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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Anguish aka Angustia aka Angoisse  [Blu-ray]

 

(Bigas Luna, 1987)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Luna Films

Video: Opening

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (But - see below) (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:21:15.040

Disc Size: 24,209,101,136 bytes

Feature Size: 21,624,422,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 7th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1620 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1620 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1801 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1801 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

French (forced with English auido), none

 

Extras:

Interview with Bigas Luna (22:31 in English with French subtitles)

Introduction (3:22)

• Trailers/Previews

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: John, a loutish optometrist orderly, louses up on the job and is dismissed. His odd, little mother, using a form of hypnosis, sends him out on a killing spree, starting with Caroline, the woman who caused his dismissal. But this is all just a movie titled "The Mommy" being shown to a small matinee crowd at a seedy movie theater in Los Angeles. As it happens, two teenage girls in the audience, the strong-willed Linda and the squeamish Patty, discover that one of the patrons sitting near them is a real maniac. In the old movie, when the scalpel-wielding John enters a movie theater and beings killing the patrons and theater employees one by one, and removing their eyeballs for his mother's collection, the killer in the audience, armed with a silenced .38 pistol, begins killing the patrons and employees of the theater in a manner which parallels the action on the movie screen.

Excerpt from M. Patay at IMDb located HERE 

 

The Film:

Anguish” begins by telling the tale of Alice (Zelda Rubenstein), the over protective and often psychotic mother to the middle aged John (Michael Lerner). John has the misfortune of being mostly blind and on his way to being completely blind but thanks to Alice, John may not be disabled for long. Alice is under the impression that if John can collect enough eyeballs then he may be cured. The obsessive and controlling Alice begins hypnotizing John and somehow (it’s never really explained) controlling him psychically. John’s rampage eventually leads him to a movie theater where he enters to continue his collection. The camera pulls back and reveals that all along we had been part of the audience and that the tale of Alice and John was only a movie titled “The Mommy”. It would appear that “The Mommy” has begun having a very disturbing effect on some of the moviegoers… and one of them may be taking the movie a little too seriously.

Excerpt from Cinema Suicide located HERE

There is a twisted but clever idea behind Bigas Luna's ''Anguish,'' a film that wants to have its blood and deny it, too. With its Hitchcockian birds, psycho son and weird mama -as well as its evocation of the razor-slit eyeball in the surrealist classic ''Un Chien Andalou'' - Mr. Luna seems to have something more than schlock suspense on his mind.

Soon he reveals another layer of artifice; John and his mother (Zelda Rubinstein, the spooky psychic in ''Poltergeist'') are characters in ''The Mommy,'' an intentionally hackneyed movie complete with badly dubbed foreign actors. As two teen-age girls in Los Angeles watch ''The Mommy,'' one says it's ''gross and disgusting.'' The other thinks her friend is a scared baby until a suggestible killer who has seen the film one time too many starts shooting up the moviegoers.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Anguish looks pleasantly thick on the Blu-ray out of France. It's drawback is some noise in the darker corners but that can be forgiven as detail rises to impressive levels in close-ups.  The grain supplies a texture to the visuals and make it quite film-like. There are some speckles but mostly my viewing was clean. Colors are fairly tame but seem true to the source without digital manipulations. I thought it gave a decent 1080P presentation. Not perfect but reasonable enough to enjoy the film.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Of course there are some effects that jump out and surprise and the DTS-HD Master stereo track at 1620 kbps supports that with modest intent. There is some impressive depth and the lossless, crisp, score by José Manuel Pagán is matched well to the HD video. There is a French DUB and the French subtitles are forced when the English audio option is chosen (many players may be able to avoid this via the remote). My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Supplements offer a 22.5-minute interview with Bigas Luna in English with French subtitles. He discusses the film and it has some informative information. There is also a French-only Introduction (3:22) and trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Very cool film-within-a-film concept. This is a solid thriller - I was really in the mood for this and Bigas Luna's chilling effort delivered. Although an 80's production - it often felt like something out of the 70s - nostalgic and fun. The Blu-ray isn't perfect but gave me an enjoyable presentation. I know I will watch this again... 

Gary Tooze

April 26th, 2012


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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