Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 22nd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Paola Cavara
Writers: Paolo Cavara, Enrico Oldoini, Bernardino Zapponi
Cast: Michele Placido, Corinne Clery, Tom Skerritt, John Steiner, Eli Wallach
DVD Released: May 22nd, 2012
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: A series of murders are linked to a killer, who lives illustrations from a children’s book with each victim.
Plot of Fear was co-written and directed by Paola Cavara, who’s other notable films include, Mondo Cane, The Wild Eye and Black Belly of the Tarantula. Other key collaborators on Plot of Fear include screenwriter Bernardino Zapponi (Toby Dammit, Deep Red), cinematographer Franco Di Giacomo (Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Who Saw Her Die?) and composer Daniele Patucchi (Man from the Deep River, Wild Beasts).
Though often billed as a Italian thriller, Plot of Fear is anything but your run of the mill Italian thriller. Sure the film employs one of that genres most ride and true staples, the killers POV. And yet the end result is something closer to the Poliziotteschi genre. In fact by the time this film was unleashed on a unsuspecting audience. The Italian thriller genre had already been eclipsed Poliziotteschi genre, which was nearing its apex in popularity.
From a production stand point there is not a single area in which this film is lacking. The visuals are top notch, especially the film’s murder set pieces. Also pacing is never as the plot gives just enough time for each new revelation to set in, before unveiling a new shocking twist. Another area that this film delivers and then some, is in its heaping helpings of sleaze.
Performance wise, the entire are superb in their respective roles. All of this film’s main characters are made up of familiar faces that fans of foreign and cult cinema are sure to quickly recognize like Tom Skerritt (Alien) in the role of the chief inspector in charge of the murder investigations, John Steiner (Tenebrae) in the role of a man named Hoffman (his death plays an integral part in the mystery at the heart of the film), Corinne Cléry (Hitch Hike) in the role of this film’s protagonists love interest and Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) in the role of Pietro Riccio, a underworld crime boss. Of course when talking about this first rate one must not overlook or underestimate the performance of its leading man Michele Placido (La Orca). Performance wise, he finds a good balance between being charming and humorous.
Ultimately Plot of Fear is a satisfying mix of two of Italian cinema’s most popular genres of the 1970’s And though the film often goes against the grain when it comes to these two genres staples, the end result is a thrilling ride that fans of Italian thrillers and Poliziotteschi films should thoroughly enjoy.
Raro Video presents Plot of Fear in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. This title was previously released by Raro Video in Italy and once again they come up with a new transfer that is superior to their previous release in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in good shape as they sound clear and balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and appear to be a literal translation of the Italian language track.
Extras for this release include three interviews, the first one with screenwriter Enrico Oldoini (13 minutes – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), the second interview with Pietro Cavara, son of Paola Cavara (13 minutes 23 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and the third interview with actor Michele Placido (17 minutes 11 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). Topics discussed in the three interviews include, Bernardino Zapponi and the screenplay, director Paola Cavara’s distinctive way of telling a story by often going against genre stereotypes, the Italian thriller genre, distribution and how the film was not well received and the cast. Also included with this release is DVD-Rom content – a fully illustrated PDF file with a essay about the film written by Chris Alexander, Fangoria magazine. Overall Raro Video gives Plot of Fear its best home video release to date.