BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Thirst (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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Thirst (1980) - Blu-ray Details

Movie Review

5 beersOne eye opens. The other opens. The credits roll and then the emaciated woman, putting her arms on the outside of the box she is lying on her back in, sits up. She is inside a satin lined coffin. And the scream she emits comes from the very pit of her stomach. She climbs out of the coffin and races up the stares of the cellar. Everything is bricked in; there is no escape once the Thirst has begun. Let the clawing to get through brick and mortar commence!

After watching Thirst, a successful tale of blood-soaked paranoia, I guarantee that you’ll think twice about stepping into a shower and letting the spray hit you with your eyes closed AND about taking a bite of fried chicken. Do anything to the girl, man, but leave the fried chicken ALONE!

This moody Ozploitation cult classic features stunning performances from David Hemmings, Henry Silva, and Shirley Cameron who do their best to woe one reluctant woman into the practice of vampirism. It also features a melting corpse and a stunning display of power as an entire room is warped, cracked, and tilted in such a way as to convince one woman to drink a pint of blood. It is an effectively eerie scene that more than likely helped Thirst earn the Best Picture in its category at the 1980 Asia Pacific Film Festival.

Complete with a black cat that hisses at its owner as it discovers its taste for blood, this B-movie turns out to be a damn good stab at updating the creaky lore of vampirism with a rich background of science fiction. And it does so with a very effective use of science fiction and fantasy elements. This is solid stuff and Severin knows it, which is why they’ve released this film in HD.

Directed by a young Rod Hardy (who would go on to direct episodes of The X-Files, The Mentalist, and Leverage in America), Thirst is a terrifying journey into a very dangerous (and very fanged) cult living in north Melbourne. It is also his feature length debut and, damn, if he doesn’t knock this one directly out of the park.

Vampires hate the way humans refer to them. They aren’t blood-sucking leaches; they prefer to talk things out – especially when trying to pull out the instincts of those raised (mistakenly) as humans. Such revulsion will not be tolerated much longer; they are winning this fight.    

The vampires in this movie are far too sophisticated for such name-calling. And, according to their information, there are 70,000 vampires living happily and healthily all around the world. They aren’t fiends and they resent how the media depicts them. They don’t hunt in the dark. No. Such things are beyond them. In this movie, their victims are a part of a farming community where the victims freely give of their blood through IV needles because they want to. They need to give. And they do so willingly.

These vampires are refined but when their eyes burn a furious red, young or old, the feeding must begin. Yet they, living in communal farms throughout the world, are solely interested in one woman. Her name is Kate Davis (Chantal Contouri, who is probably best known for the soap opera Number 96) and she is target number one. This group of privileged vampires lead an iddylic countryside life. Their victims are all brainwashed and wear white and, as mindless as they are, seem to enjoy their existence as merely blood packets for a haughty group of bloodsuckers.

According to The Brotherhood (who have kidnapped her), she is the descendant of the infamous countess Elizabeth Báthory, who bathed in the blood of the folks she had killed. The Brotherhood believes they can brainwash Kate – who fights and argues against all the calm logic this wacko group tosses her way – with science and, eventually, horror tactics as she watches victims “sacrifice” themselves to the vampires.

All the while this group of vampires tries to tempt her with the taste of blood. Whether through hallucinations or constant drugging, there is no other choice but to bathe in blood. There is only their way. But some aren’t convinced with their efforts to indoctrinate the poor girl. What develops is a power struggle within the ancient sect over just how best to deliver this descendent into the brooding fold of vampirism.

Welcome to the Brotherhood, Miss Davis.

 

Film Details

Thirst (1980) - Blu-ray Details

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Rod Hardy
Writer: John Pinkney
Cast: Chantal Contouri, Shirley Cameron, Max Phipps
Genre: Horror
Tagline: Surrender to an Unholy, Insatiable Evil.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We're simply a superior race of people who, over the centuries have proved that the drinking of the vital human essence confers youth and power"
Theatrical Distributor: New Line Cinema
Official Site:
Release Date: September 29, 1979
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 11, 2014
Synopsis: David Hemmings (BLOW-UP, DEEP RED) and Henry Silva (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) star as executives of an international blood-drinking cartel known as ‘The Brotherhood’. But when they abduct a descendant (Chantal Contouri of THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN) of Elizabeth Bathory to reboot her depraved legacy, she must escape before the corporation can expand their human ‘blood cow’ dairies and create a vampire master race.

 

Thirst (1980) - Blu-ray Details

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Severin
Available on Blu-ray - March 11, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0; Music: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region A

With an aspect ratio of 2.43:1 and a Dolby Digital 2.0 sound presentation, Thirst arrives on blu-ray with a stunning HD transfer. I wasn’t prepared for the film, being low budget and an absolute failure when released here in America, to look as good as it does here. Colors are strong and vibrant and saturated with strong hues of bursting lusciousness and an eye for details. The sets are also incredibly detailed. Black levels are solid and shadows, while not deep, are expressive enough. The image and its remastering is a good experience as dirt and debris and random scratches are at a very low level.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Talking to us about their lo-fi techniques behind the scenes, the Audio Commentary with Director Rod Hardy and Producer Antony I. Ginnane is a solid one – even if it runs out of steam toward the end of the flick.

Special Features:

Fans get an isolated score track, a look at some TV Spots, and the original theatrical trailer.

Isolated Score
TV Spot
Trailer

 

Thirst (1980) - Blu-ray Details

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