Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MORITURIS (Synapse Blu-ray) - The Most Fun You've Ever Had Being Killed by Roman Gladiators

The joys of Italian Horror were many the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s but somewhere in the 90’s the well seemed to dry up. The funding well that is. Suddenly folks in the US were not interested in devouring movies with subtitles or dubbed movies. We wanted the action big budget action Hollywood flicks and those movies were not what the Italians were producing. So the funding went away for many and for those who continued to have some money lying around, the production value changed drastically with only the smallest coffers available. This story has continued to this day when even Dario Argento has to reach out in the form of crowd funding to get a movie made with some vestige of a budget (or to supplement funding and raise awareness). It’s frustrating for the filmmakers of Italy. I know. I’ve talked to them both in country and abroad. The story is the same in Europe. It’s hard to get a movie made. The money isn’t easy to find. Without a budget how can they possibly make the Grand Guignol blood beasties they used to make? It’s not easy, but every so often a particular strong filmmaker comes along who creates carnage of old on screen. Raffaele Picchio is that filmmaker. Morituris is that movie and Synapse is giving it a change on Blu-ray.

I had the chance to review Morituris a few years back and speak with Picchio. At that time I was taken by the unique concept of the movie along with some of the strong violent imagery that presented on screen. In watching it now I was taken by just how mean spirited it is; this movie is brutal. Sergio Stivaletti does an amazing job on the effects, a maestro in the art of practical makeup. Morituris is juicy and gory with creative kills aplenty and larger than life kill sets that are inspired and shocking. You have to wait a bit to see it all unfold.

Some viewers may find it quite difficult to handle the sexual violence that leads up to the kill sequences in the picture. Still others will be upset that Morituris plays out like a rape/revenge film only it isn’t. The revenge is not gained for the victims of some truly sexual debauched acts (tube… mouse… vagina… I’ll leave it at that), but on any one trespassing on the terrorist of some very cursed Roman Centurion statutes. While I agree that everyone would like to see the attackers get theirs, perhaps what is so fascinating about Morituris is that is takes a unique path toward its carnage. You won’t see the end coming.

The transfer looks gorgeous, and it is truly special that this film receive such wonderful treatment from Synapse. There’s reversible cover art and a trailer which may seem light in the way of features, but thinking back on this release, it’s getting a chance. That’s a great feature provided by Synapse; the chance to hit a wide market. It was one of the first articles we published during Italian Horror Week regarding the need to support Italian filmmakers (and not just the old masters). This gives vindication in some way to that concept much in the same way that the rise of neo-giallo is bringing attention to Italy again.

This is a mean movie. Lots of sexual violence. If you can’t handle that, then this may be a good one to skip, but I strongly encourage you to make it to the end. The splatter on the screen is a tremendous time. While it’s compared to Last House on the Left, that almost undersells the sexual violence and perversity. Isn’t that what was great about the Italian Horror movies of old? Great big gobs of violence with strange sexual attacks? Think of House on the Edge of the Park or Cannibal Holocaust. Movies with extreme violence and sexual assault.  Be prepared to cross your legs and take a shower afterward. This is a hardhitting movie that builds slow and then turns on all the blood burners.

You can order Morituris from Synapse Films now.

From Synapse:

Two lovely Romanian girls take a trip with three Italian men to a rumored midnight rave in the middle of a dark forest. As the gang proceeds on foot to their final destination, a mysterious graveyard is discovered, a shockingly vile plot twist is revealed and bloodthirsty undead Roman gladiators rise from the dead to torture and mutilate their victims! For the two women, an already terrifying night is about to get much, much worse, as the zombified warriors hunt down the group to tear their heads off! Will anyone survive the night? An interesting mix of old school 1980s Italian horror, with a touch of the brutality of Wes Craven’s THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, MORITURIS is an unflinching, strong, cruel and extremely violent film featuring gruesome effects from Italian SPFX maestro, Sergio Stivaletti (DEMONS, DEMONS 2, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, Dario Argento’s OPERA).

Newly Translated Removable English Subtitles
Original Theatrical Trailer

Reversible Cover Art

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