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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Telekinesis > Murder > Italy > Supernatural > Monster > Werewolf > British > Sexuality > E > Aenigma (1987*)/The Beast Must Die (1974/Amicus*)/Dead Dicks (2019/Artsploitation)/Demonia (1990/*all Severin)/Murdoch Mysteries: Season 13 (2019 - 2020/Acorn)/Zombie For Sale (2019/MVD/Arrow/all Blu-

Aenigma (1987*)/The Beast Must Die (1974/Amicus*)/Dead Dicks (2019/Artsploitation)/Demonia (1990/*all Severin)/Murdoch Mysteries: Season 13 (2019 - 2020/Acorn)/Zombie For Sale (2019/MVD/Arrow/all Blu-rays)

Picture: B/B/C/B/B+/B+ Sound: B-/C+/C/C+/B+/B+ Extras: C+/B/C/C+/D/B Main Programs: C+/B-/C+/C+/B+/C+

Now for another assortment of thrillers, some of which are more graphic than usual...

We'll start with the first of two later films of a popular director in the horror genre. Lucio Fulci's Aenigma (1987) is the director's attempt to do a telekinesis thriller like De Palma's Carrie or The Fury, but also with a touch of Argento and a film many forget it resembles, the Australian genre favorite Patrick. A female student who turns out to be bullied is set up for an elaborate prank that backfires and gets the gal in a coma and bedridden in a hospital. Then suddenly, one by one, her tormentors die!

Set in New England, it has some interesting moments, but like Patrick (including the recent Patrick remake that I thought worked less than the original) just never adds up and though Fulci does use many images that still suggest the supernatural, giving the film more form, it never adds up. Simply put, De Palma helped invent this kind of filmmaking (we could add Cronenberg's original Scanners to the list) and hardly anyone has come close. At least it has its ambitions, unlike so many clones of such storytelling since, though expect some effective moments of horror and shock here and there.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary with Troy Howarth (author of Splintered Vision - Lucio Fulci & His Films), Writing Nightmares - interview with screenwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo, Italian Aenigma - appraising late Fulci featurette, a CD soundtrack in some editions ad an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Paul Annett's The Beast Must Die (1974) is another underrated Peter Cushing film that is finally getting saved, much like the even more once-tattered Horror Express. Severin has come up with a 4K scan and restoration of the film we previously reviewed in an Amicus DVD box set. In that review, I said that the film....

''...what it would have been like if William Castle made The Last Of Sheila, making a mystery out of which guest of a rich man who loves to hunt (Calvin Lockhart) is actually a werewolf, complete with a Werewolf Break! Yes, you get to guess who is the killer in the best of the three films in this set, with a cast that includes Peter Cushing, Marlene Clark, Anton Diffring, Charles Gray, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon and Michael Gambon. Paul Annett directed from Michael Winder's screenplay that throws in action and even Spy elements to the story.''

Of course, Cushing continues to be a fan favorite, from Hammer Films to Star Wars, Charles Gray continues to be a fan favorite from Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diamonds Are Forever and many other films and now, the film can add a new curio interest as Michael Gambon has become more popular thanks to the Harry Potter films, et al. That's good, because this is one of my favorite and best Amicus films of all and deserves this deluxe treatment. It is my favorite release on this list and is highly recommended.

Expanded extras include a repeat of previously issued feature length audio commentary with Director Paul Annett and Filmmaker Jonathan Sothcott and adds And Then There Were Werewolves - Audio Essay By Horror Historian Troy Howarth, Directing the Beast - Archival Interview with Director Paul Annett, Audio Interview Excerpt of Milton Subotsky on Beast Must Die - Interviewed by Philip Nutman, an Audio Interview with Producer Max J Rosenberg – Interviewed by Sothcott and an Original Theatrical Trailer with Optional Commentary by Genre Scholars Kim Newman and David Flint. Nice upgrade all around.

Mel (Kristina Sandev) visits her suicidal brother Richie (Heston Horwin) to discover each time he kills himself he is reborn out of a hole in the wall (which looks like a giant vagina!). Now, Mel has to help Richie somehow get rid his dead bodies that's been piling up in his apartment, but can Richie stop killing himself and making more dead bodies?

In Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer's Dead Dicks (2019), Mel just accepted into the university of her choice, but she gets a call from her brother Richie for help. Richie is a depressed and suicidal artist and discovers he has been killing himself and being reborn from a strange hole in the wall each time, now there are several dead bodies of himself all over the apartment (and he's been using it for art). Now, they have to get rid of the bodies and discover how and why this is happening to him, she also has to deal with Richie's angry neighbor who is tired of Richie's loud rock music (who they also accidentally kill and he get reborn). They then discover that ANYONE who dies in the apartment gets reborn. Mel accidentally drinks poison and she is reborn, BUT Richie forgot to mention who ever get reborn can't leave the room, now they must find some way to break the cycle of rebirth. Richie realizes they have to destroy the brain in order not to be reborn and commits one final suicide. Mel not knowing what to do decides to crawl into the hole that birth them.

This film was one of those weird macabre/horror films, only art students would use dead bodies for art. While it tries to be horror it just comes off as weird. Extras include director's commentary, 4 video diaries and FX featurette.

Lucio Fulci's Demonia (1990) is part of a exploitation cycle of 'killer nun' films, some of which reach to the past and some of which do not. This one has Canadian archeologists unleashing a vengeful nun of the past wrongfully murdered in what looks to be a witchhunt of some kind (the excavation looks similar to moments from the original Exorcist and Omen films) and the nun has a sister!

This lands up all over the place, but again, does have a rich look that has a rich enough atmosphere and some of the images are still creepy and shocking, though some visual effects do not work and were as bad then as they are now. This can get creative, but it still cannot escape being as cynical as any other such film we have ever seen (or avoid) and it cannot escape the subgenre it will always be stuck in.

Extras include Holy Demons - Interview with uncredited Co-Writer/Assistant Director Antonio Tentori, Fulci Lives - Interview with Lucio Fulci on set of Demonia, Of Skulls and Bones - Interview with camera operator Sandro Grossi, a feature length audio commentary with Stephen Thrower, Author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

If you have not heard already from our many reviews of previous seasons, Will Murdoch is a detective solving crimes and murders in Toronto at the turn of the century at the 4th Precinct, along with Chief Inspector Brackenreid, Constable Crabtree and Watts, Dr. Julia his wife and Miss Violet the coroner. Together, they continue to protect the innocent and bring murders to justice in Murdoch Mysteries: Season 13 (2019 - 2020).

Murdoch and his team at the 4th Precinct are known for solving all sorts of murders using of forensic sciences and Murdoch's wits and inventions. From catching the crooks, to rewriting history or even saving the world from criminal masterminds. Chief Inspector Brackenreid is the captain of the 4th Precinct and he holds the team together and brings the case, he tolerates and respects Murdoch unorthodox methods because of his success rate in solving murders. Murdoch is supported by George Crabtree an aspiring detective and novelist; Watts is a no-nonsense Jewish inspector who is also secretly homosexual. And his wife Dr. Julia Ogden and Miss Violet serves as the doctor and coroner in aiding Murdock with clues on the dead bodies to the murderer.

This is a murder mystery series set in the turn of the century in Toronto, Canada, while the characters felt more English and setting was postindustrial age. The setting allowed however many American historical figures to make cameos in the series, including the President, Ford, Carnegie, etc... While it was a murder mystery series, the main character strongly reminded me of MacGyver TV Series in using science, inventions and his wits to help solving cases. Extras include Q & A with Yannick Bisson and Daniel Maslany.

We get 18 shows, more than expected and they are...

Ep 1: Troublemakers - A bomb blows up at a woman's right protest.

Ep 2: Bad Pennies - Murdock must solve a murder between the Pinkertons and dock workers who are on a strike.

Ep 3: Forever Young - Murdoch discovers a dead body of a young woman who body remained un-aged for over a decade.

Ep 4: Prodigal Father - In a murder case, George is reunited with his long-lost father.

Ep 5: Murdoch and the Cursed Caves - Murdoch investigates a case where the killer might be a supernatural being.

Ep 6: The Philately Fatality - A murder is committed of a wealthy man, but can the police curb their homosexual prejudices?

