(1977/Columbia/Sony/Umbrella Region Free Blu-ray)/Dropping Evil (2012/MVD DVD)/The
Night Of The Devils (1972/RaroVideo DVD)/Suspiria (1977/Umbrella Region B Blu-ray)
Picture: B/C/C+/B Sound: C+/C+/C+/B Extras: C+/C-/B-/B- Films: C+/C-/C+/B-
PLEASE NOTE: The Deep import Blu-ray here is Region
Free imports and will play on all machines worldwide despite being marked as
Region B, while the import Suspiria Blu-ray
is marked as a Region B disc which turns out to be true & will only play on
machines that can play that region and both can be ordered from our friends at
Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the
for Halloween 2012, here are some more titles to look at in time for the
the talk of the Jaws Blu-ray, only a
few of its imitators and hoped-for hits to ride on its blockbuster success have
been issued on Blu-ray. The British
journeyman British director Peter Yates was hired by Columbia Pictures to adapt
The Deep (1977) into a feature
film. Also based on a Peter Benchley
book, the studio made it a high profile release, but the results were mixed
commercial and critical success. Robert
Shaw is even here, playing a treasure (and not shark) hunter whose search for a
fortune drags a vacationing couple (Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset entering
sexy cinema history with those ever-discussed wet t-shirt appearances) into the
madness to come.
sunken WWII ship turns up at the bottom of the sea where they are diving, they
run into a different kind of treasure in huge, heaping amounts of illegal
morphine. Too bad a Haitian drug lord
(Louis Gossett Jr. in good form) turns up and a deadly race for that haul and
not an outright horror film, it does have some of that feel and edge as it is
constantly suggests that something really bad is just around the corner, so the
film is trying to surprise the audience and Yates (Bullitt, Suspect) is
capable of good directing. In this case,
I found the film to have mixed results despite a fine cast (including Eli
Wallach), good look, nice locales and some chemistry throughout. This is a first-rate production, but it misses
the mark a bit and part of the problem is simply trying to make the book into0
a film and which parts to keep.
licensed this to Image in the U.S.
for Blu-ray two years ago and Umbrella offers a Region Free Blu-ray (mislabeled
Region B) that seems to be the same video master. The extras back my point as we get select
scenes from the 3-hour TV version (some footage is censored, while other
footage was added) making for an interesting comparison, plus a featurette The Making Of The Deep (49 minutes) is
also included. Wish more films were this
other end of the spectrum is Dropping
Evil (2012) about a Christian God-loving nerdy type who is slipped LSD by
people who don’t like him, only to have him go on a killing rampage against
them! The idea had some potential and
Fred Williamson even shows up, but between an incoherent script, lack of
concentration, tired Grindhouse-style ambitions and mixed energy, this never
works and when they land up in yet another cabin in the middle of nowhere, you
know any potential is deader than any of the upcoming victims.
comparison to The Deep, it never
takes drugs seriously and any murders are a joke like the acting. Too bad.
Extras include some Short Films, Deleted Scenes of little use, Music
Videos (?) and Trailers.
over to Italy, Giorgio Ferroni’s The
Night Of The Devils (1972 aka La Notte dei Diavoli) also involves
delusional visions, but what we get here is all supernatural as a sick man
(Gianni Garko) is in a mental hospital seeing images of blood, murder and
violence. We find out that he was
driving around the countryside when he came upon a family that lived alone in a
house and has some kind of curse. This
happens when his FIAT car breaks down, so he gets to know them by default, but
something is very wrong upon arrival.
they have secrets to hide, even with two young children around, but then our
car owner sees a mysterious woman who might know more than they’re willing to
tell him and some killer creature with powerful claws is on the loose, which is
why they board up their windows and secure them. What is this creature? What do they have to do with it? Who might be killed next? Can it be killed?
