Thou Shalt Not Kill…Except (1985) Movie Review (Synapse Blu-ray Review)
Thou Shalt Not Kill…Except
Directed by Josh Becker
Starring Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi and Brian Schulz
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jason
Get it here from Synapse
The Lowdown: A low budget action horror comedy that not only delivers, but is also released on a kick ass special feature packed blu-ray!
Jack Stryker returns home after he’s shot and injured in Vietnam. He plans to relax and spend the rest of his days retreated to his cabin in the woods. He comes back to find out things have changed since he left. His girl Sally, has been kidnapped by a Manson like cult, led by a head band wearing maniac (Sam Raimi). He and his Vietnam vet buddies find Sally’s father Otis’ dead body, full of darts. The quartet band together, and instead of hunting down Charlie, they are on a mission to find Sally and kill the crazy cult.
Damn I’ve been wanting to see this film forever. Once I found out Raimi and his buddies made this I was gung ho to see it. Instead of bootlegging, I waited till Synapse released this awesome blu-ray set, and it was definitely worth the wait. Even though shot in 85 they captured the exploitation feel of the 70′s. Mostly played straight, there is some goofy fun moments and the film reminded me akin to something like Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste.
The movie was co-written by Bruce Campbell and he even starred in the short Stryker’s War, that this movie was based upon. Which by the way is included on this release! It’s only about 45 minutes long but some of the same shots and ideas were used in the full length. It was cool to see the evolution and differences in scenes. Thou Shalt is basically the same movie just fleshed out, with different actors. Due to Sag rules, Campbell wasn’t able to be in the movie, but fortunately Sam Raimi reprised his role as the psycho leader. Sam was an over the top giggling psycho, he chewed up his scenes like a backsliding dieter at a buffet! Perfect casting.
The movie was played pretty straight for the first half but then when they started battling the hippie cult bikers then the humor kicked in. There’s a scene involving someone accidentally kicking a bottle that was funny and awesome. Also during the finale theres a moment when a sword gets stuck in a tree that was just classic. Most of the kills were gunshots but there are a few cool gore moments like a tree branch through the back of the skull. My favorite kill though was when Mr. T impersonator Robert Rickman, ripped like he was trying out for Gears of War, bear hugs a guy and breaks his back. Nice.
The blu-ray is jammed back with features. Besides the aforementioned Stryker’s War short, there is also a behind the scenes featurette, an interview with Bruce Campbell and the holy grail of special features: two audio commentaries.
REVERSIBLE COVER ARTWORK!
- All-New High-Definition 2K Digital Restoration from the Original Negative
- The Original Super 8mm Short film, STRYKER’S WAR Short Film, starring Bruce Campbell!
- Made in Michigan: The Making of THOU SHALT NOT KILL… EXCEPT – Featurette
- Two Audio Commentaries Featuring Director Josh Becker, Bruce Campbell and Star Brian Schulz
- All-New Video Interview with Bruce Campbell
- Deleted Scene with Optional Director’s Commentary
- Alternate Title Sequence
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible Cover Artwork
Albeit the movie is far from perfect, I think it’s a lot of fun if you go in with the right expectations. The acting is spotty, the pacing has some issues, but when the sh*t hits the fan, there is a lot of fun to be had. A definite purchase recommend.