Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Whip and the Body (Kino Classics Blu-ray) - The Mario Bava Collection

Watching a movie with Christopher Lee in it is a pleasure. Nearly any of them. Even Arabian Nights was watchable. Now how about you take the brilliant Lee with majestic deep voice in throat and then you dub him? That's a joke right? You're thinking I mean dub him into Italian (since The Whip and The Body is Italian). Nope, his English voice track is dubbed. The strange thing is that it isn't humorous. His piercing gaze and ominous presence surpass the misgivings of strange sound engineers in Italy. Kino Classics has released a truly special Bava picture complete with all of the things you love about a Bava picture. 

Synopsis from Kino:

Christopher Lee (Dracula: Prince of Darkness) stars as Kurt Menliff, the sadistic son of a wealthy Count, who returns to the family castle, much to the dismay of his family, their servants, and the beautiful woman with whom he shares a fondness for the lash (Daliah Lavi). When Kurt is found murdered, it brings no peace to those who had feared him, as his vengeful spirit cannot be contained by the grave, and he returns to torment those unfortunate enough to remain within Menliff Manor.


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When I review a movie I haven't seen before I typically watch it all the way through once, and then come back to check out the commentary track. That doesn't mean I listen to every minute of the commentary, but if it's interesting I'll give the whole thing a go. It's rare I admit. I'm telling you now that if you start watching this movie with the brilliant commentary track as provided by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark, you won't want to turn it off. They only thing that will make you do it is Lucas' plea to do so if you haven't watched the entire picture first. If you want insight into Bava, his filmmaking process and his entire body of work you'll get it in the commentary track. This divulges as much about Italian Horror and its origins as any interview you've listened to. I truly commend Lucas on his work, and offer you this as the number one reason to pick up the disc.

The movie itself is haunting with plenty of "Bava lighting". It's colorful with a focus on blues and greens and reds to give off that sense of surreal, supernatural that we'd later find in Black Sabbath. The story itself moves slow but it is never obvious. This a murder mystery, though not a Giallo picture, it shares some similarities with the crime thriller genre. Completed with attractive and talented actors and actresses, cast to perfection and with enough atmosphere to help out a B rate AIP Corman picture, this is a tale of torture, ghosties and murder. 

This movie has been mastered in HD from an original 35mm print and comes completed with an Italian and English language track version. English subtitles are available. There's also a French dubbed version. There's a theatrical trailer reel of other Bava films as well as a trailer for The Whip and The Body. 

Notes: 1.78:1, 1920 x 1080p

This is a great looking picture with an appropriate amount of film grain, preserved to feel like a work from 1963. It's not a perfect print, but that makes it better and feels more like the film watching experience that one might get from say a Vinegar Syndrome release. Christopher Lee fans. Mario Bava fans. Fans of castle supernatural horror. Pick this release up.

-Doc Terror

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