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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats: Two Adaptations by Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci [Blu-ray]

 

Limited Edition boxed-set (3000 copies)  

 

The Black Cat aka "Gatto nero" (Lucio Fulci, 1981)

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key aka "Il tuo vizio una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave" (Sergio Martino, 1972)

 

Available Individually in the UK April 2016

 

available Individually in the US - April 2016:

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Selenia Cinematografica / Lea Film

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

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

'The Black Cat' Runtime: 1:31:53.257

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key' Runtime: 1:36:41.837

 

'The Black Cat' Disc Size: 41,196,081,288 bytes

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key' Disc Size: 46,088,158,753 bytes

'The Black Cat' Feature Size: 27,081,866,304 bytes

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key' Feature Size: 28,355,682,624 bytes

Video Bitrates (both): 34.95 Mbps

Chapters: 13 (both)

Case: Custom Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Black Cat) / 1.85:1 (Vice)

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

'The Black Cat':

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1054 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1054 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1043 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1043 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key' :

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1057 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1057 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48
kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1044 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1044 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

 

THE BLACK CAT:

Brand new audio commentary by filmmaker and Fangoria editor Chris Alexander
Poe into Fulci: The Spirit of Perverseness film historian Stephen Thrower on Fulci s Poe-tinged classic (25:37)
In the Paw-Prints of the Black Cat a look at the original Black Cat locations (8:28)
Frightened Dagmar a brand new career interview with actress Dagmar Lassander (20:13)
At Home with David Warbeck an archive interview with The Black Cat star (1:10:20)
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:01)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

 

 

YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY:

Through the Keyhole a brand new interview with director Sergio Martino (34:42)
Unveiling the Vice making-of retrospective featuring interviews with Martino, star Edwige Fenech and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (23:07)

Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring the director's unique contributions to the Giallo genre (29:04)
The Strange Vices of Ms. Fenech film historian Justin Harries on the Your Vice actress prolific career (29:42)
Eli Roth on Your Vice and the genius of Martino (9:17)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

 

80-page booklet containing new articles on the films, Lucio Fulci’s last ever interview and a reprint of Poe’s original story
 

Bitrate:

'The Black Cat'

 

 

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key'

 

 

Description: Edgar Allan Poe's celebrated story The Black Cat has provided the inspiration for numerous films over the years. But few adaptations are as stylish as those offered up by the twin Italian titans of terror, Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci.

In Martino s classic Giallo Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, teacher Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli, A Bay of Blood) finds himself under suspicion for murder when one of his students and mistress is found brutally murdered. As more bodies start to pile up, the arrival of Oliviero's attractive niece (Edwige Fenech, Five Dolls for an August Moon, All the Colours of the Dark) brings with it complications of its own.

In The Black Cat, from that other Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci (Zombie), Scotland Yard Inspector Gorley (David Warbeck, The Beyond) find himself summoned to a sleepy English village to investigate the recent murder of a young couple. With no obvious signs of entry at the murder scene, Gorley is forced to start considering the possibility that his suspect may not be human...

Finally together on Blu-ray and in stunning new 2K restorations from the original camera negatives, fans can enjoy the double-dose of terror that is Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats Italian-style!

 

'The Black Cat'

 

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key'

 

 

The Black Cat:

We thus tend to approach his films with specific expectations for their content. But do so with his 1981 Black Cat [Gatto nero] and you'll be in for a few surprises. You want gore? Forget it. A few nasty cat scratches and bloody faces is about all you'll get. And you know what? That's all that's needed here. No, really. Then there's the issue of location. We're not in Italy or even New York, Fulci's favourite second shooting home. Actually those cars look awfully familiar, so does that high street and that road sign. Yes, we're in England, and yes, that's Patrick Magee, he of the sinister frown and protruding chin, so memorable as Mr. Alexander in A Clockwork Orange and the unpleasant Alfredo in Masque of the Red Death. We like him. A lot. .

Excerpt from CineOutsider located HERE

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key:

A passionate film, full of lust, violence, and all of the accompanying flesh and blood you could ask for, the film stars Edwige Fenech, Luigi Pistilli, Anita Strindberg, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccaardo Salvino and Angela La Vorgna, and is presented in English. The score by Bruno Nicolai recalls some of the lonelier moments of Morricone's music for Leone in parts, while dancing towards Baroque decadence in others amid a soundtrack filled with screaming, the crash of stormy nights and the wailing of a black cat. The digital transfer is a fair one, except during scenes taking place in darkened settings. Here the screen blackens to the point of being indistinguishable, obscuring a good deal of the essential action and, occasionally, even the plot (in the scene where the killer has his skull cracked by Aunt Millie, in the shadowy stairwell he looks almost exactly like Oliviero). Even in dimly lighted scenes the picture is clouded by the obtrusive peach/plumb tint of the colored lighting scheme. This, however, is the DVD's only real drawback. The plot, the action, and the simple all-out wickedness of it all makes Your Vice... a film worth experiencing.

