At last…after 4 (or more) cancellation attempts from Amazon.com, all that clicking and confirming paid off and DEVIL HUNTER and BLOODY MOON have arrived.
Now, I love Devil Hunter (and if anyone can show me a real piece of promo art that says Mandingo Manhunter I’d be really in debt to them). It is not good, it is barely a “Franco” feeling flick at all. But, there are some great shots and lines. In many ways it reminds me more of the Italian action films covered in Tough To Kill-especially the scenes with Werner Pochath.
So, I’m thrilled-and Severin does the usual bang up job with a great Jess Franco interview (does the man do bad ones?) But amidst all that ping pong eyeballed breathing, breast shaking, face slapping and voodoo dancin’ something was bothering me. It was REALLY distracting until I suddenly realized that while the print looked very stable, it was almost drained of color. Devil Hunter is not this drab, unless you are trying to cover up the random white guys pretending to be native drummers-something just doesn’t look right.
Now, before you jump me for hating on a great label releasing a marginal film, I am incredibly grateful that this was licensed. There was NO way I’d miss out on owning this title in a zillion years. I buy all these with my cash-no freebies for me. But, it just looks wrong for most of the print. Maybe Jess wanted to hide the actual film, but it never looked this way and I’m having a tough time adjusting. Mind you, I’m no Franco “scholar” by any stretch. I’m a fan and a BIG fan of this film. It is worth your money, hands down, just to experience the film. But Franco fans that have a soft spot for this one should know they are getting something really different.
Here are a few comparisons. They aren’t exact frames, but close and you’ll see the difference right away. The top is taken from the way out of print “Blood Edition” from Germany. That has no English (see, I’m obsessive…but not a scholar), but it makes a decent comparison. I don’t really need to go and pull out my old VHS, which had a better picture than the German DVD and is probably even MORE jarring.
On the other hand, you still get that classic scene with Al Cliver I always call “it’s what I do.” Worth every penny. Plus, it is longer than I remembered other editions being-you know you need it!
grading them all severely puts them all on equal footing. This would reduce varying brightness levels from print to print I guess. BUT…I just can’t believe that anyone thinks that Franco is THAT inept that he can’t shoot the sunlight.
Smoking vaginas? Sure. Tongue Toilet Paper (you know the line by now Trashers)? For sure.
The ability to shoot SUNLIGHT. CAN YOU NOT SEE THE SUN IN THE JUNGLE??
Come on…we know he can do this.
A 1.85:1 ratio widescreen transfer looks pretty fabulous considering the age and station of this reeker. During the credits sequence some titles are slightly cropped at the bottom, so it looks like this isn’t anamorphic, but by a certain standard the greater percentage of image lost the better. Compression artifacts don’t pose a problem, but with a photographic ethos seemingly based on making everything out-of-focus, it’s sort of hard to tell. Colors are nicely rendered, but Franco also seems to have chosen to shoot tons of footage in the shadows at twilight, so much of the film seems gray, lifeless and shadowy. It’s a perfect fit!
The 1.85/16×9 transfer isn’t quite as lovely as the transfer for Bloody Moon, but this is the fault of the film’s sun-bleached cinematography. Beyond the shortcomings of the photography, the
transfer is handsomely authored – good, strong detail and color, with only some minor print damage in evidence. Some shots look out of focus, but this, too, is a fault of the photography, not the mastering. Compared to the hideous public domain editions floating about, the Severin transfer looks like a million bucks.
I’m In A Jess Franco State Of Mind (that really nails the actual film very well, give it a read)
This is an interesting, luminous transfer of vault elements which sometimes is a bit soft, almost fogged, but that looks due to shooting conditions as much of his film seems to have been shot out of focus. That’s not unusual in a Franco production (cf FEMALE VAMPIRE) but the
POV shots of the cannibal are obviously deliberately either unfocused or filtered with something and the non POV shots of the cannibal’s encounters with various human meals are also fogged. For me it just adds to the sense of jungle delirium and sex-gore transgression.
Purists may be less forgiving. In terms of color it certainly looks better than ever before.
With screen grabs…
The source materials used for Severin Film’s transfer are in great shape with nicely saturated colors and healthy looking flesh tones. There are some minor instances were the transfer looks a tad too soft. This is during the darker/nighttime scenes. Even though this transfer is interlaced the image remains stable throughout. There is no blurring or ghosting issues during playback. There are two previous DVD releases of The Devil Hunter that I know of. The now OOP German
DVD release from Laser Paradise (which only came with a German audio option) and the region 1 abomination from Videoasia that looked like it was ripped from a VHS source. By far and away Severin Film’s transfer is the best this film has ever looked on home video.