Death Valley

Production Year: 1982
Release Date: 12/11/2012 
Studio: Scream Factory
Collection Number: 868

Once again Scream Factory gives us a forgotten gem all wrapped up in a nice little package!  Death Valley is available for the first on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to Shout Factory's recently released combo pack.  The 1983 film features a lot of familiar faces, most notable is Ralphie (Peter Billingsley, though I'm sure he hates that reference.)  Billingsley is Billy, a 'too clever for his own good' kid sent to New Mexico by his estranged father to spend time with his mother and her new boyfriend.  In an attempt to bond the trio goes on a vacation to a Wild West themed adventure park.  During the trip Billy wanders off and makes his way into a trailer full of  recently murdered teens.  While he's rushed out by his mom's new boyfriend before he sees the carnage, he does manage to steal a strange looking animal necklace.

The same RV comes into play down the road (pun intended) when it's found by the local Sheriff (Wilford Brimley).  Traffic is blocked off and fate comes into play as Billy and his soon-to-be step father confess to the sheriff that they were in that very RV earlier, Billy then comes forward about the necklace.  Recognizing the hideous artifact the sheriff then sets forward to the prime suspect's houses, gives a little too much information, and before you know it you've got a somewhat formulaic slasher movie.

Now that last sentence wasn't meant to sound that negative.  While the kills in the film are a bit by the numbers the movie is actually pretty good.  It seems to have gotten lost in the fold with all the other slashers released that decade, and lets face it; there were a lot of slashers in the 80's.  This one does stand out as a quality..Ahem...Stab at the subgenre.  While it might not be as memorable as a Halloween 2 or a Friday the 13th, it's clearly better than some of the shlock that was pounded out one after the other during those years.  It's focus is on an innocent child rather than a sexed up teen, meaning it was very easy to root for the main character, whereas in a lot of those movies you're just waiting for the characters to be offed.  The movie does have a few faults however.  There are a few cardboard secondary characters thrown in just to be dispatched before they're fully developed.  Also the main antagonist, he looked menacing occasionally and gave a few creepy performances, I felt he wasn't given enough time to truly shine.

Overall it's a solid slasher in this reviewers opinion.  One thing that I can't say enough though, thank you Shout/Scream Factory for giving some of these forgotten classics life again!  This disc is solid, and while not filled to the brim like some of their other releases there's still just enough to make it worth the price tag.  The PQ looks great for the most part and the disc features a lossless 5.1 audio option.  There's also a director's commentary, trailer, and a TV spot.  All in all a big recommendation from Cannibal Reviews.

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