Plot: What’s it about?
There’s nothing like rampant suicide to keep a city on the edge of it’s collective chairs, is there? This is exactly what is happening to the picturesque city of Rome, where a rash of brutal and disturbing suicides has authorities and townsfolk wondering just what in tarnation is going on. Of course, it’s up to the nice people at the morgue to find out some details, which means a young female (Mimsy Farmer) that works there has her hands full. As fate has it, her hands aren’t the only thing full of the creepy dead folks, but her mind also, as she’s been having visions of the living dead. Don’t you hate it when you’re forced to mix business and pleasure? In any case, she needs to solve the mystery of the suicides, so she can free her mind of these unusual visions, as well as maybe take a day off. She needs some assistance though, so she joins forces with a priest who has a dark past, which is exactly who I would choose. Together these two must delve into the darkness and shroud of mystery that surrounds this plague of suicide, and unravel the forces behind them.
This is the type of release that makes me happy I dove headfirst into the format of DVD. As with most Italian horror films, the only releases available before DVD were poor quality VHS or laserdisc imports, which were always chopped, sometimes to extreme degrees. But then came DVD, and Anchor Bay decided to release all of the classic giallo films, in their complete and uncut forms, with great audio and video, a horror fan like me’s dream. When this film was released in the United States, it was cut by over fifteen minutes, which compromised the tone and flow of the film. With this release, we finally have the full vision of Crispino’s film, which is an often overlooked film. Like other films in the Italian horror genre, Autopsy is loaded with blood and gore, so the squeamish need not apply with this title. There are also some potentially disturbing images and concepts in this film, such as artwork depicting gruesome mutilations, necrophelia, and much more. While this might turn some readers away, fans of horror flicks and the giallo genre in particular will find a worthy release with this film and disc.
This film was directed and cowrittren by Armando Crispino, who also directed such films as Frankenstein: Italian Style, The Dead Are Alive, and Commandos. Crispino does a nice job of keeping us guessing with this film, much better than modern horror filmmakers. The leads in this film are played by Mimsy Farmer (Devil’s Angels, Hot Rods To Hell) and Barry Primus (Down And Out In Beverly Hills, Black & White), who give pretty good turns here. While their performances might not be award winning caliber, given the nature of the film, I feel these two turn in good acting performances. The supporting cast also includes Massimo Serato (The Blood Stained Shadow, Constantine & The Cross), Gaby Wagner, Ray Lovelock (Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man, Breakfast At The Manchester Morgue), and Angela Goodwin (Goodbye And Amen, Woman of Wonders).
Video: How does it look?
Autopsy is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. If you’re like me, you’ve been watching horrible quality import tapes of films like this, and you will be shocked when you see how good this film looks here. While not as clean and sharp as more polished and recent films, when you factor in the previous releases, this is a wonderful transfer. The colors are rich but never bleed, and flesh tones are natural, except for the dead folks, for obvious reasons. Contrast is excellent, with well defined shadows and very little detail loss, which occurs in some of the darker scenes. The film shows some grain, but given the age and condition of the print, this image is fantastic, and minimal compression errors emerge.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains both English and the original Italian language tracks, both of which are mono in format. As with most mono tracks, the overall experience is limited, but this track manages to keep everything in order, nothing seems to get lost in the mix. The score is excellent and sets a perfect atmosphere for the film, and this mix ensures it sounds as good as the mono format allows. Dialogue is crisp and clear on both tracks, with no volume or separation issues arising at all.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Aside from the complete and uncut version of this film, this release also contains the U.S. and international trailers for the film.