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Blu-ray Reviews for October 3, 2016

Selections from this week’s Blu-ray releases can be found below in this ongoing weekly summary of reviews. Click on any of the following titles to navigate directly to that review. This week’s releases include the next installment of the Child’s Play series, Cult of Chucky, Arrow’s new edition of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, Jodie Foster’s sophomore directorial effort Home for the Holidays, HBO’s Bernie Madoff pic The Wizard of Lies, and David Lowry’s quiet and introspective tragedy A Ghost Story A list of other titles available this week on Blu-ray can be found at the end.


Distributor: Universal Studios

Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Fiona Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group-therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grownup nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

The Child’s Play series has been one wild ride. After the classic, humorless first film, the series – like most horror franchises – devolved into your more typical slice and dice (though I unabashedly love Child’s Play 2). After exhausting its a straight-up horror experience, series writer Don Mancini (who also directed the three most recent entries) served up a mini-reboot with 1998’s Bride of Chucky, which allowed the series to deviate in a more knowingly comical manner. Things got meta with Seed of Chucky, which saw a Hollywood film being made about the “real” killer doll’s exploits, and once John Waters’ face melted off and Chucky ran Britney Spears’ car off a cliff, it seemed like the series had found itself in a creative corner.

Well, Mancini took the opportunity to, again, softly reboot the series with 2013’s Curse of Chucky, which dropped the broad humor, the meta winking, and everything Jennifer Tilly, steering the series back to the darker tone established by the original trilogy. It was a worthy effort, and certainly better than Child’s Play 3 and Seed of Chucky, but it wasn’t quite a return to form. Still, Chucky voice actor Brad Dourif was back, and his real life daughter, Fiona Dourif, played the lead “final girl” and became quickly beloved by fans.

Cult of Chucky serves as a direct sequel to that film, and just might be the most ridiculous and insane entry so far (and I am totally including Seed of Chucky in that – ya know, the film in which two plastic killer dolls give birth to a child doll while rapper Redman is directing a fake movie about their lives). Original Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent, making a return to the series after 28 years) is back, and he’s keeping a living Chucky doll head in his isolated cabin home for nightly torture sessions. And Jennifer Tilly is back as well, again playing Tiffany, murderous girlfriend of Charles Lee Ray (or, maybe she’s just playing Jennifer Tilly. Who knew a horror series about a killer doll could get so esoteric?).

It’s also strikingly directed. Mancini, who wrote several episodes of NBC’s short-lived Hannibal series (“I can’t believe they canceled that show,” Chucky grumbles at some point), embraced that series’ ultra-pretentious approach. Cult of Chucky is the most interesting looking film in the series – one might go as far as saying artfully directed  –  with one murder sequence in particular looking straight-up Hannibal inspired.

Cult of Chucky is also often very funny, mostly deriving from Chucky’s one-liners, which completely dwarf any that have come before. Dourif has been voicing this character for thirty years now and he hasn’t lost his spark — not to mention gaining creative mileage from the asylum setting, a clear callback to the actor’s Academy-Award winning appearance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There are multiple references to this, from Juicy Fruit to Chucky outright mumbling half that film’s title in his typically profane manner. And like the previous films, the callbacks to other horror films are numerous, even including an unexpected nod to The Witch.

However, there are portions of Cult of Chucky that don’t work. Nearly all of the characters beyond Fiona are either inconsequential, irritating, or serve no purpose other than to make the loony bin loonier and eventually die bloody. The gore gags are great in concept but not in execution. Chucky looks cheap – not quite Spirit Halloween-cheap, but close. It’s appreciated that the film leans more on puppetry and practical effects than CGI, but its results are still unconvincing. The return of Alex Vincent promises something big, but after some really interesting implications are made regarding his post-Chucky psyche, his character plays out with no point whatsoever, except for setting up the inevitable next sequel. (Although the post-credits stinger has me legit excited.) Jennifer Tilly, too, seems shoe-horned in (and with an especially off-kilter performance), as if her character’s appearance here is more about fan service, and the dispatching of one character in particular is more about tying up loose ends rather than creating drama. Lastly, Cult of Chucky alludes to a really interesting, psychologically-based new direction very early on, but what’s set up here doesn’t come to fruition by the end, resulting in a missed opportunity.

And speaking of “that end” – yeesh.

Still, by now, Chucky is on his seventh entry and the series has gone direct to video. Budgets have been cut, and multiple concepts have been explored. And I can name several other horror franchises that became completely lifeless before their seventh entry. If Mancini is on board for Chucky 8: Your Soul, then of course I am, too. By now, Chucky has become a horror hero to audiences, almost the good guy. And you can’t keep a Good Guy down.

PICTURE & SOUND:

Cult of Chucky actually looks phenomenal in high-def, and Mancini’s earlier mentioned Hannibal-inspired directing is largely to credit for that. Cult of Chucky takes place in the fanciest and most aesthetically pleasing asylum ever in cinema. It’s very white and institutional, but without being depressing, and everything is meticulously designed. Clarity of detail is staggering. As for audio, if you fall victim easily to jump scares, then beware: you’re in for a handful, and man, those speakers BOOM as Character Man leans into frame unexpectedly.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

Cult of Chucky’s special features do a pretty standard job of shining a light on the film’s production, but the short documentary called “The Dollhouse” by Kyra Gardner, daughter of the series’ head puppeteer and special effects whiz Tony Gardner, stands out from the rest. As earlier mentioned, Child’s Play has been an ongoing enterprise for the last thirty years shared by a handful of people (Mancini, Dourif, puppeteer Gardner, and producer David Kirshner). “The Dollhouse” looks at what life was like for the kids of some of those participants while each sequel was in production, but it also looks at the family atmosphere that was created on set simply because of how long everyone has been working together. It’s unexpectedly touching and also a little sad — which is the last kind of supplement you’d expect on a disc for Chucky 7.

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Feature Commentary with Director and Writer Don Mancini, and Head Puppeteer Tony Gardner
  • Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky
  • The Dollhouse
  • Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky

OVERALL:

Chucky is back in a mostly enjoyable sequel — one that towers over the last two entries, at the very least. It explores new territory (without much explanation) and slowly ties back in earlier events from earlier films in an effort to group everyone together. Is the next Chucky sequel to come the one where they finally get it totally right? Probably not. But that probably won’t make it any less fun to watch. Cult of Chucky’s Blu-ray offers tremendous PQ and AQ and a respectable amount of special features. And if you own the entire series already, a purchase is a no brainer. (Chucky: The Complete 7-Movie Collection is also available today.)


Distributor: Arrow Video

Based on a short story by Stephen King, The Children of the Corn is a horror classic that has spawned multiple sequels and imitators, but none as harrowing as this masterpiece of horror.

A young couple travelling cross-country find themselves stranded in the small town of Gatlin, where they meet a mysterious religious cult of children. With no adults in sight the terror brews as the new arrivals find the secrets of the prospering corn fields and the children who inhabit them. Led by the mysterious Isaac and the unhinged Malachi the blood-curdling secrets of the children of Gatlin are soon revealed to their new ‘outlander’ guests. Featuring stellar performances from Linda Hamilton (Terminator) and Peter Horton (thirtysomething) and based on a short story by Stephen King, The Children of the Corn is a horror classic that has spawned multiple sequels and imitators, but none as harrowing as this masterpiece of horror.

Did you know there are nine Children of the Corn films?

NINE!

Not to mention that the Weinsteins, who hold the rights to this series and are responsible for all seven direct-to-video sequels, have been trying to do a proper remake for years, but for some reason have yet to crack the definitive story about murderous kids worshipping a corn god. (A remake was eventually made for television and by all accounts is one of the worst in the series.)

The general understanding of long-running horror franchises is this: once there are enough sequels or remakes weighing down the series, the original is then looked at and proclaimed to be “the only good one” or “the best” by default. This is true with the Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street. This is arguably true with Hellraiser. This is not at all true with Children of the Corn. Even in this beautiful new edition from Arrow Video, which makes it look heralded and significant, Children of the Corn is still incredibly stupid. The aforementioned logline — murderous kids worshipping a corn god – still applies. And as you watch full scenes of Linda Hamilton singing and dancing in a hotel room, or R.G. Armstrong wandering around his desolate garage forever looking for creepy kids, you will know beyond a doubt that this feature-length film is based only on a short story. A very short story.

