Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 2nd, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1987
Director: Agustí Villaronga
Writer: Agustí Villaronga
Cast: Günter Meisner, David Sust, Marisa Paredes, Gisèle Echevarría, Imma Colomer, Josue Guasch, David Cuspinera, Ricardo Carcelero, Alberto Manzano
BluRay released: November 8th, 2011
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Spanish, DTS-HD MA Stereo Spanish
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.98
Synopsis: Now paralyzed, a former Nazi doctor is forced to come to terms with his past, when a young man who he tortured years before is given the task of taking care of him.
Throughout the history of cinema there have been countless filmmakers, who have pushed the boundaries of the horror film genre by serving up heaping helpings of gratuitous and stylized acts of carnage. And while this method has more often than not proved to be very successful. These type of films have become all too common, thus jaded perspective audiences to the point that the something monumental has to come along and grab them by their jugular, in order to get a rise out of them.
This brings us to the vastly underrated Spanish horror film called In a Glass Cage, a film that since its initial release has been embroiled in controversy due to its shocking subject matter, that reportedly repulsed many viewers to the point that they walked out of the film.
So what is this film all about? The plot revolves around Klaus, a former Nazi doctor that raped and murdered numerous young boys. Now paralyzed he is at the mercy of those, who take care of him. His body is enclosed in a glass cage that looks a lot like a coffin. One day a young man named Angelo shows up out of the blue and insists on taking care of him. Not wanting his family to known about the skeletons in his closet, Klaus reluctantly agrees to let Angelo take care of him. It quickly becomes apparent that Angelo’s intentions are not what they seems and it is revealed that he is one of Klaus’s former victims. After this is revealed this sets up what the bulk of the film narrative is about, as Angelo now becomes the tormentor and Klaus gets a taste of his own medicine.
And while the subject matter at hand may be enough to turn more than a few viewers stomachs, the way in which director Agustí Villaronga, is far from ever being exploitive. There are no grey areas in this film, evil is depicted as pure evil. Also the film does a superb job exploring the darker side of humanity, with its unflinching portrayal of the aftereffects of corrupting a child and the cycle of violence that it sets in motion.
As strong as the story is and as repulsive as the majority of the characters which populate this film are. This film could have faded into obscurity if it were not for the mesmerizing performances of its entire cast, especially David Sust in the role of Angelo. He gives a charismatic performances that is utterly convincing. Other performances of note include Marisa Paredes (High Heels, All About Mother) in the role of Klaus’s possessive wife Griselda, who from the moment Angelo arrives feels threaten by his presence and Günter Meisner (The Boys From Brazil) in the role of Klaus.
When discussing In a Glass Cage, one must not overlook the importance of its atmospheric visuals, which often play an integral role in the symbolism that is unfolding on screen. Right from the get go, this film infuses its strong visual presence, with a scene of a young naked boy’s corpse hanging in a derelict building. Another area in which this films visuals often excel are during the death sequences, most notably the scene where Angelo stalks and kills Griselda. Of course the scenes in which Angelo kills young boys that he has lured back to the room where Klaus now resides, are the hardest to watch. Ultimately In a Glass Cage is a grueling cinematic experience that is sure to leave indelible mark of your psyche.
In a Glass Cage comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Cult Epics originally released this film on DVD in 2003, that release was non anamorphic, a standards conversion and it had a myriad of other problems. Needless to say, this new 2011 transfer from Cult Epics is vastly superior in very way, black and contrast levels look consistently great, details look crisp, flesh tones look healthy and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround mix in Spanish and a DTS-HD MA Stereo mix in Spanish. Both audio mixes are in great shape, as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a Q & A with screenwriter / director Agustí Villaronga (13 minutes 43 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a interview with Agustí Villaronga, actor Lluis Homar and actress Marina Gatell (35 minutes 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Spanish with English subtitles) and three short films directed by Agustí Villaronga, ‘Anta Mujer’ (22 minutes 30 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Spanish with English subtitles), ‘Laberint’ (11 minutes 29 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Spanish with English subtitles) and ‘Al Mayurca’ (23 minutes 32 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Spanish with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview / featurette and the Q & A include, how the two main inspirations behind In a Glass Cage are Gilles de Rais and the concentration camps from World War II, the deliberate visual look of the film and how it was inspired by Belgium paintings, other films and how they have indirectly influenced him his films, casting, the score, exploring the darker side of humanity and why it would be impossible to make this film in today’s cinematic climate. The comments from Lluis Homar and Marina Gatell, primarily focus on working with Agustí Villaronga.
The three short films included with this release represent Agustí Villaronga’s cinematic output before In a Glass Cage, his first feature length film. Content wise, all three of these three shorts are more experimental then In a Glass Cage. Quality wise, though presented in Hi Def, all three short films have been sourced from VHS, which is reportedly the best available elements known to exist. Overall In a Glass Cage gets a solid release from Cult Epics.
Note: Cult Epics is also releasing In a Glass Cage on DVD.