Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Sweet Body of Deborah – X-Rated Kult Video/ELEA-Media (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy/France, 1968
Director: Romolo Guerrieri
Writers: Ernesto Gastaldi, Luciano Martino
Cast: Carroll Baker, Jean Sorel, Ida Galli, George Hilton, Luigi Pistilli

Release Date: December 1st, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 96 Minutes 3 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: FSK 12 (Germany)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono German
Subtitles: English, German
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: OOP (Germany)

"A couple who got married in the USA want to spend their honeymoon in the husband's home country of Switzerland. There he learns from an old friend that his ex-wife is said to have killed herself because of him. He can't believe that and ends up in his now uninhabited villa. There is mysterious music playing, but no one seems to be in the house.

The couple flees to a rented villa in Italy. But the mysterious acquaintance turns up again, and the new neighbor also seems to pose a threat. During the first night, the situation escalates to a murderous level. A dark secret hangs over the young couple." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

The Sweet Body of Deborah comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 22.3 GB

Feature: 19.5 GB

The source used for this transfer is in great shape. The image looks crisp, the colors are nicely saturated, and the black levels remain strong throughout.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian with English and German subtitles; and two German language options; a DTS-HD mono mix in German created in 1968; and a DTS-HD mono mix in German created in 1975 (there are no subtitle options for these two audio tracks). The Italian language tack sounds like this: clean, clear, balanced, and robust when it should.

Extras:

The extras for this release include a German theatrical trailer (2 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German, no subtitles), two image galleries: German advertising material and French promotional material and posters, German opening and closing credits (3 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), an option to view the essay that is included as part of the booklet, an interview with Dr. Marcus Stiglegger who discusses The Sweet Body of Deborah (8 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo German, no subtitles), revisable cover art, a slip cover and a sixteen-page booklet with an essay titled Il Dolce corpo di Deborah written by Martin Legs (all text in the booklet is in German).

Other extras include a theatrical trailer for The Perfume of the Lady in Black (2 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German, no subtitles).

Included with this release is a DVD that has the same content as the Blu-ray included as part of this combo.

Summary:

In the late 1960's, Carroll Baker would star in a handful of Italian thrillers that were more rooted in psychological terror than elaborate murder set pieces. And after The Sweet Body of Deborah, Carroll Baker would star in a trio of similar-themed Italian thrillers directed by Umberto Lenzi: Paranoia (aka Orgasmo), So Sweet... So Perverse, and A Quiet Place to Kill (aka Paranoia).

The Sweet Body of Deborah was made during an era when Italian thrillers relied more on atmosphere than elaborate murder set pieces. The narrative is superbly realized, and key moments are given an ample amount of time to resonate. Visually, The Sweet Body of Deborah does not waste an opportunity to exploit its picturesque and the more than ample assets of its leading lady, Carroll Baker. Standout moments include the scene where the husband visits the home of his former lover for the first time since learning of her suicide and a very satisfying finale.

Performance wise, the entire cast is very good in their respective roles. With the heart and soul being Carroll Baker (Knife of Ice) in the role of Deborah, the tormented wife, she delivers a strong performance that perfectly captures her character's state of mind. Other notable cast members include Jean Sorel (Short Night of Glass Dolls) in the role of Deborah’s husband Marcel, Luigi Pistilli (Death Rides a Horse, Bay of Blood), Ida Galli (The Bloodstained Butterfly) in the role of Marcel’s ex-girlfriend who committed suicide, and George Hilton (The Case of The Bloody Iris) in the role of Robert Simack, the nosy next-door neighbor "Who Knew Too Much". Ultimately, The Sweet Body of Deborah is a well-made psychological giallo that fans of Carroll Baker's 1960s gialli should thoroughly enjoy.

The Sweet Body of Deborah makes its way to Blu-ray via a solid audio/video presentation from X-Rated Kult Video/ELEA-Media.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Monday, August 29, 2022

Paths of Glory – Kino Lorber (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1957
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham, Jim Thompson
Cast: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson, Joe Turkel, Christiane Kubrick, Jerry Hausner, Peter Capell, Emile Meyer, Bert Freed, Timothy Carey, Fred Bell, John Stein

Release Date: August 23rd, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 87 Minutes 18 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.95

"Safe in a picturesque chateau behind WWI front lines, the French General Staff passes down a direct order to Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas, Lonely Are the Brave): take the Ant Hill at any cost. A blatant suicide mission, the attack is doomed to failure. Covering up their fatal blunder, the generals order the arrest of three innocent soldiers, charging them with cowardice and mutiny. Dax, a lawyer in civilian life, rises to the men’s defense but soon realizes that, unless he can prove that the generals were to blame, nothing less than a miracle will save his clients from the firing squad." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "From 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative."

