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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Zombie > Supernatural > Monster > Italy > Disaster > Science Fiction > Mystery > Murder > France > City Of The Living Dead 4K (1980/Fulci/Cauldron 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Last Island (1990/Cult Epics Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Night Of The 12th (2022/Film Movement DVD)

City Of The Living Dead 4K (1980/Fulci/Cauldron 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Last Island (1990/Cult Epics Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Night Of The 12th (2022/Film Movement DVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B+/B-/C Sound: B+/B-/C+ Extras: B-/B-/C Films: B/B-/B-

Next up are three thrillers very much worth knowing about...

Master filmmaker Lucio Fulci's Italian horror classic, City of the Living Dead (1980) gets the 4K UHD treatment from the relatively new label: Cauldron, which was formed by the good people over at Diabolik DVD (which is an excellent web store for physical media of national and foreign territories I might add). Fulci's City of the Living Dead is known by quite a few titles (Twilight of the Living Dead, The Gates of Hell, and others), and is the first film in Fulci's trilogy comprised of The Beyond and House by the Cemetery, both of which are highlights of Italian horror cinema and excellent in their own right. City of the Living Dead was banned several times since it's initial release for use of extreme violent and was certainly an inspiration to filmmakers like Sam Raimi for his Evil Dead franchise and countless other filmmakers as well.

The film centers on the Book of Enoch, which is spoken from and the seven gates of Hell are open, affecting those who were present at the ceremony. The film has several beautifully constructed sequences including a woman being buried alive, a drill going through a man's head, a storm of maggots that cover main characters, a woman puking up her own guts, and more. While the division between what's practical and real is pretty apparent (especially in ultra high definition), at the time the film was released this was really pushing the limits of gore and what people could stomach, making this film a hit at drive-ins and grind house style cinemas alike.

The film stars Christopher George (who infamously did not get along with Fulci on set and apparently swapped out his tobacco pouch with one filled with maggots out of spite), Catriona MacColl (who was in the later installments of this trilogy), Carlo de Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. There's also a cameo by Michelle Soavi (actor and director who made The Church, Cemetery Man, The Sect, and others).

Special Features are expanded and (per the press release) include:

A new audio commentary with film historian Samm Deighan
• Archival audio commentaries with film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson

Archival audio commentary with actress Catriona MacColl moderated by Jay Slater

Archival audio commentary with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice
moderated by Calum Waddell

Zombie Kings: Interview with Massimo Antonello Geleng

Requiem for Bob: Interview with Giovanni Lombardo Radice

On Stage: Q&A with Venantino Venantini & Ruggero Deodato
• Catriona MacColl Q&A

Fabio Frizzi Q&A

The Meat Munching Movies of Gino De Rossi

Carlo of the Living Dead, an archival interview with actor Carlo De Mejo

A Trip Through Bonaventure Cemetery

Catriona MacColl video intro from 2001

Image Gallery

Plus more archival extras and other surprises!

and a double-sided Blu-ray wrap with artwork by Matthew Therrien.

City of the Living Dead is a true horror classic that deserves this 4K treatment without question, and Caldron has a few different versions of this release on the market. A must own upgrade!

Marleen Gorris' The Last Island (1990) is the director's third feature film and part of a sort of trilogy, though each film is more different than you would expect. This time, a group of people are on an island in the 'near future' where they are survivors of the crash of a commercial airliner. Lucky that as many of them survived as they have, they start to organize and salvage what they can as they figure out how to survive until they're found and how to try and get someone to find them.

Of course, all radio communication is out (this is before the current wave of digital smart phones, though even they have limits, the future in this film is is a future that has now come to pass) then as they start to figure out what happened to them and their plane, it may be worse news than any of them could have expected.

The idea is interesting, the cast solid and this has some graphic, harrowing moments. It has also aged better than you might think, with some great points to make and many of which are as relevant as ever. Cheers to the makers for coming up with some more than a 'stuck in a' movie and/or something more exploitive, which is what it would have been in the hands of most filmmakers, especially current ones.

Some faces that might be familiar, even if you do not watch as many foreign films as we do, include Paul Freeman from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Patricia Hayes from Willow and Kenneth Colley from The Empire Strikes Back, showing that they can more than hold their own when they are not in a huge, multi-million dollar franchise film. That should add curio interest to a well-made film that is long overdue for rediscovery.

Extras are plenty and (per the press release) include:

A feature length audio commentary track by Film Scholar Peter Verstraten
Behind-the-Scenes of The Last Island
Interview with Politica Columnist Annemarie Grewel (Cinema 3, 1990)
Original Theatrical Trailer
Promotional Gallery
Double-sided Sleeve
Dual-layered Disc
and an Audio Introduction by Dick Maas.

Though this used to happen much more often years ago when you had more feature film producers, independents and smarter pictures, but you sometimes get a film that comes out of nowhere with little fanfare and it turns out to be a big surprise. Dominik Moll's The Night Of The 12th (2022) is one of those films, a mystery thriller that could have been yet another tired police procedural, but exceeds that and has some real suspense missing in most new mystery thrillers we have seen in the last few years.

A young woman named Clara (Lula Cotton-Frapier) is walking home late at night from a best friends house alone in the town of Grenoble, thinking she is safe and is in a great mood when a masked man walks up to her, says her name, then douses her with a flammable substance, sets her on fire and kills her. The local police have a team investigate, led by newcomer Yuhan (Bastien Boullion), a Captain trying to figure out who is responsible, finds clues and stop the killer should he or she (we see the murder, they never do) kill again. Or was it just a one-time revenge killing?

With hardly any false moments or issues, the screenplay and directing meld well together, slowly picking up momentum and becoming a character study of the people, place and case before them. We get smooth atmosphere that is consistent and realistic, some brutally honest moments and more in a film that should have received more attention than it has yet to receive in the U.S. despite being a hit in France.

Cheers to to the cast really pulling off some great work and the pacing is as effective, but Moll may be the next biog director if he gets noticed and this solid work could not hurt at all. All serious film and mystery fans will want to go out of their way to catch The Night Of The 12th!

The only extras are trailers and (per the press release) a Bonus Short Film: Harbor (Directed by Paul Marques Duarte/France/25 minutes/French & English with English subtitles) An English teacher and her colleague must make a bold decision when they inadvertently smuggle a teenage refugee hiding among their students on board a ferry to England. Its not bad at all.

Now for playback performance. The City of the Living Dead 4K is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with Dolby Vision/HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an audio track in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono 2.0 in Italian (with English subtitles) and English. This new 4K restoration looks pretty solid on disc and is certainly the best this film has ever looked, besting the previous release on Blu-ray from Blue Underground, reviewed elsewhere on this site. There's also a 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and identical audio tracks as the 4K UHD. Definitely worth the upgrade if you are a fan!

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Island can show the age of the materials used despite being from the only surviving English 35mm print, but it was shot on Kodak color negative and holds up well enough. Some more restoration could be done at some point and this can be a little softer overall than I would have liked, but at least the film survived in some form. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) and PCM 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes are just fine and hold up a little better than the print with nice Pro Logic surrounds and was a Dolby A-type analog theatrical stereo release.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Night is well shot, but softer than I would have liked and undermines how well this was made, the angles, editing and more, making me wish more than usual that I wished this was a Blu-ray. The French/English soundtrack is here in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but the 5.1 mix works better and sounds like it is a solid multi-channel mix. Wish it were lossless.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (4K)



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