Category Archives: Might See

Edge of Sanity (1989) | The lurid Anthony Perkins Jekyll and Hyde meets Jack the Ripper horror on Blu-ray

When his experiments into a new anaesthetic using cocaine go awry, respected London physician Dr Jekyll (Anthony Perkins) takes off into the night in pursuit of sensual pleasures under the guise of Mr Jack Hyde. As his wife Elisabeth (Glynis Barber) continues her charity work with Whitechapel’s fallen women, Jekyll’s growing addiction draws him into an escalating cycle of lust and murder as the seemingly unstoppable Hyde. Can he be saved? Does he want to be saved?

Produced by the legend that is Harry Alan Towers (AKA the king of the co-production deal), this 1989 independent horror is an intoxicating fusion of Robert Louis Stephenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Jack the Ripper’s real-life reign of terror over Victorian London – but with an interesting (contemporary) spin that incorporates the power of drugs to unleash the unconscious mind.

From an idea by Towers (under his Peter Welbeck pseudonym) and helmed with a surreal, lurid eye by French erotica director Gérard Kikoïne, Edge of Sanity afforded Perkins one of the best performances in his final years before his death in 1992. Sporting just a bit of red eyeliner and red lipstick, a pallid complexion, and greased down bangs, he brings his bisexual drug fiend Hyde to savage, livid life (and chews the scenery in the best possible way), and effectively counterpoints this with a gentlemanly, staid Jekyll, who is the embodiment of Victorian values.

The film also boasts hugely atmospheric lighting and camerawork, and evocative Budapest location work. Indeed just some set-up shots were filmed in London, but you’d never guess – except for one scene that takes place at Budapest’s famed Art Nouveau Gellért Thermal Bath. Kikoïne also makes excellent use of the red and pink-tinged brothel set for the film’s kinky hallucinogenic scenes that border on Ken Russell-styled excess.

Thanks to this new 2k restoration, this is the best the film has ever looked. Indeed I had only ever seen it before in a muddy VHS print, so this has been a revelation – as have been the extras, which add a new dimension to the horror slasher.


• Brand new 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative by Arrow Films
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Audio commentary by writer David Flint and author/filmmaker Sean Hogan
French Love: an interview with director Gérard Kikoïne (French with subtitles)
Staying Sane: Gérard Kikoïne discusses Edge of Sanity (French with subtitles)
Edward’s Edge: an interview with Edward Simons
Over the Edge: Stephen Thrower on Edge of Sanity (ED: loved Stephen’s analysis of the film’s anachronisms which places Hyde into a late-1980s post-punk, goth and alt clubbing context and compares them with the visual style of Derek Jarman)
Jack, Jekyll and Other Screen Psychos: an interview with Jack the Ripper in Film and Culture author Dr Clare Smith
• Theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jon Towlson

Demonia (1990) | Lucio Fulci’s satanic sisters shocker gets a UK 4k release

From Arrow Video comes the UK release of the 4K restoration of Lucio Fulci’s 1990 Sicily-set supernatural shocker, Demonia, alongside a stunning array of special extras – including the 2021 documentary Fulci Talks, in which the maverick Italian director spills all about his oeuvre.

While excavating an ancient Greek amphitheatre in southern Sicily, Canadian archaeologist Professor Paul Evans (Brett Halsey) and his team set up camp near a medieval monastery where, in 1486, five heretic nuns were crucified for worshipping the Devil. Evans’ protégé, Liza Harris (Meg Register), has been having visions of the nuns, and when she finds their skeletons in the crypt, she awakens the vengeful spirit of the Abbess. Let the killing begin!

Demonia is by no means one of Fulci’s best films, but it’s not his worst either. In fact, despite its myriad of flaws (like the faulty gauze camera effect) and its serious lack of a decent budget (which Stephen Thrower elucidates on his in his excellent commentary), there’s a lot to like.

First up is Brett Halsey, one of Fulci’s favourite actors. He brings much gravitas to an otherwise lacklustre supporting cast (although his character is a mean-spirited misogynist bastard).

