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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Flesh and Blood Show [Blu-ray]

 

(Pete Walker, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Peter Walker (Heritage) Ltd.

Video: Redemption / Kino

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:36:19.106

Disc Size: 38,786,499,458 bytes

Feature Size: 27,015,768,000 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 18th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

"Flesh and Blood Censorship" - Interview with Pete Walker (12:13)

• Anaglyph 3-D sequence (10:14)

• Stereoscopic 3-D sequence (10:14)

• Pete Walker Trailers - The Flesh and Blood Show (3:44), Die Screaming, Marianne, Frightmare, House of Whipcord, The Comeback

 

Bitrate:

 

Description: A group of trendy young actors and actresses assemble at a run-down theatre at the end of a pier in an out-of-season British coastal resort. Hired by the mysterious Theatre Group 40 to put together the improvisation revue, The Flesh and Blood Show, the actors are soon at the mercy of a madman who begins working his way through their number. The story takes its cue from Agatha Christie's venerable Ten Little Indians - a group of strangers are invited to a remote locale, where they fall prey to an unseen assassin. While Walker's subsequent horror pictures tended to phase out the carnal aspect, his background in sexploitation is abundantly evident here - softcore groping and plentiful nudity dominate the first half of the picture, and there is plenty of mayhem.

 

 

The Film:

This sick little horror film from British gore/exploitation director Pete Walker finds a group of actors summoned by an anonymous producer to take part in a gruesome Grand Guignol play being staged at an isolated resort, only to find that their characters' elaborately staged theatrical deaths are designed to do them in for real. It is revealed that their unseen benefactor is a former stage performer, driven psychotic after catching another actor in bed with his wife, who now seeks symbolic retribution against all actors for their immoral behavior. Though not quite as sleazy as some of Walker's later work, this is still fairly gruesome stuff. The same theme gets vastly superior treatment in the following year's Theatre of Blood, featuring a tour-de-force performance from Vincent Price.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

The Flesh and Blood Show was Pete Walker’s second venture into genre material. For this reason, the film is not as sophisticated as some of his later ones – certainly, Walker learned quickly, making his best film House of Whipcord only two years later. Here he contrives a clumsy whodunnit centred around the group of people rehearsing in a theatre. On a directorial level, the film has a competence but Walker fails to generate much in the way of tension. Certainly, on the flesh angle, Walker gets his female cast frequently undressed but the blood angle is relatively tame – the number of murders we see is few and Walker has not yet developed the sadism that would permeate his later films.

Excerpt from Moria located HERE

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

 

Firstly, this Redemption Blu-ray package offers the end sequence in 3-D but the segment can be seen in 2-D (black and white - see sample below). When viewed on a compatible 3-D monitor and 3-D Blu-ray player set-up, the 10-minute sequence near the conclusion will play as 3-D, but when this disc is viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D Blu-ray player, the 3-D segment will play as black-and-white -- the "Play Movie" option defaults solely to the 2-D version -- there is nothing wrong with your disc, the specialized encoding merely prevents the 3-D sequence being incorrectly displayed on a 2-D system.

 

Pete Walker's The Flesh and Blood Show has arrived on Blu-ray from Kino's Redemption label.  Unfortunately, the image, as on the old DVD, is fairly inconsistent. This is more a function of the source.  This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is softness here and there but also a few scenes that look significantly sharper. There is a section, shot outside, with damage marks and excessive speckles (see sample at bottom). This has some grain textures and is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Colors are mostly flat - a few times appearing richer. Skin tones look true. There are plenty of very dark scenes but no intrusive noise. Generally, a less than stellar image, but this Blu-ray transfer is not at fault.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D Sequence as seen in 2D

 

 

Damage

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's modest sound requirements although, like the video, there are some weak patches. The high end is scratchy but probably more a function of the 40-year old production's audio limitations. The score is by Cyril Ornadel (Die Screaming, Marianne) but I found it fairly forgettable. The audio here is subject to the weakness of the production and this is probably as good as it will get. There is some depth via the lossless. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

"Flesh and Blood Censorship" is a new 12-minute interview with Pete Walker produced by Elijah Drenner. He discusses the censorship of the film and more. Interesting to fans of the 3D process, Redemption include the film's 10-minute sequence using the anaglyph (red/blue) method. The package does not include the glasses required to view it. Also included is a modified sequence for stereoscopic playback on 3-D TVs. A 3-D player and glasses are required. Lastly are a group of five Pete Walker Trailers - The Flesh and Blood Show (3:44), Die Screaming, Marianne, Frightmare, House of Whipcord, The Comeback.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think this would have been quite highly regarded if it had a larger budget and was, hence, more polished.  This style of 70's Brit horror is quite adept - it's just quite rough around the edges - which for some - can be appealing in itself. Despite weaknesses in the source I don't point fingers at the Redemption Blu-ray. The 3-D effects looks largely unimpressive. I still put Die Screaming, Marianne and Frightmare ahead of this, but it still had some 'Walker' charisma. This presentation is imperfect but I doubt the director's niche fans will be bothered. We recommend to those keen on the genre.

 

Gary Tooze

March 10th, 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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