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Death Smiles On A Murderer Blu-ray Review

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“Death Smiles On A Murderer” is an Italian horror snoozefest.

To describe the Gothic Italian giallo horror film “Death Smiles On A Murderer” is almost a spoiler given that much of the plot is shrouded in mystery. I will say the early 1900’s Austria set story includes a young woman (Greta), her scumbag brother (Franz), a wealthy husband and wife (the Ravensbrucks), death and murder, and someone being resurrected from the dead via in an Incan medallion. How does all of this play together? You’ll have to find out (if you can even figure it out).

1973’s “Death Smiles On A Murderer” is the type of movie that is bound to frustrate some viewers. The script by Joe D’Amato (who is also the director), Romano Scandariato and Claudio Bernabei is structured in a way that is so clunky and confusing that it’s almost maddening. It does not play like your average horror film as the time jumps and flashbacks are integrated in a bizarre and arty fashion. They almost seem to come out of the blue at some point. Yes, the structure was done on purpose to conceal the surprise, but by the time the surprises come around, you might already be so uninterested in the movie like I was. On top of that, viewers will have to slog through overlong sequences, a distracting score by Berto Pisano that is all over the place, quick cuts, endless close-ups of eyes, and perhaps one of the lamest death scenes ever assembled involving a cat.

If there’s one thing the movie has going for it aside from production values, it’s Klaus Kinski as a Doctor. Unfortunately, he’s not in it nearly enough. If he had a more crucial role, the movie would have no doubt fared better.

Note: Viewers have the option of playing the Italian or English version of the film.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The movie has been cleaned up and given a nice hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: Italian and English Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Stereo. How do they sound? Both tracks are flat but adequate.

Extras: * A booklet featuring pictures, credits, essays by authors Stephen Thrower and Roberto Curti and an interview with Romano Scandariato * English and Italian trailers * Stills and collections photo gallery * “Smiling On The Taboo”- A video essay by film critic Kat Ellinger about the genre work of Joe D’Amato. * “All About Ewa”- A newly shot 42 minute interview with actress Ewa Aulin about her life and career. * “D’Amato Smiles On Death”- A 1999 interview with the director about “Death Smiles On A Murderer” * A solo scripted commentary by Tim Lucas. Informative if a bit dry.

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May 14, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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