House by the Cemetery, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus serves up a technical review for this new release of Fulci's horror DVD...
When the respected Dr. Peterson murders his mistress and commits suicide, Norman Boyle (Paolo Malco) is sent to New England to complete the good doctor’s research. Norman brings his wife Lucy Boyle (Catriona MacColl) and son Bob (Giovanni Frezzi) along for a trip, and the family settles into Peterson’s now empty homestead. Bob is warned time and time again to stay away by a mysterious little girl named Mae (Silvia Collatina) who no one else can see. They arrive at the creepy house, which is located next to a cemetery, and find the cellar mysteriously boarded up. It turns out there’s a pseudo-zombie named Dr. Freudstein living behind that door. Soon horrible things begin to happen, and Freudstein starts killing visitors for their body parts.
As this is a re-release and a few of my fellow DVDactive reviewers have a much richer passion for The House by the Cemetery, head over for a more detailed and fan fueled review with Gabe's Review as well as The Wilson Brother's for a wordier celebration of the film.
The transfer here is simply okay. The film looks it's age (1981) and other than strong red, blue and green moments is a pretty hazy, soft affair. Close ups fair look pretty good with textures showing up and utilizing the natural colours and lighting far better than the wider shots seem to. The best thing here is the warm reds of blood and the foliage but the fuzzy feel to the overall image doesn't show many signs of a thorough clean up even if improvements have been made.
The wonderfully organ based, synth sounding horror score sounds a bit wobbly but has a strongish level of bass to carry it through. The melodramtic piano segments add a wider feeling feel to the 2.0 track track but nothing out of the ordinary and the dialogue sits okay in the mix. Dialogue generally feels out of sync and can often feel quite like it has an echo to the voice recording but this is in keeping with the original presentation for the most part.
Disc one starts with an short introduction by Giovanni Frezza (18 seconds). There's also commentaries with Catriona MacColl and Calum Waddell, and a second track with with Silvia Collatina and Mike Baronas.
'Back to the Cellar - An Interview with Giovanni Frezza' (14:32) begins with another apology for the dubbed voice of his character that isn't him. He speaks about his career and his life in horror as well as showing some clips of him in action.
'Cemetary Woman - An Interview with Catoriona MacColl' (28:10) has her speaking of her involvement as well as her career and her relationship with her director and her fondness for him.
'Finishing the Final Fulci - An Interview with Sergini Stivaletti (08:06)' and 'Freudsteins Follies - An Interview with Giannetto De Rossi' (09:50) generally speaks about Fulci's approach to his films and the quality that was created despite limitations.
Lastly on Disc 1 'Ladies of Italian Horror' (23:07) speaks to some of the actresses from the era and their careers in Italian film.
The meat and potatoes of Disc 2 is the Q&A (42:19) filmed at the Horrorhound panel that celebrated the 30th anniversay reunion. It#s pretty raw but full of factoids and stories that should please the fans.
There's a 'Trailer Reel' for more titles from the genre(01:03:00) as well as The House by the Cemetery trailer (03:13) and a TV Spot (00:30). Lastly there's a deleted scene (01:00) that was found on original negative but holds no sound elements.
The House by the Cemetery is very much of its era and it's a whole lot of fun for fans (see Gabe and The Wilsons') and newcomers alike. The disc looks and sounds about as good as to be expected from a 1981 Italian horror but the bucket load of extra material should keep everyone happy, though considering the multiple re-releases, I'd imagine fans will be going Limited Edition Blu-ray rather than DVD if they are going for double dip.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 7th May 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Italian
Extras: Commentaries, Interviews, Trailer, Trailer Reel, Q&A, Deleted Scene
Easter Egg: No
Director: Lucio Fulci
Cast: Catriona MaColl, Paolo Malco, Giovanni Frezzi
Length: 82 minutes
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