Ep 7: Toronto the Bad - Higgin's new side job as a cabby seems to be picking up all the suspects in their murder case.

Ep 8: The Final Curtain - Murdoch and his friends finds themselves in a murder at a theater about murder and all of the actors are suspects, but will they solve the murder or be the critics?

Ep 9: The Killing Dose - Julia is forced to make a difficult choice when a patient is in pain or to help her die.

Ep 10: Parker in the Rye - A whiskey baron and his family are found murdered and the only witness has amnesia.

Ep 11: Staring Blindly into the Future - Edison, Einstein, Tesela, Curie and greatest minds of the times have been kidnapped into building a doomsday machine.

Ep 12: Fox Hunt - A rich man is found murdered on a fox hunt and Inspector Brackenreid is in the middle of it.

Ep 13: Kill Thy Neighbor - Murdoch's neighbor is found murdered and all evidence points toward him.

Ep 14: Rigid Silence - Murdoch and Julia discovers a plan for a prison break when one of the prisoners is found murdered.

Ep 15: The Trial of Terrence Meyers - Terrence Meyers, a master spy is accused of attempting to assassinate the Prime Minister, however, Murdock believes he is innocent.

Ep 16: In the Company of Women - Julia, Effie and Miss Cherry decide solve a murder when their hairdresser is found dead.

Ep 17: Things Left Behind - Violet's past begins to catch up to her. Parker is murdered. George is kidnapped by a crazy fan.

Ep 18: The Future is Unwritten - Violet must decide what to do, to continue lying or tell Murdoch the truth about her past. George must escape his crazy fan. Watts comes out. Murdoch and Brackenreid decide to NOT do things by the book in order to do what is right and just.

Finally, you haven't seen a 'Zom Com' (Zombie Comedy) quite like this unique Korean horror film, Zombie For Sale also known as The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale (2019). This is the latest spoof of the genre, but you get mixed results and it is not quite as good as Zombieland or The Dead Don't Die, but diehards of the genre will likely want to catch it just the same, though coming from Korea, it has some moments that just make it a little different.

The film stars Se-ah Jang, Jae-yeong Jeong, Ga-ram Jung, Nam-gil Kim, Soo-kyung Lee, and Ji-won Uhm.

Special Features:

Brand new audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin

Q&A with director Lee Min-jae from a 2019 screening at Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago, moderated by film critic and author Darcy Paquet

Eat Together, Kill Together: The Family-in-Peril Comedy - brand new video essay by critic and producer Pierce Conran exploring Korea's unique social satires

Making-Of Featurette

Behind-the-Scenes footage

Original Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Mike Lee-Graham

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Josh Hurtado.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Aenigma and 1080p 1.66 X 1 image on Demonia were both shot on 35mm Kodak color film negative and processed by the Italian lab Telecolor, so they have their similarities and have been restored very well here, both from 4K scans. Color is very accurate and detail is fine and natural. Expect some grain and there are stylized softer shots here and there. Both offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound in Italian and English mixes. Both have heavy post-dubbing and are on the weak side, but there is more English in both films than expected.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Beast is a revelation with its new 4K scan of the original camera materials is a real revelation and finally delivers the film with the clarity and detail it deserves. The older Dark Sky DVD we reviewed was soft, weak and disappointing, but this is great, my favorite transfer on this list and the color is also as fine as the depth in many scenes. The film rarely show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also as clean and clear as we will ever hear this film.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Dead is weak and disappointing, though some of this is supposed to look bad we suspect, yet it makes matters much worse when the only soundtracks are only lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo. Why? Either way, the combination is poor and disappointing.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Murdoch episodes are as good as the show has been and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on each show pretty well recorded throughout, so the combination is as good as it likely ever will be for this show.

Finally, Zombie For Sale is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 codec and a 2.38:1 widescreen aspect ratio paired with an Original uncompressed Korean 2.0 PCM Stereo track and Korean 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless options. (Both with English subtitles.) The image clarity is strong and consistent throughout the presentation and is up to the normal high quality home presentation that Arrow Video is known for.

- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Dead, Murdoch) and James Lockhart (Zombie)



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