The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection (Blu-ray Review)

The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection (Blu-ray Review)

0 comments 📅18 August 2020, 03:42

The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection (Blu-ray Review)
Rated: UR/Region A (Mostly)/Widescreen/1080p/Number of Discs 6
Available from Severin Films

Italian writer/director Umberto Lenzi helmed popular peplums, created extreme poliziotteschi, and invented the Italian cannibal phenomenon. Hollywood actress Carroll Baker was the Golden Globe® winning/Academy Award® nominated star of BABY DOLL, GIANT and THE CARPETBAGGERS. Together in the late ’60s/early ’70s, they made four landmark films that changed the erotic thriller and giallo genres forever. For the first time, experience the complete Lenzi/Baker collaboration on six discs featuring restored uncensored versions, alternate edits, remastered soundtracks, exclusive Special Features and more.

I will admit upfront here that my experience with Umberto Linzi is with his horror films so I was all new to his Giallo movies with actress Carroll Baker. I will say upfront that as a whole before we ever really get into the movies that the set is an extremely nice looking sex. It’s got the same style box that the Amityville set from Vinegar Syndrome came in and those are just always going to be easy on the eyes with me. Even if you don’t fall in love with every movie on this release you will probably at least be proud to own the overall boxset due to how nice it really does look. So, with that being said, let’s take a look at the movies you get here and the extras.

Orgasmo (1969) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
STARRING: Carroll Baker, Lou Castel, Colette Descombes
RATED: UR/REGION A/2:35/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 2

In their first startling collaboration, Carroll Baker stars as an American widow who arrives at her late husband’s luxurious Italian estate and surrenders to an orgy of ménages à trois, madness, and murder. Writer/director Umberto Lenzi boldly fills the screen with bourgeois depravity, daring sexuality and unnerving twists for the worldwide hit At The Mountain Of Madness calls “so odd, disturbing and well-made, with that delirious giallo feel that’s like a drug.” Lou Castel (A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL), Colette Descombes (MONIKA) and Tino Carraro (THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS) co-star in this landmark psychosexual thriller – released in the U.S. with extra nudity as PARANOIA and also included here – now scanned from the internegative of Lenzi’s Director’s Cut for the first time on Blu-ray.

Orgasmo starts this set off (If you go with it first) in a very interesting fashion. If some of you weren’t aware, a Giallo isn’t always a masked killer running around trying to kill people in style, it can just be a certain type of story and that’s what we have here. Baker’s character is having a good time with a new man she’s found, then he introduces another female friend. Pretty soon they are out to get her and start beating on her and trying to make her look crazy. The erotic ways the movie kicks off with give way to a strange case of home invasion and people just not realizing what is going on. You really do feel bad for Baker’s character here and that’s the key to this one working. You also have to admire the weird and cruel fate some characters meet before this one ends. It is probably the best movie on the set, but then again, it does get some nice competition in the form of A Good Place to Kill. I found the transfer of this one to look a little fussy in spots, but still it is far more good than bad. I’m always sure this is the best this one will ever look this side of a 4K transfer.

  • NEW REMASTER OF THE DIRECTOR’S CUT OF THE FILM
  • U.S. X-RATED VERSION OF THE FILM with optional English SDH subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with Film Critic, Author & Academic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Audio Commentary with Mondo-Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson & Troy Howarth, Author of ‘So – Deadly So Perverse: 50 Years Of Italian Giallo Films’
  • Giallo Fever: Interview with Director Umberto Lenzi
  • US Trailer
  • BONUS CD SOUNDTRACK: Orgasmo Remastered Soundtrack
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
  • Audio: Italian mono on Italian cut, English mono on English cut
  • Subtitles: Subtitles for Italian audio / SDH for English audio
  • REGION-A “LOCKED”

Quality of Transfer: 87%

So Sweet… So Perverse (1969) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
STARRING: Carroll Baker, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Erika Blanc
RATED: UR/REGION 0/2:35/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 2

Following the international success of ORGASMO, the second Umberto Lenzi/Carroll Baker collaboration is a kinky retelling of DIABOLIQUE featuring lush Paris locations, trippy flashbacks, a swinging score by Riz Ortolani (MONDO CANE, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) and an all-star EuroCult cast that includes Jean-Louis Trintignant (THE GREAT SILENCE, THE CONFORMIST), Erika Blanc (KILL, BABY…KILL!), Horst Frank (THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS) and Helga Liné (NIGHTMARE CASTLE). Executive produced by Sergio Martino (THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH) from a screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi (ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK), this “full-blown classic giallo and one of Lenzi’s best” (B-Mania) is now fully restored in a new 2k scan from the original negative.

