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The Zero Boys
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Stereo
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Audio Commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop's Chris Alexander
  • Nico Mastorakis on... Nico Mastorakis - brand new interview with Mastorakis on the making of The Zero Boys
  • Brand new interview with star Kelli Maroney
  • Brand new interview with star Nicole Rio
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Stills Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver

The Zero Boys

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Nico Mastorakis
1986 | 89 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: April 26, 2016
Review Date: April 26, 2016

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

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SYNOPSIS

DAWN OF A NEW BREED OF HEROES From cult director Nico Mastorakis, the man behind such eclectic offerings as the controversial Island of Death and the Oliver Reed-starring actioner Hired to Kill, comes The Zero Boys - the genre-bending '80s classic with gruesome sequences that anticipate the torture porn horrors of Hostel and Saw. For a group of young friends, a weekend of survival games in the wilderness turns into a genuine battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead. Finding themselves hunted by a bloodthirsty band of maniacs intent on slaughtering them one-by-one, the self-styled "Zero Boys" must now play their war games for real. Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) and featuring an early score from the legendary Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), The Zero Boys mixes action, survival and all-out slasher movie elements in a thrilling horror yarn that falls somewhere between Friday the 13th and Deliverance.


PICTURE

Arrow Video presents another cult favourite by Nico Mastorakis (the director behind the fairly infamous Island of Death), The Zero Boys, presented here on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc in 1080p/24hz high-definition (surprisingly from a new 4K scan of a 35mm interpositive) in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. As a dual-format release the film is also presented on a dual-layer DVD in the same aspect ratio, enhanced for widescreen televisions.

In Mastorakisí (interesting) interview he praises Arrowís restoration, proclaiming the film looks as though it could have been made days ago. Itís certainly hyperbole (and so are a few other things in the interview, though in all fairness itís hard to tell if heís messing around) but then not too, too far off. For a low-budget 80ís flick it does look shockingly good. The 4K scan has paid off and the level of detail is astonishing. Finer details are sharp and textures are nicely represented. The film is, unsurprisingly, fairly grainy, getting heavier in the darker scenes, but the transfer and encode renders it all rather well.

The DVD looks pretty good for what it is, limited more by the format than much else, featuring what you would expect: some compression issues, colours not as rich, lower details, etc. Still, upscaled, it doesnít look too shabby.

Also surprising is how free the image is of dirt and damage on both the Blu-ray and DVD. Specs and small bits of dirt pop up here and there, but very rarely and they hardly register to the eye. Itís an impressive clean up job, something I wouldnít have expected for the film. Ultimately, the presentation, particularly on the Blu-ray, will please fans, and I doubt the film has ever looked as good as it does here. Itís clean and looks very filmic.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

On the Blu-ray the audio is presented in stereoólossless PCM on the Blu-ray, Dolby Digital on the DVDóand on the whole sounds fairly good. The opening is a bit weird in its dispersal of the audio, spreading the dialogue over the front three speakers, which sounded a bit odd, but then after this the mix focuses dialogue to the center with music and effects spreading to the other speakers. The quality overall is very good, and I didnít notice any damage. Itís clean.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

And as expected Arrow puts together a nice set of supplements starting with a new audio commentary featuring (former) Fangoria editor Chris Alexander and star Kelli Maroney. Alexanderís tracks usually come from a more fanboyish angle, which, under normal circumstances, would be grating, but his tracks are usually quite fun and well thought out and you begin to understand his love for the film heís talking about even if you might not care for it. Thatís really no different here, though it has the added bonus of Maroney who gets to share some first-hand stories from the production and what it was like dealing with Mastorakis, who, as we learn through her and the other features, can be a bit odd to work with. She recalls a few confrontations she had with the director, the stand out probably being when she tried to protect one of her co-stars from having to do nudity. There are a few other rather funny stories (she confused Joe Estevez for Martin Sheen) but the two also get into various discussions about how the genre changed from the 80ís into the 90ís. They also do point out the filmís various shortcomings and Maroney does seem horrified by some of the elements to the film that havenít aged so well, involving certain levels of misogyny and slurs. Like other Alexander tracks I enjoyed it and would certainly recommend listening to it.

The next feature is an odd one, to say the least. With Nico Mastorakis onÖ Nico Mastorakis we get Nico Mastorakis interview Nico Mastorakis. Thatís right; he takes on the role of interviewer and interviewee. I remember something similar with the commentary for Criterionís edition of Schizopolis where director Steven Soderbergh interviewed himself. I havenít listened to that one in a while admittedly but I recall finding it a bit too cute and somewhat frustrating, so once I realized this was going to be the same thing I was prepared for the worst. Yes, itís a bit twee with the cutting between the two (one, the director himself, clean shaven, and the other, the interviewer, with five-o-clock shadow) and the obvious scripted-ness to it, but I admit I laughed a few times, going with it after they comment on ďeach otherísĒ hats and then surrendering when the interviewer asks the director if he is ďthillerĒ that the film is on Blu-ray now, only to be corrected by himself. Mastorakisóafter selling a project heís apparently working on for Warner Bros. without really talking about itótalks about the production of The Zero Boys from inception to release and explains some of the choices he made, like why the director of one of the more infamous Video Nasties, Island of Death, went so easy with this film, to the point where much of the violence in the film is off screen or bloodless. He also talks, rather proudly, about how a number of people who worked on the film went on to big careers in Hollywood, including Hans Zimmer and Frank Darabont. He actually goes over just about everybody that worked on the film, though he admits he wasnít able to track down one of the co-stars, Jared Moses. Once I went with the format I admittedly found it fun and he at least doesnít let the shtick take over the feature, focusing more on his stories about the production. It runs about 28-minutes.

Arrow then includes a couple of interviews. Zero Girl presents an interview with Kelli Maroney that unfortunately doesnít offer much new outside of the commentary, Maroney sharing some of the same stories (confusing Joe Estevez for Martin Sheen, sticking up for a co-star over a nude scene, plus others), and lamenting a bit over where the genre has gone. Itís a decent interview though I was disappointed the comments were found elsewhere. A bit better is the second interview, Blame it On Rio, featuring Nicole Rio, who shares her own stories, starting with how she got the role and then talking a bit about specific scenes in the film (like the one involving a rattlesnake crawling over her). Both run over 8-minutes.

The section Music Videos is a bit misleading: itís simply parts of Zimmerís score edited to clips from the film. The sections included are entitled Main Theme and The Spelling of S.U.S.P.E.N.S.E.. The disc then closes with the filmís theatrical trailer and a still gallery, though the latter is actually a video feature presenting a slideshow of the photos.

Limited to first printings (as I understand it) is the included booklet featuring an essay by James Oliver. Oliver writes about how most viewers probably came to the film on video shelves and how the film subverts expectations, whether coming to it as an action film or a horror/slasher film. He does point out its flaws (which arenít hard to point out) and does seem disappointed at how conventional the film is after the setup, but he ultimately offers a decent defense of it. Arrow also presents reversible cover art.

Not packed but the features are at least fun and Iím sure fans of it will enjoy going through everything.

7/10

CLOSING

Containing some fun supplements and a really impressive presentation, this is a release Iím sure fans will be thrilled with.




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