[Blu-ray/DVD Review] THE WRAITH
Courtesy of Lionsgate

Ever since I saw the 1986 cult classic THE WRAITH, I was always intrigued to go back and rewatch it. A man coming back to seek revenge on the bullies who murdered him by street racing with them with his magical futuristic car. I’ll give you the longer plot in a second. This story reminds me of French music artist Kavinsky’s 2013 album “Outrun”, which basically tells the same story of a man who returns from hell to seek revenge. It’s a really awesome album for anyone who wants to check it out. With that, here is the general synopsis of the film:

When four orbs crash into each other over the Arizona desert, they leave in their wake a badass Dodge Turbo Interceptor and its enigmatic, helmeted driver. The next day, the mysterious Jake (Charlie Sheen) appears in the town of Brooks, catching the eye of Keri (Sherilyn Fenn of Twin Peaks) and the ire of Packard (Nick Cassavetes of Face/Off, The Hangover Part II, and director of The Notebook), the ruthless leader of a gang of street racers. When members start losing races and lives to the interceptor, the recent death of Keri’s boyfriend suddenly seems connected to the arrival of Jake, the unbeatable car…and an avenging entity called The Wraith!

Now, the first thing you need to know is that this movie is pure ’80s gold with a banging soundtrack from artists like Ozzy Osborne, Iggy Pop, and Motley Crue just to name a few. It’s a fun revenge movie that goes by fast and has some unique characters to go with it as well. Not only do you have Sheen, Cassavetes, and Finn in this, you have B-movie legend Clint Howard (Ice Cream Man) and Randy Quaid (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) to round out the cast. Some of the racing is impressive but all the practical explosions are excellent in THE WRAITH.  And no, this film isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s sure as hell a fun 90-minute ride. I’d highly recommend it for any fan of fun and ridiculous ’80s movies.

This movie has never gotten a Blu-Ray release here in the states. We’ve just gotten a DVD release. But, thankfully, Lionsgate is finally releasing this title through their always awesome Vestron Video Collector’s Series. THE WRAITH comes with a beautiful new HD transfer as well as nice 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. This movie is jam-packed with bonus features:

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Mike Marvin
  • Audio Commentary with Actors Dave Sherrill and Jamie Bozian
  • Isolated Score Selections featuring Audio Interview with Co-Composer J. Peter Robinson
  • Tales from the Desert
  • Rughead Speaks
  • Ride of the Future
  • The Ghost Car
  • The Wraith Filming Locations: Then and Now
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Alternate Title Sequence
  • Still Gallery

Some of these bonus features are from the old DVD release like the commentary from Writer/Director Mike Marvin, Tales from the Desert, Rughead Speaks, and the Alternate Title Sequence. But the rest are brand new to this release. My personal favorite feature from this set is the Isolated Score selection. I love having isolated scores on Blu-ray releases and, to top it off, you get an interview with composer J. Peter Robinson (Waynes World, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and Rumble in The Bronx). If there’s one bonus feature that had to be taken out of this release, I’d say it’s THE WRAITH Filming Locations Then & Now. A poorly produced feature that needed a lot of editing, and a guy with better knowledge about the filming locations. One final thing, but this release comes with a digital copy as well.

For anyone that’s a fan of 1986’s THE WRAITH, this Lionsgate/Vestron release is perfect, with a brand new picture and sound and bonus features that’ll keep you entertained (minus the filming locations feature) for hours. If you’re new to this movie, it’s definitely recommended. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did the first time watching it a few years ago when it was on Shudder.

THE WRAITH comes out on Blu-ray (and Digital) tomorrow, July 20 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

John Duarte
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