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directed by David Durston
USA 1972

 

On probation after performing an illegal abortion, young black Dr. Calvin Crosse (Philip Michael Thomas of TV's MIAMI VICE) hitches his way along with discharged soldier Bill Waco (Harlan Cary Poe) to the island of Stilford off the coast of Maine. Crosse is there to assist one of his medical school teachers Dr. Thor on a mysterious project but arrives to find the man dead. Taking up residence in the dead man's home despite suspicion from Sheriff Whitehead (Peter Clune) and general unfriendliness from the townsfolk, Crosse discovers (through a taped message left by Thor [voiced by director Durston]) that Dr. Thor was investigating a V.D. epidemic on the island. Crosse follows Thor's suspicion that the sheriff's daughter D.D. (Josie Johnson) is at the key of the outbreak which causes friction not only with the corrupt sheriff but also with Bill who is Josie's boyfriend. Can Crosse get the word out about the epidemic before the sheriff silences him? David Durston's venereal follow-up to his gory pic I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (which received the special edition treatment from Grindhouse Releasing) which detailed an outbreak of rabies, STIGMA is more mature and subtle work befitting the title. Thomas is good in his first film role but he is stuck referring to people as "sista" "fatty" and "cool cats." A lot of the important dialogue delivered by two of the characters during the climax sounds like it was quoted from a medical text book which saps a bit of the drama. The Cape Cod locations are attractive and there is some effective wide-angle photography which gets more distorted during the climax. The film may have had an influence on both David Cronenberg's SHIVERS and RABID but without the visible parasites of those films or the rape and dismemberment of Durston's previous horror film (combined with the sort of half-assed Cinerama publicity that also tanked Oliver Stone's flawed-but-intriguing SEIZURE), STIGMA fell into obscurity and was exploited in the home video market as a blaxploitation pic.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 18 August 1972

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DVD Review: Code Red - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:33:45
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.15 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: Code Red

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by director David Durston, moderated by Jeff McKay and Bill Olsen
• Interview with David Durston (4:3; 18:02)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:28)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:01)
• 30 second TV Spot (16:9; 0:31)
• Trailers for SLITHIS (4:3; 3:01), HORROR HIGH (4:3; 2:07), THE BLACK KLANSMAN (16:9; 0:41),
• RIVALS (16:9; 1:56), BRUTE CORPS (16:9; 1:57), A LONG RIDE FROM HELL (4:3; 1:01),
• CHANGES (16:9; 2:50), THE STATUE (16:9; 2:27), MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS (4:3; 1:43),
• FAMILY HONOR (4:3; 1:01), DEATH JOURNEY (4:3; 2:06), DERBY (16:9; 2:09), and CRY YOUR PURPLE HEART
• OUT (4:3; 3:19)

DVD Release Date: 8 June 2010
Amaray

Chapters 13

 

Comments

Code Red presents STIGMA in an anamorphic, progressive widescreen transfer that just edges over into the second layer of this dual-layer disc. The image is slightly soft and grainy but that is likely the limitations of the original shooting. Some speckling is evident occasionally (as are the reel change marks) but the film element seems to have been well-kept. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio always looks well-balanced and the mono audio is clear.

 

STIGMA has been available on some budget blaxploitation sets but those versions were likely sourced from the long OOP Vista Video release. The late David Durston provides an audio commentary moderated by Jeff McKay and Bill Olson. Durston has some prepared statements (like the multiple interpretations of the title STIGMA as it applies to the various characters in the film) and some good anecdotes but is occasionally fuzzy on some of the supporting cast and crew members. Some of the info is repeated in the 18 minute interview. Two theatrical trailers (the second might be a 60 second TV spot) as well as a TV spot are all presented in anamorphic widescreen and the package is rounded out by trailers for several upcoming Code Red releases (subtitled "movies you probably won't buy" which I'll take to be gentle sarcasm although there has been of late the expression of frustration by independent DVD companies in moving product thanks to the shrinking DVD market).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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