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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by David Hemmings
Australia 1981

 

When an airliner crashes in a small village, all three hundred passengers are killed. The only survivor is the pilot Keller (Robert Powell, JESUS OF NAZARETH) who has no memory of what happened. Psychic Hobbs (Jenny Agutter, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) eventually approaches him and tells him that the spirits of the dead want him to discover who or what was responsible for the crash; and they'd better hurry since - JU-ON-like - various people connected to the crash (however tangential) are being stalked and killed by those disturbed spirits in the form of a little girl (Brigette Webster) and her creepy doll.

Based on a novel by James Herbert, the script for THE SURVIVOR was already developed when purchased by producer Anthony Ginnane as a directorial vehicle for actor David Hemmings (who had starred in the Ginanne-produced horror films THIRST and HARLEQUIN/DARK FORCES). After a thrilling plane crash, the film drags throughout the middle - which includes some supernatural stalk-and-kill setpieces that are underwhelming despite atmospheric locations and MAD MAX composer Brian May's hybrid orchestral/electronic score - as the film bides it time before bringing Keller and Hobbs together (at which point the film picks up again). Herbert's novel was creepy, but it disappointingly waited until the last chapter to even introduce its villain (the film's script - in addition to changing the sex of psychic Hobbs - fixes this but still requires the unveiled party to rattle off an unsatisfactory motive). The Panavision cinematography of John Seale (DEAD POETS SOCIETY) is the most beautiful of Ginnane's scope horror productions from that time (which included the aforementioned Hemmings films as well as STRANGE BEHAVIOR and the dreary SNAPSHOT).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 9 July 1981 (Australia)

Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

  

Also released by Severin on Blu-ray in the UK in April 2017:

Distribution

BritFilms

Region 0 - PAL

Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Severin Films
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:03 (4% PAL speedup) 1:38:09 1:38:19.393
Video

2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.16 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.39:1 Disc Size: 46,990,790,456 bytes

Feature Size: 20,655,292,416 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

 

BritFilms

 

Bitrate:

Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater)

 

Bitrate:

Severin Films
Region FREE - Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

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

Subtitles none none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: BritFilms

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.32:1

Edition Details:
 Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:42)
 About BritFilms
 Weblink

DVD Release Date: 26 January 2009
Amaray

Chapters 16
 

Release Information:
Studio: Scorpion Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.32:1

Edition Details:
 Playable with optional KATARINA'S NIGHTMARE THEATER introduction and post-script
 Audio Commentary with producer Anthony Ginnane, moderated by Katarina Leigh Waters
 Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:54)
 Trailers for MORTUARY, THE RETURN, DEATH SHIP, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, SATAN'S SLAVE, TERROR, DON'T ANSWER
 THE PHONE, THE DEVIL WITHIN HER, and FINAL EXAM
 KATARINA'S NIGHTMARE THEATER promo reel

 

DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Severin Films

 

2.39:1 Disc Size: 46,990,790,456 bytes

Feature Size: 20,655,292,416 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

 Not Quite Hollywood Extended Interviews with Producer Antony I. Ginnane and Cinematographer John Seale (22:12)

 Extended Scenes (3:34)
 The Legacy of James Herbert (9;19)
 Robert Powell on James Herbert (3:24)

 Archive TV Special On Location Featuring Interviews with Stars Joseph Cotten and Peter Sumner (29:59)
 Archive TV Interview with David Hemmings (15:43)
 Antony I. Ginnane Trailer Reel (32:03)
 TV Spot (0:28)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 10th 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray (January 2017): Severin's new 2K, 1080P, is a large leap beyond the older SD transfers. Colors have a tightness than the DVDs can't export. The film visuals have some inconsistencies but the Blu-ray, by far, has the best video presentation - no artifacts, noise and imperceptible damage/speckles.  It is bright with more natural skin tones and it looks very pleasing in-motion. The 2.39:1 widescreen ratio looks impressive in HD.

Severin go linear PCM (16-bit) and it handles the film's effects authentically. There is a score by Brian May (Turkey Shoot, Nightmares) that adds to the film's mystery with an occult-edge sounding supportive via the uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Extras include Not Quite Hollywood - 22 minutes of extended interviews with Producer Antony I. Ginnane and cinematographer John Seale colorfully discussing the production. There a few minutes worth of extended scenes, a 10-minute video piece on The Legacy of James Herbert - the coveted author of 23 novels which have been published in more than 30 languages, selling 54 million copies worldwide - and we also get British actor, Robert Powell (Keller in The Survivor) give his appreciative take on Herbert. There is an archive TV Special On Location featuring interviews with stars Joseph Cotten and Peter Sumner for just shy of 1/2 an hour plus an a 15-minute archive TV Interview with David Hemmings and a rather bold Antony I. Ginnane trailer reel that runs a full 1/2 hour. Last is a TV Spot for the film.

This is a pretty interesting film - that may have a distant Ozploitation link but it's a cracker of a less-definable horror/thriller, regardless. It's a bit patchy but a very cool concept and some great stars in Agutter, Cotten, Powell and Sumner. The production, and script, could have used some tightening but its wayward qualities actually seem like a bonus adding to the mysterious aura. Severin continue to impress with another eclectic choice of film, expertly transferred, and a stacked package of supplements. The Survivor has some definite attributes and the Blu-ray was a pleasure to indulge in. Recommended!

***

ON THE DVDs: Scorpion's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer is considerably more colorful than the UK transfer (which opens with a Warner Bros. logo) and reveals more picture information on the left, top, and bottom of the frame. The Scorpion version also features music over the closing credits (the UK disc goes silent during this sequence). The film was released twice before in the US in non-anamorphic letterbox transfers. Exclusive to the Scorpion disc is a new commentary track with producer Anthony Ginnane (conducted by hostess Katarina Leigh Waters). Ginnane reveals that the plane crash sequence was the most expensive film shoot at the time in Australia, and that supporting actors Peter Sumner and prominently-billed Angela Punch-McGregor lost significant screentime in an effort to improve the pacing. The trailer is the same on both discs.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) BritFilms - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Severin Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

  

Also released by Severin on Blu-ray in the UK in April 2017:

Distribution

BritFilms

Region 0 - PAL

Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Severin Films
Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




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