Well, if you can’t say anything else about this move you can say that you just never know what will happen next in it. Baker plays a girl who runs to the arms of a man saying that her boyfriend (named Klaus) is trying to make her do awful things and she’s terrified of him. Well, things don’t go well for the guy she has run to kicking things off and from there it’s a plot of rotten people trying to do rotten things to one another. Again, it’s a movie that might not be the best thing you’ve ever seen but it has a plot that at least makes you want to see how everything plays out even if things seem to get a bit all over the place at times. Considered by a lot to be Lenzi/Baker classic, I think this one was just okay. Especially just okay when you compare it to the others here. We have hot women doing shady things, we have murder, but we have an interesting plot if nothing else. It does look good on Blu-ray and that’s always a plus!

Extras

  • NEW 2K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Audio Commentary with Kat Ellinger, Author of ‘All The Colors Of Sergio Martino’
  • Lenzi’s Lenses: Backstage Chat with the Director at The 1999 Nocturno Film Festival
  • Equilateral Triangle: Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi on Lenzi
  • Trailers
  • Alternate Credit Sequence
  • BONUS CD: So Sweet… So Perverse & A Quiet Place To Kill Remastered Soundtracks Plus Bonus Track: Knife Of Ice (Main Title Theme)
  • Subtitles: Subtitles for Italian audio / SDH for English audio
  • REGION-FREE

Quality of Transfer: 92%

A Quiet Place to Kill (1970) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
STARRING: Carroll Baker, Jean Sorel, Luis Dávila
RATED: UR/REGION 0/2:35/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 1

In her third collaboration with director Umberto Lenzi, Carroll Baker stars as a glamorous racecar driver entangled in a lurid affair with her ex-husband (Jean Sorel of BELLE DU JOUR and A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN), his wealthy new wife, and a twisted web of lust, murder and deception. Luis Dávila (EAGLES OVER LONDON) co-stars in this 1970 Italian/French/Spanish co-production – released in Italy as PARANOIA, though not to be confused with the 1969 U.S. re-title of ORGASMO – featuring a taut screenplay co-written by Bruno Di Geronimo (WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?) and Marcello Coscia (LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE), plus edgy cinematography by Guglielmo Mancori (WILD BEASTS) with Aristide Massaccesi/Joe D’Amato (ANTHROPOPHAGUS), now scanned from the original camera negative for the first time ever in America.

My second favorite movie of this set takes Baker into an odd situation as her character finds her ex-husband with his new wife, but the new wife wants to team up and kill him. Stuff happens and she ends up with the ex but things are never that simple in a movie like this. The movie is full of twists, turns, coverups, affairs, and some classic Italian style shots and plot points. You don’t really have a “good” guy in a movie like this, so for the most part you are just sitting back and just waiting to see how this one ends. And as you could probably have easily guessed, it comes with a lot of turns and karma always comes into play. I don’t know if I’d rank it over Orgasmo, but it’s a solid movie for sure. The transfer on this looks really good as well, which I’m sure you will all be happy to hear.

Extras

  • NEW REMASTER OF THE FILM
  • Audio Commentary with Author & Critic Samm Deighan
  • Sex and Conspiracy: Interview with Director Umberto Lenzi
  • Alternate Credit Sequence
  • Alternate Clothed Scene
  • Short Deleted Scene
  • Subtitles: Subtitles for Italian audio / SDH for English audio
  • REGION-FREE

Quality of Transfer: 91%

Knife of Ice (1972) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
STARRING: Carroll Baker, Alan Scott, Evelyn Stewart
RATED: UR/REGION 0/2:35/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 1

From its opening Edgar Allen Poe quote to the insane climactic twist, this fourth and final collaboration between co-writer/director Umberto Lenzi and Golden Globe winner/Academy Award® nominee Carroll Baker is “something quite unique” (Gore Girl), with Baker as a traumatized mute being stalked through the Spanish countryside by a black-gloved sex maniac who may be a member of a Satanic cult. Evelyn Stewart (THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH), Eduardo Fajardo (NIGHTMARE CITY), George Rigaud (HORROR EXPRESS, EYEBALL) and Silvia Monelli (YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW) co-star in this “offbeat and fascinating giallo thriller” (All Movie), now scanned in 2K from the original negative with all-new Special Features.

Out of the four movies you will find in this box set, this is perhaps the one that is the most like the typical Giallo you are accustomed to with a killer on the loose and nobody knowing who it is. This also comes with a twist, but before you get to that point you will have a lot of people looking guilt including one that is so obvious looking that you are just waiting for the movie to show it’s hand. This one comes up with every trick in the Italian cinematic handbook to a tee. Shots you see directors shooting these days in tribute got their style from movies like this. That being the case, I still feel like this one lacks just a little something in some areas that I can’t put my finger on. The transfer also might be the weakest of the four, even if it still doesn’t really look “bad”. This one still looks it’s age.

Extras

  • NEW 2K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Carroll and Umberto’s Final Stab: Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of ‘Nightmare USA’
  • Until the Silence Screams: Interview with Director Umberto Lenzi
  • Trailer
  • Alternate Credit Sequence
  • Subtitles: Subtitles for Italian audio / SDH for English audio
  • REGION-A “LOCKED”

Quality of Transfer: 85%

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