Paths of Glory comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD

Disc Size: 56.2 GB

Feature: 53.8 GB

Image clarity, contrast, and black levels are solid, and the image retains an organic look. This is another solid 4K upgrade from Kino Lorber that is a marked improvement over all previous home video releases for this film.

Audio: 4.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in great shape; dialog comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced and robust when it should.

Extras:

The extras for this release include reversible cover art, a limited-edition slipcover, an audio commentary with novelist and film critic Tim Lucas, and theatrical trailers for Killer’s Kiss (1 minute 46 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), The Killing (1 minute 46 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), and Paths of Glory (3 minutes, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles).

Summary:

Looking back at the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's career, it is astounding that for a filmmaker who would often take years from the origins of a film to its final product, he was able to make three films in three years. Though Killer’s Kiss and The Killing can be seen as modest film productions, the same cannot be said for Paths of Glory, a film that at the time was Stanley Kubrick’s most ambitious film.

Stanley Kubrick’s growth as a filmmaker is noticeable with each new film. And though it was impressive how much he was able to grow from Killer’s Kiss to The Killing, it is hard not to understate just how much of a leap it was from Killer’s Kiss to Paths of Glory.

One constant throughout Stanley Kubrick’s filmography is just how diverse a filmmaker he is. Though he returned to recurring themes in most of his films, he rarely worked in the same genre. That is, except for war, which played a role in many of his films.

With Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick delivers a damning statement on the atrocities created by wars. The narrative revolves around an impossible military objective that Brigadier General Paul Mireau is determined to carry out, even at the expense of all of his soldiers' lives. When his planned attack does not go off the way he envisioned, Brigadier General Paul Mireau labels the men as cowards, and he demands a court martial to hold the cowards accountable for his leadership failures. From there, a preordained trial of three men is held, followed by their executions.

Though the cinema of Stanley Kubrick is most remembered for his striking visuals, one must not undervalue the performances he was able to get from his cast. And in the case of Paths of Glory, there are no performances that do not rise to the occasion. Of course, Kirk Douglas (Ace in the Hole), in the role of Colonel Dax, delivers another superlative performance. Other notable performances include George Macready (Seven Days in May) in the role of megalomaniac Brigadier General Paul Mireau, and Timothy Carey (One-Eyed Jacks) in the role of Private Maurice Ferol, one of the three men randomly chosen to be executed.

From a production standpoint, it is mind-blowing just how much Stanley Kubrick was able to achieve with the resources he was given for Paths of Glory. The utmost detail in the scenes of carnage as soldiers try to advance upon The Anthill, a position being held by German soldiers, is unflinching in its portrayal of the horrors of war. An iconic moment in Paths of Glory is a tracking shot through the trenches that has all the hallmarks that are synonymous with the cinema of Stanley Kubrick. Another memorable moment is the scene that ends Paths of Glory, in which a German woman sings a poignant song to a hostile crowd, who are eventually won over by the song she is singing. This moment provides a perfect coda to the events that preceded it. Ultimately, Paths of Glory is an extraordinary film that stands firmly as one of cinema’s best anti-war films.

Paths of Glory makes its way to 4K UHD via an excellent release from Kino Lorber that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an exceptional audio commentary that is filled with insight about Paths of Glory and Stanley Kubrick, highly recommended.

