InterVision is quickly making itself synonymous with that 1980’s/1990’s era of straight-to-video horror schlock. Much of the material they release is weird to the point of being unintentionally funny but the label has taken an abrupt 90-degree turn with their release of The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer. Despite its vintage direct-to-video status, this is a different kind of film for InterVision – and the result is a different kind of disc from what InterVision is becoming known for.
The transfer is taken from a full-frame video element. As a result, the color and detail levels aren’t as sharp as what you’d get from a film or negative transfer. That said, The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer was shot on film and edited on video so it’s an accurate representation of what VHS owners saw from this film back in the day – and it gets an added bump from the heightened resolution of the DVD format. There are no problems with distortion in either the video or audio departments and the finished product is as good as this film can look or sound.
The extras are surprisingly austere when compared to the last few InterVision releases. Basically, there is a trailer for the film (with a few unnecessary and annoying “VHS glitch” effects added to it), some trailers for other InterVision releases and a commentary track.
As you might expect, the commentary is the most substantial item here. It pairs director David Bowen with writer/star Carl Crew. Bowen is the guiding voice on this track and he reveals a lot of behind-the-scenes info, including how the L.A. riots interfered with the production of the film and the research involved in chronicling Dahmer’s crimes. You’ll also hear about the interesting career path Crew has taken since working on this film. The first half of this commentary is more interesting than the second half but there’s enough worthwhile info here to make it worth a listen for fans.
In short, InterVision’s disc of The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer isn’t as elaborate as their other recent releases but it shows they can rein in the camp-horror humor to give a serious film an appropriately serious treatment.