Monday, July 4, 2022

The Righteous – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 2021
Director: Mark O'Brien
Writer: Mark O'Brien
Cast: Henry Czerny, Mark O'Brien, Mimi Kuzyk, Mayko Nguyen, Kate Corbett, Nigel Bennett

Release Date: July 18th, 2022 (UK), July 19th, 2022 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 95 Minutes 58 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (USA)

"A former priest, Frederic Mason (Henry Czerny), anguished by the tragic death of his young daughter, finds himself wrestling with his religious convictions when a mysterious young man (Mark O’Brien) appears wounded on his doorstop in need of assistance. After he and his wife Ethel (Mimi Kuzyk) welcome him across the threshold and into their household, Frederic sees an opportunity for redemption in this mysterious and troubled lost soul, who might just be an emissary from God, or maybe the Devil…" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “The High Definition master was provided by Vortex Media.”

The Righteous comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 42.5 GB

Feature: 19.8 GB

This is a solid transfer. Image clarity, contrast, and shadow detail are strong throughout.

Audio: 5/5 (LPCM Stereo English), 4.5/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 English)

This release comes with two audio options: a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Despite the fact that both audio tracks are clear, balanced, and robust when they should be. The stereo track is the more conniving of these two audio tracks. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a stills gallery with the original soundtrack (65 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo, fifteen tracks), a theatrical trailer (1 minute 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a roundtable discussion with director Mark O’Brien and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and Chad Villella of Radio Silence (73 minutes, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), stage presentation and Q&A with Mark O’Brien and actor Henry Czerny from the World Premier at Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 (32 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Grimmfest 2021 live-streamed Q&A with Mark O’Brien (19 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), cast and crew interviews: Mark O’Brien (33 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), producer Mark O'Neill (7 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Henry Czerny (17 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), actresses Mimi Kuzyk and Kate Corbett (17 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), editor Spencer Jones (11 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), cinematographer Scott McClellan (10 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and production designer Jason Clarke (9 minutes 26 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Mark O’Brien and Spencer Jones, reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover (limited to first pressing) and a twenty page booklet (limited to first pressing) with cast & crew information, an essay titled Washed in the Blood: Spirituality in the Modern Horror Film written by Sean Hogan, Directors and Producers Statements, and information about the transfer.

Summary:

The Righteous is a film that teters between horror and psychological thrillers. The narrative revolves around a couple who have a mysterious stranger enter their lives while grieving the loss of their daughter. And what starts off as a chance to come to terms with their loss quickly takes a darker turn when the mysterious stranger reveals their true intentions for entering their lives.

From its opening moments, The Righteous draws you into its world with a riveting narrative that’s filled with symbolic imagery. And though there is a delbertness to the narrative that unfolds, this quickly becomes an afterthought because of how well developed the characters are. Another strength of the narrative is how it builds and maintains momentum by giving key moments an ample amount of time to resonate.

Perhaps the most surprising aspects of The Righteous are the performances, especially Henry Czerny and Mimi Kuzyk in the roles of parents whose daughter died. Another strength of Henry Czerny's performance is how his character's current life has collided with his former life as a priest and how he deals with these two conflicting worlds.

From a production standpoint, The Righteous is a film that far exceeds expectations. The score does a superb job of reinforcing the mood, and every frame is beautifully photographed in striking black and white. Ultimately, The Righteous is an extraordinary film that delves into easily identifiable themes like grief, guilt, and redemption.

Arrow Video continues to shine a light on recent cinema by giving them exceptional releases that help expose these films to a wider audience. The Righteous makes its way to Blu-ray via an excellent release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a wealth of extras, recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Hell High – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Douglas Grossman
Writers: Leo Evans, Douglas Grossman
Cast: Christopher Stryker, Maureen Mooney, Christopher Cousins, Millie Prezioso, Jason Brill, Kathryn Rossetter, J.R. Horne, Daniel Beer, Victoria Andahazy, Amy Beth Erenrich

Release Date: July 18th, 2022 (UK), July 19th, 2022 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 83 Minutes 45 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), R (USA)
Sound: LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (USA)

"When high school football hero Jon-Jon (Breaking Bad's Christopher Cousins) quits the team, he winds up falling in with a group of outcasts led by the sadistic Dickens (played to unhinged perfection by the late Christopher Stryker). With a willing new recruit in tow, the gang's youthful hijinks soon spiral into a night of abject horror when they decide to play a cruel prank on the home of their teacher Miss Storm - who, unbeknownst to the youngsters, harbors a dark and tormented past." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 2K resolution at Company 3, Los Angeles. The film was graded and restored at R3Store Studios in London.

