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Sorceress Blu-Ray Review

Blu-Ray Review- Sorceress

Distributor: Scorpion Releasing

Street Date: August 19th 2014

Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, Color, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono

Runtime: 83 Minutes

Sorceress (Scorpion Releasing)

Sorceress (Scorpion Releasing)

The Film:

Working with the same cost effective formula established at AIP, Roger Corman’s New World Pictures delivered an array of memorable B-movie goodness throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Made for only half a million dollars, Sorceress would go on to gross roughly 4 million dollars at the box office, and become a late-night cult staple of premium television entertainment on HBO and Cinemax.

Sorceress begins in unintentionally hilarious campy fashion, with the wizard Traigon in hot pursuit of his wife in the forest, who has run away from him after giving birth to their twin daughters. Traigon had plans to sacrifice his first born child to their God Caligara, but is unsure which daughter was born first. The Gandalf-esque wizard Krona shows up to save the day, leaving Traigon dead, but not before he promises to resurrect himself and finish the job. Traigon’s wife leaves her twin daughters to Krona, who promises to raise them as warriors, but then promptly leaves them with a trusted friend. You get an immediate sense of the camp value involved here with the forced line delivery, bad dubbing, and cheap effects during the battle between Krona and Traigon’s guards.

Several years pass, and Traigon returns with the help of his hairy-pit female companion and a man in a monkey suit. The twins, Mira and Mara, are grown up now and played by Playboy playmates Leigh and Lynette Harris. They’re trained warriors now, catching arrows with their bare hands, glowing bright blue at random times (for unexplained reasons), and swimming naked in lakes while being watched by a horny goat man. When their adoptive parents are killed, they come across the Barbarian Erlik and Baldar the Viking, who join the girls in their journey to defeat Traigon before he can fulfill his promise to Caligara.

When watching a film like Sorceress, you have to put things in perspective. I don’t think there’s any way you could call this a quality film, but New World Pictures was never aiming for Oscar material. This is pure Roger Corman B-movie goodness, with plenty of poorly choreographed action scenes, ample sex and nudity, and genuine laughs (both intentional and unintentional). There’s even a lion-bat hybrid God, which Corman had created and filmed in post to reflect the already made poster. Sorceress falls into the “so bad it’s good” category of cult classics, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it in High Definition.

 

Video Quality:

Scorpion Releasing has conjured Sorceress onto the Blu-Ray format with a solid High Definition presentation. The film grain is intact and authentic, colors look accurate, and fine object detail is impressive for the most part. You can see a surprising amount of detail in the recycled Corman costumes and set dressing. The bottom line is that the picture quality is consistent throughout, with only a handful of scenes exhibiting some anomalies (scratches, pops, etc.). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for me personally, those anomalies are part of the fun for B-movie genre films. Scorpion Releasing has done a fine job on the transfer.

Audio Quality:

The DTS-HD Mono track isn’t quite as strong as the video presentation, but it certainly gets the job done. The dialogue, sound effects, and the score come through just fine, but seem a bit “tinny” and lack the dynamic range of a multi-channel effort, which is to be expected. I was satisfied with the presentation, especially given the nature of the film.

Special Features:

Scorpion Releasing has provided fans of Sorceress with select interviews and trailers on this new Blu-Ray edition. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:

  • The Magic Behind Sorceress: An Interview with Roger Corman– This interview with the legendary Roger Corman runs nearly seven minutes and details the production of Sorceress in surprising depth given the runtime. From the initial budget and filming restraints to the sexy Playboy Playmate Harris twins, and the low budget special effects to filming in Mexico, we get to hear quite a bit about the making of the film. Corman, as always, is a delight to listen to. He seems to remember the production on each of his films so well on these interviews with Scorpion and other distributors, which is great for the fans!
  • The Illusion Behind Sorceress: An Interview with John Carl Buechler– This extended interview runs nearly 16 minutes and features Special Effects technician John Carl Buechler discussing his work on the film. Buechler discusses starting the production after working on Galaxy of Terror, being asked by Corman to pick-up Don Post masks from Famous Monsters of Filmland and manipulate them for the film, deciding to sculpt his own masks after all, and other fun insights into the low budget effects for the movie. He does a killer Roger Corman impression to boot! Buechler is hilarious, and his on-set stories are so much fun for fans of the film.
  • The Incantation Behind Sorceress: An Interview with Jim Wynorski- This roughly 10 minute interview with Screenwriter Jim Wynorski details his involvement on Sorceress, including being given a single week to write the script for the film (which Roger Corman requested after seeing the box office success of Conan the Barbarian), the last time he saw Jack Hill after he turned in a religious-themed final product, the re-editing and re-shoots involved, the inclusion of the horny goat man, and much more.
  • Interview with Clark Henderson- The former head of Post Production for Corman, Clark Henderson spends this nearly 9 minute interview discussing his work on the production of Sorceress. The discussion of Corman and Hill’s conflict during the making of the film is fascinating. With this final interview featurette, we get a very well-rounded look into the making of the movie. Great stuff!
  • Trailers- Roughly 9 ½ minutes of trailers for current and upcoming titles from Scorpion Releasing including: Sorceress, Space Raiders, Stripped to Kill, Sorority House Massacre, and Seizure.

The Packaging:

As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray edition from Scorpion Releasing features the fantastic original theatrical poster design for Sorceress, which according to Roger Corman, helped the film achieve great success. It’s the perfect sword and sorcery imagery, with the hybrid animal, barely dressed babe, and shiny steel weapons. On the reverse of the case you’ll find a plot synopsis for the film, a list of special features, technical specifications, and select production stills. On the interior of the case is a Blu-Ray disc that features the same theatrical poster design.

Sorceress (reverse)

Sorceress (reverse)

Sorceress (interior)

Sorceress (interior)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Report:

Sorceress falls into the “so bad it’s good” category of cult classics, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it in High Definition. This is pure Roger Corman B-movie goodness, with plenty of poorly choreographed action scenes, ample sex and nudity, and genuine laughs (both intentional and unintentional). The video presentation looks clean and consistent, with natural film grain present and accurate color reproduction. The DTS-HD master audio track lacks the dynamic quality of a bigger production, but it gets the job done. The special features are the standout aspect on this Blu-Ray release, with wonderful interviews with the likes of Roger Corman, Jim Wynorski, and more. Scorpion Releasing put a lot of effort and passion into this release for B-movie fans, and they absolutely delivered. If you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” cinema, then this is an easy recommendation.

Yours Truly,

Doctor Macabre

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