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(aka "Medusa" )

 

directed by George Lazopoulos
Greece 1998

 

A quartet of police detectives investigating the disappearance of a drug dealer under surveillance discover in his hotel room a stone likeness of the man that is similar in style to the clothed stone statutes of thirteen missing men. A witness claims that she saw the latest victim turned into stone under the gaze of a woman in black and sunglasses, and analysis of the material determines that it possesses organic carbon which is only present in humans and animals. Meanwhile, real estate clerk Spiros and secretary Katia team up with knife-obsessed thief Percy (Thanos Amorginos) and his martial artist friend Mitsos to break into the old mansion belonging to mysterious black clad, dark glasses-wearing client Ms. Meda when they learn that she will be away from the estate for two weeks. Percy is shocked to discover that the mansion is the one he grew up in after his mother remarried (comedic actress Eleni Filini) and then mysteriously disappeared not long after. Breaking into the mansion, they discover not valuables but rooms full of clothed stone statues, men's clothes and wallets, skin masks of a woman, and a book of Greek mythology with missing pages. With nothing of value apart from loose change from the stolen wallets, the others want to go by Percy wants to await Ms. Meda's return, believing her to be the stepsister who terrified him as a child and may have been responsible for his mother's disappearance. When the village priest discovers Percy's full name and his profession as thief, he arms the younger man with the knowledge to destroy the legendary gorgon.

In this all-too-rare example of Greek horror cinema - more than a decade past the heyday of Greek soft/hardcore exploitation from the likes of Kostas Karagiannis (THE DEVIL'S MEN) and Nico Mastorakis (ISLAND OF DEATH) - director George Lazopoulos transplants the legend of Perseus and Medusa to modern day Athens with his own authorial flourishes. The parallel detective story actually adds little to the film aside from the film's twist ending, opening up what could have been a more claustrophobic story in which clues to the mysterious woman's identity could have been just as easily suggested rather than stated with the oddities discovered in the mansion by the thieves. Although it may seem odd to us foreigners that none of the film's Greek characters have ever heard of gorgons from Greek myth, the changes that Lazopoulos makes to the story serve not to throw off those familiar with the myth but also to turn Percy into his own character rather than just a modern day stand-in for its hero. Although intended as a straight-forward genre film, the end result is elegant despite its rough edges but feels not so much like an art film so much as a piece of fantastique along the lines of Harry Kumel's MALPERTUIS.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 16 November 1998 (Greece)

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:26:48
Video

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.96 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Greek Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
� 'Looks Can Kill: The Making of Medousa' (16:9; 34:42)
� 'Meeting George' interview with Thanos Amorginos (16:9;9:54)
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 0:43)
� More from Mondo Macabro

DVD Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

Mondo Macabro's dual-layer disc affords this progressive, anamorphic presentation a high bitrate that lends crispness to the film's spare visual design and lighting. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track is clean but the Dolby Stereo track is not that adventurous, and the optional English subtitles are without errors. Director Lazopoulos appears in a making-of segment in which he discusses his film schooling, the four year development period for the film, the concessions he made in terms of casting and production, the former anarchist's dictatorial nature on the set, and the film's reception (although he defines it as a simple genre film, he feels it was better accepted by American audiences because they saw it as an art film). Amorginos appears in a short but pleasant interview in which the musician discusses how he was cast in the film, his own assessment of his acting ability, and understanding of the first time director's inflexibility. Besides a trailer (which appears to be newly-created rather than an original promo), the disc also includes the Mondo Macabro Promo Reel (which is starting to run a little long these days as they add more titles). Greatly missed, though, is Mondo Macabro's customary "About the Film" liner notes.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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