The Blu-ray of BEATRICE CENCI (1969; US title: THE CONSPIRACY OF TORTURE), starring Adrienne La Russa and Tomas Milian, was released recently. Directed by none other than Lucio Fulci. Even if the Fulci name guarantees interest in many Eurocult fans out there, this release still signals a new phase of European titles becoming available in HD. This movie is not really as famous as other Fulci titles so it’s nice to see it get such a great treatment. Just to give you an idea, there are only 8 reviews for this movie at IMDb. Pretty low for a Fulci title. The movie is grim. Really grim. But I like it. The cinematography is especially noteworthy.
The story of BEATRICE CENCI was filmed many times. There has been 5 different movies made. There was one in 1956 with Micheline Presle in the titular role. This one is decidedly different in that it’s quite violent and fleshy. In probably the most shocking scene in the movie, Tomas Milian’s character is repeatedly torture, in the nude (see screenshot below).
There are so many titles that need to be release, such as LUCREZIA GIOVANE (1974). Maybe with this release other neglected titles will get the green light.
I got a copy of THE GOLDEN ARROW (1962) from the recently released Blu-ray edition and wow what a stunning transfer. The film looks like a million bucks. The film stars Tab Hunter and Rossana Podesta. The blog’s limitation do not do the screenshots justice. They’re almost perfect. Check out the detail in the ‘tent’ screenshot. One of the disappointing things in watching the old copies was how murky the image looked. Not anymore. Whether you like the movie or not (some people absolutely despise it!), it’s worth watching in this gorgeous transfer.
The black & White scenes are crisp and vivid.
Look at all the details!
Is there room for improvement? Yes, I’m waiting for the 4K version. Haha!
Here’s a comparison of the old version I had (actually, I had more than one version…) vs the Blu-ray print.
Can you guess which movie this is? It was re-titled as ‘BEAUTY OF THE BARBARIAN’ though it’s more known under its original title. This ‘edition’ was for a very obscure VHS release in the U.K. in the 1980s.
‘Man against woman’!
Artwork has very little to do with the actual movie. And it’s rated 18+. It makes it look like a porn movie of some sort, which is really not. There’s some nudity and tuff but it’s nothing like a porn movie.
Can you figure it out without doing a Google search?
Italian director Lucio Fulci has an avid cult following: he has a legion of fans who love all his ultra-violent movies. Personally, I like many of his movies but I’m definitely not a cult-like follower. One of his lesser known title is the Sword & Sorcery called CONQUEST (1983) starring Jorge Rivera in this Italian – Spanish production. The way the movie is shot is odd: tons of filters, smoke, vaseline on the lens. To the point where you can barely see what’s going on. The movie has been finally released on Blu-ray and though the image is crisper than previous versions, from the reviews I’ve read and from the screenshots (below), the ‘dreamy’ filters still keep the image itself from ever being fully clear. It’s probably one of the murkiest movie I’ve ever seen, PEPLUM or not. I don’t hate it. It has some interesting imagery but it’s more of a curio than anything else.
The Blu-ray edition is very rare, with only 700 copies made. The going price on eBay is at around $45 up to $70. I’ll never purchase this title at this price. The Blu-ray comes with a new artwork which I admit is pretty good. It also includes the original poster art as a second slipcover (above).
Below are screenshots of the Blu-ray (at 1280×720). Try to make out what’s going on.
YOR – HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983) starring Reb Brown and Corinne Cléry. Directed by Antonio Margheriti. Though this movie was released by Columbia Pictures this was an Italian production. They planned to do a TV mini-series. Remarkably enough, the Blu-ray is released by Mill Creek Entertainment, the company which made the 50 MOVIE PACK: WARRIORS, the first PEPLUM DVD set I ever bought.
ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979) starring Christopher Lee. US release. I sorta like this movie but I love the super elaborate flying carpets chase scene. It’s mind bogglingly complex. The movie is worth watching for that one extensive scene alone.
As I was searching stuff on Amazon I came across this edition of QUO VADIS. I was, what the hell? The influence of 300 (2006) is so much that covers like this are the norm. Not complaining, it’s just the cover literally has nothing to do with the story.
To compare, this is a classic cover of the famous book.
Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend is a Canadian-made animated series that was based on Greek mythology. In the US, it was shown on CBS and lasted two seasons. Many episodes are on Youtube. It’s for kids but it’s still fun to watch.
Below is the Hercules and the Golden Apples episode.
A new batch of Blu-rays will be released soon or early next year, most of them from KINO LORBER. They are all US releases.
GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961) starring Gordon Scott. The Blu-ray will be released as SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRES…why? I dunno. The prints currently available are mostly poor so a nice Blu-ray of this title is highly anticipated.
THE WAR LORD (1965) starring Charlton Heston. Excellent movie. Looking forward to this.
RASPUTIN – THE MAD MONK (1966). Maybe my favourite Christopher Lee / Hammer movie.
THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF THE YIK YAK (1984), or just GWENDOLINE, starring Tawny Kitaen. Story starts in contemporary times and ends up in a lost civilization with female gladiators and a chariot race with women in lieu of horses. The second half is a must see for PEPLUM fans. For those who don’t know, boatload of female flesh and Brent Huff as the sole provider of male flesh. The emphasis is on nudity. Excellent soundtrack. Totally silly and yet entertaining. From the Just Jaeckin, director of EMMANUELLE (1974).
THE MAGIC SWORD (1962) starring Gary Lockwood. Classic film.
COBRA WOMAN (1944) starring Maria Montez, Sabu and Jon Hall. Can’t wait to see this!!! Love this movie! Incredible Technicolor.
THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961) starring Donald O’Connor. This release will be interesting. I must say that I’m not a big fan of it but maybe the Blu-ray treatment will change my mind. There’s really good stuff in it but the story is lacking. I’m still happy for its BR release.