Bloodletting: Signature Edition (Tempe Digital) Blu-ray Review

Tempe Digital is at it again with this killer blu-ray for their 1997 video store classic, Bloodletting. This blu-ray is jammed packed with bonus features including multiple commentary tracks.

Studio: Tempe Digital
Release Date: 1997 (video premiere)
                            February 15th, 2022 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 28 minutes 32 seconds (2021 Restored Version)
                    1 hour 28 minutes 36 seconds (1997 VHS Version)
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 480p (1.33:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (2021 Restored Version)
               English Dolby Digital 2.0 (1997 VHS Version)
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (limited to the first 500 copies)
Digital Copy: Yes (Vimeo)
Starring: Ariauna Albright, James L. Edwards, Nina Angeloff, Randy Rupp, and Paul Morris
Written by Matthew Jason Walsh
Directed by Matthew Jason Walsh
Rating: Not Rated (strong graphic violence and gore and language)




What's It About?

Serena Stalin wanted to learn from the best. So she tracked down Butch Harlow, one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, and blackmailed him into teaching her the fine art of murder. Now, as the lessons begin, teacher and bloodthirsty student unleash an unspeakable passion that forces them to kill over and over again, leaving a trail of horribly mutilated victims in their wake...

Film Review

BLOODLETTING is a really good movie. I don't know why I expected it not to be. I guess because some of the movies in the SOV SIX PACK were a bit lacking. Maybe it's because I have been burnt on SOV movies before. I don't know. All I know is that I was not expecting to like the movie as much as I did.

The first thing that struck me was how good the filmmaking is. Matthew Jason Walsh is more of an actor and a writer, but with BLOODLETTING, he shows us that he can handle the toughest of scenes with ease. His camera placement feels cinematic at times and that is something that can not be said for 95% of SOV movies. The movie has a good flow to it as well. Walsh never overstays his welcome on any scene and the entire movie went by a lot faster than I was expecting. 

The acting here is really good too. James L. Edwards has already shown us that he can act in just about every Tempe production at this point, but here he is a lead and he handles his own. He's charming and funny and a bit creepy. The true find is Ariauna Albright. I know that she was in POLYMORPH before this, but I haven't seen that yet, so this is the first time I am seeing her, but color impressed. She is just s charming as Edwards, but she has a much better time being creepy when the movie needs her to than Edwards does. The balance that Albright has to perform puts the work that Juliette Lewis did in NATURAL BORN KILLERS to shame. She is really that good and the movie benefits every time she is on screen.

BLOODLETTING sits right up there with THE DEAD NEXT DOOR and ROBOT NINJA as the best movies in Tempe's catalog. It is a fun and really gory ride with a couple of serial killers who really enjoy what they do. I didn't completely buy the twist and the end (I mean, think about it for a minute), but that doesn't hurt the movie as much as it probably should. This is one of my favorite discoveries of 2022.


BLOODLETTING was shot on MiniDV and Bookwalter kept the original footage (he had recorded over footage for the SOV SIX PACK to save money) and the footage looks really great. He went in and denoised the video and the result is a really clean-looking image. None of the problems that I had with any of the other shot on video movies from Tempe are present here. Sure, it's standard definition video, so the image isn't going to look as good as HD, but it is so much better than what they were using for the SOX SIX PACK. In fact, this barely looks like a SOV movie in the first place. There were times when I thought I was watching something done on very cheap film stock. Bookwalter should be happy with the results here. 

We get a 5.1 remix of the original stereo and the results are good. The music used in the film, including a banger of an opening credits theme, comes through loud and clear as does most of the dialogue. There are a few instances where something is a little hard to hear, but that is the recording and not the mix. 


Disc 1: The Movie + Special Features (BR-R)

2022 Commentary by J.R. Bookwalter and James L. Edwards moderated by Tempe Historian Ross Snyder (2021 Restored Version)
2002 Commentary by Matthew Jason Walsh, Ariauna Albright, and James L. Edwards (2021 Restored Version)
Commentary by Moe Porne and Doug Tilly (1997 VHS Version)
25 Years of Bloodletting: The Cast Remembers (18m 17s, HD, 1.78:1) James L. Edwards, Ariauna Albright, Sasha Graham, David A. Levy, Paul Morris. They all talk very highly of each other, but not all of them speak highly of Matthew Jason Walsh, whom a few of the interviewees had problems with. There seemed to be a lot of ego on set. There are still some good stories and memories told here. 
2021 Location Tour (4m 23s, HD, 1.78:1) Actor James L. Edwards takes us on a tour of the locations used in the film and tells some amusing stories about each location.
Building a Better Bloodletting: Extended Cut (34m 42s, SD, 1.33:1)
Building a Better Bloodletting: Original Cut (27m 26s, SD, 1.33:1) This is the OG making of when it comes to Bloodletting. This covers all of the bases that the newer making of does, but it feels like it goes into a bit more detail.  I like them both, but I would have to say that this one is my favorite.
Behind the Scenes (3m 53s, SD, 1.33:1) Behind the scenes of the bar guy's death as well as the actors going over their lines.
Deleted Scenes (2m, SD, 1.33:1)


Robot Ninja
Skinned Alive
Kingdom of the Vampire
Zombie Cop
Her Name was Christa

Disc 2: 1997 VHS Version Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD)

Disc 3: The Movie + Special Features (DVD)

2003 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD)

Everything from the previous DVD have been carried over except I'VE KILLED BEFORE, the original short film that would be the basis for BLOODLETTING as well as a still gallery. It's weird that Bookwalter didn't include them on the blu-ray. It's even weirder that he left them off as he only included the DVD in the Black Friday Bundle that you could get that bundled this with SHOCKING SHORTS, a compilation of the short films Bookwalter shot before he did THE DEAD NEXT DOOR. So, if you are buying the version that is available on their website right now, you would only get the blu-ray and the 1997 VHS Soundtrack. The other two discs are exclusive to the bundle version. So, if you really need to see that short film, then you are going to have to buy the DVD separately.* 

*It looks like you can get all four discs right now in a bundle that they are saying is a Makeflix exclusive. This probably means its limited, so get it while you can. Outside of these two bundles, the DVD is normally sold separately.

BLOODLETTING comes to us in a very limited edition. This is a four-disc set with a BD-R, a DVD, and two CDs that encompass the different music for the film. This release comes with a very nice-looking slipcover from artists Alex Sarabia and Karl Munster. Ever since Tempe did a slipcover for the ROBOT NINJA blu-ray, they have done these really striking slips for their other major releases. The slip is a bit thicker than normal and this is due to the fact that this is a four-disc set and the two extra discs can slide right into the slip with the blu-ray case. You can get a four-disc case, but the slip will still be too wide, so putting the discs in sleeves and then sliding them into the slipcover is the best way to go. 

The blu-ray case features reversible artwork with one side being the original artwork used on the DVD while the other artwork is from the VHS, I think. 

Inside the case, you will find the BD-R featuring the artwork from the slipcover. There is also the DVD and two CDs. 

The last thing inside this case is an 8-page booklet featuring an essay about the making of the film by Ross Snyder, who is the resident Tempe historian. It's a great read. We also get notes on the restoration and tracklisting for the 1997 soundtrack. There is no tracklisting for the 2003 soundtrack.

One more thing: At the bottom of page 7 of the booklet is the link address for the digital copy of the film, available through Vimeo.


BLOODLETTING is a really fun with some very charming gore effects and two wonderful leads. This blu-ray, from Tempe Digital, is all sorts of awesome. You get two versions of the movie, three commentary tracks, and a host of special features. You also get two CDs. This is what a "Special Edition" (or anything like it) should be.




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