Lonely Place To Die (2011/E1)/Killer’s
Moon (1978/Redeption)/Strip Nude For
Your Killer (1975/Blue Underground)/Virgin
Picture: B-/B-/B/B- Sound: B- Extras: C-/C+/B-/C Films: C/C+/B-/C+
budget thrillers old and new have arrived on Blu-ray and they all have
something to offer, even when they don’t work.
new release is Julian Gibley’s A Lonely
Place To Die (2011) is yet another people in the woods (or somewhere far
away) thriller, this time with people who love to mountain climb. From Britain, the gang and their trip
seem like any other one until they find a scared young girl who speaks another
language and seems to have been kidnapped, yet is suddenly free. Can they help her? Well, there are these guys who start killing
them off and likely know something about it.
twist later on, a trip of men (including Luther
and Oz star Eamonn Walker) show up
with ransom money to try to save her, but they have no idea how messed up
things have become and the kidnappers do not have the girl to get the money,
but they’ll do what they have to do.
this sounds intriguing, the actual delivery (putting aside the tired
child-in-jeopardy aspect) is everything we have seen before with little new to
recommend save the locales, acting and potential down the drain early. At least this has some energy, but the
resulting impact is minimal and it should have been better. A trailer is the only extra.
Birkinshaw’s Killer’s Moon (1978) is
a low-budget British attempt to capitalize on the success of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971, banned in
England at the time) with a group of chaperoned schoolgirls (early teens) on a
field trip of choir touring, their bus keeps breaking down until they have to
abandon it and find a place to stay.
That takes the form of a hotel not open for the season, but the owner
makes an exception. Oddly, the lady
owner’s daughter has not returned and male campers nearby are unaware of any of
this, but no one knows that four psychotic mental patients have escaped their
facility and are on a killing spree.
also wearing all-white outfits and keep talking about being in a living dream,
but this wears thin quickly, as well as the absence of a solid police search
you would expect in the script. Even
with that, the film has an interesting set-up, promising start and interesting
cast all around. Unfortunately, when
sexual assault and rape events the storyline, this starts loosing its ground
and never recovers and especially so in the final reel.
Redemption label has issued this obscure independent curio and I am glad they
did. It may not always work and even get
inept, but it was at least ambitious for its low budget and part of the British
side of a golden period in British Horror that time and the U.K. “video
nasties” campaign has lost in the shuffle, even with home video being around
for decades. Many such productions
turned up as other companies in the U.K. decides to compete with Hammer
(including Amicus and Tigon, for instance) though setting their tales in
current times due to budget limits.
its flaws and limits, it is worth a look for Horror fans and others interested
in the historical peak of such independent production should see it, especially
being on Blu-ray. Extras include a Photo
Gallery, interview with Actress Joanne Good, interview with Director
Birkinshaw, feature length audio commentary track by both and an Original
two entries involve the world of modeling and photography…
interesting film from the same period is Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975) from Italy, which wants to
combine the bloody, graphic, Giallo serial killer murder films with the cheesy
soft core comedies the Italians were making in great numbers at the time. Nino Castelnuovo plays a man who helps a
doctor move a woman who just died in an abortion to make it look like she just
died alone in a bathtub, but he is also a photographer and womanizer who is
about to be part of a group targeted by a mysterious killer whop seems to have
no motive but to kill, kill, kill.
girlfriend (Edwige Fenech, with a haircut that has more than just a passing
resemblance to Audrey Hepburn), is somewhat unaware of this, but they have a
good relationship and are very sexually active.
As the film moves along, we get three aspects running at once: the
graphic murders of women and men, excess nudity with more sex than usual and
more humor than usual including that derived from the modeling industry.
have too much of the cheesy sex and humor for Horror/Thriller fans and that
also hampers the momentum of the mystery plot, but I give the makers credit for
trying to do more with the genre and they do not shy away from the blood or
violence. This also has style and the
cast has both chemistry and talent.