The most notable thing about Children of the Corn is its inclusion of a lot of familiar faces who would then go on to immediately appear in much more notable genre films: Linda Hamilton in The Terminator, Robby Kiger in The Monster Squad, John Philbin in Return of the Living Dead, even Courtney Gains in The ‘Burbs. (This series would also attract a lot of famous actors before they were famous. Chief among them are Charlize Theron in Part 3, Naomi Watts in Part 4, and Eva Mendez in Part 5. They must love corn!)

PICTURE & SOUND:

Children of the Corn was never an attractive film to begin with, regardless of whatever meticulousness has been applied to it in later high-def years. Some scenes look very blown out and foggy, such as the opening diner massacre. There are also intermittent issues with softness or focus, most notably in the R.G. Armstrong sequence. Having said that, these are issues entirely with the source material, and not the new 4k presentation presented by Arrow for this release. This new iteration of looks very good, presenting (faithfully) the bland surroundings of Gatlin, Nebraska. Clarity is reasonably captured and presented, and the image is very stable and surefooted, especially for a film of this age, budget, and reputation.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Brand new audio commentary with John Sullivan of childrenofthecornmovie.com and horror journalist Justin Beahm
  • Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
  • Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn – retrospective piece featuring interviews with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
  • It Was the Eighties! – an interview with actress Linda Hamilton
  • Return to Gatlin – brand new featurette revisiting the film’s original Iowa shooting locations
  • Stephen King on a Shoestring – an interview with producer Donald Borchers
  • Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn – an interview with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias
  • Feeling Blue – an interview with the actor who played “The Blue Man” in the fabled excised sequence
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • FIRST PRESSING: Collectors booklet featuring new writing in the film.

OVERALL:

Children of the Corn has its fans, so this is a good day for them. Arrow always does excellent work with their releases, and much of the time those releases don’t really deserve it. This new edition includes a brand new excellent transfer and a cornucopia of special features. Don’t be a cornball; pick up this release at once. You’ll feel corny if you don’t. Don’t forget the popcorn, okay? (Corn.)


Distributor: Shout! Factory

Claudia Larson is heading home for yet another chaotic and exasperating family Thanksgiving. But a new visitor offers some interesting possibilities. If they can duck the flying turkeys, this romance may just have a chance. Masterfully directed by Academy Award® winner Jodie Foster (Little Man Tate), Home For The Holidays boasts an all-star cast including Academy Award® winner** Holly Hunter (The Piano), Robert Downey, Jr., Academy Award® winner Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg, and Claire Danes.

Toward the end of Home for the Holidays, the Larson sisters have a nasty post-Thanksgiving spat. When it’s understood that common ground won’t be struck, one sister says to the other, “We don’t have to like each other. We’re family.”

Family dysfunction is generally played for laughs in film, especially when set around the holidays. The broadest example of this is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the popularity of which and devotion to by film fans continues to astound me. Home for the Holidays goes for the same concept – a family comprised of wildly different people gathering together for the Thanksgiving holiday and whose quirks begin to create immense tension and drama – but while existing in a slightly more realistic environment.

The screenplay by W.D. Richter (Big Trouble in Little China – yes!) is extremely quirky. Much of the dialogue and character interaction feels aloof at first, but it’s an aloofness that one can settle into and feel at home with. The Larson family, essayed by Claudia (Holly Hunter), brother Tim (Robert Downey, Jr.), mother Adele (Ann Brancroft), father Henry (an astounding Charles Durning), sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) and their various plus-ones (Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg, and Geraldine Chapman, the batshit but endearing Aunt Glady), are all drastically different from each other. The siblings grew up, apart, and dispersed to different cities – but not all of them – which left behind a fair amount of resentment. Claudia came back with her life in shambles, Tim came back gay, and Joanne never left at all.  

Home for the Holidays was Jodie Foster’s second film as a director following Little Man Tate, and her choices seem to match the aloofness of the screenplay in that she’s clearly letting the actors act and find the scene. Because of this, much of it all comes off extremely natural. Characters are smiling when they shouldn’t be and there’s a slight rift with choreography as if to suggest things are happening spur of the moment. (The title cards are definitely hokey, however.) As usual, Hunter is a joy to watch, standing her ground easily in a more comedic environment, but Home for the Holidays absolutely belongs to Charles Durning. It could very well be the late actor’s best performance.