Next are the film’s stunning Sicilian settings, including the Antiquarium di Eraclea Minoa near Agrigento and the monastery of San Pellegrino in Caltabellotta, just an hour’s drive from Palermo (I’m so visiting when I next return to Sicily). Also featured is a deconsecrated church crypt in the town of Sciacca containing real-life corpses (I do hope I can get access, too).

Then there are a couple of disturbing Fulci-esque set pieces, including a baby being burned alive, Lino Salemme’s butcher having his tongue nailed down after being attacked by a carcass of meat, and a young boy watching his father’s intestines spilling out as he is quartered in a trap unwittingly set by the soon-to-be blood-splattered child. Oh, and the award for the most hilarious of Fulci’s eyeball gouging set-ups goes to the cat attack on Carla Cassola’s medium (using obviously stuffed kitties).

To make up the film’s running time, Fulci plays Inspector Carter, who is investigating the murders, and his beloved boat (not the Mornin Lady II) also makes a cameo. Demonia never got a theatrical release, and it wasn’t until 1998 that it made its way to VHS (in Japan) and then DVD in 2001. But now it’s heading to Blu-ray; it’s ripe for a reappraisal.

Demonia is presented here in a brand-new restoration, and unlike the pics I’ve used in this post, it looks terrific (though that gauze effect becomes more noticeable, as do the lame prosthetics). This is the same print that’s used in the Severin Films release in the US, with the same extras ported over. However, Arrow has done UK fans a favour by including the documentary Fulci Talks – surely the last word(s) from the great man himself. Check them out below. Arrow’s release is out on 6 June.

• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Deluxe crucifix-style packaging featuring original artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger

• 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
• Restored original lossless mono English and Italian soundtracks
• Optional English subtitles
• English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Audio commentary by Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci author Stephen Thrower
Holy Demons: interview (via Skype) with co-writer/assistant director Antonio Tentori
Of Skulls and Bones: an interview with camera operator Sandro Grossi
Fulci Lives!!!: camcorder footage of a visit to the Demonia set, including an interview with Lucio Fulci
• Original trailer

Fulci Talks, a feature-length 2021 documentary based on an in-depth video interview from 1993 in which the director talks about sin, sailing, anarchic cinema, and reevaluation. This is the last word in all things Fulci – who is much more than the Godfather of Gore – and will certainly make you want to track down his earlier work.
• Original lossless mono Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles

Stagefright (1987) | Michael Soavi’s theatre of blood and gore and on Blu-ray

Not to be confused with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller or the 1980 Ozpolitation serial killer chiller (that was also titled Nightmares) or even that ropey 2014 Minnie Driver/Meat Loaf theatre camp horror of the same name, 1987’s Stagefright (AKA Aquarius, AKA Delira) marked Italian film-maker Michele Soavi’s directorial debut. Having learned the ropes working as a second unit director with the likes of Joe D’Amato and Dario Argento, Soavi certainly earned his stripes with this bonkers blood-soaked slasher.

The set-up is simple but soon turns insane. A dance troupe have just one week until they open their experimental new musical production, The Night Owl, about a fictional killer and they still stink. When one of the crew members is murdered by escaped mental patient Irving Wallace (Clain Parker and Luigi Montefiori), the company’s director (David Brandon) seizes on the opportunity the tragedy will bring to the show in terms of publicity. He renames the show’s antagonist to that of the psychopathic former stage actor and locks everyone in the theatre to rehearse. However, Wallace has also snuck in and soon embarks on his killing spree.

Featuring inventive set-pieces that are both stylishly executed and gruesome to the max, Stagefright has quite rightly earned its cult status over the years. It also boasts a hauntingly terrific score from Simon Boswell, whose punk-skewed synth sound is the perfect match for Soavi’s vision. It’s like watching a feature-length music video – but with lashings of gore.

Stagefright also features one of the most bizarre-looking killers in the slasher genre – the mute owl head-wearing psycho who dispatches his victims with a drill, chainsaw and axe (in what could be read as a nod to The Driller Killer‘s Reno Miller, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘s Leatherface and Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees).