However, this does not add up as it might have under other
circumstances, but is the best film on the list and a one-of-a-kind work that
everyone who likes all of the kinds of films attempted will want to see. Don’t let the sex, nudity or violence stop
you, as well as that wild title.
include a Poster & Still Gallery, Italian Trailer, International Trailer
and interview featurette Strip Nude For
Your Giallo with Actress/Co-Star/Model Solvi Stubing and Co-Writer Massimo
not least is Ray Austin’s Virgin Witch
(1972), part of a cycle of British supernatural thrillers of the time that
everyone was doing and were very popular in the shadow of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) plus that
tradition in British fiction in general.
Austin began as a stunt coordinator and stuntman in the business, most
famously choreographing the fights on the classic British TV spy hit The Avengers, which soon led to him
moving to the director’s chair and have a long career that also too him to
Hollywood. So Successful that he is now
Sir Raymond Austin, he was a very capable journeyman filmmaker and with his
past, handled action directing particularly well.
Avengers co-producing friends Albert
Fennell and Brian Clemens made films in the genre that were problematic (See No Evil in 1971), amusing (Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, reviewed
elsewhere on this site) and underrated (Captain
Kronos) and Clemens had a huge TV hit with the Horror anthology called Thriller (also reviewed elsewhere on
this site), Austin made this bolder film about two sisters who become entangled
in the web of the head of a modeling agency (the late, great Patricia Haines in
one of her sadly few feature film roles) who happens to have two secrets: she
is a lesbian and a Satanist!
(Ann Michelle of the 1978 TV crime drama mini-series Out (reviewed on DVD elsewhere on this site), House Of Whipcord, The Death
Wheelers) would be the big star, but her sister Betty (Vicki Michelle,
later of ‘Allo ‘Allo, in her debut
role) is also very pretty and the far away castle home their boss has
Christine’s photo shoot at happens to be the home of a witch’s coven who wants
to claim both of them. What they don’t
know is that Christine has psychic powers and maybe more.
liked the cast, the locations and the ideas, but they do not all add up in the
end, though Austin uses some of that Avengers
style to the benefit of the film and Haines steals almost every scene she is
in. The problem is that the film does
not know how to conclude, especially after starting up so much and being so
sexually provocative. This was a problem
for most of these productions in the U.K.
was in the lead on such films (think The
Exorcist, The Omen) but there
are enough good, interesting moments to go out of your way to see this one as
well and I am very glad it is on Blu-ray.
include a Photo Gallery and Original Theatrical Trailer, but I wish there were
some interviews and even a brief featurette.
Keith Buckley (The Spy Who Loved
Me, Excalibur), Neil Hallett and
Peter Halliday (The Remains Of The Day,
A For Andromeda, Sunday Bloody Sunday; he just passed
away weeks before this posting) also star.
digital High Definition image transfers on all four discs look good for what
they are, but all have their limits and the older three films their age
flaws. Place has a 2.35 X 1 frame that has some nice shots, but was shot
all HD on the dated Red One camera, so we get softness, detail limits and the
stylizing hinders playback performance overall.
None of the older films were issued in dye-transfer, three-strip
Technicolor version of the film, though Strip
was shot in Techniscope which is also 2.35 X 1 and it is likely such prints
were produced at least for the U.K. and Italian markets, plus Moon could have received such treatment
outside of the U.S., but that could not be confirmed at the time of posting.
Witch and Moon have prints that show their age and could both use some further
restoration, but they have some good shots here and there and have never looked
better on home video. Strip is just the best-looking of the
four releases by a narrow margin coming from the camera negative, cleanest of
all with the best consistent color.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Place should be the big sonic winner here and though it is the
newest recording, I was not impressed by the soundfield, recording on location
or overall mix. It is professional at
best and has some good sonic moments, but they are few and far between, with
too many instances of the mix too much towards the front speakers. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless
Mono mix on Strip (with the most
post-production dubbing) and PCM 2.0 Mono on Witch and Moon are much
older and show their low budgets, but these are about as clean as they are
going to get and playback better than I expected despite age flaws.
I had not
seen the older films in decades and am glad they are back. Hope Redemption continues issuing Blu-rays
the way Blue Underground has been for a good while now. The Horror genre needs all the help it can
get these days.
- Nicholas Sheffo