Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) – Cineploit (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain/Italy, 1969
Director: Javier Setó
Writers: Santiago Moncada, Javier Setó, Gianfranco Clerici
Cast: Larry Ward, Teresa Gimpera, Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Fernando Sánchez Polack, Eugenio Navarro, Javier de Rivera, José Bastida, Silvana Venturelli

Release Date: March 29th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 88 Minutes 49 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono German, DTS-HD Mono French
Subtitles: English, German
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: 24,99 EUR

"Denise (Teresa Gimpera) has had an intense relationship with her brother-in-law Peter (Larry Ward) over a long time. When her rich husband John finds out that his wife is cheating on him with his identical twin brother, he goes mad. The couple then fears a future financial disaster and decides to drive the duped into madness in order to initiate an incapacitation. The plan is carried out with the help of a mysterious third party who pretends to be an ex-lover of Denise. Before long John thinks he is delusional, but a wrong move by the opposing party changes the plan…" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Worldwide 2K Blu-Ray Premiere!"

Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 32.3 GB

Feature: 27 GB

The source used for this transfer looks really good. That said, there are a few minor imperfections, most notably some source damage in the last ten minutes. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout.

Audio: 4.5/5 (DTS-HD Mono Italian), 3.5/5 (DTS-HD Mono English)

This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English, a DTS-HD Mono mix in German and a DTS-HD Mono mix in French. The Italian language track is in great shape, there are no issues with distortion or hiss, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds/the score are well-represented. There’s noticeable hiss that varies in degree throughout the English language track. That said, dialog comes through clear enough to follow and everything sounds balanced. Included with this release are removable English and German subtitles for the  Italian language track.


Extras for this release include an International photo gallery (17 images – posters/home video art), complete score separately playable (17 minutes 2 seconds), German opening credits (3 minutes 11 seconds, footage silent), French opening credits (3 minutes 12 seconds, footage silent), a featurette with Christian Kessler titled The Phantom Killer Strikes (24 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo German with removable English subtitles), a double-sided poster with the italian Locandia and the Spanish Poster and a 28 pages Booklet with an essay titled The Secret of the Score for L'assassino fantasma written by Alex Wank and an essay titled The Spanish Way of Giallo written by Udo Rotenberg (text in German and English).

Also, this release also comes with multilingual menus, English and German.


Though Mario Bava and Dario Argento’s gialli are the films from which the best gialli are ultimately judged. The truth is that not all gialli are equal, not only when it comes to overall quality, but when it comes to country of origin.

In the 1960’s and into the 1970’s Italian cinema was known for its co-productions, most notably with Spain. And though there were gialli that were Spanish co-productions, if the film leaned more towards the Spanish side, there’s a clear distinction between Spanish made/co-productions and Italian made gialli.

Case in point Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno), a Spanish/Italian co-production that’s better described as a psychological thriller than a black gloved gialli body count film. In many ways, Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) owes more to Umberto Lenzi’s late 1960’s gialli than its does Mario Bava and Dario Argento’s gialli.

Content wise, Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) has most of the core elements that have become synonymous with the thriller genre. The premise revolves around two lovers who’ve come up  with a scheme to secure the husband's money by making him seem insane. And to complicate things a blackmailer enters the picture looking for their own payday.

From its opening moments Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) does a great job setting a menacing tone and there are an ample amount of moments of misdirection, that make the finale all the more potent. And though Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) lacks the bloodshed and sleaze that giallo cinema’s most celebrated films have in spades. The result is a solid thriller that fans of giallo cinema should thoroughly enjoy.

Though the score is credited to Franco Micalizzi (Beyond the Door, The Tough Ones). From the moments you hear the first notes of the score there’s a familiarity to them. Reportedly, Ennio Morricone is the composer of the score. Some of his music from Wake Up and Die gets recycled for Macabre’s (Il Vuoto Intorno’s) score.

Macabre (Il Vuoto Intorno) makes its way to Blu-ray via a strong audio/video presentation from Cineploit, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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