PICTURE & SOUND:

Home for the Holidays looks and sounds great without offering an overly show presentation. Clarity is very good, especially on close-ups. The scene where Henry and Claudia watch Super 8 home movies in the basement is the best looking sequence in the film, especially during Henry’s melancholy monologue. The film is very low-key, existing in a sea of non-stop dialogue over any heightened visuals, so luckily the dialogue is prominent, easily understandable, and free of any hiss.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

    • Audio Commentary By Director Jodie Foster
    • Original Theatrical Trailer
    • Gallery

OVERALL:

Home for the Holidays is a good antidote to all the overly schmaltzy or more broadly comedic films set during the holidays. Its characters hew more closely to reality, and because of this, their interactions feel more genuine. Its new Blu-ray is one of Shout! Factory’s less showy releases (the spare special features are ports from the previous DVD – nothing new has been produced), but the PQ and AQ look just about right. Home for the Holidays isn’t your typical feel-good holiday comedy, as the film ends with conflicts unresolved, but, like the holiday season itself, the idea of family is always warmer than the reality.


Distributor: HBO

Starring two-time Oscar®-winner Robert De Niro as Bernie Madoff and three-time Oscar® nominee Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife Ruth, this HBO Films drama dissects the events that led to the Wall Street financier’s stunning downfall in December 2008 for defrauding investors of over $65 billion in the most infamous Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Directed by Oscar®-winner Barry Levinson, The Wizard of Lies vividly recounts Madoff’s audacious deceptions that culminated in his vilification while catapulting his wife and two sons into a harsh and unrelenting spotlight, with tragic consequences.

HBO has never shied away from being political, and not just because they’ve been the longtime home for Real Time with Bill Maher. Twice before they have produced films about the last two WTF moments in American politics: the 2000 Florida recount during the Bush/Gore election, and the 2008 introduction of Sarah Palin to the rest of the country/world. Recount, starring a very pre-House of Cards Kevin Spacey (as a good guy!) did an exemplary job of detailing just exactly what went down in Florida during those tumultuous days. The subject matter was serious, and even disconcerting, but director Jay Roach (Austin Powers) kept it light and resulted with, in this writer’s opinion, one of the finest films HBO ever produced. Following years later was Game Change, a significantly pared down adaptation of the book of the same name. Roach returned to, again, provide a summarized but faithful account of the 2008 Obama/McCain election while still keeping it light. (With Sarah Palin as your subject, you’d almost have to.)

The Wizard of Lies seems pretty intent on breaking the mold a bit, this time with director Barry Levinson. And with powerhouse names like Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, it’s obviously The Wizard of Lies – along with the subject matter – was envisioned as  a prestige picture. Levinson eschews the lighter touch of his colleague from those other films and really delves into the darkness that was evident in Bernie Madoff as well as in his family — one, the film purports, that he perpetrated through a disconnect often seen in what psychologists term “sociopath.”

De Niro’s actors’s slump will likely continue after The Wizard of Lies, which is a shame, because the film actually sees him playing a character again, and not just tired De Niro who can’t believe he agreed to make Meet All The Babies. He’s small and withdrawn and in a constant state of restrained agitation. The Wizard of Lies ranks as one of his better efforts on his part, both from a performance standpoint as well as the surrounding film; the actor hasn’t been worth watching in a lead role since 1999’s Ronin, which is pretty sad, so The Wizard of Lies reminds us of his capabilities. Pfeiffer, too, is excellent, and seeing the exude systematic deconstruction of her family — some directly caused by Madoff’s greed, and some not — feels like a gut punch.

The Wizard of Lies isn’t overtly political, but the act of telling this story itself is a political statement, in the same way as Adam McKay’s The Big Short — that this kind of greed often goes unchecked and often leads to disaster. In theory, we have the means to root out this greed and corruption, but in reality, we never will. And the cycle will continue.

