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Panic (1982) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersThis Italian-Spanish co-production is a shoddy horror film. Know that first. Panic is; however, quite interesting in its own way, weaving a tale about scientists who create something they cannot even hope to control through failed bacteria experiments, as it has more ambition than most films released today have. In a low budget flick like this, that simple fact carries a lot of weight.

Panic, is not a great B-movie, but it deserves to be seen and remembered which is why this Blu-ray release from Code Red is so damn interesting. A mushy-faced scientist turns deadly killer. Who cares if it is trying to pass itself off as British? The setting and the dubbed accents might be misleading; the terror inside is not.  

Because, as the film suggests, this contagion-like frenzy MIGHT HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED! Director Tonino Ricci (Night of the Sharks, Encounters in the Deep) might not be out in the sea for this tale, but he does have fun with his audience even if he’s nothing more than a straight-laced hired hand here.

The movie – much like the first kill – rips you from the driver’s seat through the window with its bluntness. It might lose direction and gusto from time to time, but it continues to offer a nice stab at the whole INFECTED genre of horror as a killer scientists, blitzed by a nasty virus, drags his victims by their ankles before devouring them.

That’s how powerful a grip it has. Panic has every right to continue to be in circulation, especially for avid David Warbeck (City of the Living Dead) and Janet Agren (The Beyond) fans.

And it begins with a fast-moving POV shot that is effective in getting audiences thrust right into the action. Even if we don’t know what’s going on, there’s a connective thread that pays off wants all the parts start moving. This is quick and sloppy festival of funhouse grime and thrills. For example, in the first five minutes of the movie, we have sex in a car and violence on the streets; we also get infected rats hoping all over each other before busting loose in a laboratory and contaminating people.

And then they get really big. Well, one does and once is also the only time you will see it.

Much of Panic, about a covert germ-warfare project gone ass up thanks to an infected scientist who stumbles around a tiny English town, is set to eerily dramatic music that seems to be hearkening back to Bernard Herrmann’s score for Psycho. The movie itself works largely in part because it too gives us nods to classic horror titles, even if it cannot ever hope to live up to those film.

Panic ambles about in its own B-movie way and makes minimalistic movie magic where it can. The make-up effects are poor and the acting is a bit bonkers, too. The film, for some, won’t work due to all its inadequacies but, when you consider the suspense in some of the kills and some deft lighting effects.

Panic is now available on Blu-ray thanks to Code Red.


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Panic (1982) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
90 mins
: Anthony Richmond
Víctor A Catena
David Warbeck, Janet Agren, Roberto Ricci
: Horror | Sci-fi
Pray it doesn't happen here.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's an emergency in the laboratory and a serious risk of contamination."
Theatrical Distributor:
No U.S. Theatrical release
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 9, 1984 (TV premier)
Synopsis: An English village turns into a hunting ground when an unholy bacterial experiment gone horribly wrong turns a local scientist into a deformed, rampagning nightmare! With the population being picked off one by one, it’s up to a police detective and a scientist to put a stop to this bloodthristy madness before the government steps in and wipes out the entire town. This slimy slice of Italian horror is now available in HD for the first time!


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Panic (1982) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red’s HD transfer of Panic is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and features a crisp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track that gives us both a dubbed and an the original Italian dialogue. While colors don’t exactly pop, the subtleties in the black levels are palpable. Shadows run deep and remain engaging. Skin tones are fair and some of the blood effects – looking like a mixture of corn syrup and red paint – remain gooey and textured. Browns and blues carry more weight in this release. Overall, it is a very nice presentation of a film that feels all sorts of new as a small town goes on full alert.



  • None

Special Features:

  • You get trailers for other Code Red titles.      

Code Red Trailers


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Panic (1982) - Blu-ray Review