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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Demons aka Les démons [Blu-ray]

 

(Jesús Franco, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Comptoir Français du Film Production (CFFP)

Video: Redemption / Kino

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:58:24.680 

Disc Size: 42,955,147,116 bytes

Feature Size: 33,755,774,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.92 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 29th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.25:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio French 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• Jess Franco Interview (16:19)

• Deleted Footage (10:16 - no audio)

• 5 Trailer (2 for The Demons)

 

Bitrate:

 

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 Film:

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.

Excerpt from Thrill-Me Blog located HERE

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!

Excerpt from The Bloody Pit of Horror located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.)

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I don't think I have ever liked a Jess Franco film - of the handful that I have seen. This was better than some I have watched (good costumes, backdrops etc.), but still has its limitations in being cohesive. The sex and nudity are not very erotic, IMO, but the story had some minor appeal (Nuns, possession etc.).  Despite The Demons not being my, personal, cup of tea, I was reasonably pleased with this Redemption Blu-ray. They don't scrimp on the transfer and add relevant extras - the problem is really the hackneyed film itself. I can only bring myself to recommend to the director's following - or those aware of what they might be getting themselves in for with this sadistic sex-horror dreck. Okay, it's not that bad... just average 'bad'.  

Gary Tooze

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.

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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