Monday, January 31, 2022

Hercules in the Haunted World – Kino Lorber (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1961
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Sandro Continenza, Mario Bava, Francesco Prosperi, Duccio Tessari
Cast: Reg Park, Christopher Lee, Leonora Ruffo, George Ardisson, Marisa Belli, Evelyn Stewart (Ida Galli), Rosalba Neri, Ely Drago

Release Date: December 17th, 2013
Approximate running times: 84 Minutes 11 Seconds (Hercules in the Haunted World), 81 Minutes 33 Seconds (Hercules at the Center of the Earth), 85 Minutes 55 Seconds (Ercole al centro della Terra)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (All Versions)
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English (Hercules in the Haunted World, Hercules at the Center of the Earth), LPCM Mono Italian (Ercole al centro della Terra)
Subtitles: English SDH (Hercules in the Haunted World), English (Ercole al centro della Terra)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"Immediately following the success of Black Sunday, Mario Bava was recruited to direct (and photograph) the second of Reg Park’s Hercules films for producer Achille Piazzi. Freely departing from Roman mythology, the film gave Bava the opportunity to reimagine the sword-and-sandal genre. On its surface a jovial comedy adventure, Hercules in the Haunted World features a striking use of color, which would become one of Bava’s directorial hallmarks. But this playful peplum is tinged with a sense of genuine foreboding, voiced by a masked oracle Medea (Gaia Germani) in one of the film’s most stunning sequences. When Hercules descends into the depths of hell and confronts Lico (Christopher Lee), who has the power to call forth corpses from their tombs, the film plunges into the eye-popping, bone-chilling horror for which Bava had recently become famous." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5 (Ercole al centro della Terra), 4/5 (Hercules at the Center of the Earth, Hercules in the Haunted World)

Here’s the information given about the source of the transfers: "2K restoration from the original camera negative." Given that there are three versions, from three sources, it seems that quote is for the version titled Ercole al centro della Terra, and the other two versions seem to be sourced from 35mm prints.

This release comes with two Blu-ray discs.

Hercules at the Center of the Earth and Ercole al Centro della Terra come on a 50 GB dual-layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 36.4 GB

Feature: 15.4 GB (Hercules at the Center of the Earth), 16.4 GB (Ercole al centro della Terra)

Hercules in the Haunted World comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 15.6 GB

Feature: 15.2 GB

That being said, the version titled Ercole al centro della Terra is the best looking of the three versions included as part of this release. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels stay strong throughout, and there are no issues with compression. Not that far behind are the other two versions, which have minimal print damage, color, image clarity, and black levels look strong, and they have no issues with compression.

Audio: 4.25/5 (Ercole al Centro della Terra), 4/5 (Hercules at the Center of the Earth), 3.5/5 (Hercules in the Haunted World)

Each version comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English for Hercules in the Haunted World and Hercules at the Center of the Earth and a LPCM mono mix in Italian for Ercole al Centro della Terra. Though the source used for Hercules in the Haunted World has a few minor instances of background hiss (most noticeable during the pre-credits opening scene), the dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. The source used for Hercules at the Center of the Earth is in good shape; the dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. The source used for Ercole al centro della Terra is in great shape and it is the strongest of these three audio mixes. Subtitle options include English SDH for Hercules in the Haunted World and English for Ercole al centro della Terra. There are no subtitle options for Hercules at the Center of the Earth.

Extras:

Extras on the disc that contains Hercules at the Center of the Earth and Ercole al centro della Terra include U.S. theatrical trailer (1 minute 33 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), UK theatrical trailer (3 minutes 7 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles), an interview with actor George Ardisson and film historian Fabio Melelli titled Teseo in the Haunted World (25 minutes 57 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark for Ercole al centro della Terra.

Extras on the disc that contains Hercules in the Haunted World include U.S. theatrical trailer (1 minute 33 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles).

Summary:

Mario Bava is a name that’s become synonymous with Italian horror cinema. He was a multifaceted director and gifted cinematographer who left his indelible mark on every genre he worked in. That being said, one must not overlook his contributions to the peplum genre. which includes, as cinematographer, Hercules, Hercules Unchained, The White Warrior, The Giant of Marathon, and Esther and the King. And as a director, Hercules in the Haunted World was his only contribution to the peplum genre.

