Criterion’s April titles include Coppola’s Rumble Fish and Wim Wenders’ Buena Vista Social Club https://t.co/1PmfiylRaB
Night of the Hunted
Release Date(s)1980 (April 23, 2013)
Jean Rollin’s films are generally confusing and always surreal. Like poems put to film. He usually, as a rule, focuses on the world of the undead. But with Night of the Hunted, he decided to stay away from vampires. “Huh?” I hear you all collectively gasp. Yeah, I know, it’s weird.
Night of the Hunted is about a woman running from something that she knows nothing about. She knows nothing because she can’t keep her memories. She seems to forget everything after five minutes. She’s running around in the dark, when a young man named Richard finds her. He takes her back to his house, after trying to help her find her home (unsuccessfully, as she can’t remember where she lived). As it happens so often when dealing with strange beautiful women who have no memories they make hot love (for a very, very long time). Normally I’d have a problem with this, simply out of cliché. But because the girl is Brigitte Lahaie, a former French porn star who is strikingly beautiful in very girl next door way I’ll cut it some slack. I mean, c’mon, you can’t have a former porn star in a movie without a little hot sex, can you? Anyway, like most random sex, she hardly remembers it after the guy steps out the door to go to work. Seriously: he does the whole, “I just found a mysterious hot chick that’s willing to have sex with him” thing, but has to go somewhere and tells her to stay there until he gets back. When in movie history has that ever worked out? Next thing you know, the girl is visited by a doctor and his ice queen assistant who take her back to the “black tower”. In the black tower, there are huge numbers of people who don’t know where they are. Most are being overtly sexual with one another, that is, if the help isn’t trying to rape them. I pretty much described everything that has happened for a good hour. It’s all very confusing. I mean, why are these people here? What’s their deal? Why does such an awful film captivate me?
Night of the Hunted is a cheap cheapy. I mean, it’s very cheap. The sets are found, the acting is stiff, and the plot will throw even the most film literate person for a loop. And yet, c’mon, it’s a Rollin film – so that means it’s very well done for what it is, you are sucked in right away and sure it’s a soft-core porn film but it has somewhat of a plot. The women in this film take any and every opportunity to strip down – and that’s never a bad thing in my book. If you do decide to give this disc a spin, stick until the end, Night of the Hunted has a remarkably haunting closing image, that makes the whole film worthwhile. In the end, I have always liked Night of the Hunted; despite myself.
This Blu-ray isn’t much of a leap up from the previous Image/Redemption release on DVD. It looks better because it’s HD, but that almost makes it worse because the damaged print shines through that much more. It still looks pretty good regardless. Some of the night shots show a lot more grain that you’d like to see, but it’s easy to overlook. The transfer is presented at a 1.66:1 aspect and is 1080p AVC. The sound is a low-key French mono (LPCM 2.0) that gets the job done. There are some good extras, including the intro from Rollin, an interview with Rollin conducted by Joshua Gravel, two deleted sex scenes (standby in case he needed to make a porno version for a more lucrative distribution deal) presented with no audio (outside of a soundtrack loop) and trailers for this and other Rollin releases from Kino/Redemption.
Night of the Hunted is a fine flick (for what it is) and a good Blu-ray presentation. Pick it up if you dare...
- Todd Doogan