Mark Of The Devil

Mark Of The Devil (1969)
Blue Underground
Cast: Udo Kier, Herbert Lom, Reggie Nalder, Herbert Fux
Extras: Commentary Track, Interviews, Photo Gallery, Radio Spots, Trailer

When ’Mark Of The Devil’ was fist released in1969 it created waves of outrage as it clearly was the most overtly violent and graphic film of its time. It quickly gathered the reputation as a most controversial and horrifying film, which helped make this movie a cult classic in no time. I hadn’t seen this film in a while and revisiting it here on Blue Underground’s new release reminded me, why that was. In all honesty, it’s not a really good film, and it is only for its reputation and the fact that it was so markedly notorious that it keeps popping up in gorehounds’ conversations and references. The film itself is a fairly flat assemblage of torture footage under the umbrella of the 18th century witch hunts. The thin story really only serves to follow up one scene of violence with another, shocking the viewer with an almost constant barrage of rape, torture, mutilation, blood and pain.

Blue Underground has cleaned up and remastered the transfer of this movie and gives it an anamorphic widescreen presentation on this DVD. As expected. The image quality is superb considering that this film is really a low budget niche movie, originally fraud with technical limitations. The quality the Blue Underground is squeezing out of that original material is impressive to say the least, giving exploitations fans the best possible look at these… err… exploitations. Colors are vivid and blacks are solid and deep, creating good shadows while never losing image detail. The compression is also entirely free of artifacts.

The audio comes as a mono track in English that suits the presentation. It is not necessarily of the best quality and has an audibly limited frequency response, making for some harsh sounding moments, but overall it is free of defects and carries the film appropriately.

Blue Underground has also added some extras to this release which will give fans of the movie finally the chance to get some more first-hand information. Director Michael Armstrong is available on a commentary track in which he remembers and elaborates on the film, the purpose, the impact and the production.
Also included are separate interview featurettes with some of the film’s stars, such as Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs and Ingeborg Schöner. They are all very informative and allow the participants to reminisce about the film and the impact it had on their personal careers.

The DVD is rounded out by Radio Spots and the film’s trailer as well as a photo gallery containing production stills as well as posters and lobby cards.

Even though I am a fan of horror films, I somehow fail to see the purpose of ’Mark Of The Devil,’ as I do not enjoy violence violence’s sake. It is one of the reasons why I also never liked films like the ’Faces of Death’ series and other gratuitous cinematic flatulencies. If you enjoy these films, by all means, go get ’Mark Of The Devil,’ especially now that Blue Underground has prepared such a sparkling new transfer and added these quality extras to the release.