Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Passing (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • The Passing (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: June 25th, 2019.
    Director: John Huckert
    Cast: James Carroll Plaster, Welton Benjamin Johnson, John W. Huckert Jr., Wade Carney
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Passing - Movie Review:

    A strange, obscure low-budget picture directed by John Huckert in 1983, The Passing follows Ernie (James Carroll Plaster) and Rose (Welton Benjamin Johnson), a pair of WWII veterans, both widowers at this point in their life. They share a rundown house in a less than perfect neighborhood located outside of Baltimore. They bonded while in the service together but these days, their relationship, while still solid, is starting to show signs of strain. They're broke and as they've been getting older, they've been having health problems. They don't really have anyone to help them out with this, for all intents and purposes they are alone.

    After introducing us to them, we meet a young man named Wade (played by Huckert himself). He's got a lot more going for him in life than the other two men - he's young, he's got a decent job and he's happily married with a kid. His life comes crumbling down when his wife is attacked and Wade loses his cool and kills the culprit. He is found guilty of murder and put on death row.

    How do their storylines connect? Ernie is starting to worry about death - worry a lot. It's clearly eating away at him and when his doctor encourages him to join a strange program wherein some elderly test subjects have their minds and, yes, their souls transferred into young, healthy bodies he takes a chance on it. Who should be assigned to become Ernie's new host body? Wade, of course, although this assignment has not been a willing one. What could go wrong? Well, we won't spoil things from here on out but the movie, which takes its sweet time to get going, really turns things around in its last half and goes into some genuinely unexpected and eerie territory.

    Made over a seven-year span, The Passing is not a perfect film but it is a very good one. As noted above, the pacing is pretty sluggish but this is a movie that's definitely worth sticking with. As the film progresses, it gets increasingly more unusual not just from a narrative perspective, but from a sensory perspective as well. The film makes great use of some unique sound design and some interesting and creative effects set pieces to build to a pretty impressive conclusion, one that you won't likely see coming.

    Interestingly enough, parts of the film were assembled using material originally shot for a couple of short films that Huckert made - The Water That Is Passed and Ernie And Rose (both included in the extra features section of this release) - but it works. The movie doesn't feel like it was put together piece meal, it's quite coherent and there aren't massively distracting differences in the look of the footage. Performances are decent enough as well. James Carroll Plaster and Welton Benjamin Johnson do a better job than anyone else in the movie, their genuinely sad state of life will resonate with anyone who has seen a relative grow old to the point where their health starts failing. The movie treats its subject matter with maturity and a seriousness that the audience can get into. Yeah, this is quirky and odd and, again, a very definite slow burn - but it works.

    The Passing - Blu-ray Review:

    The Passing arrives on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer 'newly scanned & restored in 2k from 16mm archival elements' and framed at 1.33.1. This is one grainy looking film, which isn't surprising given the elements that were available, but the transfer is a good one. Detail isn't bad at all given what was available to work with and while minor to moderate print damage shows up from time to time, the image is stable and boasts good color reproduction and black levels.

    The only audio option offered for the feature is an English language mono track in 24-bit DTS-HD format. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. No problems here, the sound quality is pretty solid. The film's sound design is unique and decidedly weird, and the odd noises and strange tones that are used throughout sound quite good here. Dialogue stays clear, the levels are well-balanced.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary with director John Huckert, moderated by Tom Fitzgerald of EXP TV. It's an interesting talk with Fitzgerald, clearly enamored with the picture, talking about how he came to discover the film and keeping Huckert engaged throughout. As they talk, we learn about the origins of the picture, what the cast and crew brought to the movie, the film's arduous sounding production schedule, problems that arose on set, how his family helped him get the picture finished and more. Interesting stuff.

    As to the featurettes, Water Under The Bridge is a sixteen-minute interview with producer/co-writer Mary Maruca who talks here about how she got to know Huckert who brought her on boar to work on the picture without having any actual experience in the industry. She also talks about working on the script with him and how her schedule changed over the course of the production. In Passing Time we're treated to a n interview with cinematographer Richard Chisolm that clocks in at just over twenty-two-minutes in length. He discusses in this piece about meeting Huckert when they were in school together and using school equipment on the low budget shoot. He talks about his experiences on the shoot and some of the projects that he took on after finishing it.

