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Cult of the Damned aka Angel, Angel, Down We Go [Blu-ray]
(Robert Thom, 1969)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Four Leaf Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,000,336,097 bytes
Feature Size: 21,838,055,424 bytes
Video Bitrate: 25.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 17th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1702 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1702 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1685 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1685
kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
• Commentary by Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer
• Stills Gallery (11:56)
• Trailer (1:37)
Description: Brace yourself for the maddest Hollywood story ever with this stylish, decadent look at what happens when the upper crust meets the down and dirty. Full-figured debutante Tara Nicole (folk singer Holly Near) returns home to her former stag film star mother (Jennifer Jones, Best Actress Oscar winner for The Song of Bernadette) only to fall under the influence of a charismatic, dangerous rock singer (Jordan Christopher) and his way-out deviant band mates (including Roddy McDowall and Lou Rawls). Making its first-ever release on home video, this colorful cult shocker (originally released as Angel, Angel, Down We Go) from Robert Thom, the writer of Death Race 2000, Bloody Mama, and Wild in the Streets. Cult of the Damned is part horror, part pop musical, part black comedy, and all outrageous!
Tara Nicole (Holly Near) is an 18-year-old girl from a wealthy family. She rebels against her parents by taking up with a rock band lead by Bogart (Jordan Christopher). Singer Lou Rawls and Roddy McDowell make up part of the band, whose members end up seducing the young teen and her mother Astrid (Jennifer Jones). Tara's mom makes her first and last jump from an airplane with a faulty parachute and her father (Charles Aidman) is found hanging from the diving board poolside. The band manages to wreck Tara's life in this implausible feature. Holly Near would go on to become a feminist folk singer and begin a series of college tours in the 1970s, promoting peace.
Confusion reigns in this sick film about Hollywood decadence. Christopher stars as a leader of a vile rock 'n' roll band (among whose members are McDowall and Rawls) who disrupt the life of a rich family. Christopher seduces 18-year-old Near and her mother, Jones. Later, Jones is taken skydiving and fitted with a faulty parachute; then her husband is found hung from the diving board of the family swimming pool. All of the performers look like they don't know what is going on, and the lousy rock numbers sung by Christopher don't help. Although made before the murder of Sharon Tate, ANGEL, ANGEL DOWN WE GO is disturbingly reminiscent of the Manson cult killings, and the film was released about the same time newspaper headlines were filled with descriptions of those murders.Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Much to the delight of cult-cinema fans, Robert Thom's Cult of the Damned has made it to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The image is surprisingly stronger than I was anticipating. This is single-layered with a decent bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is a tightness and depth - skin tones may be a tad warm at times but I'm not complaining. The colors are what would be pleasingly advanced over SD and contrast rises with some adept layers. It is a shade soft - indicative more of the production limitations than a flaw in the 1080P transfer. Pretty solid. This Blu-ray probably provides batter-than-expected HD preentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master track at 1702 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's modest sound requirements. Aside from the Jordan Christopher performances in the film (all written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil), there is a odd score by Fred Karger who has done soundtrack work for The Big Heat, The Miami Story, The Eddy Duchin Story, My Sister Eileen and Picnic among other films. The audio here is subject to the weakness of the production and this is probably as good as it will get. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Scorpion Releasing were responsible for producing the audio commentary with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer. It is filled to the brim with information including the surprising original casting choice of Ava Gardner and quite a bit about American International Pictures, plus where the film as shot etc. There is also lengthy stills gallery and a trailer.
February 6th, 2015
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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