PICTURE & SOUND:

The Wizard of Lies isn’t a very showy production, but what is on display here looks rather good. Colors hew to the darker, not leaving much to pop, but clarity is consistently great throughout the running time. Not surprisingly, it’s also very dialogue driven, which the audio presentation supports with good prominence and fidelity.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Cast Interviews

OVERALL:

The Wizard of Lies is a dark and depressing subject, but it’s a story that needed to be told. Even the half-aware members of the populace knew the name Bernie Madoff and had a rough idea of what he did, but the means through which he did it, and the personal disaster he left in his wake was lesser known, or not known at all. The Wizard of Lies seems to deviate back and forth between Madoff being a sociopath and a tragic character. One might even argue he’s both. I can’t imagine this is one title collectors would feel compelled to own, but for those that do, PQ and AQ is excellent, though special features are a little weak.


Distributor: Lionsgate

Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star as a young couple who — after being separated by loss — discover an eternal connection and a love that is infinite.

David Lowery is a filmmaker I love. He first burst onto the scene a few years ago with a low-key and quietly beautiful film called Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, about an outlaw couple just trying to live long enough to leave their town forever. It was gently and intimately made, and with a gorgeous score by Daniel Hart, featuring strings and soft clapping hands. (Yep, I cried.) Oddly, of all directors, Lowery was chosen by Disney to take on the live-action remake of Pete’s Dragon, one of the earlier reboots of an animated property the studio has been spearheading. What could have resulted in a cash grab instead became a deeply personal and surprisingly emotional film not just about a kid and his dragon, but about loss and growing up. (Yep, I cried.)

For a long time, A Ghost Story was cryptically known as an experimental, mystery film that Lowery had shot over the summer of 2016 with his Saints leads Casey Affleck and Mara Rooney. The secrecy behind the film was the type usually reserved for more high-profile projects, not because a major studio was worried about giving too much away and stunting the box office take, but because to attempt an explanation as to A Ghost Story’s concept and approach was just too risky. Better to see it for yourself and fully immerse yourself in Lowery’s daring creation than to catch wind of it from afar and decide, immediately, there’s no way you could take the concept seriously.

To me, A Ghost Story defies a traditional reviews, so I won’t bother. It’s less a film and more of an experience — the beauty and strangeness and specificity I could never even begin to properly laud. Please see it once, even if you hate it. Because you just might. But you might love it, too. I do.

PICTURE & SOUND:

A Ghost Story is beautifully shot, though it’s obviously a raw, almost guerilla-like production. Much of the film was improvved — not just the action, but the choreography of the camera as well. It looks gorgeous in spite of all that. Dialogue is sparse, as A Ghost Story is a very quiet story, but again, the beautiful score by Daniel Hart helps to bring a cohesiveness to the action. The audio presentation is aided because of it.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Audio Commentary with Director David Lowery, Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo, Production Designer Jade Healy, and Composer Daniel Hart
  • “A Ghost Story and the Inevitable Passing of Time” Featurette
  • “A Composer’s Story” Featurette
  • Deleted Scene

OVERALL:

Some filmgoers balk at the idea of a critic deciding for everyone else what’s “good” or “bad” – that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Terms like “a critic’s film” or “arthouse film” have become almost derogatory these days, with the inclination being that some films were made only to be lauded, win awards, or permeate with a sense of self-importance. I won’t deny that sometimes that happens, but there definitely does exist such a thing as a film that’s unusual, or challenging, or lacking mainstream appeal, and that’s only because that’s the kind of film it was destined to be, rather than a hoity-toity filmmaker having an ulterior motive. Audiences want to be entertained while critics want to be challenged. A Ghost Story is one of the rare few titles whose audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is more than 30% lower than the critics’ score. That should give you an indication of what kind of film A Ghost Story is. (Yep, I cried.)


Also Available This Week:

Distributor: Shout! Factory

When Justin Powell (Ben Sullivan) is captured by two ski-masked men and dragged back to a secluded cabin, it’s anything but a standard kidnapping. Waiting for Justin at the cabin is his father (Johnathon Schaech, That Thing You Do!), mother (Deborah Kara Unger, Crash, Silent Hill), brother (Nick Roux), and former girlfriend (Chelsea Ricketts). Together, they are dedicated to freeing him from the sinister brainwashing he’s undergone at the hands of a vicious cult known as The Jackals.

