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Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements

SUMMARY

An orphaned high school teenager is entangled in a murder investigation by the obsessive and overprotective aunt who raised him.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

William Asher, known for directing such Golden Era of Television classics like I Love Lucy, The Patty Duke Show, and Bewitched directed this deliciously shocking thriller from 1981, Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker.

Orphaned high school student Billy Lynch (Jimmy McNichol) has been raised by his insanely overprotective aunt Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell) who finds herself wrapped up in a murder investigation. The unhinged Detective Joe Carlson (Ben Svenson) is investigating the murder. He zeros in on Billy as the killer, claiming Billy is gay and was having an affair with the victim. Meanwhile, Cheryl goes further off the deep end as Billy gets closer to his high school girlfriend Julie (Julia Duffy), enraged with jealousy.

Of all the directors who would craft this sort of psychosexual horror, Asher would have been the least expected. The undercurrent of homophobia, gay panic, and incestuous relations between Cheryl and Billy would be enough to shock any 1950s nuclear family off of their couch cushions but add to the mix the stunning amounts of visceral violence, campy revelations, and melodrama. The cast of Tyrell and Svenson under the direction of Asher are what help to smooth this film out and drag it kicking and screaming up to the top of the heap of B-movie horror. Asher squeezes out a perfectly creepy and maniacal performance from Tyrell and derives superb visuals a cut above most films in this genre.

Purchase Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray] on Amazon.com

  • Julia Duffy and Jimmy McNichol in Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)
  • Bo Svenson in Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)
  • Susan Tyrrell in Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (1981)
  • Jimmy McNichol and Susan Tyrrell in Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)
  • Susan Tyrrell and Jimmy McNichol in Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (1981)
  • Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K Ultra HD (Severin)
  • Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K Ultra HD (Severin)
  • Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K Ultra HD (Severin)

The Video

Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker comes to 4K Ultra HD in a 1.85:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) HDR10 encodement taken from a 4K of the original camera negative. The grain structure looks to be maintained naturally, with very little harmful grain reduction applied, but there is some slight cleanup of the image, although some frames do show some hair and scratches. The HDR10 grading results in vibrant colors like Jimmy McNichol’s bright red sweatpants, and excellent flesh tones. In chapter 6 at the 46-minute mark, we get at least one of the standout points for the HDR with Julia Duffy and Jimmy McNichol in bed together in a candle-lit room, the glowing flame on the right in the shadows with a warm glow showing excellent highlights, and nuanced shadow detail in the room.

The Audio

The original mono mix is included in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. This 1981 vintage audio does have sibilance on the dialogue and sounds a bit boxy and squeezed in dynamically, likely due to the source rather than any kind of excessive application of limiting or compression, otherwise it works well enough.

The Supplements

Severin includes six hours of new and archival bonus features in this 2-disc set of Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Jimmy McNichol
  • Commentary with Co-Writer/Producer Steve Breimer and Co-Writer Alan Jay Gluekman, Moderated by Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson
  • Commentary with Co-Producer and Unit Production Manager Eugene Mazzola
  • Trailer (1080p; 00:01:29)

Blu-ray-Only Bonus Features:

  • Extreme Prejudice – Interview with Actor Bo Svenson (1080p; 00:09:49)
  • Point and Shoot – Interview with Director of Photography Robbie Greenberg (1080p; 00:15:04)
  • Family Dynamics – Interview with Editor Ted Nicolaou (1080p; 00:16:51)
  • Cast and Crew Interviews (1080i):
    • Actor Jimmy McNichol (00:08:29)
    • Actress Susan Tyrell (00:10:55)
    • Actor Steve Eastin (00:09:38)
    • Make Up Effects Artist Allan A. Apone (00:04:56)
    • Producer Steve Breimer (00:12:22)
  • TV Spot (1080i; 00:00:33)

The Final Assessment

A genre film that hits lots of hot button topics of the time and lots of taboos, with just enough gore, suspense, and shockers to keep genre fans entertained. Severin’s 4K restoration of Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker looks about as good as it gets. Recommended for genre fans.


Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo May 28, 2024 from Severin Films

Purchase Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray] on Amazon.com


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Royal American Pictures | Severin Films
  • Director: Royal American Pictures | Severin Films
  • Written By: Steve Breimer | Alan Jay Glueckman | Boon Collins
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Street Date: 28 May 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: HDR10
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 400 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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An orphaned high school teenager is entangled in a murder investigation by the obsessive and overprotective aunt who raised him.Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (4K UHD Review)