how the film slowly starts up and gets better as it goes along, but the payoff
is not always great and having not seen it for many decades, it is nice to see
it in this restored RaroVideo DVD version very widescreen, helping deliver the
film the way it should be seen. The cast
and acting is good too, but the payoff not as memorable and ending a little
problematic. Still, it is worth a look,
especially if you like this kind of filmmaking, as it is a very ambitious work
and the make-up is by Carlo Rambaldi of E.T.
and Alien fame.
include an hour-long interview with Composer Giorgio Gaslini that is very
thorough and Chris Alexander from Fangoria Magazine telling us how
much he loves the film (you might want to see it after watching the film), while the DVD case includes a
well-illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, essay by
Alexander and text of Alexander interviewing Gaslini.
is Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977),
made only five years later and is one of his best-known films. We originally covered the Limited Edition DVD
version from Anchor
Bay in its older transfer
at this link:
one of two Blu-rays versions off of the newly restored 35mm print that has been
circulating for a while and neither version has turned up in the U.S., so we’ll
see who lands up releasing it.
Fortunately, color, depth and detail are all improved over the DVD
version, but original Director of Photography Luciano Tovoli (Tenebre, Titus, Antonioni’s The
Passenger) made some changes in color in some shots and that might make
some diehard purists unhappy. However,
it is impressive overall despite some soft shots (hard to tell if it is the
transfer to disc or the master itself, so we’ll known when we can compare to
another Blu-ray versions) and this has extras different from another Blu-ray of
the film also making it into some markets.
this version include a repeat of the 25th Anniversary Documentary
from the Anchor Bay DVD, an exclusive Argento interview, An Eye For Horror documentary, Fear
At 400 Degrees: The Cine-Express of Suspiria documentary, Photo Gallery,
International Trailer, U.S. Trailer, TV Spot and other Argento trailers. That’s a great set of extras and diehard fans
will want this one, the older DVD (if they can get it) and the other version
with other extras to be completists.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on The Deep and Suspiria
Blu-rays are the best performers here, with The Deep showing some grain, but the scope frame was shot nicely in
real 35mm anamorphic Panavision by Christopher Challis, B.S.C. (who passed away
earlier in 2012), is totally present here with expect grain, natural color
range and a print in pretty good shape. Suspiria has some softness, but the
film was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Technovision by Tavoli (as noted above)
and the increased fidelity (with some reservations) increases the atmosphere
and overall rich look and feel of the film.
I think it is just that much better than the DVD and not a severe revision
as what happened with a new Blu-ray of Argento’s Bird With The Crystal Plumage (the sides were cut off to 1.78 X 1 and some color shots were made black and
white, which is a problem for me) making the older Blu-ray very valuable.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Evil
is soft, noisy and tries to feign older film color, but that attempt is as
limited as the LSD color-range. Again,
the makers were being too silly and may have missed a nice opportunity to make
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Devils shot in Techniscope by Manuel Berenguer, A.S.C., but instead
of being processed by Technicolor in three-strip, dye-transfer prints, they cut
costs by developing it in a simpler single-color process from the S.P.E.S. lab
in Italy. This is not to say the color
is not good or wide-ranging, but just not as much as Technicolor. A nice new HD transfer, I hope we see a
Blu-ray as the softness here is at least 50% from the format.
TrueHD on the Blu-rays for The Deep and Suspiria happen to be from films
originally issued in 4-track magnetic stereo on their best 35mm film
prints. Suspiria already had a DTS-ES 6.1 mix on its DVD and this mix is
just as good despite missing a track, is warmer and a little more wide
ranging. Still, the film can show its
age and The Deep even more so as the
sound is often more in the front and cent channels than I would have liked, but
the John Barry score is a big plus for the film overall.
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Evil is
the most competent thing about the film and it is still lacking in consistent
sonics and smoother editing, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Devils is here in dubbed Italian and a
more distorted dubbed English where the music tends to be warped whereas it is
just fine on the better-anyhow Italian track.
As noted above, you can order the import versions of The Deep and Suspiria Blu-rays exclusively from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo