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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Mystery > Giallo > Italian > Slasher > Satanism > Monster > Mad Scientist > Superhero > Su > Giallo Essentials (1965 - 1997/Arrow Blu-ray Sets*)/Night Of The Bloody Apes (1969 w/Doctor Doom (1963)/VCI Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021/Marvel/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)/Werewolves With

Giallo Essentials (1965 - 1997/Arrow Blu-ray Sets*)/Night Of The Bloody Apes (1969 w/Doctor Doom (1963)/VCI Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021/Marvel/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)/Werewolves Within (2021/RLJ Blu-ray)/ZillaFoot (2019/DVD/*all MVD)

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

Here's more genre madness than usual for your consideration...

We start with two boxes (maybe the first two) of Italian thrillers called Giallo Essentials (1965 - 1997).

Arrow re-releases some of its best in the Italian giallo genre with their two box sets known as Essentials. If you're a fan of the genre and haven't seen these films then you definitely should! If you already purchased any of these films from Arrow before, then this is simply a re-issue of the former discs.

Giallo Essentials Red Edition

The Possessed (1965)

Also known as La donna del lago, The Possessed (1965) gets the deluxe treatment on Blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video. Beautifully shot in black and white, the erotic thriller centers around a man looking for a woman whose gone missing in an Italian village. While some say she committed suicide, there's more to this bizarre mystery than seems plausible. Based on a well known crime in Italy, The Alleghe Killings, and adapted from a book on the case by Giovanni Comisso, part giallo and part film noir, The Possessed is a clever and well constructed whodunnit mystery that in some ways reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo if it were set in 1960s Italy.

The Possessed stars Peter Baldwin, Virna Lisi, Philippe Leroy, Ennio Balbo, Valentina Cortese, Salvo Randone, and Pla Lindstrom.

This exclusive Arrow Video addition presented the film in 1080p black and white with a new 2K restoration from the original film negative and a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. You can view the film in both the original Italian (with English subtitles) or a dubbed English version in uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio tracks. The image is very clear throughout with perfect contrast levels and rich detail in the image although a few softs appear a little soft focus its certainly intentional. This restoration is very nicely done and captures the haunting cinematography of this work.

Special Features include...

New audio commentary by writer and critic Tim Lucas

Richard Dyer on The Possessed, a newly filmed video appreciation by the cultural critic and academic

Cat's Eyes, an interview with the film's makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi

Two Days a Week, an interview with the film's award-winning assistant art director Dante Ferretti

The Legacy of the Bazzoni Brothers, an interview with actor/director Francesco Barilli, a close friend of Luigi and Camillo Bazzoni

Original trailers

and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips.

The Fifth Cord (1971)

Franco Nero (the original Django) stars in The Fifth Cord (1971), another Italian giallo to add to Arrow's growing HD library. The traditional story of a Detective (Nero) whose trying to solve a case where women keep being murdered and becomes a suspect himself. Shot beautifully and directed by Luigi Bazzoni, this is a landmark film that shines brighter than before than to this new HD remaster.

The film also stars Silvia Monti, Wolfgang Preiss, Ira von Furtstenberg, Edmund Purdom, Rossella Fulk, and Renato Romano.

The Fifth Cord has been remastered in 2K from its original camera negative in this new presentation exclusive to Arrow. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and has original lossless tracks in PCM 1.0 Mono in Italian (with English subtitles) or English dubs. The cinematography is by Vittorio Storaro (who later went on to shoot Apocalypse Now, among so many others and won an Oscar), and is very surreal and effective.

Special Features include...

New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford

Lines and Shadows, a new video essay on the film's use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet

Whisky Giallore, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie

Black Day for Nero, a new video interview with actor Franco Nero

The Rhythm Section, a new video interview with film editor Eugenio Alabiso

Rare, previously unseen deleted sequence, restored from the original negative

Original Italian and English theatrical trailers

Image Gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Peter Jilmstad

The Pyjama Girl Case (1997)

Arrow Films presents The Pyjama Girl Case (1997), directed by director Flavio Mogherini (Delitto passionale), which is an odd Italian murder mystery. Fused with appropriate levels of nudity and violence, the film centers around the case of a young woman found dead on a beach by a little girl.

The film stars Ray Milland, Dalila Di Lazzaro, and Michele Placido, plus, was even inspired by a real unsolved case that happened in Australia.

The 1080p high definition transfer here is very nice and presents the film in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a PCM 1.0 Mono sound mix in both dubbed English and Italian language tracks w/newly translated English subtitles. The film hasn't aged too bad as this 2K restoration from the original camera negative proves.

The soundtrack is a little dated but fun with high pitched sync mixed with a few original songs made for the film itself. Overall, the film is artfully shot and is presented very nicely here for its audience.

Special Features...

