Italian cinema auteur Lucio Fulci makes waves with his best film. It might be labelled as a social commentary giallo but underneath is a film that is so subversive, it still leaves a bitter taste. Secrets hidden, Witches that practice magic, Catholic sexual repression, ambiguous lusts and sexuality, sadistic youth and so much more it makes for a film of great power.
When a young boy goes missing, the small Italian town of Accendura is in panic. What could have happened to him? When journolists swamp the town, everyone shuts up. Andrea Martelli ( The late, great Tomas Milian) sets out to break the silence and the towns control over what happened. This not only shatters the comfortable world of the town but fractures the secrets that have been kept buried for decades.
Fulci said of this film that it was his favourite. He it seems felt that it skillfully blended genres, themes and social commentary. Firing a broadside at Italian society and the dominance of the Catholic Church. It is a darkly sardonic but also very well observed film. Visually compelling and balancing horror and giallo without excess (something Fulci had a habit of doing in terms of gore), it handles a complex narrative, stunning locations and talented cast with a pronounced flexibility. Creating a study in the disturbed suburbia with insight.
The disc and extras are a mix of some great and some pedestrian. So to the great. Well the Video discussion is great. Koven is compelling and worth the time. Ellinger also makes a great case for more interaction with the film and her work. The print of the film however is ordinary and so sadly is Howarth commentary. I have a lot of time for his work. It is rich, deeply researched and sometimes very insightful. Here I feel he is off his game. Sadly.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
• English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
• New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
• Giallo a la Campagna, a new video discussion with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film
• Hell is Already in Us, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
• Interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Timothy Pittides
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and Howard Hughes