• Sudden Fury (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Brian Damude
    Cast: Dominic Hogan, Gay Rowan, Dan Hennessey, Hollis McLaren, David Yorston
    Year: 1975
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    Sudden Fury – Movie Review:

    Shot in and around Toronto, Ontario in the mid-seventies, writer/director Brian Damude’s Sudden Fury may wear its Hitchcockian influence plainly on its sleeve but it throws enough local flavor into the mix to make this obscure but intense thriller stand out.

    The movie introduces us to a man named Fred (Dominic Hogan), a wannabe business mogul not so happily married to his well-to-do wife Janet (Gay Rowan, who has done a lot of TV work but not appeared in an episode of The Littlest Hobo, sadly). It’s clear early on that their relationship has seen better days, particularly when he decides, while out for a drive, to take her on a scenic trip through the woods. Why? So he can show her the spot where he hopes she’ll help him bankroll a resort he wants to build. Needless to say, Janet isn’t interested in the idea the mood on the drive home goes from bad to worse. And then Fred, distracted by their domestic issues, almost plows into a guy named Al (Dan Hennessey, who has done an insane amount of cartoon voice work and who also appeared in two episodes of The Littlest Hobo). Janet tries to apologize to the man while Fred isn’t really having any of it. This leads to a nasty argument for the rest of the ride where Janet, under a bit of duress, cops to screwing around behind her husband’s back. Fred loses his shit and the car goes careening off the road and flips. When Fred notices Janet’s seriously banged up, he decides to just walk away.

    At this point, with Fred having left the scene of the accident, Al shows up again and saves Janet. When Fred realizes what’s happened, he decides that he’ll keep his actions a secret and take them both out of the equation for good. From here, the plot thickens as Dan (David Yorston of The Green Slime!) and Laura (Hollis McLaren, who did a lot of TV movie work and also appeared in, yep, The Littlest Hobo), who are unfortunate enough to live near the scene of the crime, become involved as Fred and Al become involved in what is essentially a battle of wits, each hoping to pin the other for the crime.

    Though the film was clearly made modest resources, Damude makes this all work. He paces the film nicely and the Ontario locations work well in the context of the story being told. It all feels very Canadian but that just gives it some regional charm. The story has a gritty realism to it that never feels like it is pushed too far – this seems like something that could happen, what occurs in the picture stays well within the realm of possibility and that makes the tension inherent in the situation even thicker (even if attentive viewers may notice the occasional flub in the film’s logic – we’ll say no more lest we spoil things). There are some pacing issues here and there and the final stretch of the film feels about ten-minutes longer than it probably needed to be, but that complaint aside, there’s a lot to like here.

    The cinematography from James B. Kelly, who did some of the camera work on Rituals, is quite nice. The majority of the movie takes place outside and the scenery is captured well, at the same time, Kelly employs some nice angles and compositions when he needs to in order to effectively accentuate the story. The score from Matthew McCauley, who did City On Fire, is also pretty solid. We also get some pretty decent acting here as well. Dominic Hogan in particular really stands out, he’s quite creepy in his part and it’s a shame he didn’t do much more than this movie and some TV work in the early seventies.

    Sudden Fury – Blu-ray Review:

    Sudden Fury arrives on Blu-ray “newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 16mm original camera negative” approved by the film’s director and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Given the format it was shot on, the picture is understandably a bit grainy but never obnoxiously so at all. This is another very filmic transfer that shows strong fine detail and nice depth. Texture is also solid and colors look great. The image is also very clean, showing only rare white specks, nothing too distracting at all, really. There are no compression issues to note, no DNR or edge enhancement problems – this looks like film and the end results are impressive indeed.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track on the disc is fine, if a little flat. Dialogue is easy to understand, there are no problems with any major hiss or any distortion. Levels are balanced well enough. Optional English SDH subtitles are included.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track with director Brian Damude and moderated by Peter Kuplowsky of the Laserblast Film Society. There’s a LOT of information in here, from how Damude came to direct the picture and why he never did again after it was finished to the importance of moustaches in the film. There’s also talk about the locations, the action set pieces, influences that worked their way into the film (some more obvious than others), how the cast members involved in the picture came to appear in front of the camera and lots more. It’s a seriously interesting discussion and it covers pretty much everything that you’d hope it would.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are cast, crew and production stills gallery, Matthew McCauley’s score available as an isolated track, an original theatrical trailer, a teaser trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie taken from the same 4k restoration and featuring the same extras that are included on the Blu-ray disc.

    Sudden Fury – The Final Word:

    There’s a lot of entertainment value to be had with Sudden Fury, a film that deserves to be far better known than it is. Vinegar Syndrome’s release should go a long way towards changing that, as it presents this genuine cinematic rarity in gorgeous shape with a commentary that details its origin and history. Don’t miss out!

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