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Director Dante Tomaselliís HORROR ($20) is like a drug-induced nightmare, by way of an Italian art house horror movie festival. Tomaselliís imagery sometimes gives the impression that he had taken an entire group of Italian horror movies, dropped them in a blender, and then hit frappe. For this reason, the plot of HORROR is hard to describe, lets just say one has to take in the whole movie, before they can even begin to unravel it all. Elements of the story involve a kidnapped girl, escapees from a juvenile rehab center, heavy drug use, unorthodox men of the cloth, plus a wandering goat that would appear to be an embodiment of the devil. The cast of HORROR is made up of virtual unknowns, except for The Amazing Kreskin- who delivers a mesmerizing performance, but Olivier, he is not. HORROR is the kind of off the wall genre offering that you will either love or hate- there is no middle ground here. Some are going to dig the surreal style that Director Tomaselli creates with HORROR, while others are certain to be put off by it. If you were into Tomaselliís first film DESECRATION, then you should get a lot out of HORROR.

Elite Entertainment Inc. has made HORROR available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that has NOT been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer leaves a lot to be desired, especially on big screen 16:9 monitors. Grain is a serious issue, and in places it looks alike a snowstorm with a weird solarization effect going on. Maybe itís intentional, maybe itís a side effect of ultra low budget 16mm filmmaking, but it doesnít look very appealing on a large display. Otherwise the image is reasonably crisp and well defined. Colors are saturated at a fairly natural level and remain pretty stable. Blacks seem accurate and shadow detail is respectable. Digital compression artifacts seem well concealed, but I keep thinking about that weird solarized snow.

The packaging claims Dolby Digital 5.1, but the DVD only offer 2.0 matrixed stereo surround. Even for regular surround, the track is atmospheric and effective. The rear channels are well deployed for ambient effects and musical envelopment. The forward soundstage is sufficiently loud to allow effects to leap out and creep out the viewer. One can usually understand the words coming out of the actorsí mouths, although it wonít necessarily help one to make head nor tail of the plot. Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVDís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as an audio commentary with Dante Tomaselli, trailers for HORROR and DESECRATION, some behind the scenes footage of both films, plus another bit that focuses on Kreskin and a photo gallery.

Although not to everyoneís taste, Dante Tomaselliís HORROR is a surreal, but visually interesting genre offering. If you liked DESECRATION, then HORROR is definitely worth checking out. However, had the presentation been stronger (ie 16:9 enhanced), the DVD would have made it to the purchase category, instead of just being a rental.



Horror (2002)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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