Inn of the Damned (1974)

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Released 16-Mar-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Rod Hay (Producer) And Tony Bonner (Actor)
Gallery-Stills
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Long Weekend, Thirst, Turkey Shoot, Road Games
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 112:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (37:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Terry Bourke
Studio
Distributor
TerryRod
Madman Entertainment
Starring Judith Anderson
Lionel Long
Alex Cord
Michael Craig
Joseph Fürst
Tony Bonner
John Meillon
John Morris
Robert Quilter
Diana Dangerfield
Carla Hoogeveen
Don Barkham
John Nash
Case ?
RPI Box Music Bob Young


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This film seems to be set in 1896 in the Victorian countryside. A rich merchant is taken by coach to a remote inn, along with a woman he has paid to come with him. While in bed they appear to die horribly, through a means not entirely clear (though it's easy to guess). It turns out the coach driver is in cahoots with the owners of the inn to kill and rob wealthy travellers. It also turns out that perhaps the inn's owners are not in their right minds. Mrs Straulle (Dame Judith Anderson) is a bit potty and her husband Lazar (Joseph Fürst) tends not to speak much, unless it's to say "why don't you die?" to one of his victims.

    Meanwhile, coachman Biscayne (Bob Quilter) is being sought by the police for something he did a while back. The police are represented by Trooper Moore (Tony Bonner, strangely not accompanied by a kangaroo), an upright sort of chap and the American import Kincaid (Alex Cord). Kincaid seems to be a bounty hunter of sorts but is working for the police. They eventually capture Biscayne, which provides a connection to the inn run by the Straulles. Moore goes off to investigate - not a terribly good move as it turns out.

    Writer/director Terry Bourke appears to have come up with an idea for a short film and then padded it out to feature length by adding a lot of extraneous material. The business with the Straulles might work okay in an hour-long format. The rest of the film seems to be just there to stretch the running time out to nearly two hours. Apart from the manhunt angle, there's also comedy relief. John Meillon plays a drunken crony of Biscayne's and appears to have been really drunk in some scenes. Then there's the lesbian angle, with Diana Dangerfield and Carla Hoogeveen dropping their gear and getting into some hot tub action, placed in the inn of the title in order to link it to the rest of the film. And what Michael Craig's character is doing in this film, well, that's anyone's guess. Alex Cord plays his character like he was an embittered sheriff out in the old west hunting down some ornery varmints and fails to make his character even halfway likeable.

    The mishmash of elements makes this film a tough grind to sit through. There's some remarkable scenery, for example Oxford Falls, but the direction is competent at best and occasionally quite poor, making some of the actors look bad. The script contains some banal lines and there is really no horror to be found, unless it is horror at how bad this film is. With no sympathetic central character it becomes really tedious after a while.

    The film has been released on disc with another, much better Australian horror film Night of Fear. That film has been reviewed separately.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1.

    The transfer is quite sharp and detailed. The scenery benefits from being able to see individual leaves on plants and trees. Contrast levels are good and the image is nice and bright. Daylight scenes look like they were shot in bright sunlight, something of a contrast to the dim daylight of British horror movies of the period.

    Colour is good, but there is a tendency for flesh tones to look slightly on the brown side. In lower light levels colour looks less impressive and low level noise renders the blacker areas of the picture anything but solid.

    Film to video artefacts are limited to some infrequent aliasing. There are plenty of small white specks, but otherwise no significant film artefacts.

    There are no subtitles. The disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change placed early in the film at 37:03. It is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The main audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    I did not notice any issues with the audio. Dialogue is clear throughout. I suspect a lot of it was looped in the studio afterwards, as occasionally the dialogue seemed slightly out of sync, and the acoustics of the audio do not always seem accurate. There are several scenes where there should have been significant background noise, but there is little or none. Music and effects come across well considering the age of the original source material.

    The music score is by Bob Young. At times it is quite effective, but at others it gets in the way or lapses into cliché. I thought the music used for the comic sequences was very unsubtle, and that it would have been more at home in something like The Benny Hill Show.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with Rod Hay (producer) and Tony Bonner (actor)

    As audio commentaries go, this one is quite good. Both speak with enthusiasm about the film in total and various aspects of it, there are a few interesting anecdotes and there are few dead spots. I can't say I share their enthusiasm, but if anything is going to persuade you that this film is better than it is, this commentary is it.

Gallery-Stills

    Another large gallery of stills, lobby cards, posters and newspaper and magazine articles from the time. This certainly gives flavour to the period and indicates the responses the film provoked.

Theatrical Trailer (3:29)

    The trailer is not in the best of condition, but it is 16x9 enhanced. It covers most of the plot, and the voice-over is by John Laws.

Trailers-Long Weekend, Thirst, Turkey Shoot, Road Games (8:18)

Umbrella propaganda for other Australian genre films.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a Region 1 release of this film, which appears to be bare-bones. I have not been able to find any reviews of this release.

Summary

    A poor Australian horror film.

    A very good video transfer.

    The audio is also good, but there are more extras than it deserves.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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