Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 13th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1973
Director: Eddie Saeta
Writer: Sal Ponti
Cast: John Considine, Barry Coe, Cheryl Miller, Stewart Moss, Leon Askin, Jo Morrow, Florence Marly, Sivi Aberg, Jim Boles, Athena Lorde, Moe Howard, Robert Ball, Patrick Dennis-Leigh, Lin Henson, Anna Bernard, Barbara Boles, Peter Gonneau, Larry Rogers, Denise Denise, Eric Boles, Jeffrey Herman, Leon Williams, Larry Vincent
DVD released: January 26th, 2010
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Synopsis: After the untimely death of his wife, a man procures the services of a doctor who claims he is able to resurrect the man’s dead wife.
Even though Eddie Saeta had a lengthy career as an assistant director, Doctor Death is his only feature film as a director. His experience as an assistant director is evident as the film is filled with a tremendous amount of style. The film is at its best during the more Gothic inspired scenes. The film also features a handful of memorable deaths like sawing a woman in half and slowly bleeding another woman do death.
The plot revolves around a widower named Fred Saunders, whose wife recently died in a car accident. Unable to move on, her voice haunts him day and night. Fred acquires the services of a Doctor with a flair for the theatrics and while Fred is all too willing at first to let the Doctor do his thing. As time wears on Fred eventually comes to terms with the passing of his wife. Not a man to give up so easily, the Doctor continues in his quest to resurrect Fred’s deceased wife. While the Doctor continues with his work, Fred has moved on to romancing his secretary.
What the plot lacks in logic it more than makes up with its ironic take on the events which unfold in this film. Of course The Doctor Death character is what makes this film so damn enjoyable. He is man who takes his unique talent to resurrect souls into the corpses of the recently departed all too seriously. Like many cinematic misunderstood eccentric madmen, Doctor Death also has a disfigured side kick that does most of the dirty work for him. While most characters in the film are just there and no back-story is given. At least Doctor Death back-story is given enough time to help fill in where he has been and how he obtain the ability to resurrect souls. The film’s greatest asset is John Considine in the role of Doctor Death. He gives a performance that is equally sinister and charming. Another performance of note is Moe Howard (The Three Stooges), who appears briefly in the film. Ultimately Doctor Death is a highly entertaining exploitation film that does a good job balancing humor and horror.
Scorpion Releasing presents Doctor Death in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This is a solid looking Hi-Def transfer has been sourced from the original camera negative that boosts vivid colors, natural looking flesh tones and details look sharp throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of a mild background hiss, this audio track sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include a T.V. spot for Doctor Death (32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and an introduction to the film with actor John Considine and filmmaker Scott Spiegel (28 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio). Other extras include two interviews, “Doctor Death Commands” an interview with John Considine (9 minutes 48 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio) and “Remembering Eddie Saeta” an interview with Steve Saeta, the director’s son (10 minutes 1 second – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio). John Considine discusses Doctor Death and other projects he also worked on. Steve Saeta discusses Doctor Death and his father Eddie Saeta. The main extra included with this release is a lively audio commentary with John Considine and moderators Scott Spiegel and Walter Olson. Like the on camera interview with John Considine, on this audio commentary discusses Doctor Death and other projects he also worked on. Also included with this release are trailers for Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly, The Last Grenade, Goodbye Gemini and Say Hello to Yesterday. Overall Doctor Death gets a definitive DVD release from Scorpion Releasing.