                                                         4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Shivers - Vestron Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1975
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, Barbara Steele, Ronald Mlodzik

Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Approximate running time: 87 minutes 35 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $17.99

"Creeping parasites systematically infect an isolated high-rise condominium in Montreal. The symptoms of the disease are fright- ening: victims commit acts of uncontrollable violence accompanied by unusual sexual behavior. A doctor races to discover the cause of the disease and tries to stop it from spreading." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5

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

Disc Size: 31.8 GB

Feature: 18.4 GB

Though Vestron Video’s transfer appears to come from the same source that Arrow Video uses for its 2014 Blu-ray release. These two transfers are not identical; image clarity looks stronger and grain is better resolved for Arrow Video’s release. Also, Arrow Video’s release gives the main feature about 6 GB more space than Vestron Video’s release.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio sounds are clean, clear and balanced throughout. Included with this release are removable English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a slipcover (limited to first pressing), a stills gallery with music from the film playing in the background, also the stills gallery extra can-be watched with an audio interview with executive producer John Dunning (8 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three radio spots (2 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a TV spot (1 minute 3 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), two theatrical trailers (3 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival interview with director David Cronenberg from 1998 (21 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Greg Dunning titled Celebrating Cinépix: The Legacy of John Dunning (10 minutes 5 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with special make-up effects creator Joe Blasco titled Outside and Within (12 minutes 55 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Lynn Lowry titled Good Night Nurse (16 minutes 54 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with David Cronenberg titled Mind Over Matter, an audio commentary is with David Cronenberg and moderated by Chris Alexander, and an audio commentary is with producer Don Carmody and moderated by Chris Alexander.

Summary:

By the time David Cronenberg directed Shivers, he had already directed a few short films, worked extensively for Canadian television and had two feature-length albeit experimental films, Stereo and Crimes of the Future, under his belt. That said, Shivers is widely regarded as the launching point for Body Horror, a type of cinema his name has since become synonymous with.

Far too many modern horror films are one-dimensional and content to shock the viewer with grotesque imagery. This by the numbers approach to the genre often leads to its demise until another creative film or filmmaker comes along and gives the genre a much-needed shot in the arm. Fortunately, for fans of horror cinema, there are filmmakers like David Cronenberg who are going to take you to places you have never been before.

Shivers is a first-rate example of how to make a riveting and entertaining horror film so that no matter how many times you revisit it, it does not lose any of its potency. The prime reason why this film works so well is because of the things that David Cronenberg brings to the table, and not the things that one would normally expect from a horror film. Many of the themes he would later develop in his career would be infused into the Shivers.

The parasite wreaking havoc in this film is created by a doctor who is trying to come up with a way to replace damaged organs. From there, the apartment building where the bulk of the film takes place becomes ground zero for the infestation when the doctor takes one of his patients there and tries to remove a parasite.

This initial setup does a great job of setting into motion the mayhem and bloodlust that ensues. And though the characters are never fully fleshed out, this ultimately does not prove to be a problem since the main attraction is the parasites.

Shivers visually has many standout moments, such as when the doctor responsible for creating the parasite removes one from a patient and then commits suicide. Other standout moments include a scene where a woman taking a bath gets attacked by a parasite that comes up through the drain in the tub. And finally, this film’s jaw-dropping finale is another superb moment.

From a production standpoint, the visuals are strong throughout, and pacing is never an issue. When it comes to gore, there is an ample amount of gore and sexuality on display. And without a doubt, the most surprising aspect of this film is how effective the special effects are. With a scene where parasites explode out of a man’s chest being the most memorable moment in regards to special effects.

When it comes to the performances, one would be hard pressed to fault any of the cast, who are enthusiastic in their respective roles. The main draw, performance-wise, is that it features two actresses who are well-known for working in the horror genre: Lynn Lowry (The Crazies) and Barbara Steele (Black Sunday). It is Steele’s character that gets attacked while trying to take a bath.

This is where far too many filmmakers falter due to limited resources and/or their lack of experience with an actual film. This is not the case for David Cronenberg, who creates an utterly tangible world with Shivers, making the result one of the most satisfying horror film debuts.

Vestron Video's Shivers Blu-ray is a first-rate release that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and an abundance of informative extras, recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Dead Ringers - Shout! Factory (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada/USA, 1988
Director: David Cronenberg
Writers: David Cronenberg, Norman Snider
Cast: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack, Jacqueline Hennessy, Jill Hennessy 

Release Date: November 15th, 2016
Approximate running time: 115 minutes 28 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (David Cronenberg’s Preferred Aspect Ratio), 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Theatrical Aspect Ratio)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.99

"Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) is in love with handsome Beverly. Or does she love Elliot? It's uncertain because brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle are identical twins sharing the same medical practice, apartment and women - including unsuspecting Claire. 

