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.
2-DISC LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
• 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
DISC 1: DEMONIA
• 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
DISC 2: FULCI TALKS
• 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
Lucio Fulci (17 June 1927 – 13 March 1996) is one of the greatest of marmite directors – you either love him or hate him. During his 50+ year career, his output ranged from astonishing to abysmal, but he certainly proved his worth with his Gates of Hell trilogy (City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery) in the 1980s and with a handful of Giallo thrillers in the 1970s – namely The Psychic, which is now out on Blu-ray from Shameless in a 2K restored edition.
Sette note in nero (AKA Murder to the Tune of the Seven Black Notes) stars Jennifer O’Neill as Virginia, a wealthy English woman who marries handsome Italian playboy, Francesco (Gianni Garko), and while he’s away on business begins renovating his old palazzo. Having had second sight since childhood, Virginia is soon haunted by strange visions involving a broken mirror, a murdered woman, a magazine cover, a limping man, a hole in a wall and someone being bricked up in the dark. After getting little help from her parapsychologist friend Luca (Marc Porel), she tries to uncover the meaning of the visions herself only to discover they are premonitions of future deaths…
Written by Roberto Gianviti and Dardano Sacchetti, Sette note in nero was Fulci’s fourth giallo. It is a meticulously constructed murder mystery filled with powerful imagery (especially the room full of chintz furniture that Virginia sees in her visions), some Argento-esque touches by way of 1971’s Cat O’Nine Tails (which was also penned by Sacchetti) and 1975’s Deep Red, and a gravely elegant score from Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi and Vince Tempera. This includes those all-important ‘Seven Black Notes’ which (as a chime on a watch) become a crucial plot point. If the tune sounds familiar, that’s because Quentin Tarantino appropriated it for 2003’s Kill Bill. There’s also a fab opening theme song that’s worthy of ABBA.
The Shameless Restored Edition of The Psychic looks and sounds terrific – and you get the option of both the English or Italian audio. Plus, there are some super extras (my fave was Fabio Frizzi’s memories on composing the score). It’s also given me a chance to revisit Stephen Thrower’s definitive tome, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, in which he explores how on this film Fulci proved himself to be a director of ‘skill and sophistication’.
• Extensively restored in 2k from a new scan
• English and alternative Italian audio (alternative LPCM & DTS-HD audio tracks)
• Revised English subtitles
• Touching Fate: new exclusive interview of Antonella Fulci
• Daddy Dearest: Antonella talks about her father Lucio Fulci
• Restoration process for The Psychic
• Escape from Doom: writer Dardano Sacchetti on working with Fulci
• Behind the Wall: composer Fabio Frizzi on scoring The Psychic
• Limited edition numbered O-Card (first 2,000 units)
The Beyond (1981) | Lucio Fulci’s Italian Southern Gothic horror gets a Special Edition Blu-Ray from Shameless Films
In 1981, New Yorker Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl) arrives in Louisiana to claim a seedy, isolated hotel as her inheritance. In 1927, evil spirits possessed the hotel and the manager hasn’t been seen since. Liza is advised to abandon her inheritance. But the locals are suspicious of strangers! Liza is befriended by Dr John McCabe (David Warbeck), who tells her that the hotel has one of the seven gateways to hell. According to a prophecy, when the gates are opened, the dead walk on earth… But country folk are a superstitious lot – aren’t they?
Lucio Fulci’s celebrated 1981 Italian Southern Gothic horror fever dream – and the second in his Gates of Hell series – is out now on Blu-ray (Region B) in the UK from Shameless Films, remastered from a new 2k scan in its original aspect 2.35:1 ratio, with English and Italian audio and English subtitles, and includes the following extras including four different versions of the prologue.
For the first time ever The Beyond is also presented with four different versions of the prologue, seamlessly branched, allowing fans of Fulci’s masterpiece to see the original colour footage which the film was actually shot on, as never seen before and show the various stages of the post-production process of this landmark film.
• The now accepted standard sepia
• The original colour camera footage
• The B&W version
• A new fourth-way: presented as an homage to director Lucio Fulci and DOP Sergio Salvati
For the new alternative prologue version Shameless have used the restored colour camera footage as a base on which a new golden toning was applied in reference to known considerations from Salvatti. The result is that the reds of the gore are now strikingly visible and all the light sources such as the torches and car headlights are much more luminous.
