The newly released 4K transfer of the 1978 original The Toolbox Murders is finally here form Blue Underground. Like most Blue Underground restorations, the hard work is evident on screen, so let’s dive into what makes this release stand out over some of the past versions of this classic serial killer/slasher horror film.
Packaging and Artwork
The packaging here is pretty standard, but that is nothing to scoff at by any means. This is wrapped in an embossed slipcover featuring a traditional soft case inside housing both the bluray and the 4K disc with no inserts or supplements of any kind. The artwork is not reversible unfortunately, and therefore only features the original art for the film, as seen in previous Blue Underground releases of this title.
- Audio Commentary #1 with Producer Tony DiDio, Director of Photography Gary Graver and Star Pamelyn Ferdin
- NEW! Audio Commentary #2 with Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
- NEW! Drill Sergeant – Interview with Director Dennis Donnelly
- NEW! Tools Of The Trade – Interview with Star Wesley Eure
- NEW! Flesh And Blood – Interview with Actress Kelly Nichols I Got Nailed In THE TOOLBOX MURDERS – Interview with Actress Marianne Walter
- NEW! Slashback Memories – David Del Valle Remembers Cameron Mitchell
- NEW! “They Know I Have Been Sad” – Video Essay by Film Historian Amanda Reyes and Filmmaker Chris O’Neill
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spot
- Radio Spots
- NEW! Poster & Still Gallery
Audio: Dolby Atmos, 5.1 DTS-HD, 1.0 DTS-HD
For me personally this audio mix wasn’t worth the upgrade to next-gen audio technologies like Dolby Atmos or DTS-X. I just didn’t get a lot from this personally. I felt the audio was a bit muddy, had a very static mix. Most of the sound was coming from my front left/right and center channel speakers only. It’s hard to score older exploitation or low budget films on their next-gen audio mixes because these films were simply not made for this technology, so there just might not be much you can do to add much more to it. I did not go in expecting a super dynamic sound mix though, and neither should you. However, I would have liked to have had more happening in the lower registers. This movie hardly had any impact in my subwoofers or bass shakers so don’t go in expecting much in that aspect. I do not believe any of this was at fault to Blue Underground, but simply excepting the limitations of a film made in the 70s on a budget.
Visual: New Native 4K 16-Bit Restoration From the Uncut Original Negative. Dolby Vision + HDR10
(HDR10 via Epson 5050ub used for review)
Blue Underground has done a phenomenal job cleaning, preserving and restoring this film to 4K. Although this film won’t be one to show off in regards to sharpness at all, the color and black levels brought out by the HDR are what really make a difference to me here. The blacks are very well controlled and nice and contrasty. The colors are accurate and vibrant at times. If you are sensitive to grain, I can safely say this movie might not be for you, but overall has been a really enjoyable upgrade over the previous Blue Underground Restoration.
I think this would look great on any collectors shelf, and has enough of a color and black level upgrade, and new special features to justify a double dip if you have a previous bluray copy, and should definitely be your go to version if you have not seen or do not already own this film.
Huge thank you to MVD for sending this our way for review.
Gear I use for movie reviews:
Klipsch RF-7 Fronts
Klipsch RC-7 Center
Klipsch RF-82ii Surrounds
Klipsch RS-7 Back Surrounds
Klipsch RSW-115 Subwoofer (Front)
BIC Acoustech PL-200ii Subwoofer (Rear)
Dayton Audio BST-1 High Power Pro Tactile Bass Shaker
OSD ICE660 Dolby Atmos In Ceilings
American Signature Fiero Theater Recliners
Silver Ticket 135″ 16×9 High Contrast Grey screen with 0.9 gain.
Rack: (SysRack 18u)
Episode 150 Amp
Dayton Audio BSA-200 Power amp
Sony UBP-X700 4K Bluray
Sony BDP-S6700 4K upscale Region Free Player
Apple TV 4K (2021)
Xbox One S
AC Infinity Aircom T8
TCP-4 Rack Fan
2x AC Infinity Axial Fans
AC Infinity Airframe T7
URC MX450 Universal remote/base/RF adapter.
Monster Power Conditioner
Component cables – Key Digital 4K HDR 4:4:4 HDMI Pro Cables
Projector Cable – Key Digital 4K HDR 4:4:4 Fiber Optic HDMI
6 – 2×4 4″ panels
2 – Auralex 2x2x2 panels
2 – Arial acoustic diffusers
3 – 1.5×3 4″ Ceiling panels Black Velvet treatment to front stage
Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black