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Almost Human (1974) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beers“I killed my girlfriend yesterday,” the crazed kidnapper at the heart of this film casually tells his stressed-out cohorts. Why? Because she knew too much. The thing is, she only knew because he freely told her all about the kidnapping. HE TOLD HER and then he killed her. Welcome to the wicked world of the manic-minded Giulio Sacchi and, as he was raised free in the streets, this crazy criminal is quite comfortable at taking care of himself at the expense of others.

This is important because Sacchi is about to lose a lot of things, even as he gains his freedom, you can feel him slide closer to the end of the line. His partners are small time bank robbers and he’s a self-destructive thug who mows down anyone who disagrees with him with a submachine gun. And that includes the strangers he calls friends. There’s no stopping him and, through a series of well-played systemic rules, he finds himself out of jail time and time again.

And this situation, especially in the 1970s, was pissing off a lot of people. You have Dirty Hairy and The French Connection as proof positive.   Here, though, you get a thunderous score by Ennio Morricone and a hefty amount of violence courtesy of the steely-eyed schlockmaster behind the camera who begins everything with a tense car chase sequence involving a little boy in a red hoodie, a series of close calls, a mad crash through a fire, and a well-timed train.

Almost Human is not a movie about a robot that wants more than anything to be a real boy. There’s no cute and cuddly teddy bear in it either. No, that’s not what the title Almost Human refers to. Also known as The Death Dealer, this tightly wound Italian thriller is a movie with a very sick and twisted kidnapper at its center. And, when your killer is this depraved, you know the investigator chasing him had better keep his wits about him.  

And that’s exactly what Umberto Lenzi’s expertly shot thriller has in leads Tomas Milian (Django) as the ruthless Giulio Sacchi and Henry Silva (The Manchurian Candidate) as Inspector Walter Grandi. Lenzi might get more attention from his cannibalism flicks as he’s the master of that subgenre with flicks like Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive!; however, this film is not one of horror. It is a chilling game of cat-and-mouse as one psychotic criminal decides to kidnap the daughter of his girlfriend's boss.

Highlighted by a gruesome scene in which Sacchi, after hanging a houseful of partiers from the ceiling, kills a child who comes running down the stairs, Almost Human plays out against a backdrop of relative unease. There is violence in the background of this picture and the frustration is palpable. The city is feeling all sorts of unease and this film, especially in a modern day viewing, remains one helly of an uncomfortable ride through the provincial underbelly of Milan.

The city of Milan and its citizens gets murdered in Lenzi’s Almost Human. It is now on blu-ray thanks to Code Red’s impressive brand new HD scan with color corrections.


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Film Details

Almost Human (1974) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi
Cast: Tomas Milian, Henry Silva, Laura Belli
Genre: Horror
Tagline: It doesn't matter how loud you scream.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor: Joseph Brenner Associates
Official Site:
Release Date: November 14, 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 27, 2018
Synopsis: Giullo Sacchi is a psychotic small-time thief with a chip on his shoulder who’s leaving a slew of dead bodies all over Milan. Now he’s got a plan to make a quick and easy payday: kidnap the daughter of a local billionaire and hold her for ransom. And nothing is going to stop Giullo from getting his money – not even the toughest cop who’s hot on his trail.


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Almost Human (1974) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray - February 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH; English
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red presents Almost Human on blu-ray with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The brand new HD scan with extensive color corrections looks sharp and has zero concerns. It looks brand spanking new as Milan gets butchered on the screen with violent shootouts and car chases. Colors pop. Locations are detailed. And the blood is ruby red. There is a nice grain level throughout. Blacks are rich and nicely saturated. The sound is presented here in a crackling DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.



While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

Fans of this police thriller get a series of new interviews with director Umberto Lenzi, Ray Lovelock and Gino Santercole, writer Ernesto Gastaldi and Tomas Milan. There is a trailer included. This release also features both the English and Italian (with English subtitles) language versions of the film, plus the US edit of the film. A reversible cover rounds out this limited edition release.

New Interview with Umberto Lenzi, Ray Lovelock, and Gino SantercoleNew Interview with star Tomas Milian and writer Ernesto Gastaldi US TrailerBoth the U.S. and Italian Language (with English subs) versions of the film\


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Almost Human (1974) - Blu-ray Review