• All The Colors Of The Dark (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: January 29th, 2019.
    Directed by: Sergio Martino
    Cast: George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Ivan Rassimov, Nieves Navarro, Marina Malfatti, George Rigaud
    Year: 1972
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    All The Colors Of The Dark – Movie Reviews:

    Sergio Martino’s 1972 film All The Colors Of The Dark opens with a swirling, kaleidoscopic sequence in which we see a mad drag queen prancing about as a naked pregnant woman covers her protruding belly in blood before the camera zooms us headfirst right on into a tree. It grabs your attention right from the start and stands as one of the move provocative opening scenes in the history of the giallo genre.

    From here, we meet affluent socialites Richard (George Hilton) and his girlfriend Jane (Edwige Fenech). They live together in fancy apartment complex and while he tends to work long, sometimes unorthodox hours she stays home, struggling to come to terms with her past. See, that opening sequence was more than just stylish nonsense – Jane recently suffered a miscarriage when Richard got them both into a car accident. On top of that, she has recurring nightmares that stem back to the death of her mother, who was brutally stabbed by an unnamed assailant (Ivan Rassimov). Richard tries to ply her with vitamins but her sister, Barbara (Nieves Navarro credited as Susan Scott), insists that she see her employer, a psychoanalyst named Dr. Burton (George Rigaud). She obliges, but it doesn’t seem to help much – Jane still sees the man who killed her mother stalking her all over London.

    At the same time, a new woman named Mary Well (Marina Malfatti) moves into the building. She and Jane hit it off, and after getting to know one another a bit, Mary confesses that since attending a black mass, her life has been great! She encourages Jane to join her, and somewhat reluctantly, she does just that. It’s here that the cult leader (Julián Ugarte) coerces Jane into drinking an elixir made from the blood of a sacrificed dog and… something green and then submits her to an orgiastic Satanic sex ritual!

    Things don’t get better for Jane from here on out – she continues to be stalked and she’s clearly having trouble distinguishing her dreams from reality… and then the bodies start piling up.

    A bit of a giallo all-stars game, All The Colors Of The Dark holds up remarkably well. It is at times quite tense and frequently unpredictable and by mixing in elements of the occult, it manages to separate itself from the many other giallos made around the same time. Much of the credit for this goes to Sergio Martino, who directs with control and skill, pacing the film properly and mixing style and substance here in equal measure. The camerawork from Miguel Fernández Mila (who shot Paul Naschy vehicles A Dragonfly For Each Corpse and Inquisition) and Giancarlo Ferrando (who shot Troll 2 and Martino’s 1979 monster-mash Island Of The Fishmen) is classy and creative, often times using unorthodox, if effective, angles to help keep us engaged in all that’s going on. The film also benefits from regular doses of wild color schemes, adding to the surrealist tone of specific scenes. On top of that, Bruno Nicolai (famous for scoring Caligula and quite a few other gialli like Lenzi’s Eyeball not to mention a few Jess Franco pictures like She Killed In Ecstasy) contributes one of his most eerily effective scores to the film, the repeated use of some strange children’s falsetto vocals in a couple of key scenes.

    And then, of course, there’s the cast. Leading man George Hilton had already collaborated with Martino on The Case of the Scorpion's Tail and The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, the later film also starring Ms. Fenech, and that’s in addition to playing the lead in numerous spaghetti western pictures. He’s very good here, dashing and handsome and yet somehow a little suspicious at the same time. He and Fenech (who had previously starred in Bava’s Five Dolls For An August Moon and, in 1972, also made The Case Of The Bloody Iris where she was again cast alongside Hilton), who is nothing short of radiant here, make a good pairing. She’s never been better than she is in this picture, portraying her character’s confusion and fear with impressive believability. Supporting work from the lovely Nieves Navarro, the Spanish born beauty who starred in both Death Walks At Midnight and Death Walks On High Heels for director Luciano Ercoli, is strong. She’s got great screen presence and brings a very determined vibe to her performance. Ivan Rassimov is also great here, even if the star of Lenzi’s Eaten Alive! and Martino’s Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (also made in 1972 and also starring Fenech!), looks a little odd with what are clearly blue contact lenses in his eyes. He brings an intensity to his part that works really well, particularly in the assault scenes where he looks absolutely diabolical. Marina Malfatti, who appeared in The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, does a fine job as Jane’s mysterious and aloof neighbor. She’s quite attractive, sure, but very good at playing up her character’s more enigmatic qualities.