There’s no denying that Peplum’s can be an acquired taste. And like most genre cinema, the mechanisms that are key to the genre almost become more important than the story at hand. Fortunately, for those who have embraced Peplums, this flaw is easy to overlook because, above all, Peplums are about spectacle.

Content-wise, though, Hercules in the Haunted World has all the core elements that have become synonymous with Peplum cinema. The result is a film that sets itself apart from other Peplum films. And nowhere is this clearer than when it comes to this film’s use of Gothic horror elements.

Front and center in every Peplum is a muscular hero who uses his might to defeat an evil nemesis. And though this genre’s most famous hero is Hercules, Other notable Italian Peplum heroes include Goliath, Maciste, and Samson.

Without a doubt, Peplum’s cinema’s most recognizable actor is Steve Reeves, who rose to fame in the role of Hercules. He would star in a total of ten Peplums (twice in the role of Hercules). And though there were several actors who followed in his footsteps in the role of Hercules, None would ever eclipse his iconic portrayal.

Reg Park, who took over the role of Hercules in Hercules and the Captive Women, is the only actor who could even be considered as a successor to Steve Reeve’s Hercules. In all, Reg Park would make a total of four Hercules films. Hercules in the Haunted World is his most notable film in the role of Hercules.

Performance-wise, Reg Park more than fulfills the psychical attributes of Hercules. And out of all the actors who portrayed Hercules, he’s the one that most resembled Steve Reeves. With his portrayal of Hercules in Hercules in the Haunted World, standing shoulder to shoulder with Steve Reeves in the two Hercules films,

Other notable cast members in Hercules in the Haunted World include Christopher Lee (Count Dracula, The Wicker Man) in the role of Lico, a sorcerer who commands an army of vampires, Ida Galli (The Bloodstained Butterfly) in the role of Persefone, and George Ardisson (The Long Hair of Death) in the role of Teseo, Hercules' womanizing sidekick.

From a production standpoint, Hercules in the Haunted is yet another in a long line of impoverished films that Mario Bava directed. Once again, Mario Bava rises to the challenge and delivers a film that far exceeds its anemic budget. With Hercules in the Haunted World, its greatest asset is its picturesque cinematography, which is overflowing with atmosphere. Another area where Hercules in the Haunted World excels is its use of optical effects and miniatures.

One of the most interesting aspects of Italian cinema is how various regions of the world often get their own versions or impose changes to suit their market. like alternate scores, adding, subtracting, or rearranging footage. And this Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber offers three versions of the film: the U.S. theatrical release titled Hercules in the Haunted World, the UK theatrical release titled Hercules at the Center of the Earth, and the Italian theatrical release titled Ercole al Centro della Terra.

Out of all of cinema’s genres, the Peplum (Italian Sword and Sandal films) has become the most neglected genre on home video. Most of the Peplum home video releases are either compromised because of altered aspect ratios or they’re missing footage. Reportedly, the reason this genre has fared so poorly on home video is that most of these films have fallen into the public domain, and it’s proven difficult to track down quality film elements for most of these films. Fortunately, there are companies like Kino Lorber who are willing to go the extra mile, and they’ve put together what is arguably the best home video release that any Peplum film has received to date. Overall, Hercules in the Haunted World gets a solid release from Kino Lorber, highly recommended.

                                            Ercole al centro della Terra Screenshots.






                                      Hercules at the Center of the Earth Screenshots.






                                        Hercules in the Haunted World Screenshots.






Written by Michael Den Boer

Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Girl Who Knew Too Much – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1963
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Mario Bava, Enzo Corbucci, Ennio De Concini, Eliana De Sabata, Mino Guerrini, Franco Prosperi
Cast: Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese, Titti Tomaino, Luigi Bonos, Milo Quesada, Robert Buchanan, Marta Melocco, Gustavo De Nardo

Release Date: November 17th, 2014
Approximate running times: 85 Minutes 38 Seconds (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 92 Minutes 15 Seconds (Evil Eye)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Evil Eye)
Rating: 12 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), LPCM Mono English (Evil Eye)
Subtitles: English (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), English SDH (Evil Eye)
Region Coding: Region B/Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: OOP (UK)

"A young American secretary with a taste for lurid paperbacks witnesses a murder whilst visiting Rome or does she? Nobody will believe her, but she appears to have stumbled upon the work of a serial killer active ten years earlier. The victims surnames began A, B and C... and hers begins with the letter D!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5 (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 4.25/5 (Evil Eye)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer,  "An original 35mm Fine Grain Interpositive was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered ArriScan. A 35mm internegative element was also used for a small number of scenes. The film was graded on the Nucoda grading system. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and light scratches were removed through a combination of software and other digital restoration tools. The original mono soundtrack was transferred and synched from the magnetic reels. 

