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Devil’s Muse, The 
Written by: on February 5th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2007
Director: Ramzi Abed
Writer: Ramzi Abed
Cast: Kristen Kerr, Lizzy Strain, Trent Haaga, Sarah Scott, Cinqué Lee, Amie Nicole, Masuimi Max, Julie Strain, Lenora Claire, Mark Borchardt, Bianca Barnett, Lloyd Kaufman, Will Keenan

DVD released: September 30th, 2008
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Halo Eight
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

The Devil’s Muse is a loosely based on the death of an inspiring actress named Elizabeth Short. In 1947 her mutilated body was found in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Her murder remains unsolved.

The plot for The Devil’s Muse is about a copy cat killer who is murdering actresses that are auditioning for the Elizabeth Short role in a Black Dahlia film. The premise for The Devil’s Muse puts an inventive twist on the Black Dahlia murder. Despite the possibilities of the premise lays forth, the end result feels at times too disjointed. The plot also takes on a pseudo documentary feel as the majority of the cast outside are playing themselves (including Ramzi Abed who plays a director in the film). The story is at its strength during its more surreal moments while the film within a film sections are jarring at times.

Plot inadequacies aside, the film is filled with a tremendous amount of visual style, especially scenes like the strip tease with Masuimi Max and the nightmare sequence with Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle and Peter Lorre. This film features an amazing cast and they all excel in their various roles. The film’s standout performance is Kristen Kerr’s mesmerizing performance as Lisa Small / Elizabeth Short. The cast features a handful of familiar faces in minor roles like Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, Julie Strain (Penthouse Pet of the Year 1993), Mark Borchardt (American Movie) and Will Keenan (Terror Firmer). Another performance of note is Trent Haaga in the role of Lisa Small’s boyfriend. The film also features a remarkable score that was composed by David J (Bauhaus and Love and Rockets). Ultimately The Devil’s Muse is not for the faint of heart, with its subject matter that is often bleak and at times downright sadistic.

The DVD:

The Devil’s Muse is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer fares well with strong colors and natural looking flesh tones. Outside of some minor instances where reds look oversaturated this is a strong transfer that has also been flagged for progressive playback.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio sounds clear, evenly balanced and it is free of any audio defects.

Extras for this release include the following trailers The Devil’s Muse, Pink Eye, Threat and Exist. Other extras include three deleted scenes titled “Bath” (48 seconds), “Bound” (1 minute 32 seconds) and “Pool” (1 minute 45 seconds), two music videos titled “Devil’s Muse” (4 minutes and 6 seconds) and “Black Dahlia Theme” (3 minutes 8 seconds) and a four minute message from director Ramzi Abed. Also included with this release is a ten minute conversation with Mary Pacios a childhood friend of Elizabeth Short. Rounding out the extras is a twenty five minute live performance of music from the film’s score with composer David J. and a twenty seven minute behind the scenes making of documentary titled “Hidden in Plain View: The Making of the Devil’s Muse”. This release also comes with a bonus CD with the score from the film. Overall Halo Eight have put together an impressive release that is highlighted by the Mary Pacios interview and the bonus CD with the film’s score.

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