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Monday, September 11, 2017

THE OTHERWORLD -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

If you're interested in the supernatural, then Richard Stanley's THE OTHERWORLD (2013) might be right up your dark alley.  If not, it might help spark an interest it it.  As for me, however, it made me even less interested in the subject than I was before.

This is mainly due to the fact that Stanley's documentary--about a remote area in the South of France (known as "The Zone") that's supposed to be an ancient hotbed of paranormal activity--is slow, dull, and composed mostly of talking heads telling of their own experiences or those of others, some having occurred centuries ago. 

Granted, we see this amidst a montage of scenic views of mountain castles and scary subterranean chambers and other visual splendor.  But among these sights are some very dull people, some of them appearing to be quite possibly off their rockers. 

One feral-looking fellow shows us how his geometric figurings on a map link together a network of locations, including old Catholic churches and other more-or-less holy places, which he believes form a web of telluric energy that draws unsuspecting people into the mysterious mirror world.

Richard Stanley, who gave us the sci-fi classic HARDWARE, and his co-writer Scarlett Amaris (THE THEATER BIZARRE), solemnly regale us with their own creepy experiences within the crumbling castle that's supposed to be the center of much of this paranormal activity.  This includes encountering the ghostly image of a woman whose touch filled them with electric shocks of psychic energy.

Some may find the stories entrancing, while others will regard them, and the film as a whole, with a robust skepticism.  Stanley's fervid tales, including a follow-up visit that had Amaris fleeing in fear while he pressed onward towards a supernatural epiphany with the spectral goddess of the castle, reminded me of some of the stories I used to hear from people who had just enjoyed a certain kind of mushrooms.

Various other witnesses, conjecturers, second-hand storytellers, and apparent fruit loops add their own tales to the mix, which naturally include orbs, aliens, diabolical images in mirrors, and other stuff that makes this feel like a deluxe episode of "In Search Of..."

The Blu-ray from Severin Films contains the feature along with these extras: a "making-of" featurette, deleted scenes, and a trailer.  Disc 2 (first 2500 units only) is a DVD containing three lengthy Richard Stanley explorations into the paranormal and ancient religions. These are entitled "Voice of the Moon", "The White  Darkness", and "The Secret Glory", the latter being about the Third Reich's search for the Holy Grail.

THE OTHERWORLD tries to lure us into its spell with strange stories and, courtesy of master visualist Stanley, a wealth of impressive photography.  Some will likely be intrigued, others downright fascinated, despite the ultimately enervating manner in which it is all presented.  I, on the other hand, shared Amaris' reaction to her second visit to the mysterious castle--to get out of there as fast as possible. 

Buy it at Severin Films


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