» Scream Factory / Shout! Factory
» 2 Discs
» - 1 Blu-ray
» - 1 DVD
» BD Keepcase
» The film (2017 version, see side notes)
» Sorting Through The Tapes
(Dowdle Brothers interview) (33m 33s)
» The Willing Victim
(Stacy Chbosky interview) (22m 42s)
» Theatrical Trailer (01m 38s)
» BD, RA, NTSC
» 1.85:1 Anamorphic
» English DTS-HD MA 2.0
» English (optional)
» The film (2017 version, see side notes)
» Sorting Through The Tapes
(Dowdle Brothers interview) (33m 33s)
» The Willing Victim
(Stacy Chbosky interview) (22m 42s)
» Theatrical Trailer (01m 38s)
» DVD, R1, NTSC
» 1.85:1 Anamorphic
» Engish DD 2.0 Mono
» English (optional)
» The Poughkeepsie Tapes
» John Erick Dowdle
» Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson, Ivar Brogger, Lou George, Amy Lyndon, Michael Lawson, Ron Harper, Kim Kenny, Scott Beehner, Iris Bahr, Lisa Black, Bill Bookston, William Bookston
After 10 years of waiting I would have hoped for something more than a standard Blu-ray keepcase but the use of the theatrical poster art still works for an overall good looking cover.
Before getting into the contents of this Blu-ray / DVD combo pack you need to understand that this isnt just any old straigt-to-DVD film that you just havnt heard about. Quite the contrary; this is a gruesome masterpiece that has been awaited by horror fans for as much as 10 years time.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes originally premiered with a brief theatrical run back in 2007 but for one reason or another this fake documentary/found footage classic ended up being pulled from release by MGM. Since then it has become an underground hit among many horror fans due to its obscurity and the entire mystery surrounding the shelving.
Like many other fans I found this film through the help of online file sharing sites and very low quality bootleg copies so I was absolutely stoked to hear that the film would finally be getting an official release.
The film itself looks absolutely fantastic in terms of restoration when you compare it to its bootleg counterparts - many of the scenes were just a dark blur the first time I saw them so things have certainly improved for the better with this release.
Looking at the disc contents in terms of special features there isnt a lot there in terms of diversity but theres still quite a bit of insight into the films history. The lengthy interview segment with the Dowdle brothers and main actress Stacy Chbosky is a very welcome bonus but in retrospect I feel that this release leaves me wanting more... a lot more.
And heres the main reason why...
The Blu-ray/DVD combo version of 2017 actually containes a completely different cut of the film (!) than the version that fans have gotten used to through file sharing sites and inferior DVD rips. At first I didnt even understand why everything felt so unfamiliar but then I decided to go back and compare the new Blu-ray to my old DVD-R version from Twisted Anger as a side-by-side study project.
The result was staggering...
There are over 60 editing changes (!!!) between the 2007 bootleg version that many of us have grown accustomed to and the new Blu-ray restoration of 2017.
I decided to contact director John Erick Dowdle himself to ask about why the film had changed so much and he actually cleared things up quite a bit. Heres what he said:
"The cut we screened at Tribeca in 2007 is the same as the Blu-ray cut. The bootleg was our film festival submission rough cut which was never meant for public viewing. No changes have been made since 2007 when it was sold to MGM. It always pained me that what people saw of the The Poughkeepsie Tapes wasnt the film as we intended it. The finished version (as seen on the Blu-ray) is what we first premiered and the film as intended."
So there the explanation for all the differences. But how do i rate something thats essentially an entirely different film than that which I was expecting? Well, for the most part I think that the changes are actually done for the better but I never would have expect to find so many little tweaks to the overall film as I did.
With this in mind Ive now decided to do something that I dont normally do. Ive actually compiled a list of all the changes between the 2007 "rough cut" version and the 2017 Blu-ray for anyone whos interested.
SIDE NOTES: COMPARING THE TWO FILM VERSIONS
Below is a list of all the editorial changes Ive been able to find between the underground bootleg version of The Poughkeepsie Tapes and its restored 2017 Blu-ray release (not mentioning restoration improvements to image quality and such).
