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Psychic, The 
Written by: on November 1st, 2007

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Jennifer O’Neill, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marc Porel, Gianni Garko

DVD released: December 4th, 2007
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95

Synopsis: As a little girl Virginia (Jennifer O’Neill) had one of her first psychic visions while at school in Florence, Italy. In her vision she witnesses her mother who at the time was in Dover, England jump off a cliff to her death. Years later still traumatized by her mother’s suicide Virginia visits a psychiatrist on a regular basis. Virginia’s husband Francesco Ducci (Gianni Garko) is away on business so she decides after visiting an abandon home her husband owns to redecorate it for him as a surprise. While traveling through the house she is overtaken by a sense of de ja vu which leads to her finding a corpse hidden in the way via her latest psychic vision. Francesco upon his return is arrested for the murder of the woman whose body was found in his house by his wife. Is Virginia seeing glimpses into the past via her physic powers or is she seeing something that has yet to happen?

Lucio Fulci directed five giallo’s that are all unique twists upon this popular genre and unlike most of his contemporaries who made these films in most cases by the book and often mimicked other successful entries with in the giallo genre. The look and feel of the psychic owes more to the supernatural and gothic horror films made in Italy in the 1960’s even though it is often referred to as a thriller. It is a giallo hybrid at best and out of the five giallo Fulci made Seven Notes in Black most closely resembles his first thriller One on Top of The Other.

Early on Fulci builds tension as Virginia drives through a series of tunnels on her way home after dropping her husband off at the airport. This is also the first time we as the audience are shown a glimpse of what is to come as Virginia has a vision which will now lay the foundation for the rest for the film. One of the films weak points are its special effects that feature a mannequin fallen off the cliff similar to the one used in Don’t Torture a Duckling. The shot is not helped by the fact the Fulci insists on showing us up close the damage done to the body instead of doing wider shot and keeping some of the trick hidden.

The films score was composed by the trio of Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi and Vince Tempera. Outside of the films opening theme during the credits which sounds like a cross between ABBA and the Carpenters the rest of the score sounds like the type of music that resembles scores from his early 1980’s films. The main piece of music that plays through out Seven Notes in Black was also used by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino for his film Kill Bill volume 1. This piece of music also plays an important part in the film Seven Notes in Black because Virginia is given by her sister in law a watch as a gift that plays this tune.

Casting wise the film is blessed with a strong cast that is lead by Jennifer O’Neill and Marc Porel who make an excellent duo as they search for clues and answers to the mystery as it unfolds. One Argento connection I noticed whether intentional or unintentional is the similarities of Virginia and Marcus Daly played by David Hemmings in deep red as they both search by themselves in an abandon house that both happen to have dead corpses hidden in them. Like most of Fulci’s films from this time period Seven Notes in Black is beautifully light and its carefully composed compositions are a virtual visual feast for the eyes. The screenplay weaves a web of deceit and it is one of last truly great screenplays Fucli was fortunate to work with.

The DVD:

Lucio Fucli’s The Psychic finally makes it DVD debut in North America via Severin films who have not only included a superb audio/video presentation they have also thrown in a pair of extras the English language trailer and a featurette which includes several audio interviews. The transfer for this release looks to be sourced from the same master Neo Publishing in France used and yet the end result from Severin Films is leaps and bounds above the Neo Publishing DVD transfer. Even though Severin Films has interlaced this transfer there are absolutely no problems with any ghosting or blurring of the image. The colors are lively and faithfully accurate right down to the flesh tones. The image is defined and razor sharp through out with minute details I never noticed before catching my attention due to the abundance of clarity in the image. The audio while not flawless is an improvement over all previous English language audio mixes of this film. After years of waiting for a English language version of Lucio Fulci’s The Psychic fans can finally check another Fulci off there most wanted list with Severin Films first rate release of Lucio Fucli’s The Psychic.

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