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Deadly Games (Stille Nacht, tödliche Nacht) – Cameraobscura (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on December 13th, 2017

Theatrical Release Date: France, 1989
Director: René Manzor
Writers: René Manzor
Cast: Brigitte Fossey, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim, Alain Lalanne, François-Eric Gendron, Stéphane Legros

BluRay released: December 8th, 2017
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: FSK 16 (Germany)
Sound: LPCM Stereo French, LPCM Stereo German
Subtitles: English, German
BluRay Release: Camera Obscura / Alive
Region Coding: Region Free / Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: 22.99 EUR

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a vagrant in a Santa Claus costume terrorizes boy and his grandfather.

Deadly Games firmly fits into the holiday themed horror film sub-genre. More specifically those that take place during Christmas. With other notable films that fall into this sub-genre being, Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Don’t Open Till Christmas, Christmas Evil and Jack Frost.

Deadly Games features a solid premise and narrative is superbly executed game of cat and mouse. Another strength of this film is that there is ability to build and maintain tension between the protagonist and his tormentor.

And nowhere is more evident, then in regards to this film’s main location. The protagonist and his grandfather, life in an isolated mansion that is fortified from the outside world. And yet, the safety that this home provides them, ultimately keeps them confined with a psychopath who has breached the home.

Content wise, one will quickly notice how Home Alone bears many similarities to Deadly Games. And yet the two films couldn’t be farther apart. With Home Alone being more of conventional comedy, while Deadly Games takes on a much bleaker tone.

The cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s heart and soul being Alain Lalanne in the role of this film’s protagonist, a young boy named Thomas whose desire to meet Santa Clause puts him in danger. He delivers an outstanding performance that perfectly captures his characters imagination. And not to be overlooked is Patrick Floersheim’s terrifying performance in the role of a vagrant impersonating Santa Claus.

From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not excel. And standout moments include, a scene where the protagonist and grandfather try to escape in car and the intruder savagely demolishes the car before they are able to get away. Other standout moments include, a scene where the intruder discovers where the protagonist has hidden his near blind grandfather and this film’s finale that provides an extremely satisfying conclusion to the events that have just unfolded.

The BluRay:

Deadly Games comes on a 50 GB dual layer (36.2 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors are nicely saturated, details look sharp, black and contrast levels look solid throughout. Grain remains intact and there are no issues with DNR or compression. It should be noted that this Blu-ray disc is region free.

This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM stereo mix in French and a LPCM stereo mix in German. Both audio mixes sound, clear, clear, balanced and robust when they need too. This release comes with two subtitle options, English and German.

Extras included on the Blu-ray disc include, a photo gallery with comments from René Manzor (18 minutes 14 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles), two French T.V. spots (43 seconds), French theatrical trailer (1 minute 41 seconds), English language trailer (1 minute 23 seconds), Italian theatrical trailer (2 minutes 35 seconds) and short animated film titled Synapses (5 minutes 20 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles).

Included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release.

This combo release comes with a third disc, a DVD, and extras on this DVD include, pre-trailer model shots (2 minutes 41 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles), Bonnie Tyler music video for the song Merry Christmas (2 minutes 55 seconds), story-board comparison (6 minutes 35 seconds), a archival featurette titled Alain Musy: Simon Says “Roll Sound” (8 minutes 49 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles), an interview with actor Alain Lalanne titled To Become a Man (39 minutes 10 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles) and an interview with screenwriter / director René Manzor titled Jouets Interdits (85 minutes 8 seconds, in French with English and German subtitles).

Topics discussed in the interview with Alain Lalanne include, his origins as an actor, the origins of Deadly Games, his thoughts about his character, Brigitte Fossey, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim, onset memories, collaborating with his father René Manzor, his thoughts about key moments, Jean-Félix Lalanne / the score, Bonnie Tyler, audience / critic reaction to the film, why he left acting after the film Warrior Spirit and how he now works as a visual effects supervisor.

Topics discussed in the interview with René Manzor include, genre cinema in France, his feature film directorial debut The Passage, why there was a three-year gap in-between The Passage and Deadly Games, his cinema influences, the origins of Deadly Games, he discusses the plot, casting and why he cast his son Alain Lalanne in the lead role, the cast, onset memories, how he helped the actors prepare for their roles, production related topics and his thoughts about the film.

This release also comes with multi-lingual menus, English and German. Overall Deadly Games gets an exceptional release from Camera Obscura, highly recommended.

Note: Besides this Blu-ray / DVD combo, Camera Obscura are also releasing this film on Blu-ray and DVD.

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