Some changes are very minor while others include entire segment being removed or added. In order for this to work I have also added a time code from the Blu-ray on each note and I also tried to write everything in reference to that version. The screenshots supplied for each note will show the Blu-ray on the left and the bootleg on the right but they are NOT meant as a reference for image quality (I know the screenshots are very poor) - they are purely there to illustrate some of the differences mentioned. Ive also added black screens (whenever possible) in case there are segments that are missing entirely from either version. It can also be mentioned that the time code and the screenshot might not match 100% as some of the changes occur over a period of time.
For anyone who hasnt seen the film I would advise not to read beyond this point as there are obvious SPOILERS ahead. Youve been warned.
BLU-RAY VS. BOOTLEG | ALTERNATIVE CUT COMPARISON
(Click images to enhance)
00.00.00 - The Blu-ray adds an MGM lion and a white on black "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Presents" before the original opening credits.
00.00.24 - The original opening scene was a low quality 30 second recording where a body is being dragged slightly off camera. This scene is now completely gone and has been replaced with scenes from a funeral intercut by home movies of Cheryl at a younger age. The segment ends with clips from a previously unseen interview with FBI profiler Felton Lewis riding in a car. He ends it by saying that "the story of Cheryl Dempsey and what she became is truly one of the strangest, most disturbing things Ive ever come across in the history of serial murder. And Ive been doing this for close to 25 years now".
00.01.20 - A new night vision clip shows the killer at a cemetery where he proceeds to pull a corpse out of an open grave using a rope tied to the back of his car.
00.02.58 - The first scene with property owner Alice Endrisart appears to have been sourced from alternate takes on the Blu-ray (note the difference in sunlight for one). The dialogue is essentially the same but its now missing some opening lines where she introduces herself as well as asks the cameraman if hes ready. The missing footage amounts to about 15 seconds.
00.03.34 - The scene(s) with FBI Audio Visual Specialist Simon Alray appears to have been chopped up and arranged into the movie in a different way than before (but all the footage appears to be present at some point). At this point on the Blu-ray a 23 sec segment where Simon mentioned his wife accidently watching part of the tapes has been removed. A quick insert showing a row of VHS tapes has been added for illustration (and to mask the cut) as Simon keeps talking.
00.03.58 - The missing segment from the first clip with Simon, mentioning his wife, appears at this point on the blu-ray.
00.04.21 - The scene where Alice Endrisart is going through the house and talks about where they found the tapes appears at this point on the blu-ray (and is possibly recreated from alternate takes). The clip with FBI field agent Pam Frears in the backyard (which originally appeared at this point in the movie) has been moved to a later point on the blu-ray.
00.04.25 - New close up shots of the VHS tapes have been added to the Blu-ray as an overlay as Alice mentions where they were found. As mentioned before the scene itself might also be sourced from alternate takes.
00.04.31 - The scene with FBI field agent Pam Frears appears at this point on the blu-ray. It seems pretty identical to the scene from the original cut except that one of the bodies used to be identified as being the original tenant. These few seconds worth of dialogue are now missing.
00.04.59 - A new clip showing the tapes as they are lined up in the same way as on the films theatrical poster has been added and an FBI employee (possibly Simon Alray?) points out how many of the tapes include footage of Cheryl.
00.05.47 - The scene where Simon Alray mentions all of the "balloon stuff" was originally preseeded by an 11 second clip of retired FBI profiler Mike Moakes (mentioning that the tapes are now mandatory viewing for anyone getting into psychological profiling). Several scenes with Mike still appear on the Blu-ray but this particular segment appears to have been cut entirely.
00.07.43 - The "First Blood" sequence with the little girl is missing its original music backdrop on the Blu-ray version (its now dialogue only).
00.11.21 - The scene with Cynthia and Joel Gorman (the parents of the "First Blood" victim) has been sourced from alternate takes and is missing around 22 sec of dialogue where they originally mention how one of them wanted to move after the ordeal. The original take also included Joel asking the team to turn off the camera when his wife starts crying where as on the blu-ray he just hugs her.
