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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Exploitation > Greece > Horror > Erotic > Polish > Island Of Death (1976)/The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981/MVD Visual/Arrow Releasing Blu-ray/DVD Sets)

Island Of Death (1976)/The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981/MVD Visual/Arrow Releasing Blu-ray/DVD Sets)

Now for two more extensive new editions of cult & horror classics from Arrow's quickly building U.S. release slate...

Island of Death

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B+ Film: C

Banned in many countries for its brutal violence, Greek Director Nico Mastorakis' brutal vision has found its way on Blu-ray disc uncut and uncensored thanks to Arrow Releasing. Originally inspired to make the 1976 film after seeing the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, Mastorakis aimed to make a film with more violence and brutality in an attempt to match the box office success of that film. With a paper thin plot and subpar acting, The Island of Death is exactly what it sounds like it is... an exploitation film.

It tells the story of a man and a woman, posing as newlyweds, but in fact an incestuous brother and sister, who visit the Greek island of Mykonos and start a rampage of murder, killing anyone they believe to be sinful or perverted - which is everyone! A few month ago, I reviewed a collection called Video Nasties (review elsewhere on this site), that essentially rounds up several exploitation and grindhouse film trailers (these are films banned in the U.K. in particular, but not limited to that country) and has an excellent documentary on how these films have come to be cult favorites, with this film being one of them. If you like movies like Cannibal Holocaust and you have a strong stomach, then you may want to give this one a shot. For your average horror going American audience that's used to jump scares and digital blood, this unnerving piece of cinema may be too much!

The disc looks and sounds amazing, however with a brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by writer-director-producer Nico Mastorakis and the original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) - the film looks and sounds as good as it possibly can. Aside from the 1080p digital high definition Blu-ray presentation, there is also a DVD included in the set that pushes the boundaries of the format but doesn't live up to the high definition greatness.

Arrow again delivers on packaging, inserts, and extras including:

-Exploring Island of Death - film historian Stephen Thrower on the making of a cult classic

-Return to Island of Death - Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations

-Archive interview with Mastorakis

-Alternative opening titles

-Island Sounds – five original tracks from the Island of Death soundtrack

-Original Theatrical Trailer

-The Films of Nico Mastorakis - four-part documentary charting the director's filmmaking career [Blu-ray only]

-Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel [Blu-ray only]

-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

-Fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker

If you are a fan of exploitation films then this is one to check out. It's an acquired taste but a pretty brutal study of the human condition. Then we have...

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: A- Film: B

Available for the first time in the United States on Blu-ray disc thanks to Arrow releasing, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981) is an interesting sci-fi horror/drama with the famed Udo Kier (whose horror credentials were already made permanent by his Paul Morrissey Frankenstein & Dracula films), Marina Pierro and is directed by Walerian Borowczyk. Based on the infamous Jekyll and Hyde story and inspired by some true events and people in the life of the author Robert Louis Stevenson, the film is very intense and moody and has an incredible transformation sequence that is not to be missed. This edition of the 1981 film is packed with extras, a reversible cover, and an insightful booklet that makes this a must for fans.

The film takes place before, during and immediately after the engagement party of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Miss Fanny Osborne, attended by numerous highly respectable guests (a general, a doctor, a priest, a lawyer), the last of which informs the company that a child has been murdered in the street outside. While the others watch a young dancer perform, Dr. Jekyll instructs the lawyer to alter his will, leaving everything to a certain Mr. Hyde. Shortly afterwards, the dancer is found murdered, and the guests realize that he's a maniac with a prodigious sexual appetite.

The transfer on this disc is exceptional with a brand new 2K restoration scanned from the original camera negative and supervised by the film's cinematographer. Along with this is great audio with English and French audio track both in lossless LPCM 1.0 Mono. There are also optional English and English SDH subtitles on the disc as well. There is also a DVD included in this special edition release that pushes the boundaries of the format but with a standard definition transfer doesn't compare to the Blu-ray.

Arrow instantly is one of the leaders in supplemental content in the U.S. and this disc is no exception with a TON of extras such as:

- Introduction by critic and long-term Borowczyk fan Michael Brooke

- Audio commentary featuring archival interviews with Walerian Borowczyk, Udo Kier, Marina Pierro and producer Robert Kuperberg, and new interviews with cinematographer Noël Véry, editor Khadicha Bariha, assistant Michael Levy and filmmaker Noël Simsolo, moderated by Daniel Bird

- Interview with Marina Pierro

- Himorogi (2012), a short film by Marina and Alessio Pierro, made in homage to Borowczyk

- Interview with artist and filmmaker Alessio Pierro

- Video essay by Adrian Martin and Cristina Alvarez Lopez

- Eyes That Listen, a featurette on Borowczyk's collaborations with electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani

- Jouet Jouyeux (1979), a short film by Borowczyk based on Charles-Émile Reynaud's praxinoscope

- Interview with Sarah Mallinson, former assistant to Borowczyk and fellow animator Peter Foldes

- Returning to Méliès: Borowczyk and Early Cinema, a featurette by Daniel Bird

- Theatrical trailer with optional commentary by editor Khadicha Bariha

- Reversible sleeve with artwork based on Borowczyk's own poster design

- and an illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and archive pieces by Walerian Borowczyk and Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues

Voted as 'disc of the month' in Fangoria, this is a title that horror fans won't want to miss!

- James Harland Lockhart V



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