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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Dr. Death: Seeker of Souls" or "Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls")

 

directed by Eddie Saeta
USA 1973

 

The victim of a car crash, Laura (Jo Morrow) promises on her deathbed to come back to her grieving husband Fred (Barry Coe, PEYTON PLACE). Obsessed with the notion, Fred consults psychics, mediums, and strange California cults without success until he is approached by Tana (Florence Marley, the blue vampire woman of QUEEN OF BLOOD/PLANET OF BLOOD) who tells him of Dr. Death (John Considine) who is able to transfer souls into bodies and has done so to himself many times. Dr. Death agrees to do this for Fred but after the horror of seeing a woman killed in front of him and Dr. Death's failure to coax the soul into Laura's less-than-receptive body, Fred tells him to forget it but Dr. Death takes his failure as a personal slight and vows personally to bring Laura's body back (which of course involves gorily killing various young women). After a run-in with a knife-wielding punk on lover's lane while pursuing another victim, Dr. Death feels his own time is limited. Finally, Dr. Death hits upon using Fred's pretty, doting secretary Sandy (Cheryl Miller).

Although made on a low budget, the film looks like few seventies horror films. Gone are the muted Eastmancolor hues in favor of sixties Hollywood film/TV ripe hues (most of the cast had prolific TV careers while director Saeta had volumnous assistant director credits). The film was shot at Aldrich Studios, director Robert Aldrich's own independent studio. The visual effects (by Hollywood regulars Van Der Veer Photo Effects) are accomplished but also reminiscent of the sixties (as is the score) but the gore is very seventies. Considine (whose own son appears as one of his many incarnations in flashback) steals the film with his theatrical Dr. Death but Coe's hero doesn't seem like he would believably entertain this obsession for too long nor not suspect that Dr. Death has continued his search. The ending is increasingly predictable but the intentional tongue-in-cheek aspect of the film is entertaining. We get one soon-to-be-victim watching a horror film on TV that parallels her own attack and a lovers lane couple talking about how they could be in a horror film just before their own demises. Moe Howard of THE THREE STOOGES (a good friend of the director) appears here in his final role ("She's dead alright. I couldn't feel a-- I couldn't hear a thing!")

Eric Cotenas

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DVD Review: Scorpion Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Scorpion Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:29:15
Video

1.78:1 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.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Scorpion Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Introduction by star John Considine and Scott Spiegel (4:3; 0:28)
• Audio Commentary with star John Considine moderated by Scott Spiegel and Walter Olsen
• DOCTOR DEATH COMMANDS - Interview with John Considine (4:3; 9:47)
• REMEMBERING EDDIE SAETA - Interview with his son Steve Saeta (4:3; 10:00)
• TV Spot (16:9; 0:31)
• Cinerama Trailers: MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY & GIRLY (16:9; 2:04), THE LAST GRENADE (16:9; 2:41),
• GOODBYE GEMINI (16:9; 2:31), FOLLOW ME (16:9; 2:01), and SAY HELLO TO YESTERDAY(16:9; 2:41)

DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Scorpion's dual-layer, anamorphic, progressive transfer of DOCTOR DEATH (onscreen title DOCTOR DEATH: SEEKER OF SOULS) is a surprisingly stunning rendition of a forgotten cult film (released theatrically by Cinerama Releasing, it later appeared on rental tape from Prism as did many other Cinerama titles). Rather than the usual muted tones of seventies low budget films, here we get the ripe colors of sixties Hollywood films and they are well-realized on this transfer. Audio is strong, too.

John Considine provides an audio commentary (moderated by Scott Spiegel and Scorpion's Walter Olsen) and interview and director Eddie Saeta's son provides an interview about his late father. Only a 30 second TV spot seems to have been available for the film (it is cropped to 16:9 but does not suffer since the film itself was meant to be projected at 1.85:1). Trailers for other Cinerama Releasing titles are also included.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Scorpion Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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