Some minor instances of picture damage remain, in keeping with the condition of the original materials.

Evil Eye was restored in High Definition and made available for this release by Alfredo Leone."

The Girl Who Knew Too Much comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.9 GB

Feature: 21 GB (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 21.7 GB (Evil Eye)

Both versions of this film exhibit strong black and contrast levels, excellent shadow details, no issues with compression, and the grain looks natural. It should be noted that the image for The Girl Who Knew Too Much is framed at a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, while the image for Evil Eye is framed at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Besides the different framing, the AIP version has a more luminous tone, while the Italian version has slightly more print debris.

Audio: 4.25/5 (The Girl Who Knew Too Much), 4/5 (Evil Eye)

Each version comes with one audio option, a LPCM mix, and in the case of The Girl Who Knew Too Much, the language is Italian, while Evil Eye is in English only. Quality-wise, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is the stronger of these two audio mixes. And though it has some mild background noise, that noise is not as prominent as it is on the audio track for Evil Eye. Dialog always comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. And though these are not the most dynamic of tracks, when it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack, things sound very good throughout. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for The Girl Who Knew Too Much and English SDH subtitles for Evil Eye.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an introduction by author/film critic Alan Jones for The Girl Who Knew Too Much (3 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), International theatrical trailer (2 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with non-removable English subtitles), U.S. theatrical trailer (2 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with actor John Saxon titled Remembering The Girl (9 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a featurette about The Girl Who Knew Too Much titled All About the Girl’ (21 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian and English with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark for the Italian version, reversible cover art and a twenty-eight page booklet with cast & crew credits, an essay titled Somatic Incompliance: The Look of Resistance n Mario Bava’s Evil Eye written by Kier-La Janisse and information about the transfers.

Included as part of this combo release are two DVD’s, one DVD contains, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Alana Jones introduction, the international trailer for the film, All About the Girl featurette and the Tim Lucas audio commentary track, while the other DVD contains, Evil Eye and the U.S. trailer for the film.

Summary:

There is no denying the influence that The Girl Who Knew Too Much had on the Giallo (Italian thriller) genre. Content wise, this film would feature many things that would become staples of the genre, which would ultimately reach its apex during the early part of the 1970’s. A few of these staples include a protagonist who is forced to become an amateur sleuth when they find themselves caught up in a murder mystery. And a black-gloved killer whose weapon of choice is a knife that in the finale reveals their modus operandi to the protagonist.

At the time that The Girl Who Knew Too Much was being made co-productions between countries were very common and for this Italian/U.S. co-production the U.S. end would be picked up by American International Pictures, who a few years before had released Mario Bava’s Black Sunday theatrically. This time around however for its U.S. release under the title Evil Eye, this film would feature much more than a brand new score. Additional scenes would be added for this alternate version, which also took on a decidedly different tone that was far less ominous and the humor is more heavy handed.

Also, when discussing The Girl Who Knew Too Much, one must not overlook the influence that the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock had on this film. Its title is clearly a play on the Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Another thing that reminds one of Hitchcock is this film’s heroine Nora, who in many ways mirrors "the icy blonde" that has since become synonymous with Hitchcock’s legacy.

Though the opening moments feel a bit rushed, things start to settle in once the family friend that Nora is visiting dies in the middle of the night. Fortunately, after this slight hiccup, things from there on out move along briskly and there are no more lulls along the way. It is during this pivotal moment that Mario Bava establishes the tension that is firmly overtaking every facet of the protagonist’s life. He uses the traumatic event of Nora witnessing the death of a woman, who only moments later disappears into thin air, to create a state where she is caught between reality and paranoia. Needless to say, by the time the finale rolls around, she is on the brink of a breakdown.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much would mark Mario Bava’s final film shot in black and white. And visually, The Girl Who Knew Too Much is filled with striking imagery that has a Gothic vibe to it and at times is reminiscent of the style associated with Noir cinema. His use of shadow and light, especially the latter, is astounding. And of course, the most memorable moments are all the moments involving murder or terrorizing this film’s protagonist. Most notably, the aforementioned scene where she witnesses a woman being murdered.

