the movie, his liner notes on the reverse side of the case sleeve, and a ninteen-minute interview in which he also dishes on a number of intriguing off-topic subjects (Watergate, a mafia/Vatican conspiracy, etc.). In addition, there’s a fun seg- ment in which he attends a 2017 screening and meets fans at PA’s Mahoning Drive-In.


JESSICA TO DEATH (1971) Blu-ray Starring Zohra Lampert, Mariclare Costello and Barton Heyman

Directed by John D. Hancock

Written by John D. Hancock (as Ralph Rose) and Lee Kalcheim (as Norman Jonas) Scream Factory

“I sit here and I can’t believe it happened. And yet, I have to believe it.” Thanks to Scream Factory, this haunting 1971 cult classic arrives on Blu-ray at last. Zohra Lampert stars as Jessi- ca, looking to make a fresh start after a recent nervous break- down. Along with her husband and a family friend, she seeks a new life on a small secluded island on a lake in Connecticut. Upon their arrival at their new home, however, the trio find

the mysterious Emily (Mariclare Costello) inside. Before long, Jessica begins hearing voices and seeing strange figures draped in white. Has she truly recovered from her illness, or is there something sinister going on in this idyllic small town?

Despite its Grand Dame Guignol-esque shock- er of a title, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is a moody and atmospheric character study, lan- guid and unsettling with a slow-burn creepiness. Whispers, creaking floorboards, and dark shad- ows serve to disquiet, and they’ve never looked or sounded better than they do here. Lampert is astounding as Jessica, giving the kind of nuanced performance that makes horror fans wish the genre was taken more seriously come awards season. It’s a shame that she and



ZOMBIE   


Costello are absent from this edition’s special features, but they’re featured in spirit, at least, in the terrific commen- tary track from director John D. Hancock and producer Bill Badalato. The pair show well-earned pride in their film – Hancock’s first – while dis- cussing inspirations, behind- the-scenes tricks, and even Jessica’s lesbian subtext. Perhaps more than anything, though, they rightfully praise the craftsmanship of their leads.

An illuminating conver-

sation with film historian Kim Newman is also included, wherein he talks about his personal relationship with the film while placing it amongst its genre contemporaries and horror history at large. An interview with composer Or- ville Stoeber, meanwhile, is less informative than either the Newman feature or the commentary track. The disc is rounded out with a brief “then and now” visit to sev- eral of the movie’s locations, and the requisite trailers, TV/ radio spots, and stills gallery.

There aren’t as many meaty bonus features as

a Jessica obsessive might want, but this is still a vastly worthwhile release, with sound and pic- ture quality that makes the movie feel like new. STACIE PONDER

Disarmed BODY PARTS (1991) Blu-ray

Starring Jeff Fahey, Kim Delaney and Brad Dourif Directed by Eric Red

Written by Eric Red and Norman Snider Scream Factory

One of the more interesting horror subgenres comes to us in the form of a (sometimes dis- embodied) malevolent limb. Think Oliver Stone’s The Hand, Evil Dead 2, and Robert Wiene’s The

Hands of Orlac, from which 1991’s Body Parts takes inspiration. Here, psychi- atrist Bill Chrushank (Jeff Fahey, Lost) loses an arm in a freak auto accident. Luck- ily for him, he’s whisked to a hospital that just happens to have a clinic for a radi- cal new procedure in which donor limbs can be quickly reattached. Soon, Fahey is plagued with nightmares, and it turns out that his new arm has a mind – and will – of its own.

Sure, the concept is ludi-

crous but, in theory, that’s part of the fun – espe- cially when the movie explores the antics of oth- er men who received limbs from the same donor. Agreeable but languidly paced, the first act plods along, and while director Eric Red plays things fairly straight, aiming for some verisimilitude in the family drama, the film’s nutty concept would have benefitted from a looser, crazier vibe. Fa- hey, for instance, is good, but underplays a role better suited for a nervier performance (such as Brad Dourif, who turns in a charismatic cameo). It finally gets there by the third act, a huge tonal shift from the opening, with psycho killers and car chases and gory mishaps with three recipi- ents of the mysterious limbs. The film boasts a solid score from Loek Dikker, channelling Ber- nard Herrmann, and Canadian fans will also have fun spotting the Toronto locations, including the U of T buildings and Distillery District (where Cronenberg’s The Fly was shot).

Scream Factory’s clean HD update looks good, and new to the disc is the feature commen- tary with director Eric Red, who’s also given a one-hour talking head doc, reminiscing about not just Body Parts, but his experiences writing cult classics The Hitcher and Near Dark. But the scene-stealing featurette comes from editor An- thony Redman, whose enthusiasm for film (both Body Parts and others in his career) is infectious, and hints at an early cut of the movie that was much wilder and gorier, as evidenced in the de- leted scenes featured here, but sadly dismem- bered by studio brass.


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