04 January, 2015

ILSA, THE MAD BUTCHER (1977) Golden Goya Collection Blu ray review by Wearethedead

Guest Review by Wearethedead
ISLA, THE MAD BUTCHER Blu-ray; Golden Goya Collection

The Blu-ray of GRETA, HAUS OHNE MANNER aka ILSA, THE WICKED WARDEN/ISLA, THE MAD BUTCHER seems to be an amazing example of the Golden Goya collection from Erwin C. Dietrich. So far I've upgraded this one and Frauengefängnis and have been very happyily impressed with the upgrades. Dyanne Thorne, Lina Romay and the always underrated Tania Busselier lead the cast in this sordid tale of women in prison, with one of Uncle Jess' most inventive plots in this kind of scenario. 

 This film really stands out as one of the first Jess Franco films I saw growing up as a teen on VHS. Lina's performance in particular is a real stand-out. The one of hers that made me take notice and want to know more about the actress. This doesn't always happen watching B-cinema, but in this case I'm glad it did. She plays the lead inmate as Juana, and also pet to Dyanne Thorne's warden in this psychiatric clinic. I still rate this among Lina's best films followed by CELESTINE, LES POSSEDEES DU DIABLE, PLAISIR A TROIS, SINFONIA EROTICA, GEMIDOS DE PLACER, MIL SEXO TIENE LA NOCHE and BOTAS NEGRA LATIGO DE CUERO. 

The film plays a bit more like entertainment than the earlier Frauengefängnis.Possibly from Dietrich's insistence for a more polished product. However, still containing the odd smaller characters like Peggy Markhoff 's "champion knitter" and still has all the touches of Jess Franco cinema even if the camera was by Ruedi Küttel, and not Jess himself. Initially, my introduction to GRETA came via two different versions on VHS, then later in 2000 Anchor Bay released a DVD version with great commentary by Dyanne and Howard Maurer. I was aware that Dietrich had released a DVD version on his own in 2003 imprint but I never got that one. My guess at the time was it would be close in quality to the Anchor Bay edition and instead I collected some other titles in those 2003 releases. Fast forward to 2014 and I'm seeing his Blu-ray release of GRETA. Firstly, the video quality seems first rate. Interior scenes that appeared shot indoors at night or with little ambient light are strikingly lit, almost artificially. 

The first view of this Blu-ray visually almost played like a new film as I had seen this countless times in the old version. Of course, it's the same film but it did take a bit to get used to this new quality presentation.This film could possibly raise an interesting debate over vastly improved video quality changing the aura and mood of the film. This new version again looks great but some of the contrasts of the old version I miss in some scenes but not in others. The Blu offers audio options in German, Italian, English and French with the added coup of English and Japanese subtitles. The addition of the English subtitles was another reason I wanted to reinvest in this title as to be fair, I thought my Anchor Bay edition looked well enough.For some reason, Dietrich's interest in providing subtitles has only passed on to a few of these reissues. Not sure why since for many this is a reason to upgrade. His previous releases already looked very good so it's uncertain what the angle was in leaving them off. Also included is some interview footage and some great photo stills in the extras as well,,,

(C) Wearethedead, 2014

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