Genre regulars Giovanni Lombardo Radice (Cannibal Apocalypse, City of the Living Dead) and Barbara Cupisti (The New York Ripper, The Church) are among the cast, while Soavi also appears as one of the two cops stationed outside the theatre while all the mayhem is going on inside. The other is played by former American actor turned screenwriter and dialogue director, Mickey Knox (look him up, he’s quite the character). And here’s a shout out to Lucifer the cat who out-acts the rest of the cast.

Now one scene that really excited me was when our owl-headed psycho creates his macabre tableaux– arranging the dead actors in various poses, stuffing feathers in their mouths and smearing their blood on their faces. It reminded me of the poster for one of my favourite Vincent Price films: Theatre of Blood. Now, I wonder if Soavi was also reminded of it when he designed this scene? What do you think?

The Shameless Films 4K restoration release of Soavi’s Stagefright is a welcome addition to their other releases of the director’s horror output: Dellamorte Dellamore, The Sect and The Church, and it looks and sounds terrific. I’ll be revisiting this often.

Special Edition Features
• New 4K-restored version
Staging the Fright: Interview with director Michele Soavi
The Theater of Blood: Interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice 
The Last Performance: Interview with actor David Brandon
• English or Italian with new English subtitles and hard-of-hearing closed captions

Stagefright is available on Blu-ray and digital on-demand from Shameless Films:

Prophecy | The 1979 creature feature bears its claws on Blu-ray

From Eureka Entertainment comes the 1979 Paramount Pictures’ eco-horror Prophecy directed by John Frankenheimer on Blu-ray as part of the Eureka Classics range.

Government environmental advisor Dr Robert Verne (Falcon Crest‘s Robert Foxworth) and his pregnant wife Maggie (The Godfather‘s Talia Shire) travel to Maine to assess the environmental damage the lumber industry is having on a forest claimed by a local Native American tribe (dubbed the Opies).

When three lumberjacks are found mauled to death, the Opies blame a vengeful spirit called Katahdin – while the Vernes uncover evidence that the local paper mill’s use of mercury is causing birth defeats and making the wildlife grow to abnormal size.

After rescuing a mutated bear club trapped in a salmon fishing net, the Vernes and a couple of Opies (Armand Assante, Victoria Racimo and George Clutesi) find themselves under attack by the cub’s monstrous mutated mother.

I first saw Prophecy on its release on the big screen. It was one of the blockbuster summer releases of 1979 (alongside Alien) and this then 15-year-old monster kid was so excited to see it – mainly due to the poster featuring a mutant bear embryo, and that it was based on a novel by David Seltzer, who had penned one of my faves The Omen in 1976.

But I was pretty disappointed by what played before me. It all starts off great, with its interesting ecological storyline – but when the 15-ft momma bear appears with its melted pizza face, I just laughed – as did most audiences of the day.

Fast forward four decades and seeing it in this new Blu-ray release – its just as ropey. Which is a shame considering its sterling cast and credentials (especially Frankenheimer who had helmed such classic fare as Seconds and The Manchurian Candidate in the 1960s).

The big fault lies in its execution – particularly with the climactic scene that opts for a soundstage (complete with fake plants and wind machines) rather than where most of the film was shot (Crofton, North Cowichan in British Columbia), and the hilarious bear creature, which was a combination of a man in a suit (Tom McLoughlin) and a fur-covered model on wheels.

That saying, it’s still a fun watch with a gang of mates around. No bear hugs allowed though! Also welcomed are the great special features that accompany the Eureka Blu-ray (especially Seltzer and McLoughlin’s reminiscences).


  • Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring new artwork by Darren Wheeling
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a High Definition transfer
  • Optional English SDH Subtitles
  • New feature length audio commentary by Richard Harland Smith
  • New feature length audio commentary by film writers Lee Gambin & Emma Westwood
  • New interview with screenwriter David Seltzer
  • New interview with mime artist Tom McLoughlin
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann; and an archival interview

Nightwing & Shadow of the Hawk | A double-bill of 1970s indigenous folklore horror on Blu-ray

In the spirit of the double-bill drive-in features that some of us were lucky to have experienced back in the 1970s, comes Nightwing & Shadow of the Hawk – two tales of indigenous folklore horror – on Blu-ray in the UK from Eureka Classics.

First up is the 1979 eco-horror – NIGHTWING. Driven by hunger and ravenous for blood, a colony of bubonic plague-carrying vampire bats sweeps across the American Southwest and settles inside a cavern within a canyon much revered by the Maski tribe in Tuscon, Arizona.

When Deputy Youngman Duran (Nick Mancuso) learns that his medicine man guardian (George Clutesi) has cast a spell to end the world and Tribal Council chairman Walker Chee (Stephen Macht) plans to drill for oil in the sacred canyon, Duran reluctantly teams up with a British scientist (David Warner) to destroy the colony.

Based on Martin Cruz Smith’s 1977 novel, Nightwing came at the tail end of the ‘Nature Bites Back/Man vs the Environment’ period that produced such cult-worthy fare as Frogs (1972), Jaws (1975) and Piranha (1978) – but also a lot of jaw-droppingly bad rip-offs. Columbia Pictures’ adaptation of Smith’s novel should have been ‘Jaws with wings’, but – more’s the pity – it proved a critical and commercial failure.

Now, I know there’s not much love for the film, but having revisited it, courtesy of the new Eureka Classics Blu-ray, I think it deserves reappraisal. Yes, Arthur Hiller was an odd choice to direct, especially considering his esteemed comedy credentials (The Hospital, The In-Laws, The Out-of-Towners), but he does bring great sensitivity to Smith’s themes about indigenous spirituality and outsider threats to ancient customs. And he does this best by directing his eye on the magnificent (New Mexico) desert landscape which is intrinsic to Hopi/Navajo culture.

Yes, there’s little in the way of full-on horror action, but the ‘bat attack’ set pieces are well-staged. And yes, Carlo Rambaldi’s bat puppets are pretty naff – but I much prefer them to any of today’s CGI nonsense. You also get some scenery-chewing moments from Mancuso (looking ever so fit in tight jeans and open-neck shirt), Strother Martin (weighed down by lots of Navajo jewellery), and Warner (his ‘Presence of evil’ monologue should be a drinking game).  

Next up, we head over the Canadian border for 1976’s SHADOW OF THE HAWK. Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation stars as Old Man Hawk, an ageing medicine man who recruits his citified grandson Mike (Jan-Michael Vincent) to help him defeat an ancient evil, the Dsonoqua (aka the wild man of the woods). Along the way, Mike (AKA Little Hawk) rediscovers his ancestral roots and his true calling.

This mystical adventure was directed by George McCowan, who helmed one of my fave eco-horrors Frogs (1972). But it is rather disappointing despite its stunning setting (the majestic forests of British Columbia), an earnest turn from Chief Dan George (who scored an Oscar nod for 1970’s Little Big Man), and Jan-Michael Vincent (showing off his lean physique). Lacking suspense and action, it looks more like a TV Movie of the Week, which isn’t surprising given McCowan’s long history of helming shows like Mod Squad, The Streets of San Francisco and Cannon. Oh, and there’s a man in a bear suit.

Watching this, however, has led me to down a rabbit hole, in search of some fave shows from my childhood featuring Chief Dan George (The Beachcombers) and Jan-Michael Vincent (the Danger Island segments from The Banana Splits). I’ve also dug out my old DVD of Frogs for another rewatch.

Nightwing & Shadow of the Hawk is out on Blu-ray from Eureka from Monday 15 March 2021

Nightwing: Commentary by film historians Lee Gambin and Amanda Reyes
Shadow of the Hawk: Commentary with film writer Mike McPadden and Ben Reiser
Oil and the (Geo)Politics of Blood – Audio essay by John Edgar Browning (if you love a bit of film academia, then pour yourself a large gin and tonic for this ‘frontier gothic’ analysis of Nightwing)
• Trailers
• Collector’s booklet

Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers | A deadly game of felines vs vampires – but which side will you be on?

