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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Murder Obsession (Follia Omicida)" or "Unconscious" or "Fear" or "The Wailing" )

 

directed by Riccardo Freda
Italy 1981

 

After nearly strangling his co-star Beryl (Laura Gemser, THE ALCOVE) to death on the set of his latest horror film, actor Michael Stanford (Stefano Patrizi, CONVERSATION PIECE) is overcome with an urge to visit his childhood home where he murdered his composer father William (also Patrizi) as a child. Michael's girlfriend Deborah (Silvia Dionisio, LIVE LIKE A COP DIE LIKE A MAN) is coldly welcomed by his mother Glenda (Anita Strindberg, A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN) - who lives all alone in the villa with her late husband's manservant Oliver (John Richardson, BLACK SUNDAY) - however, she is extremely affectionate with Michael. The next day, Michael's director Hans (Henri Garcin, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR), assistant director Shirley (Martine Brochard, THE VOYEUR), and Beryl join them to look over the estate for filming locations. That night, strange events start to occur (Deborah has a nightmare where she takes part in a black mass, Hans encounters a sleepwalking Oliver in the foggy woods, and someone tries to drown Beryl in her bath). The next day, Michael, Beryl, Hans, and Shirley drive off to inspect locations. Michael and Beryl sneak off to make love, and Michael wakes up to find that Beryl has been slaughtered with his hunting knife and he has no memory of it. Could he be the wandering presence that has armed itself with a chainsaw and axe to stalk the other inhabitants of the villa?

Riccardo Freda's final film is a somewhat uneven return to the Italian Gothic territory that he briefly mined in the sixties with the memorable THE HORRIBLE DR. HITCHCOCK and THE GHOST (and returned to briefly in the seventies with TRAGIC CEREMONY AT VILLA ALEXANDER). Cristiano Pogany's camera prowls candlelit rooms and views incestuous undercurrents through sheer wall hangings, and Strindberg and Richardson are in fine form; however, the central lovers are uninteresting (although it is regrettable that Dionisio - who was previously married to director Ruggero Deodato [CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST] did not make more genre films), as are the body count fodder characters. Potentially suspenseful sequences are recounted in flashback, preventing the audience from identifying with the perspective characters' fear (including an attempt at a delirious nightmare sequence involving devil worshipers and a giant spider not unlike the imagery of Luigi Batzella's NUDE FOR SATAN, a nudity-filled seventies throwback to sixties Gothic horror). The gore effects - the work of uncredited Angelo Mattei (INFERNO) and Sergio Stivaletti (THE STENDHAL SYNDROME) - compare poorly to those that Carlo Rambaldi (E.T.) fashioned for Freda's TRAGIC CEREMONY (a somewhat similarly-themed Spanish/Italian co-production in which fun-loving teenagers are given shelter in a villa inhabited by devil worshiping aristocrats). Despite its flaws, MURDER OBSESSION is still a worthy viewing with a somewhat sixties Italian horror atmosphere combined with seventies sex and eighties gore

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 24 February 1981 (Italy)

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Comparison:

Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video (Italy)

Region 0 - PAL

Raro Video USA
Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video USA

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:33:06 (4% PAL speedup) 1:37:09 1:37:18.749
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.6 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,374,197,932 bytes

Feature: 23,689,943,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.21 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Raro Video (Italy)

 

Bitrate:

 

Raro Video USA

 

Bitrate:

 

Raro Blu-ray

 

English version on Raro Blu-ray

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1583 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1583 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

English Version has:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1587 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1587 kbps / 24-bit (DTS
Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English (for Italian-only scenes on English track), none English (for Italian-only scenes) English (for both version)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video (Italy)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Sergio Stivaletti (4:3; 9:37)
• Deleted Scene (4:3; 0:23)
• Liner Notes Booklet

DVD Release Date: 19 July 2007
Amaray

Chapters 10
 

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video USA

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Sergio Stivaletti (4:3; 10:03)
• DVD Credits
• Liner Notes Booklet

 

DVD Release Date: 6 December 2011
Amaray

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video USA

 

1.85:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 44,374,197,932 bytes
Feature: 23,689,943,040 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.21 Mbps
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
 

Edition Details:

• English Version of Murder Obsession (1:31:35.323 in 1080P - 17 Gig - 21.99 Mbps)
• Interview with Sergio Stivaletti (10:05 in 480i)

• Interview with Claudio Simonetti (22:04 in 480i)

• Interview with Gabriele Albanesi (8:52 in 480i)

• Deleted Scenes (:24 in 480i)
• Blu-ray Credits
• 12-page liner Notes Booklet

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 10

 

Comments

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

ADDITION Raro Blu-ray - April 2012: I think this is a significant upgrade over the SD versions. It improves from the flatter video-look to a textured, more detailed and overall richer image. There is a high bitrate and the image often shows depth as well as  pleasing film grain. Contrast is handled far superior and colors tighten-up. Under scrutinization it is quite a visual improvement.

As a bonus Raro have included the English version (6 minutes shorter) - also in 1080P and with lossless sound. Picture quality is about the same - not as consistent - technically it is marginally inferior (17 Gig - 22 Mbps bitrate).

Audio gets the lossless treatment and stays 2.0 channel for both Italian and English versions and has some bass and the higher end supports Franco Mannino's tinny score. Raro advertise improved subtitle translation which is available in English for both versions.

Supplements add as well, with the aforementioned English version of the film in HD and the Raro Blu-ray also has the same 10-minute interview with Sergio Stivaletti (in 480i) as found on their previous DVD. New are interviews with with Claudio Simonetti (composer and founder of Goblin) for 22-minutes and with Gabriele Albanesi for about 9-minutes - both discussing Murder Obsession in Italian with English subtitles. There is a brief 24-seconds of deleted scenes in 4:3 and a 12-page liner notes booklet with critical analysis of the film by Chris Alexander, Fangoria Magazine.

Very solid upgrade from Raro - improving and adding value in all categories - a/v and extras. This is easily the definitive version and fans should indulge to own the most film-like and complete package available of Murder Obsession. 

- Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Raro USA's single-layer, progressive transfer is more than a 16:9 upgrade. It improves on the color, contrast, and framing over the Raro Italy DVD. The opening text suggests that Raro USA has augmented the English cut with scenes from the longer Italian cut, but this is not true. It is the longer Italian version, not a composite cut. The audio is a composite work, however, and the Italian-only scenes have English subtitles (as they did on the import). Regrettably, Raro USA has dropped the Italian track which features a piano score by Franco Mannino (who scored Visconti's last two films and conducted the classical music selections for his DEATH IN VENICE and LUDWIG) which features original compositions by Mannino as well as performances of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Well Tempered Clavier" as well as Liszt's "Liebestraum." The English track features an intrusive keyboard score in place of the original Mannino piano pieces (the Bach and Liszt cues remain) and is heard over scenes that play without scoring on the Italian track. The only extra on the disc is a subtitled interview with make-up and visual effects artist Sergio Stivaletti, who worked uncredited along side Angelo Mattei on the gore effects. A liner notes booklet is also included.

Raro reportedly have a Blu-ray edition in the works for 2012.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


Menus


(
Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample  Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro Video (Italy) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video (Italy)

Region 0 - PAL

Raro Video USA
Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video USA

Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




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