|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Umberto Lenzi, 1974)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Libra Films International
Video:88 Films / Scorpion Releasing
Region: 'B'/ Region FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:34:04.805 / 1:34:01.886 - 'Unfixed Feature: 1:34:01.886
Disc Size: 36,118,612,510 bytes / 49,163,438,481 bytes
Feature Size: 29,322,221,568 bytes / 23,562,375,168 bytes - 'Unfixed Feature: 23,966,711,808 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 28.78 Mbps / 28.82 Mbps
Chapters: 12 /
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case / Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 14th, 2015/ July 7th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1623 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1623
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
•Umberto Lenzi Q&A from Manchester Festival of Fantastic Film, 2013 (23:46)
• Original Italian Opening (2:11)
• Original Italian End Credits (0:25)
• Umberto Lenzi Interview (13:13)
• Trailer (3:15)
Description: From the most controversial of all the Italian horror directors, CANNIBAL FEROX man Umberto Lenzi, comes SPASMO a slick and sick psycho-thriller that stands tall as one of the Giallo genre's most colourful crime-capers. Starring a cast of Euro-shock veterans, such as attractive Suzy Kendall (THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE) and the chiselled-chinned Ivan Rassimov (LAST CANNIBAL WORLD), Lenzi s carefully paced, and frequently surreal, murder-mystery shows that he is about more than just the gore. A genuinely accomplished achievement, with plot twists galore and a mind-boggling climax, SPASMO is a must-see for anyone who misses the classic era of Rome-based bloodshed.
Christian (Robert Hoffman) picks up a married chick (Suzy Kendall from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) at a party on a yacht. Their midnight tryst is ruined when a guy sneaks through the motel window and tries to shoot him. Christian gets the upper hand and kills his attacker and the scared couple flees the room. But when Christian returns to the scene of the crime, he’s shocked to learn the body has disappeared. Meanwhile his lover’s jealous husband shows up to make things even more uncomfortable for the potential love birds.Excerpt from The Video Vacuum located HERE
I love the title of this film, I have even contemplated naming my future child “Spasmo”. I would look at it as a springboard for developing advanced coping skills and a way of accommodating decreasingly inventive generations of bullies who no longer possess the requisite wit to rise from vulgarians to true slander artists. I have also given thought about vanity plates, a lower lip tattoo or coral implants in my forehead that spell out “Spasmo”. What stops me, apart from having a sensible wife, is that “Spasmo” the film is nowhere near as vigorous as the name suggests. In fact, apart from a pre-“Memento” subtext about subjective reality and the nature of memory and identity it’s a pretty flaccid movie, or given the mannequin presence, perhaps “stiff” is a better way to describe it.Excerpt from Bloody Good Horror located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Spamso gets a dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray with max'ed out bitrate from 88 Films in the UK. It showcases some beautifully thick grain textures. The 1080P supports rich colors and decent contrast in the 2.35:1 frame. It's very clean, shows a smidgeon of depth and there are really no flaws with the video rendering. This Blu-ray probably gives a very strong representation of the original film.
Firstly, Scorpion Releasing give two similarly robust transfers of the film - a standard (filtered?) and an 'unfixed' version (which may mean no color correction). The latter is grainier - and I think it looks pretty decent - maybe slightly blockier. Both are darker than their UK counterpart and colors appear slightly richer. It will come down to a matter of personal choice. I really like the Scorpion and the 'unfixed' presentation. Hopefully, the comparative captures below will give you an idea of which you may prefer, but these differences will be more noticeable the larger the system you have. For many the visual disparity will be negligible.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More 88 Films Blu-ray Captures
88 Films offer linear PCM tracks in both English or Italian 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps (24-bit). The score by Ennio Morricone (A Bullet for the General, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, U Turn, Deep Red etc. etc.) sounds a little irritatingly screetchy at time but I don't know that it wasn't authentic to the original. There is depth exported in the effects. There are optional English subtitles for the Italian track and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Ditto for Scorpion who also transfer both audio tracks (English and Italian) but they use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel slightly less robust than the UK counterpart's linear PCM. The Morricone score sounds just as good to my ears and there and optional English subtitles for the Italians versions (both standard and 'unfixed'.) The Scorpion is, however, region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Supplements include a 25-minute Q&A with Umberto Lenzi from Manchester Festival of Fantastic Film in 2013 which fans may appreciate. Also the original Italian opening and end credits sequences are included as well as a trailer. The package has a reversible sleeve with alternative art and includes a Collectible 300gsm ('Art Paper' weight) original poster post card of the film.
As well as offering the 'unfixed' version, Scorpio also add a 13-minute interview with Lenzi, a trailer and the cover is reversible showing a different graphic.
88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Scorpion - Region FREE - Blu-ray
I'm still very keen on this and tend to like it more - each time I play it. It has really grown on me. A 'softer' Giallo but a good one with psychological underpinnings and a very cool style. It's great to have the choice for real fans of the director and genre. Purists may lean to the Scorpion Blu-ray and the 'unfixed' version.
August 25th, 2015
September 24th, 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
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS