(aka "Zeder - Voices from Beyond" or "Revenge of the Dead")

 

directed by Pupi Avati
Italy 1983

 

In an opening prologue set in Chartres, a professor uses a teenage girl with mediumistic powers to locate the source of hauntings and gruesome murders on the estate of a country house. They uncover the skeleton of a man named Paolo Zeder buried in the basement (his skeletal fingers clutching the slipper of the injured girl despite being buried). Thirty years later, struggling novelist Stefano (Gabriele Lavia, DEEP RED) is given a used electric typewriter as an anniversary present by his wife Alessandra (Anne Canovas). When the ribbon breaks, Stefano unravels it and transcribes the contents: a letter and a report that mention K-Zones. Seeing this as inspiration for a novel, Stefano takes them to his old professor who tells him that K-Zones were places in antiquity where contact with the beyond took place. The spots were believed to exist in their own time and that anyone buried there could theoretically come back from the dead. Searching for the priest that wrote the letter takes Stefano and his reluctant wife to Chartres where they discover that the priest has died. Further clues lead them to an abandoned summer camp (closed down because of mysterious happenings on the grounds not unlike those of the prologue) where Stefano discovers that a group of scientists (including the professor and the now-grown medium from the prologue) have buried the priest on the grounds and mean to prove the theory with deadly results.

The prolific Avati's second horror film after the creepy HOUSE WITH THE WINDOWS THAT LAUGH, ZEDER is a low key horror film in which the clues unravel like the typewriter ribbon to reveal a vast conspiracy. The ending was ripped off by the film adaptation of Stephen King's PET CEMETERY (1989) to lesser effect. Riz Ortolani's orchestral/electronic score is bombastic but the creepiest scenes are either subtly scored or unfold without music. Released in the US as REVENGE OF THE DEAD with a grossly misleading poster of a flesh-eating zombie, Avati's zombies require no prosthetic make-up; just a disconcerting stare and a creepy laugh.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 1985 (USA)

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:35:15 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1); Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono)
Subtitles Italian, English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• I Percosrsi della Paura featurette [Italian only] (14:37; 4x3 letterbox)
• Zeder trailer [Italian only] (3:04)
• House with the Laughing Windows trailer [Italian only] (3:26)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

20th Century Fox's Italian DVD (sourced from a Gaumont master) release features 5.1 and 1.0 mono Italian audio and English 1.0 mono audio with English subtitles (actually dub-titles but they are more than welcome). The image is sharp and colorful when its meant to be but this is not a boldly colored film emphasizing an atmosphere of decay. The 5.1 bump up is enveloping and heightens some of the sounds and instrumentation buried in the mono mixes.

The documentary featurette unfortunately does not feature English subtitles. The two US DVD releases are no competition. The Image Euroshock Collection DVD is out of print and featured a poor fullscreen master directly licensed from Avati's own company (Image subsequently turned down their master for Avati's HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS as substandard - like ZEDER it subsequently underwent a pleasing restoration in Italy). The Cydonia Pictures DVD was mastered from the Creature Features VHS tape reissue of the original uncut Lightning Video US tape release but was further cut down to fit on a ninety minute tape.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 2 - PAL

 

 





 

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