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The Demons aka Les démons [Blu-ray]
(Jesús Franco, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Comptoir Français du Film Production (CFFP)
Video: Redemption / Kino
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 42,955,147,116 bytes
Feature Size: 33,755,774,400 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.92 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 29th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.25:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• Jess Franco Interview (16:19)
• Deleted Footage (10:16 - no audio)
• 5 Trailer (2 for The Demons)
Description: In the wake of the massive controversy surrounding Ken Russell's The Devils, several filmmakers rushed to create their own 'Inquisition' horror films, inspired by the true story of satanic possession at the convent Loudun. The Demons is Jess Franco's stellar entry in the nunspoitation canon, with a degree of sadism and sexual explicitness that overshadows his competitors.
Excerpt from the back cover of the Blu-ray
The Demons is full of sex, but it's used more sparingly than usual. For once, Franco instead gives us a story with twists and turns and interesting characters, resulting in one of his classier productions. If it weren't for his trademark zooms (which bother me less than most viewers) and regular stable of actors like Howard Vernon, Anne Libert, and Britt Nichols, it might be more difficult to tell it's a Jess Franco film. That isn't to say his footprints aren't all over this – there's plenty of chains and screaming and torture and bloody breasts and furry vaginas and ornately decorated interiors that were probably the producer's house somewhere in France or Spain.
A suspected witch is stuck with a pin, has boiling water poured on her chest, screams, laughs, yells something in French that I didn’t understand and is then burned alive at the stake. Before dying, she curses all those responsible; including inquisitor Lord Justice Jeffreys (“John Foster”/ Cihangir Gaffari), powerful noblewoman Lady de Winter (Karin Field) and soldier Thomas Renfield (Alberto Dalbés), and promises they’ll all face a death far worse than hers at the hand of her two daughters. Meanwhile, at a local convent, repressed Mother Rosalinda (Doris Thomas) rules with an iron fist and lashes a young woman’s hands for simply daydreaming. Two orphaned sisters; the pure, humble and innocent blonde Margaret (gorgeous Britt Nichols) and the pleasant but wayward brunette Kathleen (Anne Libert), who dreams of “running naked through the wheat fields with the wind caressing me all over,” are staying there and have their pension paid by a mysterious man. Hey, this is an upscale nunnery!
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Redemption's 40th spine label Blu-ray is Jess Franco's The Demons. This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. The weaknesses are more a factor of the original production than the competent 1080P transfer. It looks consistently soft and a bit hazy but detail rises a bit in the frequent facial close-ups. This is transferred at 2.25:1 and colors have a bit of perk and there is no noise to speak of. The chunkiness of the film textures seems correct to me. Pretty solid transfer of a weak looking film. This Blu-ray provides a consistent presentation but by modern standards the film visuals are at the lower tier.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Redemption use a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps in original French but DUB'ing is highly evident. The screams and minor effects pack an uncomfortable wallop. Jean-Bernard Raiteux (Diary of a Nymphomaniac, The Perverse Countess) composed the score - which sounds as out-of-place as a lot of what goes on in the film. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
We get a 16-minute Jess Franco interview where the director is unusually frank (+ toothless?) plus 10-minutes of, audio-less, deleted footage and a group of trailers (2 for The Demons.)
April 4th, 2014
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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