlfriend.

Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except was co-written and directed by Josh Becker (Running Time), who is most known for his collaborations with director Sam Raimi. Key collaborators on Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except include co-screenwriter / producer  Scott Spiegel (The Intruder) and composer Joseph LoDuca (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness).

Made on a minuscule budget, it is not hard to find many things that did not go quit right in Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except. Sure the plot is rather bland and if it weren’t for its moments of mayhem and blood soaked carnage. Then this film would then have been a total waist of celluloid.

Pacing wise things are slow going and the film’s visuals are at best serviceable. At least the film does a reasonably good job inserting stock footage into the film. With the scenes that are supposed to have taken place in Vietnam (they were actually shot in Michigan) being this films weakest link.

As mentioned before, when this film lets loose and lets the bloodshed unfold, it is at its best. Though the special effects look crude, they are never the less very effective.

Performance wise, it is hard to fault any of the cast in their respective performances. With the film’s most memorable performance coming from Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spiderman) in the role of Charles Manson like cult leader. Another enjoyable performance comes from Sam’s brother Ted, who portrays a psychopath that wears blue jeans, a mask and chains across his chest. Ultimately Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except is a delirious oddity that fans of offbeat cinema are sure to thoroughly enjoy.

The BluRay:

Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This is brand new 2k transfer that was sourced from the film’s original negative. Quality wise it would be difficult to top this transfer which is easily the best this film has ever looked on home video.

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. The audio mix sounds surprisingly good considering the limitations of the source materials. There are no problems with background noise or distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.

Extras for this release include the original theatrical trailer for the film (2 minutes 9 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), alternate ‘Sgt. Stryker’s War’ title sequence (1 minutes 19 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), deleted ‘Puking’ scene with audio commentary with co-screenwriter / director Josh Becker (45 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a interview with actor Bruce Campbell (8 minutes 47 seconds – 4:3 full frame), the original super 8mm ‘Stryker’s War’ short film (48 minutes 16 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame), a featurette titled ‘Made in Michigan: The Making of Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except’ (31 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), two audio commentaries, the first one with Josh Becker and Bruce Campbell and the second one with actor Brian Schultz and moderator Michael Felsher. There is a wealth of extra content that has been compiled for this release and every aspect of this film production is covered in great detail. With this release stand out extras being the audio commentary with Josh Becker and the 8mm short film ‘Stryker’s War’. Overall Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except gets a exceptional release from Synapse Films.

Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart.

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