A father and daughter relationship that is equally perverse and perplexing, takes centre stage in this uneven cult film. When star plastic surgeon Dr Phillip Reynolds (Robert Lansing) daughter Heather (Judith Chapman) disappears, it complicates the death of her grandfather. He has left 5 million dollars to her from his estate and he explicitly stated she is the only person who can collect it. You see he hated everyone but her in his family. Blaming his son for being feckless and a drunk, leaving a obnoxious dog to him. His venom however is reserved for his son in law Reynolds. He blames him for the death of his daughter and Lansing ex wife. Now with out Heather, he has to come up with a plan. On a drive in to town he comes across a badly beaten woman and an idea dawns on him…
A film is often split into 3 acts and is constructed as a serious of inciting incidents, mixed with detail. Often this detail relies on exposition, which details events in such a ways as to cement them into reason and action or set up and pay off. In SCALPEL we have a superb first act, that informs us of the good Dr and the odd ball family. It navigates a often told tale with ease and enough swagger as to make it interesting. Once we clear this however it becomes a case of a fatuous middle that feeds us pointlessness and steals elements from far better films (The Little Foxes being a favourite stealing point). The stale smell rises and you feel it so utterly implausible that its final act is dense to watch or care even a glimmer about.
The Blu ray is packed enough with detail. I love the selection process of two looks. One Southern gothic and yellow soaked, the other a standard look that makes that first act interesting to watch both. The 2K work is outstanding and stands up as some of Scalpel best work. The commentary is the only other item of real note. It is Smith at his most defined, even if it lacks a portion of fun about it..
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand new audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
- Brand new crew interviews
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector s booklet with new writing on the film by Bill Ackerman