Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 28th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1971
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Antonio Altoviti, Lucia Drudi Demby, Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Irene Papas, Ray Lovelock, Ornella Muti, Michel Bardinet
DVD released: November 24th, 2008
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English/Italian
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: Two lovers use sell erotic photos to help them pay for their trip around Europe. While in Italy they soon find themselves in trouble with the law who charge them indecency for selling erotic photos. Out of cash they unsuccessfully try to sell some more photos to a gas station attendant who reports them to the police. Not wanting to press their luck the two lovers get in their car and make their way to border. Along the way they run out of gas in front of a remote villa. Running out of options they hide out in the villa until things cool down.
Oasis of Fear was also released under the alternate titles An Ideal Place to kill and Dirty Pictures. Oasis of Fear was co-written and directed by Umberto Lenzi a diverse Italian filmmaker whose filmography includes Sandokan the Great, The Pirates of Malaysia, Kriminal, A Gun for One Hundred Graves, A Quiet Place to Kill, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, Man from Deep River, Gang War in Milan, Knife of Ice, Spasmo, Almost Human, Eyeball, Syndicate Sadists, Rome Armed to the Teeth, Violent Naples and The Cynic, the Rat & the Fist.
The plot for Oasis of Fear mixes erotic themes with thriller elements. Even though the film features murder this is not as giallo in the traditional sense. Since the killer is only looking for a pasty to take the fall for the murder without having to commit additional murders. The first half of the film before the two lovers arrive at the villa takes too long to get into the plots main twist. The most interesting part of the film is the scenes at the villa. The tension is built up to a fever pitch during the villa scenes only to fall short with a predictable conclusion.
The film’s standout performance is Irene Papas who is cast in the role of Barbara a chameleon like character that draws her prey in like a black widow. The ever reliable Ray Lovelock gives the film so much needed machismo. Another performance of note is Ornella Muti (Flash Gordon) in just her third film. She gives the film an ample amount of eye candy. The score for the films is ridiculously cheesy with its dated hippie sounding musical numbers. Ultimately despite its flawed plot what makes Oasis of Fear work as well as it does is Umberto Lenzi’s stylish direction and well rounded cast.
Shameless Films presents Oasis of Fear in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. For this release multiple sources were used to make the most complete version of the film and the quality of the transfer varies throughout. There is some mild edge enhancement and there are some instances where the image looks soft. Overall the transfer fare wells considering that several sources some of which were of lesser quality were used to make the most complete version of this film.
Some scenes were never filmed in English and these scenes are in Italian with English subtitles. Outside of some minor instances of background noise this audio mix is more than adequate in getting the job done.
Extras for this release include trailers for Oasis of Fear, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Baba Yaga, Watch me When I Kill, Torso, The Frightened Woman and Designated Victim. Other extras include a fact track with genre writers Kevin and Nicolas Wilson who throw out a few odd tidbits about the film. Also included with this release is a reversible covert art that includes the film’s original poster art. Overall Shameless Films give Oasis of Fear is most complete release to date.