From Eureka Entertainment comes Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray as part of the Eureka Classics (26 October)

Alice Krige and Brian Krause star in this supernatural thriller tale, directed by Mick Garris, about a pair of nomadic shape-shifting psychic vampires who prey on virtuous young women.

After fleeing Bodega Bay in California, the incestuous mother and son, Mary and Charles, set up home in Travis, Indiana and soon they have their werecat eyes on a new victim Tanya (Mädchen Amick). But when Tanya fights back, Mary’s full fury is unleashed…

Based on an original story written by King, this 1992 US horror was a big success for director Garris, making his first big studio film – although critics gave it a mauling. Somehow, I missed it first time around, but I’m so pleased it’s been given a new lease of life on Blu-ray.

It’s the cat’s meow and feline lovers will enjoy it so much – so will genre fans as it boasts some great in-jokes, plus cameos from not only King but also Clive Barker, Tobe Hooper, Joe Dante, John Landis – and Mark Hamill (sporting a bushy moustache).

Fresh-faced and in their prime, Krige and Krause (who was on contract with Columbia following his star turn in Return to the Blue Lagoon) ooze sensuality and charisma, while Amick (who had just come off Twin Peaks) makes for a spirited heroine. But the film’s stand-out star is Sparks the cat, who plays the heroic Clovis. He’s spunky, adorable and worth the price of buying this Blu-ray alone.

The Eureka Classics Blu-ray includes some terrific special features, with some insightful interviews from the cast and crew that are well worth tuning into – but only after you’ve seen the movie.


  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 audio options
  • English subtitles (SDH)
  • Audio Commentary with Mick Garris and film historian Lee Gambin (this was recorded during the Covid pandemic)
  • Audio Commentary with Mick Garris, Mädchen Amick, and Brian Krause
  • Feline Trouble: Interview with director Mick Garris
  • When Charles Met Tanya: Conversation with Mädchen Amick And Brian Krause
  • Mother & More: Interview with actress Alice Krige
  • Creatures & Cats: The FX of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers featurette
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann

976-EVIL | Robert Englund’s 1980s teen revenge horror hokum dials up on Blu-ray

Being a huge fan of Robert Englund (AKA Freddie Krueger) and Stephen Geoffreys (AKA Fright Night‘s Evil Ed), I’ve been wanting to see 976-EVIL forever (I somehow missed it during the VHS days). Now it’s been given a Blu-ray release from Eureka Entertainment and I must say, it’s a fun slice of 1980s horror hokum.

Geoffreys plays another nerdy outsider, Hoax who lives with his overbearing Bible-bashing mother Lucy (Sandy Dennis looking fabulously hideous in a big fake wig and charity shop clothes) and his motorcycle bad boy cousin Spike (Patrick O’Bryan).

Hoax wants to be just like his cool cousin and even lusts after his tailer park tottie Suzie (Lezlie Deane); but he’s regarded as the town dork, especially by a gang of poker-playing thugs led by another cool dude Marcus (Back to the Future‘s JJCohen), who sports a nice line of Return of the Living Dead vests.

Introduced to a novelty ‘horror scope’ phone line, Hoax soon enters a Faustian deal with its demonic owner – Mark Dark AKA Satan (Robert Picardo). And, as he takes his revenge with his new supernatural powers, he’s slowly transformed into a demonic creature that plans to open the gates of Hell.

Englund (who had just finished A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master), was given a free hand with this, his directorial debut. And while it’s not perfect, it has its moments thanks to a tongue-in-cheek script by future Oscar-winner Brian Helgeland and neat practical effects work from Robert Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Kevin Yagher (who was also working on creating the Chucky doll for Child’s Play at the same time). Horror fans will also have great fun name-checking the cool posters in the cinema scenes. The extras include some informative interviews, but I would have loved to have seen one from some of the cast, especially Geoffreys.