The original materials were made available for this restoration by director Douglas Grossman.”

Here's additional information about the transfer, “Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative approved by cinematographer Steven Fierberg.” 

Hell High comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 34.8 GB

Feature: 17.2 GB

This is another solid transfer from Arrow Video. The source is in excellent shape. Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look correct, image clarity and black levels are solid, and grain remains intact. Released eighteen years ago on DVD by Shriek Show, this new transfer from Arrow Video is a substantial upgrade.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in English, and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced, and robust when it should. The audio is in great shape; dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds are well-represented, and it robust when it should.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer under the alternate title Raging Fury (1 minute 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a trailer under the title Hell High (1 minute 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Hell High TV spot #1 (30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Hell High TV spot #2 (31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), alternate opening credits under the title Hell High (2 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo), a deleted scene (2 minutes 10 seconds, no sound), an archival interview with director Douglas Grossman (19 minutes 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with screenwriter Leo Evans (11 minutes 41 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a featurette titled Back to Schools: The Locations of Hell High (13 minutes 7 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with composers Rich Macar and Christopher Hyams-Hart titled Music is Not Sound (26 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Maureen Mooney titled The More the Better (20 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Christopher Cousins titled Jon-Jon’s Journey (18 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Steven Fierberg titledA Beautiful Nightmare (28 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Douglas Grossman titled School’s Out! (42 minutes 55 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival introduction by film critic Joe Bob Briggs (5 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Douglas Grossman and Steven Fierberg, an archival audio commentary with Douglas Grossman, an archival audio commentary with Joe Bob Briggs, reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover (limited to first pressing) and a twenty-four page booklet (limited to first pressing) with cast & crew information,  interview by Michael Gingold titled Stuntman to the Slashers: An Interview with Stunt Coordinator/Actor Webster Whinery, and information about the restoration.

Summary:

The 1980’s were a great time to be a horror film fan. It was a decade that produced two of horror cinema’s biggest franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, and saw the rise of the horror subgenre, the slasher film. That said, for every great horror film from this era, there were three times as many films that were on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Based solely on its premise, Hell High gives itself a solid foundation to build from. Hell High opens with a sequence from one of the characters' past that perfectly sets up the events that follow. The rest of the narrative takes place eighteen years later. And though the narrative does a good job of building momentum, there are a few lulls along the way that almost derail said momentum. And when it comes to the finale, it is a very satisfying conclusion, albeit one that follows an all-too familiar way to end a horror film.

But none of the performances are going to wow you. There are no weak performances. With the standout performance being Maureen Mooney in the role of a teacher who’s terrorized by four of her students. The most memorable performance is Christopher Stryker in the role of Dickens, an obnoxious student who likes to inflict pain.

From a production standpoint, Hell High is a film that maximizes its resources. The premise ensures there’s rarely a dull moment. There are a few gory kill scenes and a solid film score that does a superb job of reinforcing the mood. Ultimately, Hell High is a fun film that fans of 1980’s horror are sure to enjoy.

Hell High makes its way to Blu-ray via an exceptional release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a ridiculous number of extras that leave no stone unturned, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Je brûle de partout (I Burn All Over) – Pulse Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: France, 1979
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Robert Hughe
Cast: Susan Hemingway, Brigitte Lahaie, Jean Ferrère, Didier Aubriot, Filo Lemoine, Aida Vargas, Mel Rodrigo, Martine Fléty, Jesús Franco

Release Date: June 28th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 81 Minutes 15 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono French
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: OOP

"Lorna and Tom are a couple of low life hustlers who make a living in the skin trade. Setting their sights on the naive Jenny, they coax the beautiful virgin home from a nightclub for an evening of debauchery, only to drug and sell her into a white slave network. However, they quickly discover that her father is a millionaire and, hoping for an even bigger payday, decide to demand a hefty ransom. But now they’re left with a problem, as they must kidnap Jenny back from the pimps who now ‘own’ her..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “newly scanned in 2K and carefully restored to repair severe technical errors in the negative which have plagued all earlier presentations.”

