Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Demons – Nucleus Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: France/Portugal, 1973
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Britt Nichols, Anne Libert, Carmen Yazalde, Doris Thomas, Karin Field, Cihangir Gaffari, Luis Barboo, Howard Vernon, Alberto Dalbés, Rosa Palomar, Andrea Montchal

Release Date: November 20th, 2017
Approximate running times: 118 Minutes 4 Seconds (French language version), 88 Minutes 6 Seconds (English “export” version)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono French, DTS-HD Mono French (French language version), Dolby Digital Mono English (English “export” version)
Subtitles: English (French language version)
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £22.99 (UK)

"Two orphaned sisters living quietly in a convent – free-spirited Kathleen (Anne Libert) and God-fearing Margaret (Britt Nichols) – are persecuted by the wicked Lady De Winter (Karin Field) who tells them they are daughters of a condemned witch burned at the stake. Believing the girls will seek vengeance, De Winter sends Kathleen to witch-hunter Judge Jeffries to be tortured and burned. Pious Margaret is spared, but when she learns of her sister’s agony she rejects God and enters a carnal relationship with the Devil himself. As Kathleen falls in love with one of her captors, Margaret stalks the house of De Winter, her Satanic kisses bringing terror and death..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

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

Disc Size: 45.9 GB

Feature: 28.5 GB (French language version), 9.3 GB (English “export” version)

Image clarity is consistently strong throughout, flesh tones and colors look accurate, and there are no issues with compression. And, while this release appears to be sourced from the same master as Redemption Films' Region A Blu-ray, it also appears to be sourced from the same master as Redemption Films' Region B Blu-ray. The end result is a transfer that improves upon all of those transfers' short comings.

Audio: 3.75/5

The French language version comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in French and a DTS-HD mono mix in French. Both audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for the French language audio mixes. The English "export" version comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an image gallery with radio promo’s playing in the background, US theatrical trailer (3 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), German theatrical trailer (3 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German with removable English subtitles), German theatrical re-release trailer (2 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German, no subtitles), French theatrical trailer (3 minutes 36 seconds, silent/no sound), outtakes/trims (6 minutes 22 seconds, silent/no sound), clean opening credits (2 minutes, Dolby Digital mono), German language opening credits (1 minute 53 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), an interview with Jess Franco titled Jess’ Demons (16 minutes 18 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles) and an interview with Stephen Thrower author of Murderous Passions – The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco titled Exorcising Demons (22 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).

Other extras include trailers for The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, Death Laid an Egg and Lady Frankenstein.

Summary:

Content-wise, The Demons has all the key elements that have since become synonymous with the Nunsploitation film sub-genre. The premise is well executed, and the narrative has an ample amount of sadism and sleaze.

This film’s standout performance is by Cihangir Gaffari (Hundra) in the role of a sadistic inquisitor named Lord Justice Jeffries. He delivers a menacing performance that perfectly captures the essence of his character's cruelty. Other notable cast members include Howard Vernon (The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, Diabolical Doctor Z.), Anne Libert (The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, Devil’s Island Lovers) and Carmen Yazalde (Daughter of Dracula, A Virgin Among the Living Dead) under the pseudonym Britt Nickols.

The visuals do a superb job of reinforcing the foreboding mood. And nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the torture scenes. Standout moments include the scene where the two orphaned sisters are given the witch test, a scene where one of the sisters seduces Lord Justice Jeffries, and the film’s effective, albeit predictable, conclusion.

The Demons gets a definitive release from Nucleus Films, highly recommended.

Note: Stephen Thrower posted this information about Nucleus Films, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein and The Demons, Blu-ray releases on his Facebook page.

“THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE DEMONS: two peak period Jess Franco movies that no serious fan should be without, now available from Nucleus Films and featuring on camera interviews with yours truly! I’d also say that these two films are well worth buying if you’re curious about Franco but uncertain about where to start. Some will counsel caution and recommend the slightly more sober and conventional 1960s titles, but to hell with all that. Why not throw caution to the wind and grab these two – they’ll give you a fantastic insight into his freewheeling style in the 1970s.

Nucleus majordomo Marc Morris has done a huge amount of extraordinary work restoring THE DEMONS in particular. Here’s a list of some of the work he’s done which viewers and reviewers may not otherwise be aware of:

1. Incorrect aspect ratios on numerous shots fixed throughout. 

2. White line frames removed throughout.

3. The soundtrack was out of synch throughout (sometimes by as much as 6 seconds). Marc has fixed this.

4. The soundtrack was missing audio, and in these scenes had been badly looped. Marc has located audio from alternate sources and replaced the annoying looped audio with correct audio where possible.

5. There was some German dialogue on the French soundtrack, which Marc has replaced with the correct French dialogue.

7. There were numerous instances of actors speaking with no dialogue heard on the soundtrack – now fixed.

8. There were numerous instances of dialogue spoken, with the actors’ mouths not moving – now fixed.

9. The dissolve from face freeze frame to skull was completely missing – Marc has added this back.

10. He has also created from scratch an English language master, which is believed to match the original English language export version.

11. German Trailer – On the Kino Blu-ray, this was incorrectly dubbed with random French audio from the movie. This has been replaced with the original German soundtrack.

12. Marc has also corrected the frame rates from 23.976 fps to 24 fps, so if you have exquisitely perfect musical pitch the soundtrack will now match your LP record of Jean-Michel Lorgère’s Trafic Pop!

And finally, look out for the startling fx shot included in the French trailer for Erotic Rites of Frankenstein which as far as I can recall doesn’t appear in any currently available version of the film. Face-ripping!”








Written by Michael Den Boer

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