• Lunatics: A Love Story (Umbrella Entertainment) DVD Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: January 8th, 2018.
    Director: Josh Becker
    Cast: Ted Raimi, Deborah Foreman, Bruce Campbell, George Aguilar, Brian McCree
    Year: 1991
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    Lunatics: A Love Story – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Josh Becker and released in 1991, Lunatics: A Love Story is set in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood where we meet Hank Stone (Ted Raimi), a poet who lives by himself in a lousy apartment where he may or may not be slowly losing his mind. He hasn’t left the place in six months, because he’s paranoid about all sorts of things – he imagines that there’s an evil doctor (Bruce Campbell) out to get him, that there are rappers who want him dead and giant spiders out to eat him. As such, Hank’s apartment is covered in tinfoil. He is not well in the head.

    When, by chance and the good luck of payphones, he meets Nancy (Deborah Foreman), recently dumped by boyfriend Ray (Campbell again), he can’t help but like her – she’s cute, nice, sweet, pretty – all of those things. She’s also completely neurotic. He invites her to his place and they hit it off and try to help one another overcome their various idiosyncrasies

    Lunatics: A Love Story isn’t a horror movie despite the fact that it was directed by and stars some Evil Dead alumni. No, if anything the movie is a romantic comedy – albeit a very quirky one with plenty of strange imagery and wonky ideas at play. As the bulk of the film is told from Hank’s point of view, Becker and company are able to visualize his paranoias in camera, which leads to some rather hallucinatory moments and a few darker spots that definitely set this one aside from the latest romcom in your local multiplex.

    While it was clearly made on a modest budget, Becker doesn’t overextend his reach and wisely sets most of the film inside Hank’s pad. This gives the movie a slightly stagey feel at times, but it works in the context of the story being told and even helps add some claustrophobic atmosphere to the proceedings at a few key points in the picture. For the most part, however, the tone is light, kind of like a less exploitative version of Psychos In Love by way of Repulsion except nowhere near as dark.

    As to the performances, it’s fun to see Campbell show up in three different roles here. He’s great as the crazy doctor and well-cast as Nancy’s arrogant ex-boyfriend. He also plays Mikhail Gorbachev in the picture, which is… odd. Deborah Foreman, of April Fool’s Day and My Chauffeur, is good as the female lead. You can see why Hank would be drawn to her character, not just because she’s attractive (she looks quite a bit like Debbie Harry) but because her personality seems like the right fit for his. Ted Raimi steals most of the scenes, however. He’s enjoyably goofy here, not an uncommon trait for him actually, and despite the fact that he’s clearly very damaged, you can’t help but like the guy. The likeability factor of the two leads goes a long way towards making this as enjoyable as it is.

    Lunatics: A Love Story – DVD Review:

    Umbrella Entertainment brings Lunatics: A Love Story to DVD in a 1.33.1 fullframe transfer taken from an older master. This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that the movie has made it to DVD and until this release, it languished in a reasonable amount of obscurity only on VHS. Those hoping for an improvement over that tape might be disappointed, however, as it looks like an analogue master was used for this presentation. It’s more than watchable and colors look okay but detail is soft throughout and some of the darker scenes are a bit murky.

    Note that Josh Becker was offering this on DVD-R via his website at one point but it doesn’t appear to be available there anymore – how this compares to the transfer he was offering I can’t say as I don’t have the disc.

    English language Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo is the order of the day. It’s a no frills track but it’s fine, getting the job done without any noticeable problems. The dialogue is easy to understand and follow and despite some flatness evident throughout, it works.

    There are no extra features on this disc, not even a menu.

    Lunatics: A Love Story – The Final Word:

    Lunatics: A Love Story is a really fun movie – cute in its own quirky way and just a really enjoyable watch. It’s great to finally have the movie on DVD, but the lackluster barebones presentation has to be disappointing. Still, for now, this is the only game in town and until the proper special edition, remastered high definition offering that the movie deserves appears, this will have to do.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      Where did you buy this?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Umbrella sent it to me. You can get it off of their website though.
    1. tek8080's Avatar
      tek8080 -
      I could have sworn I saw pre-orders for a blu-ray. Maybe they decided against it and to go DVD only. I am totally fine with that considering it's an old master.
    1. Budthechud's Avatar
      Budthechud -
      Hey is this Region coded or anything? Didn't see a mention of the specs.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Sorry, missed that last comment. It's Region 4.