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Sunday, January 27, 2019

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK -- Blu-ray/CD Review by Porfle

I'm not all that familiar with the Italian "Giallo" genre (save for some Dario Argento classics such as TENEBRE) which consists of warped, horror-tinged murder stories with lots of bloody violence and other lurid elements. 

So it's always nice to catch a really good one like the Italian/Spanish co-production ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, aka "Tutti i colori del buio" (Severin Films, 1972) from Sergio Martino, the director who also gave us TORSO, SLAVE OF THE CANNIBAL GOD, and SCREAMERS.

This one is nowhere near as formally-shot and polished-looking as the usual Argento effort, but Martino has a loose, imaginative style that fits the "anything goes" nature of the material, as well as a talent for staging suspense scenes in interesting ways. 

Our heroine, Jane (cult star Edwige Fenech), has been plagued by horrible nightmares ever since the traumatic loss of her unborn baby following a car crash.  Her lover, Richard (George Hilton), is devoted but unable to help, especially since his job keeps him away for days at a time. 

Jane's sister Barbara (Susan Scott) advises her to visit Dr. Burton, the seemingly kindly psychiatrist she works for.  But Jane finds more solace with a new friend, Mary (Marina Malfatti), a mysterious woman who inducts her into a black magic cult filled with arcane rituals that take place in a creepy old castle in the country.

While the mentally and emotionally frazzled Jane may be a bit slow on the uptake, we can tell right away that being forced to drink fresh dog blood and then getting gang-banged by a bunch of stabby, whacked-out weirdos in a cult from which there is no escape probably isn't going to help her as much as a few quiet sessions with Dr. Burton.  Especially since one of the cult members is a creepy trench-coated stalker with neon blue eyes (Ivan Rassimov) who keeps following her everywhere and trying to kill her.

We're never quite sure if we're seeing something real or just one of Jane's waking nightmares, but this lively film keeps us on our toes by constantly alternating the talkier scenes with sudden bursts of action and sometimes shocking violence. 

Much of the suspense is effectively staged around the creaky, open elevator and winding staircase in Jane's shadowy apartment building, and there's a terrific sequence inside Dr. Burton's country estate where Jane discovers a grisly scene involving the elderly caretakers who've been charged with watching over her.

I noticed a few similarities here and there with ROSEMARY'S BABY, which had me suspecting Jane's lover Richard, her sister Barbara, her friend Mary, her shrink Dr. Burton--oh heck, practically everybody--of secretly being part of the cult and their sinister plans for Jane.  Director Martino does like to keep us guessing, all the way up to a nifty fake-out ending in which fantasy and reality clash with deadly results.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin Films is widescreen 1080p full HD resolution with a new 4k scan from the original negative.  Audio is 2.0 English and Italian with English subtitles.  Bonus features include a very learned and thoughtful commentary with Kat Ellinger (author of "All the Colors of Sergio Martino"), interviews with Sergio Martino, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, actor George Hilton & horror expert Antonio Tentori, trailers, and the unrestored alternate US cut of the film entitled "They're Coming to Get You." Also included is a CD of the film's musical score by Bruno Nicolai.

With a fine cast (Edwige Fenech fans will be extra happy), great use of scenic London locations, and a scintillating story full of colorful characters and sinister goings-on, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK is pure nerve-wracking fun all the way.

Buy it from Severin Films

Special Features:
They’re Coming To Get You: Alternate US Cut (88 mins.)
Color My Nightmare: Interview with Director Sergio Martino
Last Of The Mohicans: Interview with Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
Giallo is the Color: Interviews with Actor George Hilton & Italian Horror Expert Antonio Tentori
Audio Commentary with Kat Ellinger, Author of All The Colors of Sergio Martino
BONUS Disc: CD Soundtrack 


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