• Emily’s Eyes: new interview with Cinzia Monreale (with English subtitles)
• Arachnophobia: new interview with Michele Mirabella (with English subtitles)
• Murder, They Wrote: new interview with scriptwriter Giorgio Mariuzzo on working with Lucio Fulci (with English subtitles)
• Audio commentary from Sergio Salvati (Director of Photography) with new English subtitles
• Audio commentary from stars Catriona McCall and David Warbeck
• Lucio Fulci Speaks: Short conversation from the film set
Order direct from the Shameless shop: http://bit.ly/SHAM224
Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats | Two Adaptations by Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci claw their way onto Blu-ray
Edgar Allan Poe’s celebrated story The Black Cat has provided the inspiration for numerous films over the years. But few adaptations are as stylish as those offered up by the twin Italian titans of terror, Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci.
In Martino’s classic giallo Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, teacher Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli, A Bay of Blood) finds himself under suspicion for murder when one of his students and mistress is found brutally murdered.As more bodies start to pile up, the arrival of Oliviero’s attractive niece (Edwige Fenech, Five Dolls for an August Moon, All the Colours of the Dark) brings with it complications of its own.
In The Black Cat, from that other Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci (Zombie), Scotland Yard Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck, The Beyond) find himself summoned to a sleepy English village to investigate the recent murder of a young couple. With no obvious signs of entry at the murder scene, Gorley is forced to start considering the possibility that his suspect may not be human…
Finally together on Blu-ray from Arrow (12 October) and in stunning new 2K restorations from the original camera negatives, fans can enjoy the double-dose of terror that is Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats Italian-style!
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
• New 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
• Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
• Optional English subtitles for the English soundtracks
• Interview with director Sergio Martino
• Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring Sergio Martino’s contributions to the giallo genre
• Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror – The Films of Lucio Fulci, on The Black Cat
• New cover artwork by Matthew Griffin
• 80-page collector’s book featuring new writing on the films, Poe s original story and more, illustrated with archive stills and posters
Following his cult undead masterpiece, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Italy’s Lucio Fulci lensed his Gates of Hell trilogy – The Beyond, City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery. One of the 39 video nasties originally banned in the UK in the 1980s, The House by the Cemetery was released intact by Arrow Video in the UK in 2009, before releasing a restored version in 2012 on Blu-ray.
The film follows a young family moving into an Addams Family-style mansion in Boston that’s going to take lots of trips to B&Q to get into shape. If you think the ghost of a little girl, seen only by the family’s son Bob (whose dubbed voice will really creep you out), is scary then wait till you see what’s living in the cellar – it’s the century-old surgeon Freudstein, who’s replacing his rotting flesh with the body parts of his murder victims. Phew!…
Out of the three Gates of Hell films, The House by the Cemetery is probably the weakest, but it still packs a mighty punch with its gory set-pieces – decapitations, stabbings and one crazy bat attack – that die-hard Italian horror fans continue to lap up 30 years after the film’s original release.
Arrow Video’s 2012 deluxe edition features a brand new restoration and tons of extras – including a 30th anniversary cast reunion – making this the definitive home cinema version of Fulci’s ‘carnival of blood, worms, entrails, popped eyeballs, squished brains and decaying flesh’ – to quote the director’s biographer, Stephen Thrower.
The House by the Cemetery also screens on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138)
With its lurid title and promises of putrefied corpses coming back to life with worms oozing out of eye sockets, this was one Romero rip-off that was a must-see during the video nasty 1980s. But to see Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh-Eaters in all its uncut gory was only for European audiences until the film was finally passed uncut in 1999. Even so, the VHS and DVD print quality has always been terrible. Thankfully, the 2012 restoration from Arrow Video is the best gift fans of the film can ask for.
THE DEAD ARE AMONG US
With the help of a vacationing couple, scientist’s daughter Anne (Tisa Farrow – yep, it’s Mia’s sister) and reporter Peter (Ian McCulloch) head to the picturesque Caribbean island of Matoul where Richard Johnson‘s Professor Menard is conducting experiments on the dead. But when the powers of voodoo cause re-animated corpses to overrun the island, our heroes find themselves holed up in a make-shift hospital with nowhere to run…
A FEAST OF FLESH
Flesh fiends can gorge themselves on a host of special features that accompany the lush 2k HD restoration – which looks ace and breathes new life into Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci’s collectable soundtrack. There’s optional English/Italian sequences and audio; new subtitles; audio commentaries; collector’s booklet; and artwork by Graham Humphreys; while five featurettes, spanning two discs, showcase the film’s special effects, music and the history of the Italian zombie genre.
KING OF THE VIDEO NASTIES
With its high gore content and relentless violence, Zombie Flesh-Eaters is without doubt the king of the video nasties, and its the sheer realism of Gianetto de Rossi’s sfx that steal the show. Arrow’s restoration gives Rossi’s gruesome artistry and Fulci’s horrific set pieces a whole new dimension, allowing fans (both old and new fans alike) to finally fully appreciate this bona fide cult classc.
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook through Arrow Video
Zombie Flesh Eaters also screens on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138)