• The Slasher (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: January 7th, 2020.
    Director: Lewis Gilbert
    Cast: Joan Collins, James Kenney, Betty Ann Davies, Robert Ayres, Ian Whittaker
    Year: 1953
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    The Slasher – Movie Review:

    Directed by Lewis Gilbert, who also wrote the screenplay for the film based on the play ‘Master Crook’ by Bruce Walker, 1953's The Slasher (released in its native England as Cosh Boy) opens with some text explaining to the audience the dangers of juvenile delinquency and its connection to a lack of parental control!

    From here, we’re introduced to a gang of those same juvenile delinquents that we’ve been warned about. The leader of this gang is a young man named Roy (James Kenney) who, along with his pal Alfie (Ian Whittaker), makes money by robbing old women after dark in remote areas of London. This is all going well for them - heck, Roy’s even able to give his widowed mother, Elsie (Betty Ann Davies), a birthday gift using a gold compact he swiped from an old woman - until the cops get wind of what’s happening and finger Roy and his crew as the culprits.

    They’re brought into the courts and the judge takes it easy on them, insisting that they clean up their collective act and give something back to society by joining a youth club. They oblige, but this only serves to give Roy access to more young men to work alongside him and broaden his fledgling criminal network! Meanwhile, Roy makes eyes at Alfie’s pretty sister, Rene (Joan Collins), who, despite her mother’s misgivings, starts to take a real shine to rough and tumble Roy because he knows how to show a girl a good time! Roy knows she’s got a boyfriend, but he and his crew can take care of that problem pretty quickly, but Roy’s world changes pretty quickly when Elise starts to get involved with a man named Bob (Robert Ayres).

    Briskly paced at seventy-five-minutes in length, the film sometimes feels more like a public service announcement than anything else, but it’s pretty entertaining regardless. Lewis Gilbert, who would direct Roger Moore era James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker in the seventies, keeps the story moving nicely and does a fine job pulling us into all of this, even if it is a world populated almost entirely by clichés. The movie was clearly made on a lower budget and there isn’t a whole lot here in terms of production value to discuss (although the score from Lambert Williamson is very strong), but it’s engaging enough in its simplicity to work.

    Much of the credit for this needs to go to Kenney, who is quite good in the lead. As Roy, he makes a solid villain. He bosses around the other guys in his gang and has no trouble throwing his weight around when he feels like he needs to. He’s sneaky, conniving and selfish – Kenney plays this part well. Supporting work from Collins is decent enough, though her character isn’t that complex. Betty Ann Davis is sympathetic enough as Roy’s put upon mother and Robert Ayres just fine as the man who will become Roy’s impromptu father figure. Ian Whittaker, however, is one of the most punchable characters to ever grace the silver screen. Everything from his voice to his hair to his facial expressions just screams ‘punch me!’ that you can’t help but want to throw things at the screen whenever he speaks!

    The Slasher – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino, using a transfer from the BFI, presents The Slasher (using the ‘Cosh Boy’ title card) in an AVC encoded 1080p 1.33.1 widescreen high definition transfer that looks very good, taking up just under 20GBs of space on the 25GB disc. The black and white image very little print damage, the elements used were clearly in nice shape. Detail surpasses what DVD would be able to provide by quite a margin, there’s good depth and texture here as well. On top of that, there are no noticeable issues with any digital manipulation, the image always looks nice and filmic.

    The only audio option here is an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track which is true to source. As such, there’s some occasionally muffled dialogue but no problem with any hiss or distortion. Levels are properly balanced throughout. There are no alternate language options or subtitles of any kind provided.

    Extras are limited to an alternate US opening (which uses ‘The Slasher’ on the title card), and trailer for a few other Kino Lorber properties. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    The Slasher – The Final Word:

    The Slasher might not actually be a slasher movie but it is a pretty entertaining, if fairly by the book, juvenile delinquent movie that benefits from some decent performances, James Kenney in particular is very good here. Kino’s Blu-ray is light on extras but it looks quite good, making this one worth it for fans of vintage JD films or oddball British exploitation pictures.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Slasher Blu-ray screen caps!