00.14.24 - A 12 second news clip on the "car crash" victims being reported as missing has been added on the blu-ray.
00.16.38 - In the original version of this scene Mike Moakes ends his presentation by explaining to the class about the importance of leaving your work at work and how he himself ended up having a mental breakdown because he couldnt handle it. He also mentions his sister being abducted at a young age as his primary reason for getting into profiling. This segment is about 1 min 52 sec and is completely missing on the Blu-ray.
00.17.04 - An additional 8 sec news clip about the victims being found dead has been added on the blu-ray.
00.17.12 - The autopsy scene where a head has been placed inside a womans abdomen is primarily unchanged in terms or audio but it looks like the stills of the body are slightly different.
00.18.51 - When Mike Moakes tells the class about the "Red House Tavern" new stills of this establishment have been added over the old footage. The audio in the scene appears unchanged.
00.19.38 - When talking about Elisabeth Jackson the original scene started with the words "to illustrate". This is cut from the blu-ray.
00.20.12 - The footage that shows the killer sawing through Elisabeth Jacksons body has been slightly altered - in the original version he keeps sawing at her neck until the head comes off where as on the blu-ray the clip cuts out just before. A quick clip showing the body without the head but at a different angle (which originally appeared later in the scene) has been added where the the missing footage would have been.
00.20.23 - The clip of the body without the head (as mentioned above) is not included at this point on the blu-ray.
00.20.26 - The segment with dismemberment expert Jason Ribling has been cut on the blu-ray. He now opens by saying "Usually a killer wont think through his first dismembering" where as in the original version the full dialogue read as follows:
"The Poughkeepsie tapes killer... I think is the only time Ive ever seen, and the only time Ive ever heard of, where a killer goes down a level. You see, what I mean is... usually a killer wont think through his first dismembering".
00.20.51 - A still of a saw blade has been inserted over Jasons monologue for illustration. The audio is unchanged.
00.21.03 - A still of a hand saw has been inserted over Jasons monologue for illustration. The audio is unchanged.
00.21.08 - A close up of the saws on the table has been inserted over Jasons monologue for illustration. In the original version the dialogue went "sometimes he uses a circular saw, sometimes a hand saw... its ludicrous" but on the blu-ray "its ludicrous" has been taken out.
00.23.00 - When Cheryl is standing in the window talking to her boyfriend on the phone (as the killers films her from his car), the blu-ray cuts aprox 20 seconds from the conversation.
00.24.46 - When the killer has entered Cheryls house and gone into the kitchen theres aprox 20 seconds worth of lurking missing on the blu-ray (leading up to him going up the stairs).
00.31.07 - The news clip following the scene where the killer attacks Cheryl and her boyfriend has been completely re-shot with a different actress for the blu-ray release. The overall dialogue in this clip is essentially the same except for one odd little difference - the news caster now opens by saying "This weekend ENDS in tragedy for ONE family..." where as in the original version it was "This weekend ENDED in tragedy for TWO families...".
00.33.13 - The clip where officer Edgar Cummings describes what was done to Cheryls boyfriend contains almost exactly the same footage but on the blu-ray version its been re-arranged so a part that was originally in the middle of the conversation is now at the end. The part where Cummings interacts with the camera man and asks how graphic he can get in his descriptions is the only thing that seems to be missing on the Blu-ray. The lost footage amounts to roughly 11 seconds.
00.33.58 - The scene with FBI profiler Felton Lewis (talking about how the killer was initially written off as disorganized) appears to have been completely re-shot with the same actor in a different enviroment (hes now riding in a car while being interviewed) and utilizes new stills for illustration (the old stills from the crime scene are no longer present) . So the dialogue is the same but sourced from different material. The car footage also matches as a continuation of the interview from the films new opening scenes.
00.34.30 - A new scene with a character named Ethan Steyermark has been added on the Blu-ray. He briefly talks about the concept of "Comedia del arte" for about 14 seconds.
