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(aka "The Monster" or "Time of Death")

 

directed by Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay
India 1993

 

Anita has been having terrifying nightmares in which she is stalked in a boiler room/cavernous dungeon (well, there are chains hanging all over the place amidst boilers and guillotines) by Shakaal, a creepy guy with a burnt face and a metal glove with claws and in waking life Anita's got the claw marks to prove it wasn't just a dream (although she doesn't show it to anyone until 45 minutes into the film). After "The Boss," a local tough and his gang try to "disrespect" Anita and her boyfriend comes to a kickboxing rescue, Anita and her friends (including the college's Michael Jackson-lookalike canteen owner) take off for a seaside romp (the second of several 5+ minute musical numbers) and get stranded. Fortunately, there's a nearby resort with a creepy/funny innkeeper where they can stay the night. After one of their number is murdered and another jailed despite his protests of innocence, Anita tries to warn her cop father about the nightmare figure stalking her in her dreams but he won't listen (despite the fact that he keeps a similar metal glove in the hall closet). What is the connection between Shakaal and Anita's father and does it have anything to do with Anita's long-dead sister Mohini who appears in her nightmares?

If you've every been unable to discern whether Michael Jackson or Freddy Krueger was scarier, you've got them both in MAHAKAAL. With roughly a half-hour of its 132 minute running time taken up by musical numbers, dance numbers, and brawling scenes, the bulk of MAHAKAAL is an endearing Hindi rip-off of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (in case you hasn't already figured that out). Highlights copied from the original include the first murder, the jail cell death, the heroine following the body-bagged corpse of her best friend through the hallways of the school, a variation on the waterbed death, Shakaal gleefully letting one terrified damsel rip off his face, and a scene from NOES PART 3 where Anita's father and boyfriend dig up Shakaal's remains (minus Doug Beswick's stop motion animated skeleton). If the Bollywood musical numbers aren't your thing, the rest of the film moves at a brisk pace. Besides the original score's aping of Charles Bernstein's NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET score, there is also some misappropriated eighties Giorgio Moroder (or at least it sounds like it) music and "Oh Sandra" which sounds like a disco version of "Mandy." The scares are of the look in one direction while backing into the other and spinning around variety and the gore is minimal but it's more of an entertaining diversion rather than a chiller. Show it to your friends!

Eric Cotenas

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro (Bollywood Horror Collection Vol. 3) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 2:12:20
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Hindi (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• About the Film (8 pages)
• More Extras on TAHKHANA disc

DVD Release Date: May 19th, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Comments

Although PAL-converted, the transfer of MAHAKAAL probably looks as good as the cheap processing and the storage of the elements allowed (Indian film elements are about as well cared for as eighties Hong Kong films) in that it is colorful with minimal damage. Audio is clear although the playback on the songs sequences sounds inferior to the rest of the mix. The subtitles translate all of the dialogue and lyrics (save for the English interjections). Extras on this disc amount to only the informative "About the Film" text essay. Disc two of THE BOLLYWOOD HORROR COLLECTION VOL. 3 features TAHKHANA and the set's extra features.

TAHKHANA itself is labeled as a "bonus feature" on the main menu and that may be because it is not in as good shape as the main feature. PAL-converted and a tad streaky during a circular pan in one of the night exteriors, the image is still colorful and saturated (the dungeon is lit with multi-colored gels akin to a Mario Bava flick) and the mono audio is strong (particularly the score). Besides the informative "About the Film" essay screens and Mondo Macabro's trailer reel, disc two also features a 24 minute documentary on Bollywood Horror which includes some other South Asia entries and some not too convincing CGI in clips from some more recent unidentified horror entries.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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Subtitle sample/PAL conversion artifacts

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 


(aka "The Dungeon" )

 

directed by Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay
India 1986

 

When a wealthy landowner leaves everything (including a treasure hidden in the mansion's dungeon) to his second son and disinherits his older son Durjan for practicing black magic, the elder son kills his brother and kidnaps his brother's two daughters to sacrifice them to bring to life a clay demon god. Their uncle interrupts the ceremony and rescues younger daughter Aarti but her terrified sister Sapna disappears into the jungle. Durjan is imprisoned in the dungeon below the mansion with the demon god's corpse and the treasure. 20 years later, the dying uncle tells grown Aarti (Arti Gupta) and her boyfriend Vijay (Puneet Issar) that the locket that Aarti wears is half of a map that will lead them to the treasure and that the other half is with the still-missing Sapna. In the meantime, Sapna (Sheetal) now a top-heavy cabaret dancer, unknowingly goes to work for her sleazy uncle Shakaal (Imtiaz Khan) who owns a club in the city and doesn't realize she's his niece or notice the locket (despite the number of times he has looked her up and down) until after he's accidentally killed her while trying to rape her. Vijay, Aarti, and pal Anaht see a picture of Sapna and ask club owner Shakaal if he has seen her and about the locket. Fortunately, Shakaal has a duplicate of Sapna's locket with the wrong directions to set Aarti and Vijay on the wrong track when he joins them at the old mansion to look for the treasure. There they are joined by a local girl Panna (Priti Sapru) and her Rambo-lookalike fiancee Heera (Hemant Birje) in search of the treasure. Little do they know that Durjan only recently sacrificed his own body to resurrect the demon god who takes out two of Shakaal's men during the initial search. When Shakaal tries to molest the housemaid, he gets himself thrown out by Vijay and Heera whose later scuffle with him leads to the discovery of the real amulet but the demon has tired of hanging out in the dungeon and starts terrorizing the village.

Going by the double billing of MAHAKAAL and TAHKHANA, once comes to the conclusion that the Ramsay family didn't like someone named Shakaal as he is the supernatural killer of the former and a sleazy rapist in the latter. While Shakaal is a sleazy rapist who molests and kills his niece and sidelines his own pursuit of the treasure to make and attempt on the housemaid getting him thrown out by the very people he is trying to dupe, some questionable behavior on behalf of the two male heroes such as switching the Aarti's and Heera's sugarcane drinks with hemp juice lead to one of the film's two musical numbers. The songs and three fight scenes adds up to about twenty five minutes of the running time with the rest devoted to the plot (the two hour running time is short by Bollywood standards). The first half of the film may be a slog for those expecting full blown horror (the intentional humor on the other hand actually works here) but once they arrive at the mansion (at around the one hour mark) the atmosphere will be very familiar to Western horror fans. The gore is stronger than the film's later co-feature and the film is not afraid to sacrifice likable characters to tragic effect (the unlikable characters get what's coming to them too) and the torch-wielding mob find that killing the monster is not so easy (even with a buff Rambo-wannabe tossing pieces of stone pillar at the creature).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 28 November 1986 (India)

Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Mondo Macabro (Bollywood Horror Collection Vol. 3) - Region 0 - NTSC

 

Runtime 1:57:32 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.1 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Hindi (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• About the Film (text screen essay - 10 pages)
• Bollywood Horror Documetnary (16:9; 24:10)
• More from Mondo Macabro (16:9; 7:43)

DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 16

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC


 




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