With the help of Jimmy Levine (Stephen Dorff, Blade), an experienced cult deprogrammer, the family does their best to bring Justin back to reality … but their plans go awry when the cult descends upon the cabin, demanding Justin back. A vicious battle unfolds, testing familial loyalties and unleashing a bloodbath from which no one is safe.

Special Features:

  • Commentary With Director Kevin Greutert And Writer Jared Rivet
  • Interviews With The Cast And Crew
  • Original Theatrical Trailers

Distributor: IFC Midnight / Shout! Factory

In a post-apocalyptic future ravaged by overpopulation, a lone survivor (Martin McCann) mercilessly protects his remote sliver of property from intruders. When a mother (Olwen Fouéré) and daughter (Mia Goth, A Cure For Wellness) in search of food and shelter show up at his doorstep, he’s suspicious, but cautiously allows them in. Soon, an uneasy alliance, borne of necessity, forms between the trio – but distrust and paranoia threaten to give way to violence at any moment. The Survivalist, the intense, heart-pounding debut feature from Stephen Fingleton, viscerally evokes the fear, tension, and all-consuming desperation of life in a kill-or-be-killed dystopia.


Distributor: Arrow Video

From Lucio Fulci, the godfather of gore (The Psychic, The Beyond), comes one of the most powerful and unsettling giallo thrillers ever produced: his 1972 masterpiece Don’t Torture a Duckling.

When the sleepy rural village of Accendura is rocked by a series of murders of young boys, the superstitious locals are quick to apportion blame, with the suspects including the local “witch”, Maciara (Florinda Bolkan, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin). With the bodies piling up and the community gripped by panic and a thirst for bloody vengeance, two outsiders – city journalist Andrea (Tomas Milian, The Four of the Apocalypse) and spoilt rich girl Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times) – team up to crack the case. But before the mystery is solved, more blood will have been spilled, and not all of it belonging to innocents…

Deemed shocking at the time for its brutal violence, depiction of the Catholic Church and themes of child murder and paedophilia, Don’t Torture a Duckling is widely regarded today as Fulci’s greatest film, rivalling the best of his close rival Dario Argento. Arrow Video is proud to present this uniquely chilling film in its UK high definition debut.

Special Features:

• New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
• Giallo a la Campagna, a new video discussion with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
• Hell is Already in Us, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
• Interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides


Distributor: Arrow Video

In the wake of the success of Dario Argento’s ground-breaking giallo The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, numerous other directors stepped forward to try their hand at these lurid murder-mysteries. At the forefront was Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Torso), whose sensual 70s thrillers starring Edwige Fenech and George Hilton are widely celebrated as some of the best the genre has to offer.

The final of Martino’s six gialli, The Suspicious Death of a Minor combines conventional giallo trappings with elements of the then flourishing ‘poliziotteschi’ crime thrillers. Claudio Cassinelli (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?) stars as undercover cop Paolo Germi, on the trail of a Milanese criminal outfit following the brutal murder of an underage prostitute. But a killer-for-hire is also on the prowl, bumping off witnesses before they have a chance to talk…

Also starring Mel Ferrer (Nightmare City), Barbara Magnolfi (Suspiria) and Jenny Tamburi (The Psychic), and featuring a script by veteran giallo writer Ernesto Gastaldi (All the Colours of the Dark, Death Walks at Midnight), this unique and lesser-known entry in Martino’s filmography serves as an essential link between two different movements in Italian popular cinema.

Special Features:

• Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
• English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
• New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
• New interview with co-writer/director Sergio Martino
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon


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J. Tonzelli is a writer, film critiquer, and avid Arnold/Van Damme/Bronson enthusiast who resides in rural South Jersey. He is the author of "The End of Summer: Thirteen Tales of Halloween" and the "Fright Friends Adventure" series, co-authored with Chris Evangelista. He loves abandoned buildings, the supernatural, and films by John Carpenter. You can read some of his short fiction at his website, JTonzelli.com, or objectify him by staring at his tweets: @jtonzelli. He apologizes for all the profanity.

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