Sunday, November 13

Silent Madness (1984) - 1987 Avatar/CIC Video Japan VHS

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Going back to some old thoughts: "A homicidal nutter is mistakenly released from an institution and a resident psychiatrist (Belinda Montgomery) seems to the only one with any concern. The maniac travels north to his old "stomping" ground to resume the young girl flesh terror. On one of her hunches, the psychiatrist poses as an ex-sorority sister in the hopes the missing patient will re-surface around a college he marked forever decades past. When he inevitably does, the good doctor finds that he isn't the only thing she has to worry about.

A great slasher in need of rediscovery. Montgomery is a strong female lead and the rest of the cast holds their end up well. Inventive kills including axings, impalements, and head crushing are all done by a believable mute psycho. There are a few dull moments, but I must say that I liked this more than My Bloody Valentine (1981) in last night's double featuire. Seek this one out before they remake it...?

A few notes about the VHS. It's terribly cropped. You can tell Nuchtern really used the entire 2.35:1 frame, as there are many instances of half faces and actors speaking to unseen others off screen. Simply awful, but the film is solid enough to endure this, especially if you're a slasher fanatic. Also the film was theatrically exhibited in 3-D and even though the VHS is "normalized" in 2-D, some shots still exhibit slight bluish hues around edges of things on-screen."

Revisting Silent Madness last night, this cheap yet brutal little slasher definitely held up, but there's some unfortunate news regarding this particular video release. Avatar/CIC Video released the film in the United Kingdom, featuring the same key art, and the BBFC saw fit to censor the film's killings (see official entry here). And sure enough, the presentation on this Japanese release is the same version with obvious omissions to the serial psycho's deeds. What makes it worse is that I should have trusted my initial instinct which said this might be the case.

The one little saving grace is that CIC's video trailer for the Bruno Mattei/Reb Brown supreme combo platter of crap action, Strike Commando (1987), plays before the feature. Everything above about the picture quality also holds true for this tape. It's painfully cropped to full screen and has scenes of strange color aberrations that essentially match the North American MEDIA VHS...only edited. Damn shame! This isn't the first case of "BBFC contamination" I've run across, the Japanese DVD of Death Warmed Up is similarly cursed.
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