976-EVIL is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of the Eureka Classics on 19 October


  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 audio options
  • English subtitles (SDH)
  • Audio commentary with Robert Englund and Nancy Booth Englund
  • 976-EVIL: home video version [105 mins, SD]: An extended version of the film from its original home video release on VHS
  • New interview with producer Lisa M Hansen (thoroughly enjoyed this as Lisa talks about the background behind getting the film made)
  • New interview with special make-up effects artist Howard Berger (The Walking Dead)
  • New interview with special effects technician Kevin Yagher (Nightmare on Elm Street)
  • Collector’s Booklet featuring new writing by Craig Ian Mann

Creepshow 2 | George A Romero’s second helping of Stephen King tales gets a 2k restoration

For this second issue of his horror anthology Creepshow, George A Romero stepped away from the camera and took on screenwriting duties, adapting three Stephen King tales, while former cinematographer Michael Gornick took the helm. The results are very much a mixed bag, but still great fun for both King and Romero fans.

In Old Chief Wood’nhead, the elderly owners of a general store in a run-down Arizona town are terrorised by three hoodlums who steal a local tribe’s sacred treasures (a bag of turquoise jewellery). In revenge, an old wooden cigar store Indian statue comes to life and hunts them down. This story is the best of the bunch in my books thanks to the lovely performances given by George Kennedy and 1940s screen legend Dorothy Lamour (in her final screen role) as the store owners, and the way the statue moves is chillingly effective. Also, there’s an affectionate nod to the vintage 1950s TV Wester series, The Cisco Kid, which I have fond memories watching as a youngster.

In The Raft, four college friends head to a remote lake for some swimming and sex, but become trapped on a pontoon by a flesh-eating oil slick. This tale is my least favourite mainly due to the obnoxious characters who I wanted to die even before they got to the lake. Good riddance, I say. However, there’s one scene involving broken limbs that’s a real gross-out.

In The Hitch-hiker, Lois Chiles (Moonraker) plays an adulterous businesswoman who knocks down a hitchhiker (Barbershop’s Tom Wright) and speeds off. But she soon gets some unwanted company when he keeps reappearing. This final tale does overstay its welcome, but with each successive viewing, it has grown on me. Its ghoulishly grisly, but also very funny – especially the state that the car ends up in. Chiles is excellent and the pay-off is a hoot!

A co-production between Romero and Richard Rubinstein’s Laurel Entertainment and Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, 1987’s Creepshow 2 was panned by critics but scored well at the box office; and while it’s not a patch on the original, it’s still worth a revisit. Plus, you get to see Tom Savini in some great make-up as the Creep in the animated wraparound story in which a comic-mad boy fights off bullies with the help of some giant venus flytrap creatures. Horror kids rejoice!

Arrow Video’s Limited Edition Blu-ray release includes the following special features…

• Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original Uncompressed PCM Mono 1.0, Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround Audio Options
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio Commentary with director Michael Gornick
Poncho’s Last Ride – interview with actor Daniel Beer
The Road to Dover – interview with actor Tom Wright
Screenplay for a Sequel – interview with screenwriter George A Romero
Tales from the Creep – interview with actor and make-up artist Tom Savini
Nightmares in Foam Rubber – archive featurette on the special effects, including interviews with FX artists Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero
My Friend Rick – Berger on his special effects mentor Rick Baker
• Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• Image Gallery
• Trailers & TV Spots
• Original Screenplay (BD-ROM Content)
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by festival programmer Michael Blyth
Creepshow 2: Pinfall – Limited Edition Booklet featuring the never-before-seen comic adaptation of the unfilmed Creepshow 2 segment Pinfall by artist Jason Mayoh
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Mike Saputo

The Wind | Nico Mastorakis’ 1986 stalk ‘n’ slash Euro thriller gets an Arrow Video Blu-ray release

