Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 5th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Enzo Milioni
Cast: Barbara Magnolfi, Stefania D’Amario, Vanni Materassi, Marc Porel
DVD released: March 25th, 2008
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: While on vacation two sisters become entangled in a series of murders that bring back painful memories from their childhood.
By the late 1970’s when The Sister of Ursula the giallo genre had become a shell of its former self with its many transformations. Giallos in the 1960’s like Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace or Dario Argento’s Animal Trilogy from the early 1970’s featured more depth and texture then the bulk of giallo’s which followed. The genre upped the ante when it came to sex and violence with each film and almost to the point that latter day giallos like The Sister of Ursula get a bad rap for straying far away from the genres origins. This is not to say that some giallos like Giallo a Venezia made in the later part of the 1970’s and beyond aren’t turkeys.
The Sister of Ursula is the brain child of writer/director Enzo Milioni who before making his debut as a director with this film worked as a assistant director on the Sergio Grieco film Beast with a Gun. Visually the sister of Ursula is a colorful film that makes strong use of its location and it also doesn’t hurt that it features one of the genres most unusual weapons. The story is nothing new and pretty much by the numbers as the victims pile up to an unbelievable ending which trumps everything that comes before it. The film does start to lag about half the way through before finishing up strong. One of the films strongest assets is its throbbing score which was composed by Mimi Uva.
Outside of actor Marc Porel the rest of the cast are merely adequate. Porel gives a solid performance that eerily resembles some demons which he battled in his personal life up until his tragic death. All the actresses are very attractive and then there is Stefania D’Amario who looks absolutely stunning. The various murder scenes are no that violent with more implied and the end result shown latter when the police have arrived. The choice of using a large phallus as the killers’ murder weapon is very clever and inspired decision. Ultimately The Sister of Ursula is far removed from classic Argento giallo and yet for those who don’t take these types of films so serious they find that the Sister of Ursula despite its shortcomings it is a delightfully trashy take on the giallo genre.
The Sister of Ursula is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Outside of some minor instances of print damage and grain the transfers look razor sharp and colors are robust.
This release comes with only one audio option the film’s original Italian language track which is presented in a Dolby digital mono. The audio sounds clean, evenly balanced and free of audio defects. Removable English subtitles that are error free and easy to follow have been included.
This releases main extra is an informative and detailed interview with the films writer/director Enzo Milioni. The only other extra is the films Italian theatrical trailer.
Severin Films with their first release of 2008 The Sister of Ursula continue to put out rare gems and give them their most definitive releases to date