Friday, December 31, 2021

The Sadist of Notre Dame – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1979
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Lina Romay, Catherine Lafferière, Jesus Franco, Nadine Pascal, Pierre Taylou, Roger Germanes, Monica Swinn, France Nicolas, Sam Marée, François Guillaume, Caroline Rivière, Philippe Lebrun, Olivier Mathoto

Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Approximate Running Time: 99 Minutes 10 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Spanish, DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French
Subtitles: English (for Spanish and French language audio tracks), English SDH (for the English language track)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98

"In 1979, legendary writer/director Jess Franco (VAMPYROS LESBOS) re-purposed elements of his satanic sex shocker EXORCISM with all-new footage to create a depraved new epic that – even by Uncle Jess standards – achieves new levels of EuroSleaze insanity: Franco himself stars a defrocked priest turned hooker-slashing psychopath, prowling the streets of Paris in a fever of violence, voyeurism, rampant nudity and S&M depravity. " - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “The Sadist of Notre Dame was scanned in 4k from the only known print of this version. The element was a 35mm exhibition print and although we have restored some of the more egregious damage, this presentation does exhibit some signs of wear and tear. An element in superior condition is not known to exist.”

The Sadist of Notre Dame comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.9 GB

Feature: 29.2 GB

Though, there is print related damage that varies in degree throughout. The end result, is easily the best this film has looked to date on home video.

Audio: 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono Spanish), 3.75/5 (DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French)

This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, a DTS-HD mono mix in Spanish, and a DTS-HD mono mix in French. The strongest of these three audio mixes is the Spanish language track. The other two audio tracks exhibit some mild instances of background noise, and these two tracks do not sound as full as the Spanish language track. Dialog comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. This release comes with two audio options: English subtitles for the Spanish and French language tracks and English SDH subtitles for the English language track.


Extras for this release include a documentary short on the Legendary Parisian Horror Cinema titled The Gory Days of Le Brady (30 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles), an audio essay with Robert Monell webmaster I’m In A Jess Franco State of Mind (6 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Alain Petit, author of Jess Franco Ou Les Prosperites Des Bis (5 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo French with removable English subtitles) and an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Murderous Passions, Franco Volume 1: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús and Flowers of Perversion, Volume 2: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco titled Stephen Thrower On Sadist Of Notre Dame (27 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).


Throughout his career, Jess Franco would direct alternate versions of several of his films. And though the majority of these alternate versions were more explicit versions that were made for specific markets, A film like The Sadist of Notre Dame was one of the rare examples of an alternate version that didn’t shift the focus to adding more explicit content.

The origins of The Sadist of Notre Dame can be traced back to Exorcism, and like so many alternate versions directed by Jess Franco, Exorcism has a more explicit alternate version under the title Demoniac.

The narrative for The Sadist of Notre Dame rearranges scenes and expands upon the premise that originated with the aforementioned Exorcism. With the most noticeable difference between these two versions being how The Sadist of Notre Dame devotes more time to the backstory of the main character, a defrocked priest,

Without a doubt, The Sadist of Notre Dame’s greatest asset is Jess Franco’s superbly realized performance in the role of a defrocked priest.

The Sadist of Notre Dame gets a solid release from Severin Films, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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