Wanting some inspiration and solitude so she can concentrate on her latest novel, mystery writer Sian Anderson (Meg Foster) leases a cliffside cottage in a quiet island village in Greece from British expat Elias Appleby (Robert Morley). But it comes with a warning:  Don’t go outside at night when the wind starts to come in. Well, of course, she does the complete opposite and ends up witnessing Elias’ murder at the hands of his handyman Phil (Wings Hauser), who then sets out to silence Sian just as the wind starts to howl…

This Euro slasher thriller from Island of Death director Nico Mastorakis went straight to video (except in West Germany and Portugal) when it was released in 1986, and as I don’t remember coming across it in my local video rentals stores back in the day, even under its original title Edge of Terror, I was keen to seek it out – especially as I rather enjoyed Island of Death (check out my review later). And Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray release gave me just the chance. But, I’m sorry to say, I was rather disappointed.

Meg Foster certainly carries the film well – in a sub-par Linda Hamilton/Terminator kind of way – but her piercing blue cat-like eyes are a huge distraction and they totally overshadow Wings Hauser’s poppered up performance, even if he does deliver the inane dialogue with a great amount of glee: ‘If you need any technical advice on death just holler I’m next door’ being just one of them.

Mind you, Robert Morley provides the film’s other distraction – gnarly eyebrows and a chin that looks like a bullock’s ball sack. Luckily, he only gets a couple of scenes before he ends up in a shallow grave. Talking of which, there’s a Jason King** moment when Foster’s Sian transcribes the killing as it happens. Is she clairvoyant or are we seeing her murder mystery playing out before our eyes?

Lending credence to the latter is that Sian doesn’t run away after she witnesses the murders (yep! there’s another), instead she seems to want to be part of the mystery – which works well on the page but not in reality (you’d get the hell outta there!). And when she is chased through the streets (all backlit like a music video with fog and wind machines going full throttle), I was reminded of Mario Bava’s hallucinatory horrors Lisa and the Devil and Kill, Baby, Kill, where reality and fantasy also blur.

But Mastorakis is no Bava and what we see is what we get – an island village completely deserted apart from an old lady (who gets the chop), a backgammon-playing cop and a random seaman (Steve Railsback) who, just because he can speak English, decides to take on the copper’s job and check on Sian. Which brings me to David McCallum. Oh yes, he crops up here too (mainly in a pool talking on a yellow phone). He plays Sian’s boyfriend who becomes worried when their long distance phone call is suddenly disconnected. That’s it. Then he’s gone.

What follows is ludicrous with a capital ‘L’. However all the stalking and running that ensues is a great excuse for some lovely location shots of Monemvasia (AKA the Gibraltar of the East) – including its ancient stone buildings and alleyways, majestic oleander trees, and a medieval fortress that provides the setting for the climactic showdown between Sian (who finally remembers there’s some hunting weapons locked in a cupboard in her villa) and Hauser’s seemingly unstoppable killer.

The whistling synth track is by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers, Marlboro Lights feature often and note to self: Its best to have short hair when you are visiting a tourist destination where it’s windy all the time.

Arrow Video presents The Wind for the first time on Blu-ray, with the following features, and the film is also available on the Arrow Video Channel via Amazon Prime Video.

• New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
• Optional English subtitles
• Optional Greek subtitles
• Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround and LPCM Stereo 2.0 Audio
Blowing The Wind: Brand new interview with Nico Mastorakis
The Sound of The Wind: The complete soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers
• A collection of trailers for the films of Nico Mastorakis
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film

** Jason King was a 1970s ITV crime drama starring Peter Wyngarde, whose eponymous novelist-turned-sleuth used events happening around him as the source of his crime novels featuring his 007-inspired adventurer called Mark Cain. In one episode, Chapter One: The Company I Keep, King writes about a murder that has actually happened.

Beyond the Door | The infamous 1970s satantic shocker gets a limited edition 2k Blu-ray restored release – Hail Satan!

