Friday, September 24, 2021

Devil Story – Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: France, 1986
Director: Bernard Launois
Writer: Bernard Launois
Cast: Véronique Renaud, Pascal Simon, Catherine Day, Nicole Desailly, Marcel Portier, Christian Paumelle

Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 76 Minutes 3 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono French, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.98

"A young couple, on vacation in the French countryside, decide to stay the night at a spooky old castle, after their car breaks down. Despite being warned about the local legend of a cursed ship which crashed into the nearby cliffs, the wife ventures out into the wild, only to find herself having to fend off a Nazi uniformed mutant, his Gypsy mother, a rogue mummy, a horse possessed by the devil, and more!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative."

Devil Story comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 38.2 GB

Feature: 21.2 GB

This is another solid transfer from Vinegar Syndrome. Colors are nicely saturated, details look crisp and black levels are strong.

Audio: 4.25/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in French and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for the French language track and removable English SDH subtitles for the English language track.


Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a trailer for Devil Story (3 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital mono French with removable English subtitles), French TV coverage (3 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital mono French with removable English subtitles), select scenes with audio commentary with Bernard Launois (24 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles), a making-of featurette titled Once Upon a Time…Devil Story (28 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles), a career retrospective interview with Bernard Launois titled Once Upon a Time…Bernard (34 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles) and an embossed slipcover limited to 5,000 units.


French horror/fantasy cinema is in a realm unto itself. And though there are elements of French horror/fantasy that were clearly influenced by cinema from other countries. What ultimately sets  French horror/fantasy apart from its counterparts from around the world are the elements that are uniquely French. Case in point a film like Devil Story.

Though the premise for Devil Story covers familiar ground, a circle narrative in which characters find themselves in what’s best described as purgatory. What lies within is a truly odd cinema experience that has too be seen too be believed. That said, though there is a linear narrative, there’s a lot of screaming and grunting and dialog is minimal.

Content wise, the closest thing that resembles Devil Story would be the cinema of Jean Rollin. And though Devil Story is lacking when it comes to eroticism. It's in other areas where the Jean Rolling connection can-be found. Most notably, its slow-moving narrative that relies more on atmosphere than exposition.

From a production standpoint, Devil Story has all the hallmarks of a Z-grade film. Fortunately, Devil Story takes full advantage of its anemic resources. Also, though the special effects look crude, they actually work in Devil Stories favor.

Devil Story makes its way to Blu-ray via a first-rate release from Vinegar Syndrome that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a trio of informative extras, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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