    Vinegar Syndrome has also included a trio of short films directed by John Huckert:

    - The Water That Is Passed (1976)
    - Quack (1976)
    - Einmal (1979)
    - Ernie & Rose (1982)

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a promotional and article gallery. Menus and chapter selection are also included. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie and Vinegar Syndrome packages this with some nice reversible cover artwork.

    The Passing - The Final Word:

    The Passing is a very slow burn but the pay off and the interesting ideas at play here make it all worthwhile. Vinegar Syndrome has done a nice job bringing this to Blu-ray with a solid presentation and a nice selection of extra features as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized The The Passing Blu-ray screen caps!






























      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • The Films Of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years (AGFA) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: AGFA/Something Weird Video
      Released on: May 24thh, 2022.
      Director: Doris Wishman
      Cast: Chesty Morgan, Harry Reems, João Fernandes, Linda Southern, Leslie, Cindy Boudreau, Sandra Kay, Michele Marie
      Year: 1974/1974/1970/1977/1975/1971
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Films Of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years – Movie Review:

      Anyone even remotely familiar with the history of exploitation films knows the name Doris Wishman. Looked
      ...
      05-20-2022, 02:57 PM
    • X (Lionsgate) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Lionsgate
      Released on: May 24th, 2022.
      Director: Ti West
      Cast: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Scott Mescudi
      Year: 2022
      Purchase From Amazon

      X – Movie Review:

      Ti West’s 2022 film, X, takes place in Texas in the year 1979 and sets things up with an obvious nod towards Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The home video market is just starting to pick up and a Houston strip club owner...
      05-20-2022, 02:43 PM
    • The Bushwhacker / The Ravager (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Mondo Macabro
      Released on: June 14th, 2022.
      Director: Byron Mabe/Charles Nizet
      Cast: Dan Martin, Merci Montello, Barbara Kline, Harvey Shain / Pierre Agostino, Jo Long, Lynn Hayes
      Year: 1968 / 1970
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Bushwhacker / The Ravager – Movie Review:

      The debut release from Mondo Macabro’s American Arcana line (a sublabel dedicated to only the finest in ‘U.S. trash and genre films’) offers up a
      ...
      05-19-2022, 12:54 PM
    • Hellaware (Factory 25) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Factory 25
      Released on: April 26th, 2022.
      Director: Michael M. Bilandic
      Cast: Keith Poulson, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil, Brent Butler
      Year: 2014
      Purchase From Amazon

      Hellaware – Movie Review:

      Written and directed by Michael M. Bilandic, 2014’s Hellaware stars Keith Poulson as Nate, a Manhattan-based photographer hoping to make it big in the city’s art scene – or at least he was until he got jaded with the
      ...
      05-19-2022, 12:30 PM
    • Umma (Sony Pictures) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Sony Pictures
      Released on: May 24th, 2022.
      Director: Iris K. Shim
      Cast: Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, MeeWha Lee
      Year: 2022
      Purchase From Amazon

      Umma – Movie Review:

      Directed by Iris K. Shim and produced by Sam Raimi for his own Raimi Productions, 2022’a Umma (which is the Korean word for ‘mother’) stars Sandra Oh as a woman named Amanda who lives with her daughter Chris (Fivel Stewart)
      ...
      05-19-2022, 12:00 PM
    • Born To Win (Fun City Editions) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Fun City Editions
      Released on: April 26th, 2022.
      Director: Ivan Passer
      Cast: George Segal, Karen Black, Paula Prentiss, Hector Elizondo, Jay Fletcher, Robert De Niro
      Year: 1971
      Purchase From Amazon

      Born To Win – Movie Review:

      Directed by Ivan Passer shortly after he immigrated to The United States from his native country of Czechoslovakia, 1971’s Born To Win revolves around a man named J. (George Segal) who lives
      ...
      05-12-2022, 01:15 PM
    Working...
    X