New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films

New video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie on the internationalism of the giallo

New video interview with actor Howard Ross

New video interview with editor Alberto Tagliavia

Archival interview with composer Riz Ortolani

Image gallery

Italian theatrical trailer

and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

Giallo Essentials Yellow Edition

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974)

What Have You Done to Solange? (1972, aka La polish chide aiuto), the Massimo Dallamano film, What Have They Done To Your Daughters? (1974), gets remastered in 2K High Definition in this very nice presentation from Arrow.

The film stars Giovanna Ralli (Cold Eyes of Fear), Claudio Cassinelli (The Suspicious Death of a Minor), Mario Adorf (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), and Farley Granger (Strangers On A Train).

The Italian giallo features a motorcycle riding killer whose keen to cover up an elaborate mystery centered around prostitutes and high society secrets. A police inspector (Cassinelli) and a District Attorney (Ralli) get caught in the center of this elaborate plot are try to dodge death themselves.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and both the original Italian PCM Mono track (with English subtitles) and a dubbed English PCM 2.0 Mono track. The soundtrack is lively and sounds great here as does the top notch 2K restoration of the image, which has removed lots of age and wear.

Special Features:

Audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films

Video essay by Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine

Eternal Melody, an interview with composer Stelvio Cipriani

Dallamano's Touch, an interview with editor Antonio Siciliano

Unused hardcore footage shot for the film by Massimo Dallamano

Alternate English opening titles

Italian theatrical trailer

and an Image Gallery

Torso (1973)

Italian splatter king Sergio Martino's Torso (1973), also known as I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale, is a hardcore slasher film that is finally getting the presentation it deserves on disc thanks to Arrow Video.

Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth both think that this film is Martino's masterpiece and they may be right (although I do love All the Colors of the Dark), as this film is a blueprint for the emerging slasher genre at the time of its release. Packed with exotic locations and more nudity and violence that most can handle, Torso is blood and guts cinema at its finest!

Sex murders start happening on a college campus, and four girls retreat to an isolated weekend away from it all. What they don't know is that a giallo murderer has followed them and has plans for them to meet his knife!

Torso stars Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco, and Ernesto Colli.

The film has been remastered in 1080p high definition from the original source material and is presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and paired with two LCPM audio tracks (English Dubbed and original Italian language track with subtitles). The presentation is pretty impressive considered the age of the film and is definitely a step up above previous releases on DVD. One note on the mix: the English audio track on the original, longer cut has some portions of the English audio missing. English audio for these sections was either never recorded or has been lost. As such, these sequences are presented with Italian audio, subtitled in English.

Special Features:

Audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author of All the Colours of Sergio Martino

Video interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino

Video interview with actor Luc Merenda

Video interview with co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi

Video interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Sergio Martino

2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival Q&A with Sergio Martino

Video interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film

Option to view the film with the rare alternate US opening title sequence

and Italian and English theatrical trailers.

Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)

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.

His 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.

It may 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.

Special Features:

Audio commentary by HORRORPEDIA.com's Adrian J. Smith and David Flint

Sex and Death with a Smile, a video essay by author and critic Kat Ellinger on giallo and sex comedy icon Edwige Fenech

A Good Man for the Murders, an archival video interview with actor Nino Castelnuevo

The Blonde Salamander, a video interview with actress Erna Schurer

The Art of Helping, a video interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi

Jack of All Trades, a video interview with actor and production manager Tino Polenghi

Two versions of the opening scene: tinted and untinted viewing options

Original Italian and English theatrical trailers

and an Image Gallery.

I had to double check this disc a few times just to make sure that genre filmmaker Al Adamson (Frankenstein vs Dracula) wasn't involved in this B (or maybe even lesser grade) monster movie, which is very much like the kind of schlock that he made. Night of the Bloody Apes (1969), is a mad scientist movie romp that's low budget but fun and worth checking out if you like time capsule low budget monster movies in the vein of Adamson or Ed Wood.

The film stars Carlos Lopez Moctezuma, Armando Silvestre, Norma Lazareno, Agustin Martinez Solares, Noelia Noel, and Gerardo Zepeda. Notably, this was one of the first films in the UK to be on the Video Nasties list.

A Mad Scientist creates a half human / half ape amidst a dangerous and experimental operation in Night of the Bloody Apes. You would think there would be multiple apes run amok, but this is closer to a Frankenstein-type story with a singular monster. The movie also has a wrestling element, as that was obviously popular at the time.

In Doctor of Doom (1963), which is also included here and centers on a female wrestler (Elizabeth Campbell) who helps another (Lorena Velazquez) get back at a mysterious masked madman who stole her sister's brain. The film also stars Gerardo Zepeda, Chabela Romero, and others.

The films are from 4K remasters and sound fine on the Blu-ray format with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and a lossy English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix. A BD-50 Blu-ray and a standard definition, anamorphically enhanced DVD is included in the set. Overall, the presentation is fine but didn't blow me away. The film was shot likely on low grade stock and so even if the nice remaster it still looks pretty average. The production design and makeup is okay, but nothing special. Some moments, such as a surgery scene, sound like the music and audio is cut up into pieces and disjointed. This may be the case in the final cut and previous releases of the film, I'm not sure, but it seems a bit sloppy.

