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Special Silencers (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Special Silencers (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: April 9th, 2024.
    Director: Arizal
    Cast: Barry Prima, Eva Arnaz, W.D. Mochtar
    Year: 1982
    Purchase From Amazon

    Special Silencers – Movie Review:

    When director Arizal’s 1982 epic begins, we meet a man named Gumilar (W.D. Mochtar), a sinister dude who has constantly bloodshot eyes. He’s meeting with a man about some sort of business deal, but a flashback shows us how some time ago he killed an old man with a white beard and stole his magic seeds! The old man hacked up Gumilar’s leg pretty good and said “Fuck you!” before he died, but die he did. Back to the present and we see Gumilar slips one of the seeds into the other guy’s coffee and, a short time later, he keels over, shocked to see roots sprouting out from his chest which leads to his bloody demise. It seems that Gumilar is using these seeds to take out his political opponents in a bizarre scheme to take over the town.

    Elsewhere, a man named Hendra (Barry Prima) is scooting around on his super rad dirt bike when he comes across a beautiful young woman named Julia (Eva Arnaz) who, along with her uncle, is stranded at the side of the road. Hendra helps them out and learns that Julia’s uncle is the mayor, but when they get to a broken bridge, there’s no way they’re getting their truck across. Hendra, being cool, jumps the broken bridge on his dirt bike unaware that Gumilar and his men are skulking about. Julia gets attacked and her uncle, unaware that his food has been tainted with the seeds, dies on the bridge with yet more roots erupting from his torso. Neat!

    From here, Hendra and Julia try to figure out who killed her uncle and why, which leads to Gumilar, who likes to hide in trees and throw snakes at people, doing everything that he can to get rid of them, but Julia is no pushover and Hendra’s martial arts skills are as bad ass as his forehead is amazingly tall.

    Featuring all sorts of bizarre hijinks and a stand out scene where Julia is covered in dirty shoe gunk and shrimp paste to attract rats as well as a pretty cool ‘death by buzz saw’ sequence, Special Silencers is a pretty over the top action movie with some gory deaths and a whole lot of solid martial arts action. You get as much wackiness as you’d expect from the Director who brought us The Stabilizer, including the aforementioned ‘bad guy throwing snakes at people’ bit and a really fun scene where Hendra has to journey through a booby trapped hallway and avoid a bunch of pointy sticks that shoot out of the wall, but the action set pieces are strong. Both Prima and Arnaz (the pair would later get married!) move fast and show off some pretty serious skills in the martial arts department – a whole lot of people get kicked in this movie!

    Ultimately, this may not be an especially deep film, but it is a really entertaining mix of wild action, bizarre death scenes and wonky performances all set to a seriously cool, if slightly repetitive, synth score. It’s quick in its pacing and never dull, offering up plenty of entertainment value for your hard earned dollar.

    Note that Mondo Macabro includes the restored version of the movie as well as an extended version of the film, running 1:30:09 versus 1:26:38. It seems that damage to the available elements meant that some footage was excised from the restored version, so Mondo Macabro has added the missing footage, taken from a 1.33.1 framed Dutch VHS tape with burned in subtitles and English dubbed dialogue, to create the complete version of the movie.

    Special Silencers – Blu-ray Review:

    Special Silencers hits Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro, one home video for the first time in its original aspect ratio, in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen taken from a new high definition restoration provided by Parkit Films. Elements were clearly not in perfect shape as there’s some damage here and there but the restoration is a good one, with the colors (usually) looking pretty strong and black levels coming through well enough. There’s pretty solid detail throughout most of the movie and some appreciable depth and texture as well. There aren’t any noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or obvious noise reduction to complain about – all in all, this looks pretty strong, just keep in mind there’s some damage here and there.

    Audio options are provided in Indonesian and in an English dub, both in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono format, with optional subtitles provided that translate the Indonesian dialogue. Aside from a short stretches of unsubtitled dialogue, the audio is pretty decent. There’s a few instances where some sibilance creeps into the mix but for the most part, both tracks sound pretty clean and are properly balanced.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Andrew Leavold, who talks passionately about his love of East Asian genre cinema, what makes Special Silencers as fascinating as it is, the film’s bizarre release history, how it wound up getting dubbed onto VHS and released only in The Netherlands, how the post-war landscape in Southeast Asia affected the film industry and society as a whole, cooperation that existed between the film industries in the area, how rapid economic growth affected things, how films produced for the local market took on a lower status than those intended to export, the popularity of martial arts films around the time that the movie was made, details on the film’s director and production company, Barry Prima’s involvement in all of this, different Indonesian exploitation films that were made and released around the same time, comparisons to Filipino and Bollywood cinema and quite a bit more.

    Up next is a twenty-five minute documentary on Indonesian exploitation films that was originally shown on television in the UK in 2001. This is the same documentary that graced their PAL Region 0 release of Mystics In Bali and their two-disc Virgins From Hell DVD release, so it's been seen before, but for those without those discs, it'll be brand new and it proves to be well worth its weight in gold. There are interviews with plenty of the people involved in the Indonesian movie scene (including Raam Punjabifrom Parkit Films who produced Special Silencers, Sunil Samtabi from Rapi Films, director Tjut Djalil, Barry Prima and a few others) as well as clips from plenty of the films that they made including a few of the highly popular The Warrior films, Mystics In Bali, and many more. Clocking in at roughly twenty-five minutes in length, this piece does a fine job of putting these cinematic oddities in cultural and historical context and explaining some of what makes these films so unique in a way that proves to be bother interesting and entertaining.

    Finishing up the extras are the four minutes of deleted scenes from extended version (viewable on their own), an English language opening credits sequence, the Mondo Macabro Promo Reel, menus and chapter selection options.

    Special Silencers - The Final Word:

    Special Silencers is a blast, a wild mix of action, horror and overall craziness that proves plenty entertaining from start to finish and features a pretty great performance from Barry Prima as the ass kicking hero. The Blu-ray release from Mondo Macabro does a solid job with the presentation and features some great extra features as well. Highly recommended!



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

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