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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Satire > Comedy > Cars > Motorcycles > Politics > Horror > Thriller > Death Race 2000 (1975) + The Stepfather (1987/Shout! Factory Blu-rays)

Death Race 2000 (1975) + The Stepfather (1987/Shout! Factory Blu-rays)


Picture: BĖ/C+†††† Sound: C+/C†††† Extras: B-/C†††† Films: B-/C



In one of the most interesting developments in Blu-ray of late, Shout! Factory is increasing its output of older catalog and cult films in the format, especially in their deal with Roger Corman.Now come two films that have followings that we have covered previously.First is Paul Bartelís Death Race 2000 (1975):





That was the film just remade as simply Death Race.Then there is The Stepfather from 1987, which recently had a remake of its own (reviewed elsewhere on this site).The original (not a Corman film) is a Horror genre favorite for some and here is our coverage of its DVD:





Both are improvements over their DVD editions and the new Death Race 2000 has more extras than its Disney or Umbrella DVD counterparts, but Stepfather is the same and only so much of an upgrade.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image on each Blu-ray is an improvement from their U.S. DVD counterparts, but for Death Race 2000, it is a mixed bag.While definition and color are better than the Disney edition, it is not a total replacement for the Umbrella PAL format DVD, which has more picture area, better color and looks a little more realistic.In long shots, the Blu-ray can handle detail better than the PAL DVD and it has some richer shots here and there, but the Blu-ray should have been superior in every way and it is not.They seem to be using the HD master from the Disney edition.Stepfather is only nominally better for its print source is only so good, but it does offer better Video Black, White and Red, if only narrowly at times.


Death Race 2000 has Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, with only slightly more clarity here than on the Corman/Disney reissue, but has distortion and is not much better than the same track on the Umbrella edition.Wonder what condition the music soundtrack is in?Stepfather has PCM 2.0 Mono despite its sound being listed Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Mono, but any improvements are undermined by the revelation of new sonic flaws and limits.


Extras on Stepfather are the same as the DVD, except the trailers (and we get two more) and Stepfather Chronicles featurette are now in High Definition.Death Race 2000 repeats all the same extras (original theatrical trailer, terrific audio commentary by Corman and Woronov) as the Disney DVD and except for a short featurette, the Umbrella DVD, but it has more new extras, including David On Death Race interview with the late David Carradine, new audio commentary track by Assistant Director Lewis Teague & Editor Tina Hirsch, Playing The Game featurette, Ready To Wear featurette with Costume Designer Jane Ruhm, Designing Dystopia look at the future designs and car designs of the film, Start Your Engines interview with author Ib Melchior, Killer Score interview with Composer Paul Chihara, Leonard Maltin interviewing Corman on the film, John Landis commentary on the original theatrical trailer, TV & Radio Spots, New World Trailers and a 12-page booklet inside the Blu-ray case with two essays, stills and poster art.


This will make fans of the film very happy and is the kind of all-out special edition Corman fans are going to be expecting from future Shout! Factory releases.Stepfather fans can see the Blu-ray as a slight upgrade too, so they canít complain much either.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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