So here I sat on an average Tuesday night, beer next to me and an open mind as I was about to watch 88 FILMS Blu-ray release of Charles Band’s ‘TRANCERS’ for the very first time.
I guess fans of this film will be exclaiming that its a crime I’ve never seen this or any of the 4 sequels before and to be honest I’ve not really had much of an interest until 88 FILMS and their excellent restored & re released Blu-Rays came into my hands.
Rediscovering Empire Pictures movies has been an absolute joy to me in my 30’s. Such titles as RAGEWAR (aka Dungeon Master) & ELIMINATORS were VHS favourites of mine but HOW THE HELL HAD I NEVER SEEN TRANCERS BEFORE?! IT’S INCREDIBLE!
88 FILMS release of FULL MOON FEATURES ‘TRANCERS’ is instantly in my all time great movies and this excellent release is surely the best available version on the market.
At a lean 74 minutes TRANCERS is a perfect example of 80’s filmmaking brilliance. Cult legend, producer and director CHARLES BAND has an obvious low budget but supreme ambition. I saw a film way ahead of its time and with its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Starring TIM THOMERSON & a very young HELEN HUNT, we are in a Blade Runner Esq. future where Thomerson’s genius named cop ‘JACK DETH’ is hunting TRANCERS (sort of weird zombies) and their cult leader WHISTLER (MICHAEL STEFANI)
Our bad guy sends his conscious (somehow) back to 1985 to kill the ancestors of the future police council who have his body in stasis, Jack’s conscious is sent back also to stop this disastrous even from happening. Jack has old photos of the targets he needs to protect, a laser blaster and a watch that can slow down time… I know, awesome isn’t it.
When he quantum leaps into a younger looking version of himself he gathers up the nearest girl LENA (HUNT) and sets off into 80’s LA which is full of punks, hobos and as Jack calls them ‘squids’, to hunt Whistler and protect the innocent targets of his evil plot. The film is an absolute riot. Thomerson gives a typically brilliant performance, playing the grizzled cop who will ‘singe’ anyone who gets in his way, with a bag full of one liners and a knack for forgetting his mission to have casual sex. The writing is THAT GOOD for a low budget sci-fi of this ilk, only Back to the Future which was made around the same time can boast a time travel idea this original.
The TRANCERS themselves are merely cannon fodder for Deth, one scene in particular where Deth battles a shopping mall Santa/trancer in front of horrified children is hilarious.
Its even got a stolen moment of romance, beautifully written and I feel lost in the fun of it all when during a chase scene Lena asks for a kiss from Deth who says “we don’t have time”, she replies “well make time” reminding me of the “Say kiss me” seduction in Blade Runner.
The 1080p transfer is immaculate as too is the DTS 5.1 HD master audio, it’s a testament to 88 FILMS love for these films that have mostly been overlooked since VHS.
Special features wise, you are treated to funny and nostalgic commentary from Thomerson & Band who could be sitting at a bar chatting over a beer as they flow so nicely, warmly they look back over filming (most of which Band struggles to recall).
There is a retrospective making of documentary featuring all the major players covering everything from the films conception, casting, shooting up to the films release and now cult status.
A collection of rare interviews with mostly a wired Thomerson and trailers for this and all the Trancers sequels.
The crown jewel in this impressive package is the inclusion of the recently rediscovered TRANCERS 1.5 or CITY OF LOST ANGELS, a short film bridging the gap between Trancers and Trancers 2, which was to be part of a horror anthology Band had planned to release back in the 80’s called ‘PULSE POUNDERS’. This looked to be something very special as it featured a short sequel to RAGEWAR where the devil summoned Merlin to play his game in hell!!!! Holy shit!!!!
Round of this blu ray with the 88 FILMS trailer reel which I now will be adding 99% of to my Xmas wish list.
As you gather I totally fell in love with Jack Deth and all this Trancer nonsense and heartily recommend this release to anyone who has or hasn’t seen this film before.
Now get the hell out of my sight before I singe you squids…
Review by Ramrod from a disc kindly supplied by 88 Films.