Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 26th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1985
Director: Salvatore Samperi
Writers: Riccardo Ghione, Salvatore Samperi, Edith Bruck, Massimo di Luzio
Cast: Monica Guerritore, Lorenzo Lena, Gianfranco Manfredi, Gilla Novak, Saverio Vallone
DVD released: September 11th. 2012
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
DVD Release: One 7 Movies
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A young woman returns home after the death of her mother to take care of her sickly brother. What starts off as a motherly type of love, quickly turns incestuous when the two of them are overcome by their sexual desires for each other.
The Dark Side of Love was co-written and directed by Salvatore Samperi, who’s other notable films include Malizia and Scandal. Key collaborators on The Dark Side of Love include cinematographer Dante Spinotti (Manhunter, L.A. Confidential) and composer Fred Bongusto (Ring of Death, The Eroticist).
When it comes to Italian cinema they have a tendency to amp things up with it comes to the more exploitative aspects which anchor their films. From a premise stand point the film has all the ingredients that one would want and expect from an Italian film dealing with a taboo subject. Unfortunately in the case of The Dark Side of Love, if one were judge a book by its cover and in this case its DVD cover art. Then they would walk away underwhelmed and bewilder by what they had just watched.
First off, the film’s most glaring short coming is the way in which it tap dances around its lurid subject matter. One can only tease for so long, before finally taking the leap into the deep end of the pool. And though the film does do a good job setting up the relationship between the two siblings at the heart of the story. It is the aforementioned in ability to take things to the next level ultimately hinders this film from ever realizing its full potential.
With that being said the performances from this film’s two leads are like night and day. The strongest performance by a landslide being Monica Guerritore (Scandalous Gilda) in the role of the older sister, who decides to take care of her brother and put her career on the back burner. While the weakest performance is easily Lorenzo Lena in the role of the sickly younger brother named Emilio.
It is hard to imagine that those responsible for making this film where looking to make a serious Art house look into the world incest. And with that in mind, it becomes obvious that they also were not willing to fully commit to making this and out and out exploitation take on said subject matter. Which ends up putting this film in a middle ground that just meanders along.
One 7 Movies presents The Dark Side of Love in an anamorphic that retains the film’s intended aspect ratio. The source used for this transfer is in good shape, colors and flesh tones look accurate and details generally look crisp. Black levels are at best average and there are some mild issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Italian (no English subtitles have been included with this release). The English audio mix has some mild instances of distortion, beside this it is a more than satisfactory audio mix. It should also be noted that the English audio mix also sounds fuller then the Italian audio mix that has been included as part of this release.
This release comes with no extra content. Overall The Dark Side of Love gets an average audio / video presentation from One 7 Movies.