The most surprising aspect of The Girl Who Knew Too Much is the performance by its leading lady, Letcia Román, whose all too brief career also included a starring role for another iconic film director, Russ Meyer, and that film was Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. She gives a very convincing performance of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Cast opposite her is John Saxon (Tenebrae), in the role of Dr. Marcello Bassi, Nora’s love interest and her partner in crime solving. He turns in a strong performance that far exceeds the limitations of what is essentially a supportive character. Another performance of note is Valentina Cortese (Le amiche) in the role of Laura Craven-Torrani, the mysterious neighbor next door.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much gets a definitive release from Arrow Video that comes with two versions of the film and a wealth of insightful extras, highly recommended.

                                          The Girl Who Knew Too Much Screenshots.






                                                       
                                                        Evil Eye Screenshots.







 Written by Michael Den Boer

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Toolbox Murders – Blue Underground (4k UHD/Blu-ray Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: Dennis Donnelly
Writers: Robert Easter, Ann N. Kindberg
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Wesley Eure, Aneta Corseaut, Marianne Walter

Release Date: January 18th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 93 Minutes 54 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Atmos English, DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $49.95

"In a quiet apartment complex in Los Angeles, a deranged handyman goes on a killing spree, savagely murdering 'immoral' women with the tools of his trade - claw-hammers, screwdrivers, power drills and even a deadly nail gun!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "newly scanned in 4K 16-bit from its uncut original negative."

The Toolbox Murders comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 61.3 GB

Feature: 58.3 GB

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

Disc Size: 38.6 GB

Feature: 26.7 GB

Though the transfer for Blue Underground’s 2010 Blu-ray looked very good. This new 4K transfer is a noticeable improvement that is superior to that transfer in every way. Areas of greatest improvement include shadow detail, color saturation, and grain, which is better managed.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with three audio options: a Dolby Atmos mix in English, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The DTS-HD 5.1 and the DTS-HD mono mixes are ported over tracks from the Blue Underground 2010 Blu-ray release. For this review, I watched the film with the Dolby Atmos track. For a remix track, the Dolby Atmos track is a solid track that does a great job of expanding upon the original mono source. Included with this release are three subtitle options: English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Extras:

Extras on the 4K UHD include a poster & still gallery (111 images), theatrical trailer (2 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), TV spot (32 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), radio spot #1 (34 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), radio spot #2 (33 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival audio commentary with producer Tony DiDio, Director of Photography Gary Graver, and actress Pamelyn Ferdin and an audio commentary with film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson.

Extras on the Blu-ray include a poster & still gallery (111 images), theatrical trailer (2 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), TV spot (32 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), radio spot #1 (34 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), radio spot #2 (33 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with Director Dennis Donnelly titled Drill Sergeant (20 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Wesley Eure titled Tools of The Trade (26 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Kelly Nichols titled Flesh And Blood (31 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Kelly Nichols titled I Got Nailed in The Toolbox Murders (8 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with David Del Valle who remembers Cameron Mitchell titled Slashback Memories (24 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a video essay by film historian Amanda Reyes and filmmaker Chris O'Neill titled 'They Know I Have Been Sad' (19 minutes 27 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival audio commentary with producer Tony DiDio, Director of Photography Gary Graver, and actress Pamelyn Ferdin and an audio commentary with film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson.

Other extras include a limited-edition slipcover.

Included with this release is a Blu-ray that contains The Toolbox Murders and all of the extras.

Summary:

The Toolbox Murders is a late 1970’s horror film that features many elements that would become synonymous with slasher films. Though the slasher genre would be overstretched by uninspired films by the mid-1980’s. It was interesting to see a film that was released at the beginning of the slasher film cycle that began with John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The Toolbox Murders starts off with a flurry of murder set pieces before it settles into a more psychologically driven story about a grieving father whose daughter died in a car wreck. Though the bulk of the carnage occurs in the film’s first act, the rest of the film does a good job of keeping things moving along and interesting. The most memorable moment also happens to be one of its kill scenes. In which a young naked woman is pursued by a masked madman who uses his nail gun as a weapon against her.

