Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Shock – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Directors: Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava
Writers: Lamberto Bava, Gianfranco Barberi, Alessandro Parenzo, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, David Colin Jr., Ivan Rassimov

Release Date: January 17th, 2022 (UK), January 18th, 2022 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 92 Minutes 31 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK) / $39.95 (USA)

"Dora (Daria Nicolodi, Deep Red) moves back into her old family home with her husband, Bruno (John Steiner, Tenebrae), and Marco (David Colin Jr., Beyond the Door), her young son from her previous marriage. But domestic bliss proves elusive as numerous strange and disturbing occurrences transpire, while Dora is haunted by a series of nightmares and hallucinations, many of them involving her dead former husband. Is the house itself possessed? Or does Dora’s increasingly fragile grip on reality originate from somewhere far closer to home?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "The original 35mm negative was scanned and restored in 2K resolution at L'Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna. Additional 35mm intermediary elements were scanned and restored in 2K for the opening and closing titles and inserts in the English language versions. The film was conformed and graded at R3Store Studios, London."

Shock comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45 GB

Feature: 22 GB

The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. Colors and flesh tones look correct, image clarity and black levels are solid throughout, and the grain looks organic. That said, this new transfer from Arrow Video is a noticeable upgrade from previous home video releases.

Audio: 4.25/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both audio tracks sound great, the dialog comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. Range-wise, both audio mixes do a good job with the ambient sounds. There are two subtitle options for this release. English subtitles for the Italian language track and English SDH subtitles for the English language track.

Extras:

Extras for this release include image galleries: posters (7 images), Italian fotobusta (12 images), and Japanese souvenir program (11 images), Italian theatrical trailer (3 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), US ‘Beyond the Door II’ TV spot #1 (31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), US ‘Beyond the Door II’ TV spot #2 (27 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), US ‘Beyond the Door II’ TV spot #3 (11 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), US ‘Beyond the Door II’ TV spot #4 (11 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), US ‘Beyond the Door II’/The Dark TV spot (31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with film critic Alberto Farina The Most Atrocious Tortur(e) (4 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a video appreciation by author and film critic Stephen Thrower titled Shock! Horror! – The Stylistic Diversity of Mario Bava (51 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a video essay by author and film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas titled The Devil Pulls the Strings (20 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti titled Via Dell’Orologio 33 (33 minutes 48 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with co-director and screenwriter Lamberto Bava titled A Ghost in the House (30 minutes 34 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark, reversible cover art, a slipcover (limited to first pressing) and a twenty-four page booklet (limited to first pressing) with cast & crew information, an essay titled Shock Horror a la Bava written by Troy Howarth and information about the restoration/transfer.

Summary:

Despite this, Mario Bava would direct one more project, an episode of the TV miniseries I Giochi del Diavolo. Shock would serve as his feature film swan song.

When discussing Italian horror cinema, no name looms larger than Mario Bava's. And though he was a versatile filmmaker who worked in just about every film genre, Ultimately, it is his horror films that he’s most remembered for. Notably, films like Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, and Bay of Blood

From its opening moments, Shock has all the elements that have become synonymous with the cinema of Mario Bava. Whether it be his equine visual eye or his ability to make something remarkable out of minimal resources, Mario Bava was a filmmaker who had no peers. Shock delivers and then some in both of these areas.

Shock’s premise deals with demonic possession, and its narrative revolves around a woman who’s recently recovered from a traumatic event from her past. Unfortunately for her, the house that she once shared with her ex-husband, who committed suicide, holds the key to her trauma’s source. She returns to that house with her new husband and son after seven years.

What Shock’s minimal narrative lacks is more than made up for by its visuals, which are overflowing with a foreboding atmosphere. Shock is filled with inventive special effects and trick photography, two areas that Mario Bava excelled at. The most memorable moments in Shock are the scenes where the protagonist, Dora, is lying in bed and her hair hangs across her face in an unusual manner, and a scene where Dora’s son, Marco, runs towards her and, right before he jumps into her arms, he transforms into his dead father.

Most of the cast are nothing more than mere props. The same cannot be said of Daria Nicolodi’s (Deep Red) portrayal of Dora. She delivers what is arguably her best performance as a woman who’s beyond the edge of a nervous breakdown. Cast in the role of Marco is David Colin Jr., whose only film credit is Beyond the Door and Shock, which was also released under the alternate title Beyond the Door II. Ultimately, Shock is another exemplary horror film directed by Mario Bava.

Shock makes its way to Blu-ray via a definitive release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an abundance of extras that provide insight about Shock and Mario Bava, highly recommended.









Written by Michael Den Boer

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