• Cold Eyes Of Fear

    Released by: Kino/Redemption
    Released on: May 21, 2013.
    Director: Enzo G. Castellari
    Cast: Giovanna Ralli, Frank Wolff, Fernando Rey
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Enzo G. Castellari (The Big Racket, Inglorious Bastards), Cold Eyes of Fear (also known as Desperate Moments) is the story of a young lawyer named Peter Flower (played by Gianni Garko). Since recently getting out of law school his star is on the rise and his business is off to a great start. Things are going pretty well for him and he seems to be a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy, but he seems to be a slacker and a womanizer. One night he heads to a nightclub where he meets a beautiful woman named Anna (Giovanna Ralli) during a show where a woman (Karen Schubert) is faux-stalked in an apartment before bedding her attacker.

    Later that evening he heads back to a fancy mansion owned by his uncle, Judge Juez Flower (Fernando Rey), to entertain her. However, once they get there the two of them find that the butler has been murdered and his body has been stashed in the kitchen. As is often the case with murder victims, the poor butler was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately for him, he wound up being the first victim of a nasty criminal named Quill (Julian Mateos) who is out for revenge against Peter’s uncle. A cop named Arthur Welt (Frank Wolff) is on the case, but something is awry with him. This does not bode well for Peter and Anna as it’s obvious that he plans to use the couple to bring this plain to completion. With their lives in mortal danger, it’s up to Peter and Anna to figure out why he’s broken into the house, what it is exactly that he’s after, and, if possible, how to get out of this situation alive.

    A stylish and pulpy thriller, The Cold Eyes Of Fear is short on sex (there’s a brief nude scene but that’s about it) and on gore but high on atmosphere and visual flair. There’s some nastiness shown fairly graphically towards the finale of the film but outside of that, much more is implied here than actually shown. This’ll probably throw some Giallo fans for a loop upon first viewing but it’s a movie that grows on you with repeat viewings thanks to the fantastic camera work, the exceptionally bizarre but completely great score by Ennio Morricone, and a solid cast delivering good work.

    There’s a little bit of the ‘home invasion’ theme running through here but unlike something that takes that concept and really exploits it (think Last House On The Left), this picture takes a more psychological route. Here we witness a battle of wits in a sense, a cat and mouse game between Quill’s terrorist occupier and the two ‘victims,’ being Peter and Anna. The plot twists keep this interesting – characters show their true colors as the danger inherent in the scene intensifies and as loyalties shift and people do what they feel they must to survive, selfishness and deceit become the order of the day adding an interesting layer of subtext to the movie.

    This isn’t a perfect film – there are some rather serious logic gaps throughout the movie, most noticeably at the end of the film when Quill’s revenge plan is in full swing and Judge Flowers’ life is hanging in the balance. There are also a few spots where character motivation is questionable at best. Despite these problems, however, the good certainly outweighs the bad. The performances are good from all involved, the pacing is strong and the movie is always beautifully shot and nice to look at. Probably not the movie Castellari or anyone else involved in it will be remembered for, but a solid slice of quirky seventies Euro Cult cinema.


    Cold Eyes Of Fear is presented on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1.85.1 widescreen transfer in full 1080p high definition. Mastered from the original 35mm negative, it doesn't appear that the movie has undergone any seriously intensive restoration but the elements used here were obviously in pretty nice shape to begin with so outside of some minor specks and a couple of small scratches, there's nothing to be concerned about. Detail is solid as is texture and color reproduction looks nice and natural and is noticeably improved over the DVD release from a few years back. Shadow detail is also quite improved, making the darker scenes quite a bit better looking overall. There are no issues with compression artifacts evident nor are there any obvious examples of either edge enhancement or noise reduction. All in all, this is a nice film-like transfer that should make the film's fan base pretty happy.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language track lossless Mono track. There are no alternate language options, subtitles or closed captioning options provided. This isn't a particularly exciting track but for an older Mono mix, it leaves little room for complaint. The levels are nicely balanced, the dialogue is easy enough to understand and distortion (you'll hear it in the opening theme song) or hiss does make it into the mix is minimal. The weird Morricone score sounds good as well, it's got some nice punch behind it when the movie asks for it and it successfully compliments things effectively.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other titles available in the Kino/Redemption line, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Cold Eyes Of Fear is a pretty odd film, even by Giallo standards. It’s not as chock full of sex and violence as many of its counterparts but it does have loads of style, a great score and a decent plot. Not Castellari’s best film but an enjoyable one if you’re in the right mood for something a bit different, and Kino’s Blu-ray offers up an appreciable upgrade over previous DVD releases.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!