Special Features include:

Video Essays on both films


Commentary by Travis Crawford

and a Photo Gallery

Night of the Bloody Apes is pure schlock and a fun product of its time, but nothing special.

Andy Serkis' Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) is the sequel to the surprisingly over-simple and not that great, yet massive money machine Venom from a few years ago. Tom Hardy is back as the reporter whose body hides an alien killer who loves to eat humans and talks to him at the worst time (think Mr. Ed or even My Mother, The Car) and also happens to be a reporter! (Yes, you read that right.)

His new assignment happens to be a high risk one, interviewing a serial killer (Woody Harrelson, ready to be as crazy as anyone here) who also hides a killer alien creature inside him, who calls himself Carnage. The odd 97 minutes continues as both men have their alien creatures show up, flaws and all, though Carnage has a girlfriend (a somewhat unrecognizable Naomi Harris, who helps make this somewhat more watchable) with a voice that has sonic abilities to break things. And to think her name is not Memorex!

Basically, this movie is about two super-villains having it out while their actors go wacky and wild, but it is not even as interesting as the Kong/Godzilla showdown we recently saw, yet is not much worse than the go-for-broke Suicide Squad sequel that did poorly at the box office, but is already building a cult following. Michele Williams and Stephen Graham collect easy paychecks and all I could think is 'this could have been much wo4rse' though I think it could have built on the last film and really surprised us. Well, no luck there.

At least make sure you see the last film first and see if you like it as a popcorn movie or not, gross moments notwithstanding.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is an HD shoot with plenty of CGI visuals and the money to make them look good, though I wonder how they'll fair when we get tot he 4K edition, this is not bad. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is a mixdown from the 12-track soundmaster, but has a solid, active, consistent soundfield throughout. Bet the 12-track sounds better.

The DVD offers a much softer, anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image that is hard to watch and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixdown that you can tell has lost all kinds of warmth and detail, but that is how old DVD now is.

Extras include (per the press release):

Outtakes & Bloopers

  • 6 Deleted Scenes

  • Eddie & Venom: The Odd Couple: What happens when two beings inhabit one body? A whole lot of chaos. Tom Hardy, Andy Serkis, and the team of filmmakers talk all things Eddie and Venom.

  • Sick and Twisted Cletus Kasady: Imagining this iconic and psychotic comic book villain for screen with Woody Harrelson, director Andy Serkis, and the production team.

  • Concept to Carnage: Trace the design and animation of Carnage from comic book image to screen symbiotic.

  • and on both discs: Let There Be... Action: Go on the set and experience the action of how Venom: Let There Be Carnage takes shape. From concept to stage, from green screen to film screen, follow the making of the film and see the intense stunts that were captured.

Based on a video game of the same title, Werewolves Within (2021), is out now from RLJ Entertainment on Blu-ray disc and features plenty of werewolf action to satisfy genre fans. The movie has cartoonish characters and an overall silly feel mixed with some clever filmmaking in areas. All in all, the film never seems to quite find its pace and is somewhere ends up feeling a bit disjointed.

The film stars Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, and Michael Chernus. A cop comes to a small wooded resort town where a deadly werewolf is loose. As the bodies start piling up, everyone becomes at risk.

Werewolves Within is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a n MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless audio mix in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The film looks and sounds fine for its most budget despite its screenplay which feels add libbed at times.

No extras.

Finally, giant monster fans are the target audience for this Kaiju (another name for Japanese giant monsters like Godzilla or Gamera) knock off. ZillaFoot (2019,) which is exactly what you think it is: a monster hybrid of Godzilla and Bigfoot. Directed by Anthony Polonia, the ultra ultra low budget film is cheesy fun and I'm sure the folks that made it had a blast. But is it good... or even watchable? Hardly. Maybe with a $100 Million budget this story could be told with some awe, but here it's more of a groan.

A creature known as ZillaFoot is unleashed on Earth by alien forces. The military, of course, strikes back. That's about the extent of the plot for this one, folks. The film is supposed to be a parody of Kaiju movies, I guess, with purposefully bad dubbing and caucasians having Japanese sounding names. The film is pretty silly overall and hard to take seriously as any moment.

ZillaFoot is presented on DVD in standard definition, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. The film was shot on the cheap and the picture quality is as good as it can look on DVD despite common compression issues with the format. The dreaded voice over track kills any sort of mystery to the story and constantly weighs down the plot with over explanation that will bore you to tears.

Special Features:

Extended Cut

Trailer / Kaiju Trailers


and SRS Trailers

The marketing of ZillaFoot is pretty funny as it has the same color scheme as Warner Bros' King Kong vs Godzilla (reviewed elsewhere on this site on 4K UHD) and, yes, even the front cover is a knock-off of the KvG art. While I liked KvG more than most people did, it looks like Citizen Kane when compared to this mess!

- Nicholas Sheffo (Venom) and James Lockhart



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