Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 5th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Mexico, 1958
Director: Rafael Baledon
Writer: Raul Centeno
Cast: Enrique Rambal, Maricarmen Vela, Laura Baledon, Deelia Guilmain, Marta Roth, Abel Salazar, Jose Chavez, Carlos Suarez
DVD released: April 24th, 2007
Approximate running time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33.1 Fullframe
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: Casa Negra/Panik House
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Samuel Magno wants to be the world’s greatest pianist so he sells his soul to the devil. There is one minor catch every time he plays the tune that he is most known for he turns into a monster. Samuel hopes to break his oath with the devil when he finds a young woman who looks just like the woman he killed many years before to gain his amazing abilities as a pianist. He will train the woman to become an even greater pianist then he ever was, thus taking his place.
The Man and the Monster was directed by Rafael Baledón who also directed The Curse of the Crying Woman and The Hell of Frankenstein. The Man and the Monster is yet another retelling of the German legend “Faust” in which Faust is willing to sell his sole to the devil in order to obtain the thing he desires most. Also if one looks very closely there is a faint hint of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in the character named Samuel Magno who transforms from sheepish mama’s boy into a blood thirsty monster if he hears a certain piece of music. The plot as a whole manages to mixes all of influences by remaining entertaining and exciting through out. Direction wise Rafael Baledón creates yet another atmospheric and stylish gothic horror film that on par with his work on the film The Curse of the Crying Woman.
The cast for The Man and The Monsters is superb. Enrique Rambal in the lead role of Samuel Magno aka the monster does a solid job balancing his two persona’s. Once again actor Abel Salazar makes a great foe for the forces of darkness. Martha Roth is very good in her dual role of Laura/Alejandra. All the sets are wonderfully designed and at to the creepy atmosphere. The special effects while dated by today’s standards are well done and effective. One of the best moments in the film is when Samuel Magno has a flashback which reveals all the back-story behind his deal with the devil. Ultimately The Man and the Monster is a first rate production that ranks among the best horror films to ever come out of Mexico.
The Man and The Monster, is presented in its original full frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The Black and White image looks crisp and detailed. Black levels and shadow detail look exceptional. Overall outside of some minor instances of print damage this transfer looks gorgeous.
This release comes with two audio options Spanish and Italian. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The Spanish audio mix is the better of the two. The English audio mix has noticeable hiss through out which varies in degree and some minor instances of distortion. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
Extras for this release include the original U.S. theatrical radio spot, a poster & still gallery with sixteen images, bios for Marta Roth, Abel Salazar, Enrique Rambal and Deelia Guilmain. The main extra for this release is a slide show of poster art for classic Mexican cinema. This segment plays like a featurette with music playing gin the background while the posters appear on the screen. Once again extras are light just like CasaNegra’s The Living Coffin release.
Like their previous releases Casa Negra latest The Man and The Monster comes with a bilingual menu where you can choose English or Spanish. The cover art is reversible with the option once again of choosing English or Spanish.
The Man and The Monster is one the best films that CasaNegra have released to date. Even though this release lacks any substantial extras the solid audio/video presentation and the quality of the overall film make this release a must have purchase for all fans of Mexican cinema.