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Strangler Vs Strangler (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Strangler Vs Strangler (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: June 14th, 2022.
    Director: Slobodan Šijan
    Cast: Taško Načić, Nikola Simić, Srđan Šaper, Rahela Ferari
    Year: 1984
    Purchase From Amazon

    Strangler Vs Strangler – Movie Review:

    Directed by Slobodan Šijan and set in the Belgrade of the early 1980’s, Strangler Vs Strangler opens with an amusing prologue of sorts that explains that while the city where the story is set is very much a thriving and bustling urban center, it lacks one thing to make it a true metropolis – a serial killer. After all, the other major cities across the globe have all had at least one to claim as their own, but Belgrade? Nope! There’s plenty of other crime to give the city a seedy edge, even a fair amount of murder, but without a serial killer the city just can’t get to that next level.

    From here we meet Pera Mitic (Taško Načić), a carnation seller by trade. Pera has some issues, not the least of which is his horrible, domineering mother, and maybe not so surprisingly, Pera starts strangling women who deny his advances and/or his sales pitches. The more women that Pera kills, the more it starts to look like Belgrade finally has the serial killer it needs to advance.

    Elsewhere is the city lives Spiridon (Srdjan Saperbe), the lead singer of a punk band who instantly takes an almost unhealthy, obsessive interest in the killings and who starts working him into his latest songwriting. When his latest single, 'The Belgrade Stranger,' starts to climb up the charts, a copycat killer emerges giving Pera a run for his money while the city’s top cop, the bungling Inspector Ognjen (Nikola Simic), finds himself under more and more pressure to put a stop to the murders. As Spiridon’s song becomes a legitimate hit, a female DJ named Sofija Mackic (Sonja Savic) speaks out about its popularity and its subject matter, bringing her attention she definitetly doesn’t want…

    A weird film populated with even weirder characters, Strangler Vs Strangler is a genuinely engaging black comedy that gets dark, but never too dark, and which is made all the more enjoyable thanks to some really solid acting. Taško Načić is great as the film’s lead, portraying Pera as appropriately strange and disconnected. He does crazy well, and brings a lot of odd little comedic touches to his work that makes him a lot of fun to watch. Srdjan Saperbe is also good as the fledgling musician inspired by Pera’s work while Nikola Simic is also quite amusing as the city’s bumbling cop, looking even goofier than he would otherwise thanks to his funny little moustache. Sonja Savic is decent in her role as well, but not as memorable as she isn’t fleshed out quite as well as the other three main characters in the movie.

    The premise for the film isn’t overly complicated but the script that Sijan co-wrote with Nebosja Pajkick is really well-done and gives the cast plenty to work off of. The production values are also very good. The locations are very nicely photographed and the score is solid. Sijan paces the movie well, ensuring that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Ultimately, this is one worth seeking out, it’s really well-made and as entertaining as it is unorthodox.

    Strangler Vs Strangler – Blu-ray Review:

    Mondo Macabro brings Strangler Vs Strangler to Region A Blu-ray framed in 1.78.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on a 50GB disc with the feature using up just over 30GBS of space. Taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative, picture quality on this release is great. There’s a lot of appreciable detail here and the colors look excellent. We get nice black levels and accurate looking skin tones. The disc avoids any obvious crush or compression issues and the transfer is free of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement, always retaining a good amount of natural film grain.

    The original Serbian and dubbed English language options are provided in 24-bit LPCM 2.0 with separate subtitle tracks provided for each option. Both tracks sound very nice, clear and properly balanced, but the film does play better in its native language. Either way, there are no problems to note with any hiss or distortion, it all sounds very good.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary from Serbian film critics and historians Dejan Ognjanović and Igor Stanojević that is helpful in putting the film into context and in exploring its history. They cover Slobodan Šijan’s career in some depth, discuss the contributions of the cast and crew members, explore the themes that the movie deals with and offer up a good mix of trivia and analysis.

    The disc also includes a new half-hour long interview with director Slobodan Šijan called Killers And Carnations. He talks about making the film in Belgrade and the importance of the locations, what it was like making a fantasy/horror movie in Serbia and how that was very uncommon at the time, some of the influences such as Fritz Lang's M that worked their way into the movie, the use of music in the film, the cast, his intentions with specific scenes and moments in the film, the film's release history, his experimental film work from the seventies and more.

    Finishing up the extras is the Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection options.

    Strangler Vs Strangler - The Final Word:

    Strangler Vs Strangler is a seriously quirky film but it’s pretty entertaining stuff, a unique blend of horror and humor that is stylish, engaging and satisfyingly weird. Mondo Macabro’s disc features an interesting commentary and interview and offers up this underappreciated gem in a beautiful presentation. Recommended!



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