Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 18th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1976
Director: León Klimovsky
Writers: Gabriel Moreno Burgos, Vicente Aranda, Joaquim Jordà
Cast: Nadiuska, Alberto de Mendoza, Teresa Gimpera, Emiliano Redondo, Julia Saly, Tomás Picó, Diana Polakov, Antonio Mayans, Maria Perschy, Paul Naschy
DVD released: June 19th, 2012
Approximate running times: 80 minutes (Grindhouse Version), 83 minutes (Portable Grindhouse Version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Grindhouse Version), 1.66:1 letterboxed widescreen (Portable Grindhouse Version)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.99
Synopsis: A group o0f wealthy aristocrats and politicians get together for a night of debauchery with some ladies in the dungeon of a castle. What should have been a decadent night of pleasure, quickly turns into a walking nightmare. When the party goers discover that they are the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust.
The People Who Own the Dark was directed by León Klimovsky, who’s other notable film’s include Werewolf Shadow, Vengeance of the Zombies, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse and The Vampires’ Night Orgy. Other notable collaborators on The People Who Own the Dark include co-screenwriter Vicente Aranda (The Blood Spattered Bride) and cinematographer Miguel Fernández Mila (All the Colors of the Dark, The Loreley’s Grasp).
Before I go any further into this review it should be noted that for this review I viewed the much shorter English language version. Which is missing about 12 minutes of footage that is present in the Spanish language release version of this film. Reportedly this shorter English language version is not missing anything in regard to violence and most of the nudity is left intact. The cuts mostly involving dialog and shortening of many scenes.
Though there are similarities in The People Who Own the Dark, which can be directly linked to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. It would be a great injustice to simply write off The People Who Own the Dark as clone of the aforementioned Night of the Living Dead.
First and foremost, the reason why The People Who Own the Dark works as well as it does is because of its interesting premise and abundance of atmosphere. Sure there are many moments in which the plot tends to drag and yet the end result is very eerie post apocalyptic thriller that comes damn comes to pulling off all its ambitions.
Of course visually this films bread and butter are its scenes involving the blind (zombie like characters) who shambled around town and eventually follow the survivors of the nuclear holocaust back to their castle. Not to be outdone or at least overlooked the film also injects some much needed T & A to spice things up.
Performance wise, the entire cast more then hold their own. Unfortunately there is a flaw in their performances. It would be that no single performance that stands out above and beyond the rest of the performances. The cast features many recognizable faces like Nadiuska (Love Games), Alberto de Mendoza (Horror Express), Antonio Mayans (Cannibal Terror, Cecilia), Maria Perschy (Exorcismo) and Paul Naschy (Horror Rises from the Tomb, Hunchback of the Morgue).
This release comes with two versions of the film, the first one titled ‘Grindhouse Version’ which presents the film in an anamorphic widescreen and a second version titled ‘Portable Grindhouse Version’ which presents the film in a letterboxed widescreen. Quality wise, the source use for the ‘Grindhouse Version’ is a worn 35mm print, while the source used for the ‘Portable Grindhouse Version’ is a 1inch tape master looks soft and the colors look muted when compared to the aforementioned ‘Grindhouse Version’.
Each version comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio mix for the ‘Grindhouse Version’ fairs better of the two audio mixes. With the audio mix for the ‘Portable Grindhouse Version’ exhibiting some mild instances of distortion and background noise varies in degree throughout.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 57 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and trailers for Family Honor, The Last Chase, I’m Going To Get You…Elliot Boy, Brute Corps, Devil Express and Nightmare. Overall Code Red gives The People Who Own the Dark a good DVD release.
Note: This release is limited to 400 copies and has already went out of print.