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(aka "The Master Musician" )


directed by Jamil Dehlavi
UK 1983


A solar eclipse and a volcanic activity in Turkey cause British flutist Paul (Peter Firth, EQUUS) to experience strange visions and hears mysterious flute music during a concert in London. Before his ailing mother's death, she mentions something about the Master Musician who had taught his long dead musician father breathing exercises in Turkey. Together with an attractive astronomer (Suzan Crowley, THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT) who has also been having hallucinations and believes there is a connection with recent increasing solar activity, Paul goes to Turkey in search of the Master Musician (Oh-Tee, who has already been making creepy encounters throughout the London scenes) and is told by mysterious Bilal (Stefan Kalipha) that his flute will lead him.

The film is stunningly photographed with beautiful Turkish location photography (it may be one of the most beautiful British horror films of the eighties) and effectively scored by underrated genre Colin Towns (FULL CIRCLE) with accompaniment by Kudsi ErgŁner. The downside of the film is how talky it is for a film just over eighty minutes. Each and every strange hallucination or vision is then talked about and sometimes explained; Arabic mythology is very interesting but do we really need to know what a djinn is to make the appearances of mysterious black clad woman any more effective? (though director Dehlavi admits in the interview that the dialogue in BORN OF FIRE is the least interesting in his films). As such, Firth and Crowley are good with what they have to work with but their romantic relationship seems under-motivated. The film is most effective when it depicts visually Paul's journey and the astronomer's increasingly strange behavior (seasoned genre viewers will stop wondering rather quickly why her character is never named). Regardless, the film is highly recommended for horror film fans with eclectic tastes and a liking for mesmerizing, trippy visuals.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: April 1987

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:30

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.46 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.


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

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with actor Peter Firth (16:9; 12:24)
• Interview with actor Nabil Shabon (16:9; 31:19)
• Interview with director Jamil Dehlavi (16:9; 15:01)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:46)
• About the Film (multi-page text screen liner notes)
• More from Mondo Macabro (16:9; 7:43)

DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009

Chapters 10




Released directly to video in the USA by Vidmark four years after it was completed, BORN OF FIRE gets an attractive anamorphic widescreen and progressive transfer. The restrained stereo track is clean and nicely represents Colin Towns' score. The theatrical trailer is presented fullscreen in a 16:9 frame and is derived from a Vidmark video tape release.

Director Dehlavi and actors Firth (who makes the adventure of shooting on found Turkish locations sound as interesting as his character's search) and Shabon (who plays "The Silent One" and who explains the plot of the film more capably than the film itself) contribute interviews that focus on the film but also address their respective careers. As with all other Mondo Macabro releases, the "about the film" text menu screen liner notes should not be overlooked as they are not ad copy but detailed essays. Mondo Macabro's usual clip reel rounds out the package.

 - Eric Cotenas


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Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC


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