Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 29th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1981
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Elisa Briganti, Lucio Fulci, Giorgio Mariuzzo, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast:Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina, Dagmar Lassander, Giovanni De Nava, Daniela Doria, Gianpaolo Saccarola, Carlo De Mejo
BluRay released:May 31st, 2012
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English for Italian audio, English SDH for English audio
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: RegionFree
Retail Price: £19.99
‘No one will ever know whether the children are monsters or the monsters are children.’
Narrative wise, The House by the Cemetery is a pretty basic set up, that is greatly aided by the film’s atmospheric visuals, which are this films greatest asset. And nowhere is this more evident than in this film’s murder set pieces, which are meticulously laid out with the utmost brutally and are all always sufficiently gory. A few of the more memorable of these moments include a knife through the head and the tip pointing out of the victims mouth, a real estate agent getting repeatedly impaled and a young child’s head being held to a door, while a axe crashes through the door and narrowly misses his head.
The one area of this production that seems to divide most viewers, are the performances of the cast, most notably that of the voice actor’s performance for the character Bob Boyle, who is portrayed by Giovanni Frezza (Manhattan Baby). Besides this performance, there are no other major complaints about the casts performances. With the film’s standout performance coming from Catriona MacColl in the role of Bob’s mother. The House by the Cemetery would mark her third and final collaboration. Also she is the only actor to have appeared in all three film’s that make up Lucio Fulci’s ‘Death Trilogy’. Other notable cast members include Ania Pieroni (Inferno, Tenebre) in the role of Ann, the babysitter and this film’s other child actor Silvia Collatina in the role of Mae Freudstein.
Though not as well known or held in as high of regard as the other two films that make up Lucio Fulci’s ‘Death Trilogy’, I have always had a soft spot for The House by the Cemetery, because of the way in which this film puts its adolescent characters in peril and the film’s haunting coda which is arguably one of Lucio Fulci’s finest moments as a filmmaker.
Note: Since this review was first posted we have received the final street version of the product and now this review has been updated accordingly.
The House by the Cemetery comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. When compared to all previous home video releases of this film, this transfer improves upon them in very way. Also there are no problems with compression or edge enhancement and grain looks natural throughout.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in very good shape, as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. The main difference between the two audio mixes is that the English audio mix sounds more robust of the two audio mixes. Subtitle options for this release are as follows, English for Italian audio and English SDH for English audio.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one include a introduction before the film with actor Giovanni Frezza and a interview with him (14 minutes 32 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English). Other extras include interviews with actress Catriona MacColl (28 minutes 10 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English), special effects supervisor Sergio Stivaletti (8 minutes 6 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and actor / stunt man Giannetto Rossi (9 minutes 50 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and a featurette titled ‘Ladies of Italian Horror’ (23 minutes 7 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English) that includes comments from actresses, Stefania Casini, Barbara Magnolfi and Silvia Collatina. Rounding out the extras on disc one are two audio commentaries, the first one with Catriona MacColl and moderator Calum Waddell and the second one with Silvia Collatina and moderator Mike Baronas.
Extras on disc two include a T.V. spot and a trailer for the film, a deleted scene and a forty two minute Q & A with the cast to celebrate the films 30th anniversary. Rounding out the extras on disc two are trailers for Zombie Flesh-Eaters, Lisa and the Devil, Contraband, Beatrice Cenci, Dr. Butcher M.D., Beyond the Door, Four of the Apocalypse, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, The Sect, Conquest, Perversion Story, All the Colors of the Dark, Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Danger: Diabolik, Nightmare City, Murder Rock, Eaten Alive, Slaughter Hotel, Killer Crocodile and Seven Doors of Death.
Also included with this release four cover art options, a double sided fold out poster and a collectable booklet with a essay about the film written by Calum Waddell. Once again Arrow Video have put together a wealth of extra content that gives a well rounded glimpse into the various areas of this production. Also the extras not only cover the aforementioned The House by the Cemetery, many of the participants also touch upon various other projects that they have worked on within the Italian film industry. This releases standout extras include the audio commentary with Catriona MacColl, the Q & A with the cast and the featurette ‘Ladies of Italian Horror’. Overall Arrow Video gives The House by the Cemetery its best home video release to date.
Note: For this release Arrow Video offers up a few options, a limited edition release (the main difference is the packaging) and a release that comes in a standard keep case. Also both release are dual format 1 disc is the main feature on a BluRay, the other two discs (which were covered in this review) are DVD’s.