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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Comedy > Zombie > Monster > Musical > Serial Killer > Thriller > Mystery > Italy > Giallo > Road Trip > Anna and the Apocalypse (2017/Cinedigm DVD)/The Drone (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Double Face (1969*)/Ulysses & Mona (2019/Film Movement DVD)/Whirlpool (1949/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Who Sa

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017/Cinedigm DVD)/The Drone (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Double Face (1969*)/Ulysses & Mona (2019/Film Movement DVD)/Whirlpool (1949/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Who Saw Her Die? (1972/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

Picture: C/C+/B+/C/B-/B+ Sound: C+/C+/B+/C/C+/B+ Extras: C/C/B/C/C+/B Films: C/C-/B-/C/C+/C+

Our look at genre titles out in time for Halloween continues with this mixed bag of odd releases...

John McPhail's Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) is trying hard to become a cult film, out there in theaters for a good while hoping it would become hip and audiences would catch up to it. The tale of more zombies (zzzzzzzzzz) oh, sorry... zombies invading a small town and killing everyone has already been played out, but the makers think they have a twist here by making this into some kind of musical. Wrong!

They also seem to think it is the first zombie musical (wrong again) and that it is either funny and/or ironic (singing about no such thing as a happy ending, guess they missed Scorsese' 1977 epic New York, New York) and as much as the cast gives it their best shot, the script is shooting blanks as soon as this long 93 minutes begins. Ella Hunt leads a cast that is trying, for what that's worth.

Then it has to take place around Christmas (also played out, no matter the monster(s) and after hearing about this one a bit more than your usual indie release, I can see it was all hype and little substance. Maybe if they picked another kind of monster?....

The only extra is a so-so behind the scenes featurette.

Jordan Rubin's The Drone (2019) is one of those all too rare films that at least knows it is being a bad film and seems to like the genre, here involving a serial killer who, when the police catch up with him, is holding the title object and happens to get hit by lightning on the roof at gunpoint (what luck?) resulting in his death, or is it? His soul has been zapped into the cheap object so now he can go on killing. Amazing it was so much more murderous before the lightning struck, so it has features most drones do not.

Unfortunately, a good script is not one of them, but a happy couple land up finding it on one of their garbage cans as they move into a new neighborhood, not knowing the thing's secret, then the killing begins again. Too bad the makers could not have been even funnier, more ironic and tried to take advantage of actually being able to produce schlock that could have been more amusing schlock with people who concentrated and tried harder.

Extras include a trailer gallery, behind the scenes featurette and audio commentary with Rubin, actor Alex Essoe, cinematographer Jonathan Hall and Drone Operator (that's a first!) Travis Geske.

Klaus Kinski stars eloquently in Double Face (1969), a bizarre plot twister that keeps you guessing until the end. The Italian giallo centers around Alexander (Kinski), whose wife he catches cheating on him with another woman, suddenly dies in a car crash. Was the crash legitimately an accident or was someone behind it and tampered w her car? The plot thickens when he sees her in a pornographic movie, eluding to the fact that she could be still alive and faking her death. The film is visually interesting and features great direction by Riccardo Freda.

The film also stars Christiane Kruge, Gunther Stoll, Annabella Incontrera, and Edgar Wallace to name a few.

Double Face is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an Uncompressed Mono 1.0 LPCM audio mix with both the original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits. The film has been remastered in 2K from the original camera negative and looks considerably cleaned up. There's also newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack. In short, this is the best the film has looked or sounding possibly ever.

Special Features include:

New audio commentary by author and critic Tim Lucas

New video interview with composer Nora Orlandi

The Many Faces of Nora Orlandi, a new appreciation of the varied career of the film's composer by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon

The Terrifying Dr. Freda, a new video essay on Riccardo Freda's gialli by author and critic Amy Simmons

Extensive image gallery from the collection of Christian Ostermeier, including the original German pressbook and lobby cards, and the complete Italian cineromanzo adaptation

Original Italian and English theatrical trailers

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell

Sebastien Betbeder's Ulysses & Mona (2019) sells itself as some kind of comedy, but something much weirder and even darker is going on as the title characters (Eric Cantona and Manal Essa respectively) share an interest in art. He is 55 and she is a 20-year-old art student. Though they know little of each other, they go on a road trip anyhow and it is not always hilarity that results.

