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The Sadist of Notre Dame (1979) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beers

Satanic orgies and servants of God populate this sex-fueled and relatively bloodless slice of EuroSleaze cinema. How could this combination EVER go wrong?!

Defrocked and disturbed, the lonely man at the center of this mad tale finds himself in a car with a prostitute. She slips off her blouse and begs for him to touch her. He does and instantly hates himself and her for being so sexually straight with him. And then his excitement turns into horror as he verbally lashes out at her, dragging her from the car and into the pitch black void of this endless night. She has a date with destiny and he will be the one giving it to her with the coldest of blades.

Welcome to Hell, mofos. The Sadist of Notre Dame, written and directed AND starring Spanish cult filmmaker Jess Franco, has arrived. This is a disturbed movie where the tallest of shadows do much of the talking … and the stabbing. And only one man could EVER pull off this eurotrash insanity with such a wicked sense of purpose. Drenched in a drab darkness, The Sadist of Notre Dame makes its blu-ray debut thanks to a blistering 4K transfer from Severin Films with elements found in, of all places, a nunnery.

"What we have with Severin Films’ epic treatment is the final statement in the matter of this release. THIS is the version of The Sadist of Notre Dame to own. Accept no substitutes. Franco wouldn’t have it any other way."

“I’m doing it for your own good,” screams the man with the knife. One by one, he cuts through female flesh before kissing them goodnight. Franco’s performance as the serial killer is quite crackers. He’s intense behind the camera with a certifiable hard-on for quick zooms and even quicker pans, but – as an actor – he’s completely unstable. One second whispering and begging for an audience and then shouting at the top of his lungs at his targets.

Strange emotions mark this Parisian shot film. Franco’s fans will probably shit themselves over how awesome this transfer looks and, yes, it is quite remarkably clean as our killer goes from room to room on the hunt for another female to capture, tag, and kill. The movie is as sexy as it is saucy as the killer spies on women, watches them undress, and then sleep with a man, a woman, or both before having his own way with them and the knife in his hands.

It’s both ugly and intense, but the key to Franco’s work here is his own performance and the shots of him ambling through Paris. Franco himself considered this his most personal film and that in itself is quite interesting. It’s a movie full of depravity and sin and he, as the one doing all the killing with a perma-zoom effect situated on his eyes, seems to be purging himself of a lot of anguish.

The cult filmmaker made over 200 films, editing, cutting, and repurposing movies to fit current demands and The Sadist of Notre Dame, as it had its beginnings as Exorcism and then as Sexorcism – complete with a nude woman on an upside down cross – is no different. And where is Franco in all of this satanic mockery? Watching. Always watching. It’s creepy. It’s claustrophobic. It’s so very Franco. All of it.

What we have with Severin Films’ epic treatment is the final statement in the matter of this release. THIS is the version of The Sadist of Notre Dame to own. Accept no substitutes. Franco wouldn’t have it any other way.



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Film Details

The Sadist of Notre Dame (1979) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Jesús Franco
Writer: Jesús Franco
Cast: Jesús Franco, Lina Romay, Olivier Mathot
Genre: Horror
Tagline: El sádico de Notre-Dame.
Memorable Movie Quote: 
Theatrical Distributor: 
Official Site: 
Release Date:
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 3, 2018
Synopsis: Franco stars a defrocked priest turned hooker-slashing psychopath, prowling the streets of Paris in a fever of violence, voyeurism, rampant nudity and S&M depravity.



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The Sadist of Notre Dame (1979) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray - April 3, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.57:1
Subtitles:Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1.0 track
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Discovered in the crawlspace of a Montparnasse nunnery (because Franco, of course), the 35mm elements used here for the new 4K transfer brings new details to the production. Severin’s 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (framed in 1.57:1) is leaps and bounds ahead of what previously was released on DVD. The colors and overall handling of this film does not disappoint. With a contrast fine-tuned from the original negative, the transfer is very nearly spot-on with its upgrade. Colors are fierce and bold and dance across the screen with new life. There is a thin layer of grain that adds to filmic quality of the double feature. The sound is presented in a crisp mono DTS-HD Master Audio English 1.0 track.



NoneSpecial Features:

Fans get a documentary on Parisian Horror, an interview with Stephen Thrower about Franco’s career in cinema, selected commentary from Robert Monell, and an interview with Alain Petit, author of Jess Franco Ou Les Prosperites Des Bis’.

The Gory Days Of Le Brady

Stephen Thrower On Sadist Of Notre Dame

Selected Scenes Commentary With Robert Monell

Treblemakers: Interview With Alain Petit



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The Sadist of Notre Dame (1979) - Blu-ray Review