    All The Colors Of The Dark – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings All The Colors Of The Dark to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 2.35.1 widescreen taken from “new 4k scan from the original negative.” It’s a solid transfer to be sure, boasting nice colors and strong black levels. Detail is typically very good though there are definitely certain scenes shot softer than others. Still, there’s a lot more to take in here than there was on DVD. Depth and texture are strong and the image is free of any noticeable print damage. At the same time, it retains a natural amount of film grain. There are no problems with any apparent noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts, while skin tones look nice and natural throughout. The picture quality here is impressive.

    Audio options are offered in English and Italian language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono with optional subtitles provided in English only for the Italian track and English closed captioning provided for the English track. Both tracks sound fine, even if the Italian track doesn’t sound quite as strong as the English one for some reason, demonstrating proper balance throughout. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion worth complaining about either, and that score… hearing it in lossless audio is a treat.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary from Kat Ellinger, the author of All the Colors of Sergio Martino. It’s an enthusiastic and well-informed track that focuses a lot on Martino’s work specifically. She makes some interesting comparisons between this and other giallo pictures that he was responsible for, discusses some of the themes that occur throughout his picture and offers up her informed opinions on what makes the film work as well as it does. Of course, she also covers the cast and the crew, noting who brings what to the production, discusses the score, the locations and offers of a good bit of trivia as the track plays out.

    Severin has also included the alternate They're Coming To Get You version of the film which played in US theaters through Independent International Pictures (this presentation even includes their title card). This version runs 88 minutes as opposed to the uncut version’s 94 minutes. This is presented in 1.85.1 and from a standard definition source so it doesn’t look nearly as good as the feature attraction but it’s an interesting variation and as such, worth including here. It’s noteworthy that this version omits pretty much the entire opening dream sequence, robbing the film of its most hallucinatory sequence. Additionally, there are chunks of dialogue removed from the full length version, which also doesn’t do this alternate cut any favors.

    Moving on to the featurettes, we start with the excellent forty-minute Color My Nightmare interview with director Sergio Martino. In this piece, he speaks not just about how he came to make this film but also about his feelings on the picture, what it was like shooting on location in London for much of the production, where his career was at this point and some of the collaborators her worked with on this project. In Last Of The Mohicans we site down with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi for eighteen-minutes to hear him speak about writing the picture, his collaborations with both Sergio and Luciano Martino and his feelings on the picture. Oh, and there’s a reason that this interview has the title that is has. Finally, in Giallo Is The Color we get thirty-two-minutes of interviews with actor George Hilton and Italian horror expert Antonio Tentori. The pair is interviewed separately and edited together and as this plays out, we learn about how Hilton got along with his co-stars both male and female, his thoughts on Martino and his take on the role he plays here as well as some of the other characters he’s played throughout his career. Tentori talks about the Fenech phenomena, the giallo boom that this film was a part of, influences that worked their way into this picture and more. All three of these are interesting and nicely shot and edited.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are three trailers for the feature, a TV spot, menus and chapter selection. Severin also includes the film’s entire soundtrack on a bonus CD tucked away inside the black keepcase that holds the Blu-ray disc. Also found inside is a glossy cardboard insert that features the track listing for the CD, which is a nice touch. The inclusion of the soundtrack is a definite boon to this release as it really is some of Bruno Nicolai’s finest work.

    All The Colors Of The Dark – The Final Word:

    All The Colors Of The Dark is a devilishly good giallo, the right mix of style and substance that’s beautifully shot and performed by a very game cast. Martino directs with control, a firm hand on the pacing throughout and the end result is a genuine classic of the genre. Severin Film’s Blu-ray release is great, presenting the film in very nice shape, with fine audio and a nice selection of supplements including a fine commentary, some great featurettes and, of course, that fantastic soundtrack on a bonus CD. Highly recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized All The Colors Of The Dark Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Keeth's Avatar
      Keeth -
      I pre-ordered from Grindhouse Video & anxiously awaiting my shipping notice! Super psyched for this release...