Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 17th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1973
Director: Harvey Hart
Writer: Robert Schlitt
Cast: Karen Black, Christopher Plummer, Donald Pilon, Jean-Louis Roux, Yvette Brind’amour, Jacques Godin, Lee Broker, Terry Haig, Robin Gammell, Louise Rinfret
DVD released: October 18th, 2011
Approximate running time: 108 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: A detective investigates the mysterious circumstances around a prostitute’s death.
The plot follows a non linear narrative that jumps back and forth between present day and the events from the past, that play an integral part in the story at hand. And while this disjointed narrative may present a problem for some viewers, it actually grows on you as the story progresses.
Though the film starts off with the death of its leading lady, Karen Black’s character Elizabeth, a heroine addicted prostitute, who’s body lays lifeless on the ground, after falling from great heights. Knowing of her demise is not that detrimental as it could have been, since it is the events that lead up to this fateful event that ultimately drive the narrative.
Content wise, this film is best describe a police procedural thriller, that climaxes as a horror film, when the story takes on a more ominous tone. Without trying to give away to much about the films finale, let’s just say that the final act revolves around the world of the occult.
Though the direction is well handled and at times very atmospheric. This production is not without its fare share of flaws, with its pacing being its most glaring short coming. There are far too many moments that tend to drag and this prevents any momentum that does occur, from sustaining.
Performance wise, outside of this films leading lady Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, Family Plot)in the role of Elizabeth, none of the cast members leave any lasting impression. With the films most underwhelming character being Christopher Plummer (The Sounds of Music) in the role of the detective who is investigating Elizabeth’s death.
Scorpion Releasing presents The Pyx in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Though this transfer easily trumps all previous home video releases for this film. There is some very mild stances of print debris and details are often murky during darker / nighttime sequences.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no major issues with distortion or background noise and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 1 second – 4:3 full frame) and a audio commentary with actress Karen Black and moderator Marc Edward Heuck. Though not as focused of a audio commentary as it could have been, there are a handful of interesting tidbits about the production revealed by Karen Black. It should be noted that Marc Edward Heuck drives the discussion and that he often had to prod Karen Black to be more involved. He also provides a lot of very insightful analytical comments about the production.
This release comes with two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Final Exam, The House on Sorority Row, Humongous, Nothing but the Night, Human Experiments, The Incubus and The Devil Within Her. Overall Scorpion Releasing gives The Pyx its best release to date.