00.34.43 - An additional 13 second clip of Felton Lewis in the car where he mentions the purpose of the killers masks. This dialogue was not featured in the original version.
00.34.56 - Another 13 second clip with Ethan Steyermark talking about the classic "doctors mask" that the killer uses.
00.38.09 - A new version of the news clip where Cheryls mother pleads to the killer to bring her daughter home has been added to the blu-ray. The dialogue is primarily the same but the news caster is replaced with the same actress as in the previous news clip. The original clip of Cheryls mother also ran for about 10 seconds longer.
00.40.27 - In the scene where Cheryl is asked to put on a dress and a mask theres around 5 seconds thats been taken out on the Blu-ray version - the missing footage essentially showed Cheryl as she started pulling the mask over her head where as on the Blu-ray it just cuts to the mask already being put on.
00.41.11 - The Blu-ray has some new effects depicting microfilm footage where as the original segment only showed closeups of newspaper articles in their standard form. The dialogue as narrated by FBI profiler Felton Lewis remains the same on both versions.
00.41.35 - The news clips that mention a body found in the Hudson river (as well as coining the phrase "the waterstreet butcher") have been completely changed for the Blu-ray release. The original version featured an 11 second clip of a reporter named Jerry Schmidt and an 18 second clip with police commisioner Richard Harrington (being questioned about the fact that the all of the butchers victims appear to be prostitutes) . The blu-ray substitutes this segment with an 11 second clip of the same context as the Jerry Schmidt clip (but now with a reporter named Jennifer Griswold) and then quickly cuts to a 5 second newsflash that alerts prostitutes to stay off the streets.
00.44.25 - The clip where Cheryl cuts the throat of one of her fellow captives has been shortened with around 15 sec on the Blu-ray version. The missing footage was taken from the end of the scene and essentially just showed more of the girls reaction after the cut.
00.50.08 - In the clip where they mention how fingerprints and saliva where used to identify the waterstreet butcher theres an added shot of a police document used for fingerprints.
00.50.46 - The news clips about the arrest of the water street butcher suspect originally opened with an 11 sec segment featuring police commisioner Richard Harrington. This segment has been completely removed on the Blu-ray and the following news clip has also been slightly updated with new graphics overlaying the video footage (the source material is the same but they changed the on screen channel logos and such).
00.50.58 - The original version of the film contained an 8 sec clip of prosecuting attorney Sandra Willlets just before the introduction of Hank Foley. This clip is completely gone from the Blu-ray.
00.50.59 - The Blu-ray version of the interview with Hank Foley has been slightly edited with new stills of his father James Foley being inserted over the dialogue. The Blu-ray also removed a line of dialogue removed where Hank says that his fiance dumped him because she didnt want to have a serial killers grandchildren.
00.52.08 - The clip with Hank Foley following the guilty verdict for his father is sourced from the same material as before but updated graphics and news channel logos have been added over the footage. The blu-ray version is also cut short, removing a part where the a member of the media asks Hank if he thinks his father did it and Hank replying that he does.
00.52.16 - The original segment where the victims speak out against the James Foley included a 9 second opening with a news caster named Bill McCormick. This clip has been removed from the Blu-ray and replaced with a 7 second news clip (without dialogue) from the courtroom as newly added on screen graphics read "Victims families speak at Water Street Butcher sentencing".
00.52.24 - The statement from Albert Cromley originally ran for 9 seconds longer and didnt end up playing over a shot of James Foley. The overlayed news channel graphics are also updated at this point. The original version also included another victims family member (named Susan Edermyer) who spoke for 12 seconds.
00.52.29 - The original version included a 30 second clip of Bill McCormick reporting live from the "death watch" as dussins of people had come out to either protest or support the execution. He also mentioned Foleys choice of last meal before the clip freeze framed and dissolved into to the girl sitting on the balloon).