In portrayals that won the New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor Award, Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologists whose emotional dependency collapses into mind games, madness and murder." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5 (1.78:1 Widescreen), 4/5 (1.66:1 Widescreen)

Here is information about the 1.78:1 presentation, "High-Definition transfer of the film."

Here is information about the 1.66:1 presentation, "New 2K scan at the director's preferred aspect ratio."

Dead Ringers theatrical aspect ratio comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 38.2 GB

Feature: 38 GB

Dead Ringers David Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ratio comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.4 GB

Feature: 35 GB

The two versions included as part of this release come from different sources, besides the obvious difference in their framing. There are also differences when it comes to colors, and the directors' preferred version does not suffer from some of the sharpening of the image that is present in the transfer used for the theatrical version.

Audio: 4.25/5 (DTS-HD 5.1 English), 3.75/5 (DTS-HD Stereo English)

Both versions come with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. All the audio mixes sound clean, clear, and balanced. With the DTS-HD 5.1 tracks offering a more robust soundscape than their stereo counterparts, it should be that the L-R channels are reversed on the two stereo mixes. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles for both versions.

Extras:

Extras on disc one (theatrical aspect ratio) include an audio commentary with author William Beard (The Artist as the Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg), and an archival audio commentary with actor Jeremy Irons.

Extras on disc two (David Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ratio) include a theatrical trailer (1 minute 56 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an archival Behind the Scenes featurette (7 minutes 14 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interviews with David Cronenberg, Jeremy Irons, screenwriter Norman Snider and producer Marc Boyman (17 minutes 3 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an actress Heidi von Palleske titled Carey’s Story (18 minutes 31 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an actor Stephen Lack titled Working Artist (23 minutes 56 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with special effects artist Gordon Smith titled Connecting Tissues (19 minutes 16 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles) and an interview with director of photography Peter Suschitzky titled Double Vision (12 minutes 40 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles).

Other extras include reversible cover art, and a slipcover (limited to first pressing).

Summary:

Most of David Cronenberg’s films leading up to Dead Ringers were horror films. And, while David Cronenberg's distinct filmmaking style is perfectly suited to the horror genre, he would demonstrate with Dead Ringers that his cinematic language was not limited by genres or traditional cinema standards.

From a production standpoint, there is not a single area where Dead Ringers does not excel. The narrative does a superb job of executing the premise, and when it comes to pacing, there are no issues. The characters are well defined, and their motivations are crystal clear. Also, Dead Ringers features a solid score that perfectly sets the mood. 

Visually, Dead Ringers delivers on so many levels, with standout moments including one of the most perverse S&M scenes to ever appear in a film distributed by a major Hollywood studio; a scene in which the brothers dance with a woman to the song Still of the Night; and a scene in which Elliot, whose fragile psyche has been pushed to its limit, is removed from an examination by the nurses who are assisting him. Another standout moment is the unforgettable traumatic ending, which lingers on in your mind.

The entire cast delivered excellent performances in their respective roles, especially Jeremy Irons (The Mission) in the dual roles of twin brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle, who was a tour de force. He delivers an utterly convincing performance where both characters are distinctively different. Another performance of note includes Geneviève Bujold (Obsession) in the role of Claire Niveau, an actress with whom the two brothers initially have a sexual relationship, unknown to her. Ultimately, Dead Ringers is a key film in David Cronenberg’s evolution as a filmmaker and stands out as one of his best films.

This release comes with two different aspect ratios that come with two different color timings, and the reserving of the two stereo tracks is problematic. That said, despite its shortcomings, this release from Shout! Factory is currently Dead Ringers' best home video release. Recommended.

















 Written by Michael Den Boer

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Crash – Arrow Video (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada/UK, 1996
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, Rosanna Arquette, Peter MacNeill

Release Date: May 31st, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 99 Minutes 49 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £29.99 (UK)

"Spader stars as James Ballard, a film producer whose deviant sexual desires are awakened by a near fatal automobile accident with Dr. Helen Remington (Hunter). Soon the pair, alongside Ballard’s wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), are drawn into an underground world of car-crash fetishism presided over by renegade scientist Vaughan (Elias Koteas). Danger, sex and death become entwined as eroticism and technology join together in a disturbing, deadly union." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "4K restoration of the uncut NC-17 version, supervised by director of photography Peter Suschitzky and approved by director David Cronenberg."

