Home » ‘Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker’ Shines Bright in New Severin 4K Release [Review]

‘Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker’ Shines Bright in New Severin 4K Release [Review]

Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker still

The new Severin release of Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker in 4K offers a great way to revisit the blood-soaked ’80s classic or to discover it for the first time. You’ll find surprises of many kinds contained within this release.

When I was a youngster, the film slipped into local theaters under the title given to it in some regions, Night Warning. I recall a heavy ad campaign that focused on the relationship between the Jimmy McNichol and Julia Duffy characters being menaced by a slasher.

This flick is anything but a typical slasher of the era. Quite the wild ride, indeed. McNichol plays Billy, an orphaned high school student raised by his aunt, Cheryl (Susan Tyrrell). She’s more than a little over protective and quite possessive. She doesn’t want her nephew going away to college or having relationships with girls his own age.

Bo Svenson features as a brutal detective who investigates and harasses Billy after his aunt slaughters a TV repair man, after which some mystery unfolds. The film makes no secret that Cheryl is deranged, but there are still plenty of secrets to learn.

It’s easy to see now Butcher, directed by William Asher (Bewitched), embraces aspects of the psycho biddy sub-genre. That cycle had wound through part of the ’70s but was on the wane. However, Tyrrell’s progressive and ultimately extreme turn makes the film noteworthy.

The Severn set offers a crisp presentation of the original feature. The look is sharp like current home video, yet preserves the celluloid feel and visual texture for a theater-like experience.

In addition to Julia Duffy, who was coming off soap opera work but with Newhart still in the future, other surprises include the early appearance of Bill Paxton. Commentaries reveal the late thespian was actually considered for the lead role, but producers were keen to leverage McNichol’s name recognition in the moment.

Did You Know? Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Butcher baker nightmare maker review

Contemporary viewers will also note there are LGBTQ themes that might not have been as obvious in the day, putting the film a bit ahead of its time. Plentiful commentaries from co-writer/producer Steve Breimer and co-writer Jay Clueckman include exploration of some of those ideas and themes. That portion is moderated by Nathaniel Thompson of Mondo Digital.

McNichol offers many behind the scenes insights including recollections about riding the Moped that serves as his character’s transportation in the film. He also talks about bouncing between acting roles and his musical efforts at the time.

Another audio commentary track features co-producer and unit production manager Eugene Mazzola with more insights.

For slasher aficionados and other horror cinephiles, this is a worthwhile addition to the home entertainment shelf. You can pick the film up via Severin now.

Liked it? Take a second to support Sidney Williams on Patreon!
Share This Post
Written by Sidney Williams
Sidney Williams is an author and comics writer. He's a former full-time journalist and has conducted hundreds of celebrity interviews.
Have your say!