Prolific producer and director Ovidio G Assonitis, whose Tentacles (one of my all-time faves) and Piranha II: The Spawning cashed in on the killer fish craze that followed Jaws, scored his first worldwide hit in 1974 with Beyond the Door – the infamously insane riff on The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

Jessica (played by Juliet Mills of TV’s Nanny and the Professor fame) is the wife of a music executive Robert (Gabriele Lavia) in San Francisco who starts to develop strange behaviors whilst pregnant with her third child. Before you can say ‘split pea soup’, she’s displaying signs of full-blown demonic possession – complete with projectile vomiting and fully-rotating head!

Her obstetrician Dr George Staton (Nino Segurini) believes Jessica should to be placed into a sanatorium, but a mysterious man called Dimitri (Richard Johnson) then reveals himself to be her former lover and a satanist who has a made a pact with the devil to deliver him Jessica’s newborn in exchange for having been saved from a car accident…

Described as ‘disgusting’, ‘scary trash’ and ‘maddeningly inappropriate’ by film critic Robert Ebert, the supernatural shocker (which was the subject of a successful lawsuit by Warner Bros over its direct rips from The Exorcist) has been given a brand-new 2k restoration release on Blu-ray from Arrow Video, packed with stacks of bonus extras. But is the film worth all the bother?

As the old saying goes, ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’. But in the case of Beyond the Door (AKA The Devil Within Her), I’m sure it was a hell of a lot of fun trying. Yes, its cheaply made (in all apects – from its production design to its dire editing), but it does have some effective scares that keep you entertained – and they are the main reason why the film made such a killing at the box office.

I grew up watching Juliet Mills as the wise and wonderful magical nanny Phoebe Figalilly on TV, so seeing her as satan’s Antichrist incubator spewing obscenties and green sick was quite a shock. But whatever the two-time Golden Globe nominee’s reasoning was for accepting the role, Mills’ physical performance certainly impresses in the scenes in which she goes full-on Linda Blair.

Another standout is when Jessica’s two brats – foul-mouthed Gail (Barbara Fiorini), who is so obssessed with Erich Segal’s novel Love Story that she owns multiple copies, and her little brother Ken (David Colin Jr) – are terrorised by supernatural forces in their bedroom. The whole room starts shaking like a dollhouse, the kids are thrown about like ragdolls, and the eyes of their toys light up as though possessed. I loved this scene and I’m sure the kids did too. Colin Jr would next turn up in Mario Bava’s Shock in 1977, which was released in the US as an unofficial sequel to Beyond the Door.

Of course, this tawdry occult tale is all overseen by the Devil himself, who narrates throughout (by an uncredited British actor Robert Booth, who did bit parts in Z Cars and The Professionals and some voice work on 2006’s Tardisodes). And he gets some great quotable lines like, ‘Nobody knows the exquisite suffering of the damned’.

Interestingly the film’s co-producer was Edward L Montoro, whose own real-life story is worthy of a film itself. He embezzled over $1million from his film production company, Film Ventures International (which did two of my faves, Grizzly and Day of the Animals), and vanished, never to be seen again.

Here are the full specs on Arrow’s big release. No screeners were available, so I can’t comment on the extras.

• Brand new 2K restoration of the extended Uncut English Export Version
Possessed: a brand-new feature-length documentary on Italian exorcism movies!
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach
• Reversible fold-out poster
• Perfect-bound collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by John Martin and Alessio di Rocco

• Brand new 2K restoration of the Uncut English Export Version, released as The Devil Within Her (108 mins)
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed mono audio
• Optional English subtitles
The Devil and I: Interview with director/producer Ovidio G. Assonitis
Barrett’s Hell: Interview with cinematographer Roberto D’Ettorre Piazzoli
Beyond the Music: Interview with composer Franco Micalizzi
The Devil’s Face: Interview with camera operator Maurizio Maggi
Motel and Devils: Audio interview with actor Gabriele Lavia
• Alternate Italian Chi Sei? opening titles
• Alternate Behind the Door VHS opening titles
• Alternate Japanese Diabolica opening and ending sequence
• Trailers, TV and Radio Spots
• Image Gallery

• The alternate US Theatrical Version
• Italy Possessed: Feature-length documentary on Italian exorcism movies!

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