Excerpt from ExploitationRetriospect located HERE

 

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

 

This is the another Arrow Blu-ray release that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package on both sides of the pond to the best of our knowledge.

 

NOTE: As Michael Brooke informs us on Facebook in regards to Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.' We presume this set to be the same situation.

 

Fulci's The Black Cat and Sergio Martino's Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key both get impressive transfers to 2 Blu-rays from Arrow. They are cited as being "new 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives" and are notable for both using seamless branching for the slight differences from the Italian to English versions (titles etc. - see above) NOTE: quality is the same of the respective alt-language versions for each film. They are both on dual-layered disc with max'ed out bitrates. Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key shows a shade more texture and The Black Cat has some color vibrancy - but both presentations are marvelous - as the below screen captures should bear-out. High detail in close-ups with crisp, consistent visuals. Not a hint of noise. Excellent. 

 

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

 

The Black Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

On The Black Cat - the DTS-HD 1.0 channel mono track at 1054 kbps offered in both English or Italian - services the film reasonably well. We have some potent screams with depth and probably as good as the original production allowed. The score by suspense-maestro Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double) is fairly subtle and runs beside the film creating an escalating-ly tense aura.

 

On Martino's Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key we get similar linear PCM mono tracks or both English or Italian audio tracks (no matter which version you initially choose) and the, slightly irritating, score by Bruno Nicolai (The Perverse Countess, Torso, Ten Little Indians, Pasolini's Hawks and the Sparrows) which, as many Italian Giallos and spaghetti westerns do - suffers from a weak higher-end.

 

There are optional English subtitles on both (for both versions) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Well supplements - are extensive. The Black Cat Blu-ray has a new audio commentary by filmmaker and Fangoria editor Chris Alexander who sheds a lot of light on the production, Fulci and the performers. Very good for some appreciative background. Poe into Fulci: The Spirit of Perverseness spends 26-minutes with film historian Stephen Thrower talking about Fulci's Poe-tinged classic. In the Paw-Prints of the Black Cat takes a look at the original Black Cat locations for almost 9-minutes. Frightened Dagmar a brand new, 20-minutes, career interview with German actress Dagmar Lassander. At Home with David Warbeck is an unusual archive interview with The Black Cat star running almost 1 1/4 hours. There is also an original theatrical trailer and the transparent case (a separate one for both films) has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin.

 

The Blu-ray with Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is also stacked with extras. Through the Keyhole a brand new, 35-minute, interview with director Sergio Martino (In Italian with English subtitles) who patiently explains some of the evolution and less-obvious meanings of the film. Unveiling the Vice is a 24-minute making-of retrospective featuring interviews with Martino, still sexy star Edwige Fenech and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and I think it's well worth indulging in. Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino is an excellent 1/2 hour visual essay primer by Michael Mackenzie exploring the director's unique contributions to the Giallo genre. The Strange Vices of Ms. Fenech spends 1/2 hour with film historian Justin Harries on the Your Vice actress prolific career and beauty. We also get the ever-present Eli Roth extolling Your Vice and his admiration of Martino for just shy of 10-minutes. This transparent case also has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin.

The package contains an 80-page booklet containing new articles on the films, Lucio Fulci’s last ever interview and a reprint of Poe’s original story.

 

'The Black Cat'

 

 

'Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key'

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Once again Arrow provide an essential ' Giallo' package. This is a Limited Edition boxed-set with only 3000 copies - so DON'T WAIT! It should get strong consideration in our year-end Poll. Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed The Black Cat - then was blown away by Vice (which I have to admit was evoking memories of Julio Medem's Room in Rome! - hubba, hubba) Wow! The Blu-rays both provide excellent a/v presentations with a multitude of supplements... and the book! This is easy to put in the 'must-own' and 'don't hesitate' category for those appreciative of this genre. Our absolute highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

November 2nd, 2015

 

Available Individually in the UK April 2016

 

available Individually in the US - April 2016:

 


 

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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