Death Has Blue Eyes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While the Blu-ray classifies the 1.85:1 as the original aspect ratio, it tosses in the 1.33:1 as well – I guess to placate viewers who know the movie from TV?
Whatever the rationale, note that the 1.33:1 offers the “open matte” take on the film. This means it exposes more information than the 1.85:1 frame does.
Which was nice in the 4X3 TV days, I guess, but the 1.85:1 both fills a 16X9 screen and apparently represents the original dimensions. That makes it the preferred presentation, though it’s fine to have the 1.33:1 as well.
Whichever you select, you’ll find surprisingly good visuals. I admit I expected a pretty ugly affair from a 45-year-old bargain budget flick like this, so the fairly appealing picture quality acted as a bonus.
For the most part, sharpness worked fine. Occasional instances of softness materialized – mainly during interiors – but the majority of the flick displayed pretty positive delineation.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. The movie sported a decent layer of grain, and I saw only a few minor specks in terms of print defects.
Death came with a natural palette that held up well. The colors seemed vivid and well-rendered throughout the film.
Blacks felt mostly deep and dense, while shadows usually displayed appealing clarity, though a few interiors could seem a bit flat. Overall, this was a better than anticipated image that merited a “B”.
Unfortunately, the movie’s PCM monaural soundtrack held up less well. Quality seemed flawed, to say the least.
Dialogue leaned toward the edgy side of the street, as speech was rough most of the time. Even without that factor, lines felt muddy and bland.
Music lacked range and usually appeared shrill, while effects followed suit and became rough and distorted. This was a pretty awful soundtrack.
Note that the Blu-ray presented the material as two-channel mono. Though most of the audio remained pretty centered, more than a few exceptions occurred, and these caused the material to lean hard to the right. This turned into another problem and distraction.
A few extras appear here, and we begin with an Interview with Actor Maria Aliferi. In this 17-minute, 49-second piece, Aliferi discusses aspects of her career and the production. Some decent notes emerge, but nothing especially memorable transpires.
Next comes Nice Mastorakis (In His Own Words), a 24-minute, 43-second chat with the movie’s writer/director. He gives us a look at his life and career in this self-shot/edited piece.
It takes a while for Mastorakis to get to Death, and a lot of “Words” seems oriented toward acclamation of the filmmakers’ own greatness. Mastorakis does offer some useful notes, though, so even with the self-praise, this turns into a fairly fun chat.
Dancing With Death goes for 42 minutes, three seconds and presents a form of isolated score, as it brings 14 music cues from composer Nikos Lavranos. Presented Dolby stereo, these sound much better than the distorted audio found during the actual film.
In addition to two trailers, we conclude with an Image Gallery. It shows 25 elements that mix shots from the set with publicity materials. It’s a short but mildly interesting compilation.
Even by the low standards of 1970s erotic thrillers, Death Has Blue Eyes becomes a complete dud. The story makes no sense and nothing here goes anywhere. The Blu-ray offers surprisingly strong visuals as well as a few bonus features and poor audio. Even at a mere 80 minutes, the movie turns into a chore to endure.