‘Possession’ (1981) Blu-ray review

Where does one quite start with Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession? I’ll be honest, personally, I haven’t got a bloody clue. After watching it the first time completely clueless as to half of what was going on, I had to watch it again a few days later to try to understand the film’s plot. My brain literally felt it had melted trying to comprehend what I was watching. At its heart Possession feels like the horror version of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes Of  A Marriage, with the breakdown of the two leads union (an incredible Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill) laid utterly emotionally bare. And then, it turns into an almost creature-feature, with some dark sexual undertones and terrific special effects from expert Carlo Rambaldi that feel very akin to Hellraiser. Creature horror or an extreme depiction of two lovers contempt for each other? A relationship drama or an episode of alien-like horror? Watch and decide for yourself.

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Without going into plot details, Possession really is a tour de force character study from actors Adjani and Neill as warring married couple Anna and Mark. Every piece of Mark’s longing is cut down with Anna’s indifference, the two of them able to sting each other with an accuracy that many would kill for. It’s at times uncomfortable and brutal to watch and yet is somehow strikingly beautiful in its depiction of the mixtures of human emotion when such a personal thing comes crashing down at full force. Adjani has one particular scene which is just harrowing to watch; horrific, haunting and confusing all at the same time. When it gets to the final act, to say it all kicks off is an absolute understatement with two scenes in particular having an unforgetable poignancy that stays with you long after the film has finished (two words; ‘brother’ and ‘bath’).

This new release from Second Sight  is glorious with a great HD transfer of the film that still manages to retain some noise and add to the films grimey look and atmosphere. The extras included in the package are also phenomenal, a true collection of informative features that you wish every DVD/Blu-ray you bought came with as standard. Two commentaries are included, one director and one co-writer, which delve deep into the film and its production. The star’s of the package however are two features, a hefty ‘making of’ that answers any and every question you may have had on the film and Repossessed, an exploration of the differences between the US and European edits of the film.

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Also included is a sleek featurette on the artist behind the films iconic poster Basha, a brief but interesting comment on the polish poster artists career in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Our Friend In The West explores what happened when a blacklisted Zulawski was offered the chance to write a script in the West by French producer Christian Ferry. Others consist of composer Andrzej Korzynski discussing his relationship with Zulawski and the process behind Possession‘s score, a feature on the films locations, interview with Zulawski and a trailer. Overall a well put together package that surprisingly comprehensive and enjoyable. A must-have release.

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Actor James Gandolfini sadly passed away this week from a suspected heart attack. The star who was most notable for his lead role in television series The Sopranos, also played a string of supporting characters in films as diverse as True Romance, Zero Dark Thirty, Where The Wild Things Are and The Man Who Wasn’t There…

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Second Sight have revealed the sleeve artwork for their next Blu-ray release, Possession, which is released on July 29th…

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MGM have released an official press release this week confirming many of the rumours surrounding the new Poltergeist remake. The film will be directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House), produced by Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert and will be adapted from a screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz: The Great and Powerful). According to the press release, the plot will revolve around ‘a family struggling to make ends meet relocates to an outdated suburban home and is confronted by an angry spirit who kidnaps their youngest daughter and challenges them to band together to rescue her from the clutches of evil’

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THE CONJURING

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Lastly, author and screenwriter Richard Matheson passed away this week aged 87. Prolific in the horror and science-fiction genres, Matheson wrote the novels I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes and Hell House, the screenplays for The Devil Rides Out, The Legend of Hell House and The Incredible Shrinking Man and numerous teleplays…