Thursday, 14 April 2016

The SYMPTOMS Aspect Ratio Controversy

The restored version of Symptoms that Mondo Macabro are releasing in the US and the BFI are releasing in the UK is framed at the Academy ratio of 1.37:1.

This does not mean that the film was cropped or compromised in any way. This was the full image on the negative from which the restoration was made. The original framing was obviously chosen quite meticulously for a 1.37:1 composition. There are no microphone booms or lighting rigs visible at the top of the frame and no cables or other unwanted equipment at the bottom of the screen. The frame you are seeing is the frame director José Larraz and cameraman Trevor Wrenn wanted to be recorded onto film and to be visible to viewers.

We have released films in Academy ratio before. Countess Perverse, The Wife Killer, Alucarda etc. In all previous cases, as with this one, we believe this to be the correct ratio for viewing the film. There could be any number of reasons why that frame was originally chosen for Symptoms. Maybe there was thought of a possible TV sale, maybe the film's producers wanted it to be screenable in as many territories as possible, some of which at that time would have been quite used to projecting at that ratio. Maybe José Larraz, as a former comic book artist, felt happier with a squarer frame. It certainly suits the mood of the film making the landscape shots more open and the interiors more oppressive, with the dark shadows surrounding the frail figures in the frame.

The most important thing is that the film looks great. To those who have seen it only in muddy, multiple generation VHS dupes it will be revelation.

- Pete Tombs, April 2016

Provided below are a few screenshots, presented at both 1.37:1 and 1.66:1. We invite you to take a look and judge for yourself. 

And the restored trailer, also in 1.37:1 ... 

SYMPTOMS trailer from Mondo Macabro on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Pre-Order the Limited Edition of SYMPTOMS now!

The limited Red Box edition of SYMPTOMS is now available for pre-order direct from Mondo Macabro!

1000 numbered copies featuring the following exclusive extras:

Larraz on Larraz! Bonus DVD featuring a two-hour long archival interview with Jose Ramon Larraz! - Conducted in the late 90s and used as the basis for the Larraz episode of UK TV show Eurotika! (included as an extra on the main disc), the majority of this career-spanning interview has never been seen before.

Exclusive booklet featuring a brand new essay from Writer/Critic Samm Deighan! – Samm is the editor of the Satanic Pandemonium blog, co-host of the Daughters of Darkness podcast, and the assistant web editor for excellent horror magazine Diabolique. She has contributed to Fangoria, Paracinema, and the book Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, and is currently writing a book about WWII and cult cinema.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Miklos Jancso's PRIVATE VICES, PUBLIC VIRTUES coming to Blu-ray later this year!

Coming Soon from Mondo Macabro! 
A World Blu-ray Exclusive! 

Miklos Jancso (1921-2014) was one of the giants of European art cinema. He had been making films in his native Hungary since 1958, but in 1966 he exploded onto the world scene at Cannes with THE ROUND UP. The international critics had never seen anything like it. Combining cinematography with choreography, Jancso films crowds of soldiers on horseback, peasants, and partisans as they perform a ritualistic dance of love, life and death on the bleak Hungarian plains. Ostensibly a costume piece about the 1848 revolt against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the film was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on the aborted 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet Russia.

 Over his next five features he developed and refined a hypnotic and fluid technique via long, sweeping camera moves and crane shots. Filming in color, his productions became like dazzling "happenings", combining music, dance, naked bodies, horses, men in uniform and spontaneous bursts of singing into a seemingly eternal tracking shot. His films were widely screened at festivals and in art house cinemas. His was a name to drop, an influence to quote.

Then, in the early 1970s, Jancso moved to Italy and began working with new collaborators. Times were changing. It was a post-1968 world and a new explicitness was being seen onscreen, coupled with a certain sense of betrayal about the ideals that had seemed so achievable only a few years before. PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES, made in 1975, reflected both these factors.

The story is based on the famous Mayerling incident where Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria was found dead beside his 17 year old lover in an apparent joint suicide. However as with his earlier productions, the director only used history as a jumping off point. The film is pure Jancso. The long tracking shots are there, the horses are there, the naked bodies are there, as are the snatches of folk music and group singing.

The main difference between this film and his more acclaimed earlier works is that it features a host of increasingly bizarre sexual incidents. When it screened as an official entry in the 1976 Cannes Festival and viewers caught on to some of the shocking things that it contained ... well, let's just say that it caused a scandal and in some ways Jancso's reputation never recovered. Like Borowczyk before him, he was almost written off as a one time great film maker who had strayed too far into porn and lost his artistic mojo.

In fact PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES now plays like an overlooked masterpiece. There really is nothing like it in world cinema. The controversy long behind us, we can see that this is one of those rare erotic productions where the point of the film lies in its excess. There's nothing gratuitous about it. Known in Germany as THE BIG ORGY (Die Grosse Orgie), this amazing piece of subversive 70s cinema has never been well treated on home video - pirated, cut and generally not given the respect it deserves. This new release from Mondo Macabro, a world Blu-ray exclusive taken from the original negative, will bring this forgotten classic of world cinema back into the spotlight. It's a film that once seen cannot be forgotten, and it deserves a place in the home of all adventurous film lovers.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Pre-order MEDOUSA now!

You can now pre-order MEDOUSA direct from Mondo Macabro! $15 plus shipping. Copies will be mailed out as soon as stock arrives, likely ahead of the official street date.

In this surreal retelling of the ancient myth of the Medusa, bizarre, clothed statues of men are appearing all over Greece. Only Perseus, the leader of a gang of modern Athenian thieves, holds the answer to the mystery. It has something to do with a beautiful, long-haired women in black who is connected with his troubled childhood. One night his gang breaks into a deserted house in the countryside looking for goods to steal. What they find is entirely unexpected and leads Perseus on a dangerous journey into his past.

Medousa is one of the very few attempts to make a modern Greek horror film. Its intriguing plot unfolds in a surprising and yet entirely logical way, creating a memorably atmospheric thriller that reworks familiar myths into an original and highly personal narrative.

Mondo Macabro are very proud to be presenting for the first time on US video this overlooked gem of genre cinema. The film was screened at a number of international festivals and won a prize at World-Fest Houston in 1998. It’s a film ripe for rediscovery and this long overdue release announces the re-emergence of a unique film making talent.

Interview with writer/director George Lazopoulos
Interview with lead actor Thanos Amorginos
Extensive background notes
Newly created optional subtitles
Mondo Macabro previews
Newly commissioned cover art by Gilles Vranckx


Friday, 5 February 2016

Friday, 22 January 2016

Coming to DVD in April: MEDOUSA

Mondo Macabro is extremely proud to present this 90s art-horror gem for the first time on US home video, one of the few films of its kind made in Greece. Or anywhere! 

Out April 12th! Trust us, you really don't want to miss this one.