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Master Of The World (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Master Of The World (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: February 22nd, 2022.
    Director: Alberto Cavallone
    Cast: Sven Kruger, Sasha D'Arc, Viviana Maria Rispoli, Maria Vittoria Garlanda
    Year: 1983
    Purchase From Amazon

    Master Of The World – Movie Review:

    Clearly inspired by the success of Quest For Fire, director Alberto Cavallone’s 1983 film Master Of The World takes place in the days of the caveman, thousands of years before and long before civilization as we know it had begun to take shape. The film follows a young man named Bog (Sven Kruger) who hopes to one day take on the role of leader of his tribe. But before all of that can happen, he’ll get the crap kicked out of him by a group of ruthless savages who leave him in the harsh wilderness for dead.

    Luckily for Bog, a lovely young woman (Viviana Maria Rispoli) finds him. She’s kind enough to bring him back to her tribe where he’s slowly but surely nursed back to health. Her tribes just so happens to be at war with a different tribe that has a penchant for cutting their enemies heads off. Bog, basically fully recovered at this point, decides to pay them back a bit and help her tribe fight off the decapitators so that no one’s heads are cut open and brains are eaten unnecessarily. Later, some people fight a bear.

    Master Of The World is a pretty mixed bag. It gets some things right, like the over the top nasty gore scenes, and it gets some things wrong, like the pacing and frequent padding involving characters sitting around grunting at one another. While this was made on a modest budget, it’s clear that Cavallone and company were trying to get things right. The locations that were used for the film typically look lush and unspoiled by modern society and the caveman costumes that were created for the movie seem decent enough. There are some fun fight scenes here, and the scene where the cavemen fight a bear (and it is a real bear, not a guy in a bear suit) is intense simply because we can see that it is a real bear that these actors are brawling with. There’s also a scene involving some wolves that is pretty cool, though the wolves seem pretty chilled out so it isn’t as intense. But still, they’re wolves, and wolves are cool.

    The movie has a few solid gore set pieces that are quite strong, surprisingly so at times. People get cut up with rudimentary (read blunt) tools a few times, and these scenes look pretty painful. The scene where the cavemen bash open some heads and feast on the brains of their enemies is particularly effective, really going for the gross out as we see the actors doing a good job of pretending to eat what we learn in the extra features was actually lambs brains that had been stewing inside a well-made fake head for ours and causing quite a stink! There’s some rough cavemen sex thrown into the mix as well. The exploitation value of Master Of The World is stronger than you’d probably expect, it goes a lot further than the movies that inspired it.

    It’s a shame then that long stretches of the film are just kind of dull. The plotting here is pretty loose and without much in the way of actual dialogue to let us into the characters’ heads, it can be a bit of a challenge to pay attention during the many calmer scenes. The movie also features a score by Alberto Baldan Bembo that doesn’t suit the film at all and at times feels wildly inappropriate.

    Master Of The World – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome offers up Master Of The World on Region Free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 31GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Presented “newly scanned & restored in 4k from 35mm interpositive,” the picture quality looks very good once we get past the rough looking opening credits sequence. The stock footage inserts look a bit worse for wear but the rest of the footage included here looks great. Colors, greens in particular, look very bright and lush without looking artificially boosted. There are no issues with compression and picture is free of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. Depth, detail and texture are always strong and skin tones look nice and natural.

    The only audio option for the feature itself is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono Master Audio track in “English” with optional subtitles provided in English only. There isn’t really much in the way of actual dialogue here but the narration sounds clean and clear enough. The effects and score sound decent as well, while the various grunts and screams of the characters in the movie sound just fine. An alternate Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track, also in English, is included on the disc as well.

    Extras start off with Quest For Survival, an interview with assistant director Stefano Pomilia. This piece runs for forty-one minutes and it talks about his father's work in the Italian film industry and how he founded Stefano Film and some of the highlights of that endeavor. IT also covers his father's production work on films like Yeti: Giant Of The 20th Century, how the Italian film industry then fell into a slump and started making films geared more towards the VHS market. He covers pre-selling the film, how Alberto Cavallone came to direct the picture for his father, who served as producer, similarities to Ironmaster, work that was done on the screenplay, some of the details and subtext he feels is present in the film, research that went into making the film, working with animals on the shoot, the makeup and effects work required, locations that were used, issues that arose with director of photography Sandro Mancori during the shoot and how he feels about the film overall.

    200,000 Years Ago is an interview with Davide Pulici, biographer of writer/director Alberto Cavallone that runs for forty-one minutes. He gives a detailed overview of Cavallone's life and times in this piece, going over some of the details of his personal life but also discussing how he was always working, always thinking of the next project while still finishing a current one. We learn about his background and training, some of the early films he worked on in different genres including sex films and porn that he directed under an alias, cashing in on the success of Quest For Fire with Master Of The World, Cavallone's contributions to Ironmaster, how the characters in the film represent two different sides of evolution, whether or not the movie was in fact an Italian/Spanish co-production, shooting locations, the film's release history and more.

    The film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Vinegar Syndrome packages this release with some reversible cover sleeve artwork and the first five thousand units purchased directly from their website come with a limited edition embossed slipcover designed by Robert Sammelin.

    Master Of The World - The Final Word:

    Master Of The World has moments of greatness that are absolutely going to appeal to fans of gory Italian nonsense but these scenes are sometimes outdone by a very pedestrian plot and some pacing problems. Still, it’s nice to be able to see this legitimately obscure movie looking as good as it does here and the two interviews do a nice job of documenting the film’s history.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Master Of The World Blu-ray screen caps!

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