Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 25th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Spain, 1982
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Lina Romay, Mamie Kaplan, Eva Leon, Robert Foster
DVD released: October 31st, 2006
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Four strippers get a great deal to on a vacation at a remote island resort. They soon find out why it was such a great deal when they learn the place is empty except for them, the Gardner and the hotel manager. Little do the women know that something sinister has been going on this island and one by one they soon find out its terrible secret?
It has been said that Mansion of the Living Dead is Jess Franco’s Blind Dead film and while there may be similarities between the two this film is not a sequel or continuation of that series by any means. The film was loosely inspired by the first Blind Dead film “Tombs of the Blind Dead” and here is where most of the similarities most likely arise. The films title “Mansion of the Living Dead” is kind of a misnomer since there are no mansions only monasteries and hotels in this film.
Once again Jess Franco shows restraint as he never over uses technique in this film. He makes good use of the spacious Techniscope frame and one scene that instantly springs to mind is when the four strippers are sunbathing and a meat cleaver is thrown at them from the hotel above. He also uses the hotel to its fullest as he uses every inch of the frame to emphasize the isolation of the empty hotel. The acting in this film while substandard it doesn’t hurt the film and in fact the cats of women in this film are all attractive making for lots of eye candy.
The film does feel padded at times and if it weren’t for its tremendous amount of atmosphere this flaw would have been more serious. The living dead in this one are unlike any you will ever encounter in any other living dead ort zombie film. The one thing that sets them part most might have to be the fact that they rape their victims before they kill them for being un-virtuous. Ultimately Mansion of the Living Dead is an average film in the hands of just by about any other filmmaker and somehow Franco’s unique style make this film more engaging then it should be.
Mansion of the Living Dead is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 Techniscope aspect ratio. This DVD marks the first time this film has ever been presented uncut and on home video in America. Colors look nicely saturated and details remain stable and sharp through out. There is no noticeable print damage, artifacts, compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option the films native Spanish language which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Despite the limitations of the mono mix this soundtrack is more then adequate as the dialog is crisp and music blends perfectly with the rest of the mix. Removable English sub titles have been included that are easy to follow and free of any typos.
Extras for this release are limited to nineteen minute featurette titled “Voodoo Jess” which includes comments from Jess Franco and Lina Romay. Topics that are discussed include Jess Franco’s dislike of the films o George Romero, the Tombs of the Blind Dead, writer Gustavo Adolfo Bercover and the various aliases’ Jess Franco has worked under through the years. Once again Jess Franco speaks passionately about cinema.
Severin Films puts together another solid release of a rarely seen Jess Franco, recommended.
For more information about Mansion of the Living Dead visit Severin Films here.