Je brûle de partout comes on a 25 GB single dual Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 23.2 GB

Feature: 21.4 GB

The source looks very good, and though there is some print debris, it is minor. Colors and flesh tones look correct, image clarity and black levels are strong, and there are no issues with digital noise reduction.

Audio: 3.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in French, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in good shape; dialog comes through clearly, and though everything sounds balanced, range-wise, things are limited.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a limited-edition slipcover, a theatrical trailer (1 minute 34 seconds, Dolby Digital mono French with removable English subtitles), an interview with actress Brigitte Lahaie titled I Burn Over Franco (13 minutes, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles), and an interview with author Stephen Thrower the author of Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco (25 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles).

Summary:

Jess Franco has a massive filmography that has many peaks and valleys. He’s the type of filmmaker who you either loathe or fully embrace. His earliest films were his most accessible, which is not a surprise since most of these were horror films.

By the late 1970's, Jess Franco’s films would experience a steep decline in quality. He ended a partnership with film producer Erwin C. Dietrich. He would return to his no-budget productions that offered him complete control. And though these films are hit or miss, the majority of them fall into the latter category. There are a few gems that would emerge from Jess Franco in the late 1970’s.

One film that Jess Franco made during this period was Je brûle de partout, one of three films that would reunite him with producer Robert de Nesle. Je brûle de partout, unfortunately, lacks the enchantment of his previous Robert de Nesle films, Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac and Lorna the Exorcist.

Though Jess Franco’s films have always dabbled in the realm of softcore erotica. By the 1970's, softcore erotica was already being obscured by hardcore XXX cinema. And, while some consider Je brûle de partout to be an XXX film, nothing in Je brûle de partout ever goes beyond softcore erotica.

Though Je brûle de partout offered Jess Franco the freedom he craved as a filmmaker, the result is a by-the-numbers film that has no flashes of brilliance that he’s known for. The anemic narrative is nothing more than a means to connect a series of erotic moments. And even when it comes to the visuals, they do not have the flare that’s synonymous with the cinema of Jess Franco. That said, at least there is a copious amount of nudity.

When it comes to the cast, this is one area where Jess Franco always seems to do very well. And for Je brûle de partout, he would cast Susan Hemingway (Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun), an actress whose filmography consists of only seven films, all directed by Jess Franco. She is one of Jess Franco’s great finds, and she delivers a strong performance that more than fulfills the role of the naive victim.

The other key cast member is French adult film actress Brigitte Lahaie, who would go on to star in many films directed by Jean Rollin. She would work with Jess Franco two more times: Dark Mission and Faceless. Despite having made a few non-XXX films by this point in her career. To have her appear in a softcore erotica film feels like a waste of resources. Ultimately, Je brûle de partout is an uninspired softcore erotica film that only Jess Franco completists will find any value in.

Je brûle de partout gets a first-rate release from Pulse Video that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a pair of insightful extras.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Friday, July 1, 2022

Devil Hunter / Cannibal Terror – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Dates: West Germany, 1980 (Devil Hunter), France, 1980 (Cannibal Terror)
Directors: Jesus Franco (Devil Hunter), Alain Deruelle (Cannibal Terror)
Cast: Ursula Buchfellner, Al Cliver, Antonio Mayans, Antônio do Cabo, Bertrand Altmann, Gisela Hahn, Muriel Montossé, Werner Pochath, Melo Costa, Aline Mess (Devil Hunter), Silvia Solar, Gérard Lemaire, Pamela Stanford, Olivier Mathot, Bertrand Altmann, Stan Hamilton, Antoine Fontaine, Antonio Mayans, Michel Laury, Annabelle (Cannibal Terror)

Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Approximate Running Times: 102 Minutes 11 Seconds (Devil Hunter), 93 Minutes 42 Seconds (Cannibal Terror)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Films)
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono French (Both Films)
Subtitles: N/A
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98

Devil Hunter: "When a safari of sexy babes and violent boneheads ventures into native-crazed wilderness, Uncle Jess unleashes a deluge of relentless nudity, dubious anthropology and his own brand of cut-rate carnage." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Cannibal Terror: "When a pair of criminal knuckleheads and their busty moll kidnap the young daughter of a wealthy tycoon, they foolishly choose to hide in a local jungle infested with ferocious cannibals." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3/5 (Devil Hunter), 3.75/5 (Cannibal Terror)

Here’s the information provided about Devil Hunter's transfer, "fully restored from the original Spanish negative and presented uncut and uncensored in HD!"

