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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Man wih the Severed Head" or "L'homme à la tête coupée" or "Las Ratas no duermen de noche" or "Le viol et l'enfer des X" )

 

directed by Juan Fortuny
France/Spain 1976

 

Surnett (Paul Naschy, VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES) and his gang are planning to make a big score at a jewelry store with the help of safecracker, but the sticky fingers of Karl (Victor Israel, HORROR EXPRESS) set off the alarm and the group flee by car. They elude a police road block, but Surnett is shot in the head. Surnett's second-in-command Henry (Olivier Mathot, CECILIA) takes charge and drags in alcoholic Dr. Ritter (Carlos Otero, LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE) to examine Surnett. Ritter does not possess the means or the know-how to save Surnett, but he knows who does. Henry, Ritter, Karl, and Paul (Yul Sanders, MIDNIGHT PARTY) transport Surnett to the country house of Ritter's colleague Professor Thys (Ricardo Palmerola, THE BURNED CITY), who informs them that they need a fresh brain to save Surnett. Rather than volunteering or flipping a coin to see who will "sacrifice" his brain, they consult Ritter on some of his other patients who might be suitable. The only one he can come up with is Henry's arch-enemy The Sadist (Roberto Mauri, director of SLAUGHTER OF THE VAMPIRES). Paul and Karl kill and decapitate The Sadist, and Thys - whose hands were burned in a accident - directs his wife Ana (Sylvia Solar, FURY OF THE WOLFMAN) in performing the transplant (while holding their daughter hostage). Of course, transplanting the brain of a violently-murdered enemy - especially one called "The Sadist" - into the body of his foe is going to have some complications, including violent behavior towards The Sadist's enemies, and a few nubile women (although they, or their body doubles, only show skin in the X version). Henry has The Sadist's head sent to his girl Barbara (Evelyne Scott, SHINING SEX) as a present. Although Barbara puts The Sadist's second-in-command Willy (Richard Kolin, EYEBALL) in charge, she proves to be the sadistic moving force behind their revenge. She and Willy torture the information as to Surnett's whereabouts out of Ritter and Surnett's moll Ingrid (Gilda Arancio, ZOMBIE LAKE) and converge on the doctor's estate. Henry has recognized that Surnett is a danger to all of them and agrees with Ana that he should be dealt with, but now Thys thinks Surnett's is too important for his experiments. Will Surnett or The Sadist's gang prove to be the greater danger?

CRIMSON as it is better known, feels like a very dated sixties thriller (especially since it was made in 1976); more so because it is lacking in exploitable elements. Despite brain transplants, plenty of bullet-hits, and a decapitation-by-train, there is very little gore. There is also no nudity (the erotic footage shot for the alternate version LE VIOL ET L'ENFER DES X is only slightly more explicit than what one would find in any other Eurocine production). CRIMSON was the only directorial effort of Juan Fortuny (who scripted the Eurocine Spanish-French co-production ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MONSTER) that seems to have been exported, and its limited sets, effects, and generally compact scope suggest that it is the Eurocine equivalent of a quickie (this from a production company that usually produced simultaneous productions using the same locations and actors). Mathot, Solar, Otero, Israel, Kolin, and Scott had all appeared the previous year in the French/Spanish co-production DEVIL KISS/THE WICKED CARESSES OF SATAN, also distributed by Eurocine, and were likely retained for this effort. Naschy has very little to do, Solar is better in her voluptuous villain roles, and Israel's recognizable bug eyes and bald pate are hidden behind a wig and tinted glasses (Israel and Palmerola later appeared in Fortuny's horror comedy EL POBRECITO DRACULA). On the other hand, Arancio makes for a good eye candy substitute for Scott - who does not appear until more than half-way through the film - and Mathot is a dependable Eurocine presence. Raymond Heil's (OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES) photography is colorful, but Daniel White's score is largely composed of outdated jazz cues (one mournful cue featuring guitar and a woman vocalizing, did however, find its way into a couple eighties Jess Franco productions such as THE SEXUAL STORY OF O).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 19 September 1976 (France)

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DVD Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

ArrowDrome
Region 0 - PAL
Maison Rouge/Screenbound
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:29:15 1:25:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:34:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.76:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.28 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.24 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.67:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.22 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

ArrowDrome

 

Bitrate:

 

Maison Rouge /Screenbound

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 1.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English, none English, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.76:1

Edition Details:
� French Main Title Sequence (16:9; 2:04)
� Alternate Erotic Scenes (16:9; 11:18)
� French Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:49)

DVD Release Date: 24 September 2002
Amaray

Chapters 15
 

Release Information:
Studio: ArrowDrome

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
� Paul Naschy Featurette (16:9; 23:25)
� Alternate Erotic Scenes (16:9; 6:34)
� French Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:49)
� Booklet: Paul Naschy in America - An Interview with Naschy distributor Sam Sherman
� Reversible Sleeve

 

DVD Release Date: 10 October 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Maison Rouge/Screenbound

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.67:1

Edition Details:
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:49)
� Previews

 

DVD Release Date: April 17th, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

 

Comments

Screenbound's Black House line edition is the third release of the film in the UK following Arrow's 2004 DVD and 2011 ArrowDrome reissue compared below. The new transfer is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio, usually with more information on the bottom of the frame than the top and detail is superior. For region-locked UK fans, however, this edition will of interest since it features the longer erotic French version of the film previously only available on the US Blu-ray edition of the film. The erotic scenes were included in the bonus sections of both Arrow discs but certain bits were cut by order of the BBFC and these bits are included in their entirety in Black House's version.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. ArrowDrome - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Maison Rouge/Screenbound - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Screenbound

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Draw
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

ArrowDrome
Region 0 - PAL
Maison Rouge/Screenbound
Region 2 - PAL

 



 

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