Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker - 4K Review

Severin deliver once again

James Whittington
Saturday, April 27, 2024

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker

Severin Films

Certificate 18

The DPP list continues to become a distant memory as another from that infamous list is given an incredible release, Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker. Also known as Night Warning and The Evil Protege, this violent slice of psychosexual shocks comes from William Asher, a person better known for his family friendly fare such as Bewitched and I Love Lucy, but this twisted picture shows he has a knack for the macabre as its still as chilling and shocking as it was 42 years ago.

Susan Tyrrell is Cheryl Roberts, who will stop at nothing to ensure her nephew, high-school student Billy Lynch (Jimmy McNichol), never returns to his parents’ home. Following a devastating car ‘accident’, Billy is forced to live with his strangely overprotective psychotic aunt, who soon becomes implicated in a grisly murder that sees a police investigation led by an equally unhinged police detective (Bo Svenson).

Wrapping themes such as sexual abuse and homophobia whilst adding a streak of obsession, the movie is gritty with very few moments of light. This is a movie about damaged people whether its due to their own mental health, situation or just simply their blinkered views of the world. The atmosphere is dark from the start with a car crash sequence that take such a thing to its limit. The regular use of derogatory and challenging language is very much of its time and it’s not hard to actually believe such terms would have been used even if Detective Carlson is an extreme caricature.

Star of the show is Cheryl Roberts who plays the deranged aunt to an extreme who swings from moods within seconds and this constant off-kilter character keeps you guessing just how far she’ll go. Look out for star on the rise Julia Duffy as well as the legendary Bill Paxton in one of his first film roles.

The transfer is wonderful and warm, it does show the grain in places, but this is due to the stock the movie was shot on. Outlines and colours remain solid throughout with darker moments holding as much detail as possible. The soundtrack is solid with great tone and never clips, even when the screaming hits the top range.

Extras wise the set comes with a vast array starting with Audio Commentaries with Star Jimmy McNichol, then there’s a track with Co-Writer/Producer Steve Breimer and Co-Writer Alan Jay Glueckman moderated by Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson and there’s a track with Co-Producer and Unit Production Manager Eugene Mazzola. Each one delivers a different view of the movie, from its inception to the shoot and well worth investing time on.

There’s also a selection of interviews with Bo Svenson, Director of Photography Robbie Greenberg, Editor Ted Nicolaou plus a section of Cast and Crew Interviews with actors Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell and Steve Eastin, Make-Up Artist Allan A. Apone and Producer Steve Breimer. Each one is worth viewing as they deliver an interesting insight into how each one prepared for the movie. The set finishes with the original Trailer and TV Spot.

This is a superb presentation of a classic which has been cruelly overlooked for too long. An essential purchase.