Here’s the information provided about Cannibal Terror's transfer, "presented uncut, uncensored and mastered in High-Def for the first time ever in America!"

Devil Hunter and Cannibal Terror come on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.1 GB

Feature: 19.9 GB (Devil Hunter), 17.4  GB (Cannibal Terror)

Though the source used for Devil Hunter’s transfer is in good shape, there is minimal print debris. There are moments where colors look faded, black levels are milky, and though the image generally looks crisp, there are times when image clarity looks too soft. Also, there are some compression related issues.

Outside of some notable print debris in the opening credits, the source used for Cannibal Terror is in great shape. Color saturation, image clarity, and black levels are strong throughout.

Audio: 3.75/5 (LPCM Mono English)

The Devil Hunter and Cannibal Terror Each film comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in French. Both English audio mixes sound clean, clear, and balanced throughout. Needless to say, both of these films were shot very cheaply and the audio mixes sound great considering their aforementioned limitations. For anyone wanting to listen to the French audio mixes, you better be fluent in French since no English subtitles have been provided for these tracks. It should be noted that there is one scene in Devil Hunter that is only in French, and just like Severin’s DVD, there are no English subtitles for this scene.

Extras:

Extras for Devil Hunter include an interview with director Jess Franco titled Sexo Canibal (16 minutes 33 seconds, LPCM stereo English with non-removable English subtitles), and an interview with stunt man/actor Burtrand Altman titled Spirit Of The B Hive (10 minutes 56 seconds, LPCM stereo French with removable English subtitles).

Extras for Cannibal Terror include a theatrical trailer (3 minutes 27 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), a deleted scene that features some topless dancing (1 minute 26 seconds, LPCM mono), and an interview with director Alain Deruelle titled The Way Of All Flesh (20 minutes 48 seconds, LPCM stereo French with removable English subtitles).

Also in the extra section for Cannibal Terror is an Easter egg, which is an interview with Jess Franco (6 minutes, 5 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles).

Summary:

Devil Hunter: Shortly after making Cannibals, Jess Franco would return to the cannibal film genre with Devil Hunter. Visually, Devil Hunter is a more polished production than its predecessor, Cannibals. Jess Franco, more than any other filmmaker, has mastered the art of making something out of nothing. 

The Devil Hunter is not that dialog-heavy, with the bulk of the story being endless shots of the various characters working their way through the jungle terrain and doing the most mundane things. This is not to say that the story is not engaging. Despite the minimal plot, Jess Franco still somehow manages to keep things lively and entertaining throughout. This is where the cannibals, torture, and moments of nudity come into play. 

Also, depending on which audio mix you choose, English or French, the tone of Devil Hunter is drastically different. The English dub audio mix contains some deliriously bad dialog that adds humor to Devil Hunter unintentionally.

The two leading men, Al Cliver and Antonio Mayans, both appeared in Jess Franco's Cannibals. Ursula Buchfellner (a Playboy playmate) is cast as Laura Crawford, the kidnapped model. Besides Devil Hunter, she would work with Jess Franco on two other films: Linda and Sadomania. Muriel Montossé, who has previously collaborated with Jess Franco on films such as Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties, Cecilia, and The Inconfessable Orgies of Emmanuelle, also gives an outstanding performance.

When it was originally released, Devil Hunter gained some notoriety as a video game when it was banned in the UK. Devil Hunter's cannibal scenes are pretty tame when compared to Jess Franco's other cannibal film, Cannibals. Ultimately, Devil Hunter is more of a jungle adventure with the moments of cannibalism thrown in as an afterthought.

Cannibal Terror: After having suffered through the excruciatingly painful Zombie Lake, which was also made by Eurociné, I went into Cannibal Terror with very low expectations. Cannibal Terror fails in every way with its tedious plot that is woefully stretched out, dialog that makes porn dialog sound Shakespearean, and acting that is lifeless and inept.

Cannibal Terror was directed by Alain Deruelle under the alias Allan W. Steeve. Visually, Alain Deruelle is unable to create any stylish moments, and his overall direction is among the worst that I have seen in a very long time. Think of Ed Wood, but worse. The only thing that he even does semi-well are the scenes involving nudity. The cannibals are not that prominent in the story, and when they eat and disembowel their victims, these scenes are the tamest that I have seen in a cannibal film.

