HORRIBLE DVD release of obscure Canadian occult mystery
Vorthog | Ontario, Canada | 03/06/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is of a little-known film made in Montreal in the early 1970s, starring a very young and beautiful Karen Black, Christopher Plummer and Quebec actor Donald Pilon. This film was often shown on TV in Canada throughout the 70s, and although I cannot call it a great movie, it does have a certain atmospheric quality to it which has stuck in my mind all these years.This movie is one of a host of films that came out at around this time (see also: "The Devil's Rain", "Race With the Devil", "The Omen", "The Sentinel", etc.) which, influenced by the success of such films as Rosemary's Baby and especially The Exorcist, dealt with the theme of Satanism.Police detective Plummer and his partner Pilon are called to the murder case of prostitute Black. We flash back to Black's final days, as clues gradually lead the detectives to a Satanic cult.Plummer is good as the detective but the real star here is Black, who has never been more radiant, and who also sings the movie's hauntingly etherial theme song.It's a pity that the DVD transfer of this film is so bad, because I really do like this film and would otherwise have given it 3 stars. But unfortunately the money-grubbing DVD-making people at Beverly Wilshire were so cheap they did not even bother to do what most el-cheapo DVD release companies do when releasing a movie with a picture screen ratio wider than a conventional TV screen, which is to pan and scan. Instead, they merely went and squeezed the entire wider image into the smaller screen, thus giving us a movie of long, thin "stick people". Such lazyness is absolutely INEXCUSABLE, and I wish there were some way to punish these people who are obviously out to cheat the unsuspecting public.I guess the only real method to punish them we have at our disposal is to withhold our hard-earned money, so I would strongly advise you NOT to buy this DVD.--Which is a real pity, because this film does deserve to be seen, and if you've viewed and enjoyed the other films I've mentioned above, chances are you will probably like this one too. I can only hope that someone will someday rerelease this again in a proper DVD version, giving the film the respect it deserves. In the meantime, this film was also previously released on video, so if you scrounge around you may be able to find yourself a copy. This is what I will now have to do."
CLASSIC PULP- CULT- THRILLER- CRIME-NOIR
Ronald A. Cormier | Beamsville, Ontario Canada | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1970 gem is somewhat of a reworking of LAURA but with a satanic twist. Filmed in Montreal, it stars Christopher Plummer as a detective discovering an elusive satanic cult while investigating the suspicious death of a beautiful prostitute. Based on the novel of the same name by John Buell, the film is a well edited adaptation by director Harvey Hart. Not too many films have dealt too seriously with the uccult, asside from the EXORCIST and THE WICKER MAN, to which this film can take its place allongside. Its Provocative, original and has a powerful ironic climax from which I think SEVEN's climax was influenced from; giving into wrath. Great book... Great movie..."
Aka The Pyx
Steven Hellerstedt | 03/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A prostitute (Karen Black) dies after falling off a tall building and a Montreal policeman (Christopher Plummer) investigates what he believes is a murder.
HOOKER CULT MURDERS is a little more substantial than its title would lead one to believe. It begins with Black's character's death and follows to different threads - the story of the hooker leading up to her death and the story of the police investigation. So Black and Plummer never share a scene, but both are pretty good - Black as a drugged out prostitute dragged into something beyond her understanding, Plummer as an obsessed investigator. The movie was filmed in Montreal, and it has a nice naturalistic feel to it.
Still it's pretty long and winding, and interest flags sooner than the explanatory scenes at the end which tie up the mysteries. In fact, I thought the ending was kind of silly. The transfer print was in okay to good condition, watchable but not something you're going to savor.
An okay cappuccino movie (a cappuccino movie being one that costs less than a cup of gourmet coffee.) Recommended without reservations for Karen Black and/or Christopher Plummer fans.