Crash comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD

Disc Size: 88.9 GB

Feature: 65.5 GB

The source used for this new 4K transfer looks excellent. And though it is a massive upgrade over this film's previous DVD releases, it is also a noticeable improvement in many areas over Criterion’s 2020 Blu-ray release. Areas of the most noticeable improvements include black levels, contrast, and compression. That said, it is hard to imagine Crash looking any better than Arrow Video’s transfer.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds excellent; the dialog always comes through clearly, and everything sounds balanced. Range wise, ambient sounds and the score are well-represented. You can feel the impact of the car crashes.

Extras:

Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a theatrical trailer (1 minute 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo, no subtitles), a NC-17 theatrical trailer (1 minute 58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo, no subtitles), two short films directed by David Cronenberg - The Nest (9 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World (3 minutes 58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), two short films inspired by J.G. Ballard and the novel Crash - Nightmare Angel (32 minutes 59 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), and Always (crashing) (14 minutes 23 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a short film originally broadcast as part of the BBC’s Review series, starring J.G. Ballard and loosely adapted from his 1970 novel The Atrocity Exhibition titled Crash (17 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal on Cronenberg’s use of architecture and location titled Architect of Pain: The Cronenberg Project (14 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival behind the scenes featurette (11 minutes 29 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with director David Cronenberg (6 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with author J.G. Ballard (2 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actor James Spader (4 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actress Holly Hunter (3 minutes 27 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actress Deborah Kara Unger (5 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actor Elias Koteas (2 minutes 34 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a 1996 Q&A with David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard at the National Film Theater in London (102 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a 2019 Q&A with David Cronenberg and actor Viggo Mortensen at TIFF (52 minutes 17 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with casting director Deirdre Bowen titled License to Drive (27 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with composer Howard Shore titled The Shore Thing (23 minutes 23 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with executive producer Jeremy Thomas titled Mechanical Animals (17 minutes 26 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Peter Suschitzky titled The Cronenberg Challenge (20 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and an audio commentary with film scholar Adrian Martin.

Summary:

Though Crash is an adaptation and not an original idea by David Cronenberg, there are elements throughout the source novel that fit perfectly within the cinema of David Cronenberg. He had a knack for taking something that did not originate with him and making it his own.

I have been aware of Crash since its initial release, and yet it is a film that has eluded me despite my considerable admiration of the cinema of David Cronenberg. Needless to say, finally seeing Crash after all of these years, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.

The narrative revolves around a group of symphorophiliacs who restage famous car crashes like James Dean and Jayne Mansfield. Through a chance encounter, the protagonist, a filmmaker named James Ballard, is introduced to symphorophilia after a near-fatal car crash. From there, his sexual desires are awakened by his obsession with symphorophilia.

With a film like Crash, you need a cast who is willing to let their inhibitions go. Fortunately, the rest of the cast are all exceptional in their roles, especially James Spader (Less Than Zero) in the role of James Ballard. His character serves as the viewer's guide into the world of symphorophilia, and he delivers an utterly believable portrayal of an inquisitive character consumed by his obsessions. 

Notable cast members include Holly Hunter (The Piano) in the role of a doctor whose husband was killed in the car crash caused by James Ballard’s reckless driving; Elias Koteas (Exotica) in the role of another doctor who is the ringleader of the group that recreates famous car crashes; Deborah Kara Unger (The Game) in the role of James’ wife; and Rosanna Arquette (After Hours) in the role of a woman who wears steel braces on her legs and one of her legs has a vulva-shaped scar.

Throughout his career, there have been a few collaborators that he has worked with on numerous films. That said, none is more integrable than composer Howard Shore, who has scored every David Cronenberg film since The Brood, with the exception of The Dead Zone. In Crash, he composes a phenomenal score that perfectly fuses with the striking imagery.

From the moment of its arrival, Crash was a controversial film that divided viewers with its fusion of sex and violence. Although Crash is easily dismissed by those not willing to dig deeper beyond its surface, what actually lies within is an enthralling exploration of obsession that is arguably one of David Cronenberg’s greatest achievements as a filmmaker.

Crash makes its way to 4K UHD via an exceptional release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a ridiculous number of insightful extras. Highly recommended.

                                                        4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

Yes, Madam! – Eureka Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1985 Director: Corey Yuen Writers: James Clouse, Barry Wong Cast: M...