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Joe Spinell’s “THE LAST HORROR FILM” coming to Severin 4K UHD/Blu-ray, uncut at last; full art, details & restoration comments

Thursday, June 22, 2023 | Blu-ray/DVD, News


The worldwide debut of the fully restored shocker is accompanied on disc by more than five hours of special features.

Severin Films has announced that part of its Summer Sale (beginning June 30) is a 4K UHD and Blu-ray edition of THE LAST HORROR FILM, which reunited Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro from MANIAC. Largely shot guerrilla-style at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, it was directed by David Winters and written by Winters, Judd Hamilton (the two also produced) and Tom Klassen, and casts Spinell as Vinny Durand, a New York City cab driver who pursues a fixation on actress Jana Bates (Munro) all the way to the French fest, where bloody mayhem ensues. Severin presents the movie in a new 4K 1.85:1 transfer from the original negative, with additional scenes sourced from a 35mm print discovered at Cinémathèque Française.

“When we find that an original camera negative has been cut for censorship, it’s gutting, because rarely are those cuts saved,” says Severin co-founder David Gregory. “If they’re cutting the neg, then for whatever reason the producers decided that this was the version they wanted to survive into the future. With ’80s movies, it was often because the censorship climate changed, favoring less violence and gore as the decade went on. It was crushing as a big fan of THE LAST HORROR FILM, because it wasn’t released theatrically in many places at all, so it was looking like the VHS with the gore was all that survived. If you’ve seen the way a commercially released VHS tape looks side by side with a 4K scan from the negative, it looks awful. And these are the splatter scenes in an ’80s slasher, not some unimportant line of dialogue or a car driving by or whatever. I thought this crazy film in its uncut form might be lost and that VHS quality was the best it would ever get, as is the case with some other films of that period, which is hard to believe.

“But thanks to the research of collectors and archivists around the world, we were not going to leave any stone unturned. Guillaume Le Disez, author of the massive Brigitte Lahaie book, managed to not only find an immaculate print at the Cinémathèque Francais, but organize their lending it to us for scanning in 4K—not all national archives are as friendly to preservation of film, I have to say. The blood and guts are back, and THE LAST HORROR FILM is ready to be seen as its director intended in all its mad gory glory.”

This webstore exclusive (available for pre-order at 12:01 a.m. on the 30th) will come with a “dubious European retitling slip case” and a 100-page book with an extended Starfix David Winters interview and a Judd Hamilton memoir. Special features are:

Disc 1: UHD

  • Audio commentary by actress Caroline Munro and FrightFest’s Alan Jones
  • Audio commentary by Joe Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter
  • Trailers

Disc 2: Blu-ray

  • Audio commentary by actress Caroline Munro and FrightFest’s Alan Jones
  • Audio commentary by Joe Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter
  • “Like a Father Figure”: Sal Sirchia remembers Joe Spinell
  • “My Last Horror Film Ever!”: Illustrated audio interview with producer Judd Hamilton, plus all-new producer’s cut
  • THE LAST HORROR FILM New York and Cannes locations visit hosted by RUE MORGUE’s Michael Gingold and Severin Films’ David Gregory
  • Trailers