First things fucking last; this is Blue Underground so you know you’re going to be all over this release. This is heroine for film geeks; Bill Lustig finds the drug and we grab the score and shoot it into the vain, soaking in the rush and getting our fix long enough to sustain a 120 minute runtime. After ending the month with NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS, Bill & Company are making sure February is closing with an equally powerful dose of cool. February is a month for lovers though, so we can’t just toss out any old flick, this has to be dripping with desire, a touch of masochism, and a tempting witch known as BABA YAGA! Fire up a J and get ready to roll with a flick that is a tripped out, stone groove.
Carroll Baker (BABY DOLL, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS) is the titular stranger who is all sexed up with hunger for some female flesh. Baba Yaga sets her sights on fashion photographer Valentina Rosselli (Isabelle De Funes) after a chance encounter and soon pays a visit to her humble abode to deliver a doll dressed in some S&M gear for “protection”. After the visit, Valentina’s life is turned upside down; she is suddenly surrounded by death, hallucinations, Nazis (?), and more naked women than a Las Vegas casino. Of the four I prefer the naked women… just sayin’.
This is an odd film. It jumps quickly on the fetish wagon and explores some pretty weighty topics in a compressed runtime of 90 minutes including: violence, women’s lib, fascism, consumerism, it even attempts to explore the very definition of sanity. Inspired by the comics of Guido Crepax, director Corrado Farina could have easily pulled off a sexy witch story but he found something far more interesting with these characters. They are far from one dimensional; they are open to interpretation. In addition to the characters though, Farina’s use of visuals in this film is pretty astounding for this genre.
Taking his cue from Creepax, Corrado creates scenes that look like paintings. More than once I went back and hit the pause button to look at and admire the visuals. There are long stretches of this film when characters are coming undone mentally, questioning everything that is happening around them. The way Corrado interprets this feeling into the shots is incredibly unique for the audience this was playing to.
This is a really interesting film for Blue Underground to put out. I think it’s unlike anything in their catalog and I am curious to see if this is a sign of things to come. Are we going to see more releases in this style, more ‘70s art-cinema with a touch of exploitation? Blue Underground has done an incredible job with this release (the menu animations alone are some of the best they have done), but it is unique and most likely an acquired taste. I dug it though.
Blue Underground released this in 2003, though I didn’t own that copy it appears all of the special features made it over to the Blu-Ray.
Farina and Valentina: Blue Underground’s interview with co-writer/director Corrado Farina is one of their best, make sure to check this out.
Deleted and Censored Scenes: Deleted footage includes a trippy prologue in a graveyard, extended versions of some of Valentina’s fantasies, and more.
Freud in Color: Short documentary on the work of Guido Crepax.
Comic Book-to-Film Comparison
Poster and Still Gallery
BOTTOM LINE: BUY THIS GOOD SHIT!
SEE YOU ON FORTY DEUCE,
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