From a production standpoint, The Toolbox Murders does a great job of exploiting its resources. A creative opening credits sequence where a car crashes perfectly sets the foundation for what follows. Another strength are the flashbacks that give a glimpse into the killer's mind. All of the kills are inventive; the killer uses various tools from his toolbox, and the kill scenes have an ample amount of gore. The most enjoyable aspect of The Toolbox Murders is watching Cameron Mitchell’s portrayal of a grieving father. He delivers a convincing performance that is equally menacing and eerie. Ultimately, The Toolbox Murders is a solid slasher film that never strays away from its bread and butter: bloodshed and T&A.

Blue Underground continues to impress with their 4K UHD releases. The Toolbox Murders is another example of 4K UHD from Blue Underground, with a new 4K transfer, a solid Dolby Atmos audio track, and a slew of new extras to go along with the extras ported over from their previous Blu-ray release; highly recommended.

                                                                 4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Whip and the Body – Kino Lorber/Scorpion Releasing (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1963
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Ernesto Gastaldi, Ugo Guerra, Luciano Martino
Cast: Daliah Lavi, Christopher Lee, Tony Kendall, Ida Galli, Harriet Medin, Gustavo De Nardo, Luciano Pigozzi, Jacques Herlin

Release Date: December 17th, 2013
Approximate running time: 87 Minutes 11 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono French
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.95

"Marred by controversy at the time of its release, this horror fantasy from Italy's legendary horror director Mario Bava centers on the twisted desires of a nobleman's son (Christopher Lee). Lee is ostracized by his father for his dalliances with a servant girl (who later commits suicide), but is allowed to return to the fold by his brother, whose lovely wife (Dahlia Lavi) immediately becomes the object of Lee's mad lust. Lee is later found murdered, along with several other victims from the surrounding village, leading superstitious locals to believe that Lee's evil spirit has returned to destroy them; the twist ending reveals the real evil at work." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Mastered in HD from an original 35mm print."

The Whip and the Body comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 30 GB

Feature: 27.1 GB

Though the image generally looks crisp throughout, there are no issues with compression. These are just a few of the things that this transfer does right. First off, somebody felt the need to drown portions of this film in blue and, though less details are to be expected during darker moments, the darker moments throughout this transfer are often too murky. Overall, this transfer is a big letdown, and yet again, another release for The Whip and the Body comes up way short.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with three audio options: a LPCM Mono mix in English, a LPCM Mono mix in Italian and a LPCM Mono mix in French. The three audio mixes fare much better than the aforementioned transfer. The dialog is clear enough to follow, everything sounds balanced, and the film’s score sounds appropriately robust throughout. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer for The Whip and the Body (3 minutes 28 seconds, LPCM mono English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark.

Other extras include trailers for Black Sunday, A Bay of Blood, Baron Blood, and Lisa and the Devil.

Summary:

The Whip and the Body is equal parts gothic horror and melodrama. Structurally, the narrative is arguably the strongest point that Mario Bava ever got to work with. Also, all of the characters are well-defined and their motivations are laid out with crystal clarity.

When compared to your atypical horror films, the way in which The Whip and the Body go for the jugular is against the grain. Unfortunately, this unfamiliar turn may lead some viewers to tune out of what is really a meticulously laid out exercise in terror that puts the weight of its shocking payoffs squarely on the shoulders of its atmospheric visuals.

When discussing the films of Mario Bava, one area that often comes up is his use of colors. And in the case of The Whip and the Body, he appears to have reached his apex in regards to his use of colors. Also, The Whip and the Body features many themes that would become the foundation of his later films. A few of these themes include obsession, decaying families, and inner turmoil.

Performance wise, it is really the two leads who carry The Whip and the Body. Daliah Lavi (The Demon) is exquisite in the role of Nevenka Menliff, and Christopher Lee (Count Dracula) is magnificent in the role of Kurt Menliff, her sadistic lover. They have a tremendous amount of chemistry, while the rest of the cast are little more than props used to further the story at hand. The most memorable moment in "The Whip and the Body" is a scene where Kurt whips Nevenka, who starts to enjoy her torment.

Ultimately, The Whip and the Body is a first-rate psychological horror film that for far too long has been under-appreciated. Thankfully, time has been kind to this film as its reputation continues to grow as the years go by.

The Whip and the Body gets a good release from Kino Lorber that comes with a transfer that leaves room for improvement and an insightful 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...