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Scarlet Worm, The 
Written by: on April 26th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2011
Director: Michael Fredianelli
Writer: David Lambert
Cast: Aaron Stielstra, Dan van Husen, Brett Halsey, Derek Hertig, Kevin Giffin

DVD released: April 24th, 2012
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Unearthed Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95

Synopsis: An ageing gun for hire is given the task of killing a sadistic pimp owner, who has been performing abortions of the prostitutes that work at his brothel.

There was once a time when the Western genre not only ruled cinema’s, it also dominated the small screen (television). Unfortunately for all genres there comes a time in which their time in the spotlight must come to an end. And while there are occasion moments of resurgence, it is rare that a genre ever reaches the heights of former glories. And nowhere is this more true then the Western genre. A genre that has been all but dormant since the mid-1970’s. Sure there have been a few shining moments like Unforgiven and Open Range.

In the world of independent cinema, the Horror genre is the one that the majority of filmmakers are drawn too. It lends itself better than any other genre, to productions that have limited resources. While the most unlikely genre would have to be the Western genre. Not only because of the resources that would be needed to pull off such a production, but also because Westerns are not exactly in vogue with today’s movie going audiences.

This brings us to The Scarlet Worm, a film that owes as much to the films of Sam Peckinpah, as it does to the Spaghetti Western genre. At the heart of this film is a cold blooded gunslinger named Print, who approaches each of his killings as though they are works of art. And to further bolster this film well constructed narrative is a wide array of colorful characters that help bring to life this bleak story rooted in vengeance.

Reportedly this film was made for an anemic sum of $25,000. And while the end result far exceeds any restriction that may have been imposed by the budget. That is not to say that this film is not without its shortcomings. Thankfully these are far and few in between.

Visually the film features many stylish moments, most notably its gruesome opening in which Print tracks and kills a man. Also for a film that was not only shot on location, but in one primary location (a room that was redressed as several different locations in the film). The sparseness of production value in this film actually works in this film favor. The one area that is never lacking in this film are its brutal action set pieces. Needless to say there is never a shortage of dead bodies on screen.

Performance wise, the cast range from adequate to good in their respective roles. With the only performance leaving nay lasting impression being Aaron Stielstra in the role of this film’s protagonist Print. Other notable performances include Cult film actor Brett Halsey (Four Times That Night, Cat in the Brain) and the of voice of Ted Rusoff, who actually supplied the English language voice for a few of the Italian films that Brett Halsey appeared in the 1980’s.

In the vast wasteland known as interdependent cinema. Where there are far too many turkey’s and not nearly enough diamonds in the rough. Along comes a film like The Scarlet Worm falls into the latter category.

The DVD:

Unearthed Films presents The Scarlet Worm in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. This transfer looks very good, colors and flesh tones look accurate and details generally look crisp.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise things at times sound rather limited. Also included with this release are removable Spanish subtitles.

Extras for this release include two trailers for the film, a eight minutes ‘Making of’ featurette and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary with screenwriter David Lambert and seconds audio commentary with producers Mike Malloy and Eric Zaldivar. There is never a shortage of interesting information on these two audio commentaries about the various aspects of this production. Rounding out the extras for this release are trailers for Rock & Rule, Flexing with Monty, Mercy, The Minstrel Killer, Eurocrime! and Sabata’s Pistol Does Not Discriminate. Overall The Scarlet Worm gets a strong release from Unearthed Films.

Note: Unearthed Films are also releasing The Scarlet Worm on DVD.

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