Finding something enjoyable in Cannibal Terror is an almost insurmountable feat. Even the standard it's so bad it's good rule does not apply to Cannibal Terror. The most laughable part of Cannibal Terror is that it has cannibals who look nothing like jungle tribesmen. Most of them are far too pale and have hair styles that just stand out like a sore thumb. One has to wonder where the hell the producers found these actors to play their cannibals. The only thing that I enjoyed was Jean-Jacques Lemêtre's funky score.

Severin Films pairs two cannibal films for a good Blu-ray release that comes with serviceable audio/video presentation and informative extras for both films.


















Written by Michael Den Boer

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Neurosis (Revenge in the House of Usher) – Redemption Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: France/Spain, 1985
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans, Lina Romay, Fata Morgana, Ana Galán, Antonio Marín, Daniel White, José Llamas, Françoise Blanchard, Olivier Mathot

Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Approximate Running Time: 93 Minutes 17 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono French
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95

"In an audacious feat of cinematic bricolage, Jess Franco utilized footage from three decades of filming to craft a unique story that pays homage to the morbid poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, while indulging the director’s personal obsessions. Antonio Mayans stars as Harker (a nod to Bram Stoker’s Dracula), who visits the crumbling castle of his former mentor, Eric Usher (Howard Vernon), now on the brink of mental collapse. Just as the house opens its doors to reveal dreadful, erotic secrets in every corner, Usher delves into his own memories and shares the causes of his increasing madness." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.25/5

Neurosis (Revenge in the House of Usher) comes on a 25 GB single dual Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 21.6 GB

Feature: 21.4 GB

No information was provided about this source for this transfer. The source used for this transfer is in good shape and any source-related damage is minimal. That said, colors at times look subdued, black levels fare well, and the image generally looks crisp. That said, Neurosis uses footage from three different films. With the footage newly shot for Neurosis being the best looking footage.

Audio: 3.25/5 (LPCM Mono English), 3.5/5 (Dolby Digital Mono French)

This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in French. Though the English language track has a background hiss, the dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. The French language track is in better shape. Range-wise, both mixes are limited. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for the French language track.

Extras:

Extras for this release include, an English language trailer for Neurosis (1 minute 27 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, co-author of Obsession: The Films of Jess Franco.

Summary:

Very early on, when watching your first Jess Franco film, there comes a moment where you either become enthralled by what you’re watching or you shake your head in dismay. And when it comes to those who fall into the latter category, it is difficult to get them to understand what makes Jess Franco's cinema so addicting to watch.

To date, I have seen over half of Jess Franco’s two-hundred plus filmography. And though there have been a few films that I did not enjoy initially, I have come away from most of his films enamored by what I saw. That said, though I am a devotee of the cinema of Jess Franco, I am also willing to admit that his filmography has a few films that are hard to watch.

Throughout his career, Jess Franco was known to recycle footage and add new footage to existing footage in an existing film. A case in point is Neurosis, a film that consists of footage from three other Jess Franco films and newly shot footage. On paper, such a mish-mash of footage sounds like a mess. Fortunately, in the hands of Jess Franco, the result is one of his more experimental films that draws heavily from German Expressionism.

Content-wise, Neurosis is a melting pot of Jess Franco’s cinematic influences. Besides German Expressionism, other influences include Neurosis’ alternate title Revenge in The House of Usher and other elements from the film take inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Gothic horror by the way of elements from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Without a doubt, Neurosis’ greatest asset is Howard Vernon’s (The Blood Rose) pitch-perfect portrayal of Eric Usher, an ailing doctor whose obsession with reviving his dead daughter has brought on his madness. It should also be noted that Neurosis recycles footage of Howard Vernon from The Awful Dr. Orlof.

From a production standpoint, Neurosis is an uneven film that does a very good job considering its limitations. Though the premise is well-executed, it’s difficult to overlook an inconsistent narrative that derails momentum. That said, the last act of Neurosis is Jess Franco at the top of his game.

Neurosis (Revenge in the House of Usher) makes its way to Blu-ray via a strong release from Redemption Films that comes with a serviceable audio/video presentation and an informative audio commentary.








Written by Michael Den Boer

The Righteous – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 2021 Director: Mark O'Brien Writer: Mark O'Brien Cast: Henry...