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The Lift (1983) - Blu-ray Review

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The Lift (1983) - Blu-ray

5 beersFilmed in less than 30 days, The Lift answers the question that has long plagued mankind.  If a blind man falls down an elevator shaft and no one sees him, does he make a sound when he lands?  Why yes, yes he does.  With a kickass spirit and a merciless kill ratio, the original version of writer/director Dick Maas’ killer elevator storyline gets a straight-up ballsy release from Blue Underground.  

And it is about time, too.  The black humor this flick is laced with is of the sweetest kind. 

This is my first go around with this Dutch science-fiction horror film from 1983.  VHS copies of it were hard to come by here in the United States.  I was a huge fan of Maas’ own remake, Down, but never could find a copy of the original flick.  All I could do was hear other people knock it down.  Man, were they ever wrong.  This film is nuts and goes far to show just how strong Maas (Saint) is at making films.  I have yet to be let down by his work.

Thankfully, Blue Underground saw fit to provide both flicks with a 2K restoration from the original negative this week.  The results are truly awesome for b-movie enthusiasts like myself, especially when this one – complete with hilarious dialogue and loopy moments of logic – is so much cheesy fun.  Freak accidents and lightning strikes; The Lift has it all.    

While filmed on a much smaller budget than his second stab at the same set-up, The Lift is pure gonzo greatness, especially its many, many camera tricks.  From toy ambulances to its neon-lined harness of horror, The Lift is dynamic in its telling of just why the stairs are the safer bet when going up.  You see, no one – not even the elevator mechanic, Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel) – can explain just what the hell is going on with a malfunctioning elevator that would rather kill than carry its passengers.

I completely dig The Lift’s onscreen madness as it opens - twinkle clearly set in its eye – with a great sequence as a group of drunk snots and their cheap dates, get stuck in an elevator, decide to start shagging, and then wind up nearly suffocating to death thanks to the terrifying pitfall they are riding in.  And that’s only the beginning of the maniacal attacks from this demonic elevator.

Co-starring Willeke van Ammelrooy as the journalist who falls in step with Stapel’s inspection of the damned machine, The Lift is all too aware of its own cinematic limitations and, as a result, doesn’t shy away from the ridiculousness of cable wires strangling its passengers or having an elevator behave like a guillotine at some medieval public execution.  Thankfully, those practical effects are all sorts of effective as the bodies start piling up at the basement level.

With gratuitous nudity, violent kills with great set-ups, and a spirited sense of its own particular brand of electrical madness, The Lift makes for great Friday night fun.  In between the inane banter and mechanized murders, there’s a drinking game to be found here…just maybe not on the ground floor.

The Lift is waiting for you.

The Lift (1983) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
95 mins
: Dick Maas
Dick Maas
Huub Stapel, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Josine van Dalsum
: Horror | Thriller
Take the Stairs, Take the Stairs. For God's Sake, Take the Stairs!!!
Memorable Movie Quote: "These damn machines will be the death of us all some day!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Island Alive
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 4, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 31, 2017
Synopsis: There is something very wrong with the elevator in a stylish office high-rise. The passengers never end up on the floor of their choice. They end up dead! When Felix, an inquisitive repairman, investigates the faulty deathtrap, he discovers that something other than malfunctioning machinery is to blame. Some dark, distorted power has gained control of the elevator for its own evil design. After his horrifying discovery is given the shaft by the authorities, he joins a nosy female journalist to battle the unholy force inside THE LIFT!

The Lift (1983) - Blu-ray


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Blue Underground
Available on Blu-ray
- October 31, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Dutch: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dutch: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Sure there’s an age to this film, but I’m not complaining.  Blue Underground presents The Lift with a robust 2K restoration presented here in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio.  It looks gloriously crisp in 1080p and supplies a decent grain.  This building’s elevators are punctuated with pink neon details and black levels are solid.  Interiors, especially in the elevators themselves, are clear.  Color tones are strong throughout, revealing layers in the shadows as the building from top to bottom is presented with warmth and clarity.  The sound comes prepped with a very engaging Dutch: 5.1 DTS-HD and English: 2.0 DTS-HD track.  Not immersive, but effective nonetheless.



  •  There is a very specific audio commentary with Writer/Director Dick Maas and Editor Hans van Dongen.  Informative and endlessly engaging, this track is for fans of the movie.

Special Features:

We get an interview with actor Huub Stapel, a 2003 short film, the commentary, and a collection of stills with this release.  We also get a collectable booklet with a new essay by filmmaker Chris Alexander and a bonus DVD copy of the movie.. 

  • Going Up - Interview with Star Huub Stapel
  • "Long Distance" - Short Film by Dick Maas (2003, 4 Mins.)
  • Dutch Trailer
  • U.S. Trailer
  • Poster & Still Gallery

The Lift (1983) - Blu-ray

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