Ted Bundy’s Notorious Murders

Serial killer Ted Bundy’s infamous rampage of terror on January 14th, 1978 in Tallahassee, Florida is the subject of director Devanny Pinn’s unflinching The Black Mass. Its narrative documents the unhinged killer’s journey over that dark day from his perspective, offering a glimpse into Bundy’s deranged madness.

Having appeared in over eighty independent horror films as an actress, Devanny Pinn directs her first film feature. Starring Andrew Sykes as the notorious Ted Bundy, The Black Mass congeals as a slow and menacing thriller with an eye towards graphic detail of the slayings. Barely over eighty minutes, it’s a slim but effective portrayal greatly inspired by Carpenter’s Halloween.

The Black Mass attempts to deconstruct Bundy’s possible motivations with mixed success

The only actor in the cast you may recognize is Jeremy London (Mallrats) but his part is primarily a small throwaway cameo. Mostly working in a variety of television roles the past decade, leading man Andrew Sykes doesn’t quite exude the cold-blooded charm Bundy gave off in interviews and court appearances.

The crux of Pinn’s thriller is Bundy’s brutal attack on sleeping Florida State University sorority co-eds. The failed law school student viciously killed two young women in their sleep, including one with a wooden log. The horrific spree included three other women who survived that night with terrible injuries. We watch through Bundy’s eyes as he stalks his victims earlier in the day at their sorority house.

Like many depictions of serial killers, The Black Mass attempts to deconstruct Bundy’s possible motivations with mixed success. Bundy is painted as an awkward, creepy loser who immediately gives the women he meets an off-putting vibe. That’s not a fair take if you study Bundy’s history, which is incredibly well-documented given his celebrity-level fame in the 1980s as one of history’s most famous killers.

Bundy was educated, fairly intelligent, and handsome enough to fool many of his female victims. He was a coldly-calculating psychopath who left a string of dead bodies across the country from Washington to Florida with absolutely no remorse.

The Black Mass is interesting enough as an insightful peek inside a killer’s madness. Largely stylish and displaying a level of craftsmanship surpassing most indie fodder, this graphic true crime account of Ted Bundy’s most heinous spree operates on multiple levels. It’s not quite as powerful as I suspect its filmmaker intended but the thriller offers chilling terror.

Video

Filmed with RED digital cameras like many indie productions from the 2010s and 2020s, the video quality on Blu-ray is a satisfying and mostly polished affair delivered by Cleopatra Entertainment. Sharp with crisp definition, The Black Mass enjoys a distinctive aesthetic and color palette fitting the late 1970s period it covers.

The scope presentation retains the thriller’s theatrical aspect ratio in pleasing 1080p resolution. Clocking in at a tick over eighty minutes, the main feature is encoded in MPEG2 on a BD-25. I haven’t seen a new Blu-ray release encoded in MPEG2 in several years but the older codec isn’t tested by the pristine digital footage. Saturation is deep and lovely despite the slightly mellow palette.

Audio

The Black Mass on Blu-ray comes equipped with two standard choices usually offered by Cleopatra Entertainment – 2.0 PCM and 5.1 Dolby Digital. The surround mix is a mess with muddy dialogue and channels which bleed into one another. It’s a crude, somewhat slapdash attempt at injecting atmosphere without the benefit of a cohesive sound design.

The overpowering dynamic range makes it almost a necessity to keep a close eye on your volume control. I’d actually recommend the cleaner stereo mix heard in fully lossless 2.0 PCM audio.

Multi-instrumentalist composer Fernando Perdomo contributes a moody score absolutely perfect for the setting. His music is actually available on a separate CD and one of strongest creative elements in The Black Mass.

No subtitles are included.

Extras

Cleopatra Entertainment includes a smattering of trailers from their docket and little else in this largely barren release. The BD is coded for all regions.

Image Slideshow (01:26 in HD)

The Black Mass Trailer (01:13 in HD)

Frost Trailer (01:14 in HD)

Ghosts of Monday Trailer (01:33 in HD)

The Long Dark Trail Trailer (02:03 in HD)

What The Waters Left Behind: Scars Trailer (01:55 in HD)

Lion-Girl Trailer (01:58 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

The Black Mass
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  • Extras
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A vicious and graphic journey covering Ted Bundy’s reign of terror for one night at Florida State University in 1978

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 38 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:


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