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The Pete Walker Collection: House of Whipcord/Die Screaming, Marianne/The Comeback/Schizo - Blu-ray Review

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The Pete Walker Collection

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5 Stars

Social taboos be damned!

Opening with a statement that reads, “This picture is dedicated to those who are disturbed by today’s lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment”, 1974’s House of Whipcord opens a brand new gore-ific four-disc set of British exploitation films from producer/director Pete Walker.  The famed producer/director is renowned for pushing the limits of censorship and definitely, as suggested here by the four horror films included in the set, created some of the most gruesomely erotic (and dare I suggest creative) films of the 1970’s cinematic underground.

Included in the sexploitative set are House of Whipcord (1974), Schizo (1976), Die Screaming, Marianne (1971), and The Comeback (1978) and all have been remastered from their original prints for HD intensity.  Featuring a tall order of sadistic authority figures, Walker loads the films with expressive angles and smartly sinister horror.  Each film has its own political agenda and operates with an engaging sense of self that is consistently pleasing.  While they are horror-minded, it isn’t hard to imagine that, had Hitchcock lived, he would have pursued the same route that Walker mined with these films.

Situating his femme fatales in a proper house of corrections, Walker creates an intriguing set of twisted morals with which the ladies are judged by.  Oh, it’s most warped and titillating to be certain, yet one cannot help but find themselves drawn into the exploitative abuse do to the sheer tension ratcheting of the camerawork and edits.  There’s an underlying intelligence of the genre running through these films and their influences on today’s hottest directors (Zach Snyder and Ti West) are easily spotted.

But shock-and-schlock maestro Pete Walker is best at outsmarting his audience.  House of Whipcord is a classic film whose energy is matched only by its sadistic twists and turns as a young French model (Penny Irving) tries to escape a vicious house of corrections ran by a brutal governess (Barbara Markham), a senile judge (Patrick Barr), and a zealous warden (Shiela Keith).  Schizo has Walker copping a Hitchcock-esque vibe as a talented figure skater (Lynne Frederick) finds her world turned upside down by a stranger (Jack Watson) who has a thirst for murder.  Die Screaming, Marianne pits a ruthless judge (Leo Genn) against his daughter (Susan George) as a family divides against itself with horrific results.  In The Comeback, singer Nick Cooper (Jack Jones) secludes himself in a haunted estate as he deals with reclaiming his past fame and the death of all he loves.

With isolation as its center, these four films do a good job of expressing the core of Walker’s themes.  Sometimes it’s damn shocking at how good they are at expressing the horror they showcase.  In fact, with this release, I predict a Pete Walker revival in the near future.  With edits as strong as Schizo’s pen-circling to ice skating moments, there are plenty of surprises peppered throughout each of the four films.

With The Pete Walker Collection, there is such a thing as love at first fright.

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The Pete Walker CollectionMPAA Rating: R.
Films:
House of Whipcord | Die Screaming Marianne | The Comeback | Schizo

Runtime: 410 mins.
Director
: Pete Walker
Writer
: Various
Cast:
Various
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
House of Whipcord: The story of a strange hobby and its victims, whose only crime was be young and beautiful! | Die Screaming, Marianne: Death bars the gate to her 21st birthday | The Comeback: More haunting than any melody | Schizophrenia... When the left hand doesn't know who the right hand is killing!!
Memorable Movie Quote:
"This picture is dedicated to those who are disturbed by today’s lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment"
Distributor:
Kino International
Theatrical Release Dates:
House of Whipcord - March 1975 | Die Screaming, Marianne - August 13, 1971 | The Comeback - September 1979 | Schizo - March, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 20, 2012

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The Pete Walker Collection

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 20, 2012
Runtime:
410 mins.
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set (4 BDs)
Region Encoding: A

Featuring robust AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers, all four films get the HD makeover and look much, much better than their DVD counterparts.  They are also presented in their proper aspect ratios. Each disc offers strong detail and solid colors – never weak or inconsistent – throughout.  Some minor print damage – white flecks, scratches, and the occasional frame jittering - is present in all four films but none of it is seriously distracting or irritating.  Maybe it adds to the experience of this underground director?  There’s a nice layer of film grain in all four of the transfers and that adds to the filmic experience.  Sound-wise, each of the four films in the set is effectively presented in an English language LPCM Mono track that is adequate for the movie.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • A very verbose Paul Walker offers great commentaries for three of the films included in the set.  Director of photography Peter Jessop and biographer Steven Chibnall join Walker for the informative commentary on House of Whipcord.  For Die Screaming, Marianne’s commentary, the director, moderated by Jonathon Rigby, covers the making of the film and the trouble he had with getting it completed.  Finally, the two commentators reunite on The Comeback commentary to discuss the pre-production and budgetary issues of the film.  All are informative and well worth the inclusion.

Special Features:

Again, the attention to detail and supplemental material gives Kino an edge over its competitors.  The Pete Walker Collection is Kino, once again, giving us the highest quality possible with solid extras.  For anyone interested in the director, the interviews sprinkled throughout the four discs should not be missed.  First is a brand new interview with Walker entitled Perversions Of Justice and covers a good discussion of the four films included here.  In My Sweet Schizo the director talks about writing the film based only on an idea and then dives into the sex and the nudity of his films.  An Eye for Terror finds the director discussing the role of the director as a creative businessman.  And, finally, in Slasher Serenade, the director talks about the origin and the writing process of The Comeback.  Each disc also includes trailers for House of Whipcord, Die Screaming, and The Comeback, with Schizo missing in action.  This set comes highly recommended.

  • Perversions of Justice (14 min)
  • My Sweet Schizo (13 min)
  • An Eye for Terror (13 min)
  • Slasher Serenade (13 min)
  • Pete Walker Trailers

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