All of the McCormick footage has been removed from the Blu-ray and replaced with around 40 seconds worth of news footage from various sources. The footage is sourced from both old and new material and is overlayed with the sound of Cheryls voice as she keeps repeating "I am the servant, you are the master". The montage ends with a quick clip of news anchor Tom Hauser confirming that Foley will be executed within the hour (the clip freeze frames and dissolves into to the girl sitting on the balloon).
00.55.56 - Just after Joseph Danvers mentions the discovery of another body the Blu-ray has added a brand clip from the killers own footage. The clip runs for about 30 seconds and consists of a someone zooming in on a television screen as the news reports mention how Foley will be executed within the hour. The camera then zooms out and is set down on a table in front of Cheryl.
00.56.52 - Right before the clip with Hank Foley there was originally a 25 second clip of James Foleys lawyer where he talked about how a guilty man acts in comparison to an innocent one, as well as mentioning that James always maintained his innocense.
00.57.26 - The Blu-ray footage with Hank Foley is missing about 19 seconds in the middle of it where he mentions peoples reactions when they realize hes related to James. It also cuts out the first and last line of dialogue from the segment where he says exactly the same thing - "Its bullshit!".
00.57.50 - The Blu-ray adds a 3 second shot of a news paper article as Irwin Griffard refers to the execution of James Foley as "The crime of the century". The news paper shot overlays the old video footage but the audio remains the same.
00.58.05 - The Blu-ray adds a 3 second shot of a news paper article as Felton Lewis mentions the the killing of prostitutes. The news paper shot overlays the old video footage but the audio remains the same.
01.07.28 - The blu-ray cuts 12 seconds from the end of Joseph Danvers monologue about how they tracked the killer based on his MapQuest download.
01.09.39 - The Blu-ray adds a 2 second overlaying shot of a missing sign for Cheryl during the interview with her mother. The audio is unchanged.
01.09.56 - The blu-ray ommits 6 seconds of dialogue from the clip of Cheryls mother. The missing line goes "I really realized at that moment that I guess I didnt have as much hope as I thought I had".
01.10.07 - The blu-ray adds 17 seconds worth of stills to show Cheryls wounds as Dr. Arnold Montufar talks about the state of her body. Some of these stills are new while others originally appeared later in the clip. The audio is unchanged.
01.10.47 - The Blu-ray ends the segment about Cheryls body with a single shot of Cheryl in her hospital bed where as in the original version this scene ended with several stills to show her wounds (see mention above).
01.11.18 - The blu-ray ommits a 47 second clip of Cheryls mother as she talks about bringing Cheryl home from the hospital.
01.12.50 - The blu-ray replaces the 22 second news clip about the grave robbing with an entirely new clip with the overal same context but using a different actor. The clip also adds some new stills of the grave at the end.
01.14.25 - The blu-ray adds a 17 second clip of a man in boots stepping into into a car and driving off as Leonard Schway talks about the killer moving on. The new footage is overlayed on top of the old one so the dialogue remains the same.
01.14.52 - The blu-ray adds a 18 second worth of stills (showing a log of the tapes that were missing as well as rows of the tapes found) as Simon Alray ponders what was on the 27 tapes that were never recovered. The new footage is overlayed on top of the old one so the dialogue remains the same.
01.15.44 - The Blu-ray replaces the last frame of the movie (the white on black "For Cheryl Dempsey" pre-credit) with a silent 11 seconds clip of Cheryl as young girl (taken from her families home movies) and ends it by freeze framing with "For Cheryl Dempsey" as an overlay.
01.20.47 - In the hidden scene after the end credits the killer says "Ill make you a deal. You can live... as long as you dont blink" and proceeds to film his victim as she tries to keep her eyes open. The Blu-ray version of this scene shows the girl on screen for around 22 seconds and cuts out while the girl still has her eyes open. The original version of this scene showed the girl on screen for just a few frames longer and cut out at the exact moment when she had closed her eyes.
In 2018 I decided to record my own commentary track for this release and talk about all of the differences mentioned above. You can listed to the commentary for free by checking out my youtube channel at this url: