Director: Sergio Martino
Shameless Screen Entertainment

"They're coming to get you" on Shameless Screen Entertainment's Blu-ray of Sergio Martino's giallo ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK.

Ever since a car accident in which she lost her unborn child, Jane Harrison (Edwige Fenech, PHANTOM OF DEATH) has been having surreal nightmares of her mother's murder by a stiletto-wielding man with intense blue eyes (Ivan Rassimov, THE MAN FROM DEEP RIVER), and her sexual relationship with sympathetic boyfriend Richard (George Hilton, DINNER WITH A VAMPIRE) has been suffering because of it. When the man starts appearing in her waking life, Jane is unable to convince her boyfriend, her sister Barbara (Susan Scott, DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT), or her sister's therapist (Jorge Rigaud, EYEBALL) that he is real. As she starts to believe she is going mad, her new neighbor Mary (Marina Malfatti, THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES) takes her to an English country house and inducts her into a Satanic coven. Blood-drinking and group sex with pale-faced hippies has a rejuvenating effect on her sex life with Richard, but her hallucinatory visions of her stalker become more real and more violent, forcing her to return to the cult where she learns from the leader of the cult (Julian Ugarte, FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD) that she can only be free from her own fears by freeing a willing Mary of her existence by death.

Opening with a wildly surreal nightmare sequence, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK has more in common with ROSEMARY'S BABY and REPULSION than director Sergio Martino's previous gialli THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH which launched the giallo "it couple" of Fenech and Hilton who were, respectively, the mistress of Martino's producer brother Luciano and a cousin of the brothers by marriage. While a pregnant Fenech had to bow out of the immediate follow-up THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL (replaced by Anita Strindberg with whom she would co-star in Martino's subsequent YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY), she resumes her role of terrorized heroine to stalker Rassimov and lover Hilton in a more twisty scenario that of course turns out to be window dressing covering up a more conventional plot, but there is much to savor from druggy hallucinations, a frequently nude Fenech, and a supporting cast of the usual suspects that also includes Luciano Pigozzi (WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS DORMITORY) and Maria Cumani Quasimodo (THE HOUSE OF WITCHCRAFT). Giancarlo Ferrando's Techniscope cinematography is no less effective for the cliché use of wide angle distortions while the scoring of Bruno Nicolai (EUGENIE) features a memorably psychedelic theme for the witches' sabbath with sitar and choral voices courtesy of Alessandro Alessandroni (THE KILLER NUN) and a more romantic theme with vocalizing by Edda dell'Orso (some of the score would be recycled for Dick Randall's trashier giallo THE FRENCH SEX MURDERS). The country house seen in the film is Wykehurst Place, also featured in THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE and DEMONS OF THE MIND.

Released stateside as THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU by Sam Sherman's Indepednent-International in a version that trimmed the opening nightmare and a few short sequences, some theaters dispensed with the final reel leading to the implication that Scotland Yard was part of the cult (this was reportedly how I-I's TV version DEMONS OF THE DEAD ended). When Sherman launched his Super Video line in the early 1980s, he released the film as DAY OF THE MANIAC with the ending restored but the film transferred in a confusing panned-and-scanned transfer. The first official English-friendly edition came out in Germany from Marketing Film in a non-anamorphic letterboxed 2.35:1 widescreen transfer at the dawn of the DVD format. An improved but still imperfect anamorphic edition followed from Shriek Show in the states with English and Italian tracks as well as English subtitles. Both versions featured the English export title ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK while Shriek Show also included the American THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU opening credits in widescreen.

Shameless' Blu-ray edition was beat out of the gate by X-Rated Kult Video's German combo edition which was not English-friendly. Shameless' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 widescreen Blu-ray is derived from a new scan of the same materials which sport Spanish opening and closing credits (the uptick in color and resolution in the transfer becomes apparent after the darker and grainier titles). The new transfer sports more naturalistic skintones in scenes not lit by candles or gel lighting (more saturated than before) while the image also reveals slivers more information on the edges of the frame. Detail in close-ups is enhanced, with not only Rassimov's blue contacts more evident (you can his real color just along the outer edge) and the make-up around his eyes in the dream sequence to distinguish his identity from the waking life version. There is evidence that the master may not have been created solely for use by Shameless. The opening credits understandably feature the subtitle "TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO" under the Spanish title but there is also an Italian translation for an "out of order" sign late in the film. The Spanish title sequence differs in content from the Italian and English. Producers Loy and Martino go uncredited in favor of production manager Ricardo Sanz and Ferrando is relegated to the end credits as "segundo operador" with INQUISITION's Miguel F. Mila (billed under Ferrando in the English credits) while art directors Jaime Pérez Cubero and José Luis Galicia (CUT THROATS NINE) are moved up from the closing credits. Optional yellow English subtitles are provided for the Italian LPCM 2.0 mono dub while the English LPCM 2.0 dub features the usual familiar dubbing voices.

Extras start off with a new commentary by Diabolique Magazine editors Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan (previously heard on Arrow Academy's Blu-ray of Walerian Borowcyzk's THE STORY OF SIN) who put an interesting new spin on the film, classifying it as a "Gothic giallo" and how sexual sadism as a motivator sometimes makes more sense than greed for such elaborate plots against the heroine. Besides drawing comparisons to other "Satanic panic"-tinged gialli like SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS, THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK, TRAGEDY AT THE VILLA ALEXANDER, and even THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (directed by Giuliano Carmineo but also starring Fenech and Hilton in a variation on both WARDH and this film), they also discuss similarities with the London-set A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN. In discussing their fondness for Fenech, they at first seem to have not had access to Fenech's video interviews when noting that she has seemed unwilling to discuss some aspects of her career but her interviews do indeed find her somewhat glossing over some details. They make some amusing observations like Malfatti being the equivalent of a "female Ivan Rassimov" in the shiftiness of her roles in giallo films, as well as how protagonists in giallo films were often as morally-flawed as the suspects and villains compared to the virginal final girls and "have sex and die" victims of the slasher genre. Listeners may want to check out the pair's "Daughters of Darkness" podcast which includes a three-part discussion of so-called "art gialli" with some very unconventional choices.

"Dark is the Color" (32:16) is a new interview with director Martino who also touches upon the influence of ROSEMARY'S BABY. He notes that his brother's company was producing gialli before the success of Dario Argento's THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE but notes its influence on the market. He recalls discovering Fenech who showed up at a dubbing studio looking for her American voice actor boyfriend, her subsequent relationship with his brother, and Hilton's pre-giallo western career. He proudly discusses the opening nightmare sequence in the film and the optical effects used in the film while also noting his displeasure at shooting in 2-perf Techniscope. He acknowledges the importance of Ferrando as well as Gastaldi, who he notes was easier to work with than other writers who often objected to the necessity of changes he made (Martino takes credit for adding the serial murderer subplot to WARDH at the story outlining stage for what he feels would have been a mere melodrama without it). Although he knows that his fans will feel differently, he voices his preference for his comedies for Fenech over the thrillers in which Fenech was an "ode to sexuality" rather than a tormented victim. "Doors" (10:44) is a 2012 short film by Michele De Angelis in which a young woman goes mad while trapped in the space between an inner and outer door of her apartment over a long weekend. The disc closes out with a "Shameless Trailer Reel" (1:26) that is actually a Mondo Macabro-esque clip reel, but there are startup trailers for STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, TOP SENSATION, and TORSO (although only the latter has been announced for Blu-ray). (Eric Cotenas)