• Human Animals (Mondo Macabro) Standard Edition Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: November 9th, 2021.
    Director: Eligio Herrero
    Cast: Carole Kirkham, Geir Indvart, José Yepes
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Mondo Macabro

    Human Animals – Movie Review:

    Known as Animales racionales in its native Spain, Eligio Herrero’s 1983 film Human Animals opens with a series of explosions. As we witness one mushroom cloud after another, it’s clear what is being set up here – the world has erupted into a nuclear war, and there’s been little but devastation in its wake.

    In this post-apocalyptic world, we meet a trio of survivors - a woman (Carole Kirkham) and a man we presume to be her brother (Geir Indvard), both formally dressed, and a second, larger, tougher looking man (José Yepes) with a bushy beard. They wake up together with no memory of what has happened to them or the world around them, and without the ability to talk.

    After regaining consciousness, they begin exploring the new world, needing to find ways to survive and find sustenance in a very harsh climate. As the get closer to the shoreline, they’re attacked by what we can assume are irradiated crabs. While the brother and sister aren’t quite sure how to handle this, the bearded man instinctively uses a rock to bas them to death, at which point they realize they’ve found a food source. After this, the bearded man brutally rapes the woman, with her brother able to do nothing to stop him. As the story progresses, they meet a mysterious dog that leads them to a much more forgiving jungle climate where they build shelter and quickly learn to hunt and forage for food, which seems plentiful and easy to come by. But this tranquility doesn’t last long, when jealously and possessiveness becomes an undeniable problem.

    A truly bizarre mix of semi-surrealist arthouse stylings and exploitation movie tropes, Human Animals is nothing if not unique. Throw out the clichés so frequently associated with post-nuke cinema, there are no roving gangs of leather clad bikers here, no laser gun wielding heroes and no bombed out urban wastelands to explore. Instead, the movie feels very minimalist in a way, using only the three cast members mentioned above and the dog, and sticking pretty much entirely to outdoor locations, those few scenes shot inside a hut in the later part of the film notwithstanding. It’s a beautifully shot picture, the cinematography does a great job of capturing the beauty, danger and harshness of the different landscapes used in the film, and while this was made with a pretty modest budget Eligio Herrero and company do a solid job of getting it all up on the screen. The film’s utterly strange soundtrack feels somehow perfect and entirely inappropriate at the same time and just adds a further layer of weirdness to all of this.

    The performances are interesting, if not always completely believable and occasionally a little awkward. Carole Kirkham is really put through the ringer in the second half of the movie, you can’t help but feel for her and she plays her part well. Geir Indvard’s character is the least interesting of the three and, to start with at least, he’s kind of a wimp, but his acting here is decent enough even if he doesn’t blow you away. José Yepes, on the other hand, really goes for it.

    Human Animals – Blu-ray Review:

    Human Animals debuts on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro on a region free 50Gb disc with the feature taking up 27.9GBs of space. Presented in AVC encoded 1080p and taken from a new 4K scan and of the original 35mm negative, the transfer, which is framed at 1.85.1 widescreen, looks very good. There’s some noticeable damage in the mushroom cloud stock footage inserts that are used to open the film but otherwise, the picture is crisp, clean, clear and nicely detailed with excellent color reproduction and strong black levels. There aren’t any problems with noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems and everything shapes up quite nicely here.

    The only audio option on the disc is a 16-bit LPCM 2.0 track in ‘English’ (there isn’t really any dialogue here), with optional subtitles provided in English only. There’s a little bit of sibilance here and there but the track is properly balanced and the instrumental score sounds very strong.

    The sole extra on the disc, aside from menus and chapter selection, is an interview with the film’s director/writer/producer Eligio Herrero that runs fifty-five minutes. It's a seriously interesting piece that sheds a lot of light on the legality of making sex films in Spain during this period, how he came to be both a producer and a director, dealing with censorship issues, getting his productions bankrolled, how he came to make a film without any actual dialogue, working with the cast and crew on location for Human Animals and lots, lots more. The Mondo Macabro preview reel is also included.

    This standard edition release omits the red case, reversible cover art and insert booklet that were included with the limited edition release from earlier this year.

    Human Animals - The Final Word:

    Human Animals is definitely not going to be a film for all tastes but those with an affinity for outré should find this one pretty intriguing. Mondo Macabro has done an excellent job bringing it to Blu-ray in a very nice presentation and a very revealing interview with the man who made it. All in all, great release for a seriously strange picture.

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