Maybe it is some kind of odd sense of humor, but the characters are no as developed as I would have liked, the ending plays a little too false and at least she has an interesting boyfriend, but too bad they have a mostly uninteresting script.

Extras include trailers and a short film about another road trip called Wolf Carver that is about ass interesting, but in a far shorter time period.

Otto Preminger goes into Hitchcock territory and brings Ben Hecht with him for Whirlpool (1949) with Gene Tierney as a woman with money happily married to a psychiatrist (Richard Conte in a nice guy role for a change) but also suffers from Kleptomania. When at a fancy shop, she apparently steals a pin, but a gentleman (the inarguable Jose Ferrer) intervenes and saves her from arrest. However, he is up to no good and has a plan to frame her for a murder he intends to commit and he knows hypnotism.

The film starts out slow, but when things get complicated, the screenplay (Hecht co-wrote with the also solid Andrew Solt) and you'll get a kick out of some older technology going along with a well thought-out mystery. It has aged well enough, but I wish it held up even better and remembered much of it after not having seen it for eons. However, Fox stood by Tierney when she needed them most, giving her this high profile production and she more than holds her own.

Twilight Time has licensed this from Fox as one of their Limited Edition Blu-rays, so you'll want to grab it while supplies last.

Extras include yet another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another essay by Mike Finnegan, while the disc adds an older feature length audio commentary track by critic/scholar Richard Schickel, Isolated Music Score with select Sound Effects and even an Original Theatrical Trailer that has its own isolated music score!

Finally, another older Italian giallo thriller, Who Saw Her Die (1972), stars former one-time James Bond George Lazenby and a great score by maestro Ennio Morricone is a sort of political whodunnit mystery directed by Aldo Lado (Night Train Murders). Remastered in 2K high definition from the original 35mm camera negative, this is the first time the full Italian version uncut has been released on disc. Arrow has once again done a great job on the presentation and includes some new and interesting supplemental material to match.

Who Saw Her Die? also stars Adolfo Celi (Thunderball), Anita Strindberg, Nicoletta Elmi, and Dominique Boschero. The film centers around a Venice sculptor (Lazenby) whose young daughter gets murdered. While the police fail to expose the killer, Lazenby takes matters into his own hands and uncovers a dark secret surrounding the sudden death.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and an uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio mix. There's also original English and Italian soundtracks, titles, and credits that are newly restored and exclusive to this presentation. The image is clear with nice levels of contrast in the image and beautiful cinematography. Like many other giallos, this one is quite visually pleasing.

Special Features include:

New audio commentary by author and critic Travis Crawford

I Saw Her Die, a new video interview with director Aldo Lado

Nicoletta, Child of Darkness, a new video interview with actress Nicoletta Elmi

Once Upon a Time in Venice, a new video interview with co-writer Francesco Barilli

Giallo in Venice, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie

Original Italian and English theatrical trailers

Poster and fotobusta gallery

and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

Now for the rest of the playback performance (the Arrow titles are discussed above). The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Whirlpool has some jumping images and a few frames are warped, but it looks good otherwise and I hope the studio can get it fixed further when the time comes for a 4K edition. The sound is here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo and 1.0 Mono lossless mix, but the stereo sounds a little better. Some might find it slightly over-processed. The film cannot help but show its sonic limits, but its not bad for its age.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image (including 1.33 X 1 in the center of said from on Mona) are all on the soft side, more so than they should be for HD productions so recent, but Drone (despite some bad, laughable visual effects) just nudges past the other two with better, more consistent color. Mona only offers lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, while the other two DVDs only offer lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, and while all are underwhelming, Mona is the weakest presentation here.

You can order the Whirlpool limited edition Blu-ray while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Double, Die)



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