Release Date(s)1982 (May 26, 2020)
Studio(s)21st Century Film Corporation/Omega Entertainment (Arrow Video)
- Film/Program Grade: C
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C+
Seen by many the last few decades on home video through bargain basement VHS and DVD releases—usually paired with 50 to 100 other films—Blood Tide is a monster movie akin to the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, but with much more emphasis on characters and situations than the monster itself. Despite combining the talents of Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, The Zero Boys), Brian Trenchard-Smith (Stunt Rock, Dead End Drive-In), and Richard Jefferies (Scarecrows, Cold Creek Manor), it’s highly uneven, but with spots of interest along the way.
Off the coast of a Greek island, an underwater sea monster has been awakened by Frye (James Earl Jones), who is spelunking for treasure nearby. Arriving on the island are Neil (Martin Kove) and Sherry (Mary Louise Weller), who have come to look for Neil’s missing sister Madeline (Deborah Shelton). They find her living among the villagers, including the mayor (Jose Ferrer) and a local nun (Lila Kedrova). She appears to be mentally unstable and has been having nightmares about the monster, which according to local custom, makes her a potential sacrifice in order to appease the creature. As the beast slowly chews its way through unwilling victims, Madeline grows closer and closer to being its final meal.
Though the assembled cast and crew do the most they can, Blood Tide is not an overly exciting film. Even the characters, outside of James Earl Jones as Frye who is loaded with ambiguous and unorthodox qualities, are boring and don’t bring much to the table. Martin Kove has the kind of face you want to punch, which makes him great for the villain in The Karate Kid, but not so much as a leading man. The kind-hearted but ditzy Barbara (Lydia Cornell) is present merely as eye candy and potential monster food. The creature itself is rarely seen, and not all that effective when shown. There’s also not much tension to speak of, and outside of a couple of jump scares, next to nothing to fear. In essence, Blood Tide is fairly middle of the road material.
Arrow Video brings Blood Tide to Blu-ray utilizing a 2K restoration of a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Despite the film’s narrative deficiencies, it’s presented in a stunning manner. The film has never looked quite so splendid, making you appreciate the cinematography more so than anything else. Grain levels have been attenuated to leave a fine sheen behind without appearing thick or noisy. Fine detail is abundant, whether in the broad daylight of the beaches and village streets, or in the darkness of the water and the cave. Colors are surprisingly robust with quite a variety, most leaning towards sand and sea related hues. Blacks are deep with good contrast, and everything appears clean and stable.
The soundtrack is presented in uncompressed English mono, with optional subtitles in English SDH (Greek dialogue appears on the screen regardless). Dialogue exchanges, whether they’re in English or Greek, are clear and intelligible; the score has enough boost to work in all the right areas; and sound effects are varied and mostly effective, outside of some obvious foley. Even ambient activity is noticeable. It’s also a clean track as there are no instances of hiss, crackle, dropouts, or distortion leftover.
The following extras are also included:
- Audio Commentary with Richard Jefferies and Michael Felsher
- Swept by the Tide (HD – 28:58)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:19)
- 2020 Trailer (HD – 1:50)
The audio commentary is an upbeat discussion about the genesis of Richard Jefferies’ career, the making of the film, and how he feels about it in retrospect. Swept by the Tide features an interview with Nico Mastorakis by actor and “voice over genius” Ari Gerontakis. The interview is lively as Nico speaks about his career in the film business. The theatrical trailer has been recreated using footage from the main presentation. The second trailer is a promotional piece for the film’s Blu-ray release. The 20-page insert booklet features cast and crew information, Turns of the “Tide” by Michael Gingold, and restoration details.
All in all, Blood Tide offers little in terms of scare or camp value, but looks good and has a couple of good performances. In any case, Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release offers enough for a proper re-evaluation.
– Tim Salmons