The Sect 4K Review (Severin)
The Sect (aKa La Setta, The Devil’s Daughter, and Demons 4) is a 1991 Italian horror film co-written and directed by Michele Soavi (Dario Argento’s World of Horror, Stage Fright, The Church, and Cemetery Man). It was co-written and produced by Italian legend Dario Argento (Opera, Two Evil Eyes, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat o’ Nine Tails, Suspiria, and Four Flies on Grey Velvet). Soavi started out as an actor in such films as Alien 2: On Earth, City of the Living Dead, A Blade in the Dark, and Demons. Soon after, he became an assistant/second unit director on Tenebrae, A Blade in the Dark, Blasfighter, Phenomena, Demons, and Opera. After their last collaboration The Church was a success, Soavi and Argento decided to team up again for The Sect. Soavi was destined for greatness in horror after striking gold from 1987 to 1994 in the genre with StageFright, The Church, Cemetery Man, and this all in a row. It’s still a mystery why he stopped out of no where when he had so much potential to be the next big horror director in Italy. It’s great to see his films get proper high definition treatment. In the 80s and early 90s it was a popular trend to cast family members of the famous actors or actresses in a lower budget productions to draw more attention. Kelly, the older sister of Jamie Lee Curtis. Also the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh was cast as the lead in this!!!!It starts out in 1970 with a bunch of hippies partying and enjoying life near the water. They are greeted by a drifter named Damon (played by: Tomas Arana from “The Church”, “Body Puzzle”, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, and “Gladiator”). He says he’s been on the road for a long time and looking for help. They take him in and treat him as one of their own. Later that night, when everyone is asleep other strangers show up. Damon and his Manson-like cult murder the entire group. Damon goes to a vehicle to talk to his mysterious leader. He is told he needs wait for the orders that the cult has been waiting on and he says it could take years. It’s now present day 1991 in Germany. In a homage to “Psycho”, Marion Crane is introduced as a possible main character as she is followed by Martin Romero (played by: Giovanni Lombardo Radice from “The Church”. “StageFright”, “City of the Living Dead”, and “Cannibal Ferox”). He has the sudden urge to leave his family to pursue the young lady as she leaves town. He breaks in her place and loses it. The police trap him, he starts talking about some conspiracy. An older man Moebius Kelly (played by: Herbert Lom from “The Dead Zone”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Asylum” and the Pink Panther films) nearly gets hit by Miriam Kreisl (played by: Kelly Curtis from “Trading Places”, “The Sentinel”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, and “Magic Sticks”) when she’s driving towards him. She feels bad so she decides to let hm stay the night with her. When she’s asleep, Moebius comes in her room.He whispers some words which sound like some curse and puts a bug into her nose. She starts to have to nightmares. Miriam wakes up and finds Moebius in bad health. She leaves to find her doctor but she has to get someone else for help. Frank (played by: Michael Adams from “Vater, lieber Vater” and “Ameisenweg”) comes over to to see what’s going on. They find the old man dead in the basement covered in a white cloth almost like a mask. It’s almost like it became his skin as tight it was and it appears to have suffocated him. She goes back to her job as a teacher. One of her students draws a picture of a bug that instantly grabs her attention. Shes finds out it’s been extinct. They symbolize fertility and evil. She meets up with her friend Kathryn (played by: Mariangela Giordano from “Burial Ground”, “Satan’s Baby Doll”, “Patrick Still Lives”, and “Vampire Killer Barbys”). She’s helping her go through some things when the same white cloth as before latches on to her face real tight. Miriam gets a voice recording from Moebius which makes no sense considering the last time she seen him he was dead. Frank joins her for an urgent visit to the hospital. Damon meets up with a familiar face from the hospital. The cult is now in Germany and finally going to carry out their long awaited plan. Miriam goes through a nightmare that won’t stop & it leaves you wanting more. Is it reality or just a bad dream????Is it reality or dreams? This visual nightmare with crafty camera work from cinematographer Raffaele Mertes (Trauma, Blood Delirium, and The Flight of the Innocent) and a haunting score from Pino Donaggio (Carrie, Piranha, Dressed to Kill, The Howling, Trauma, and many others) is truly bizarre. I haven’t seen too many movies like this, it stands out from the other films made during the early 90s. The Sect has some great practical special fx during some of the weird moments and the kills in this. It has a solid cast that includes Herbert Lom, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Tomas Arana, Michael Adams, and Kelly Curtis. It was a common practice in the Italian film industry to rip off bigger American pictures and they make their own version on a lower budget. Lots of those projects ended up being so more fun and way more entertaining than it’s original influence. It’s no a secret or a big surprise that this heavy resembles Rosemary’s Baby with a touch of The Innocents. Honestly, I thought this was WAY better than Rosemary’s Baby. It had so much more going for it and I found it more interesting to be real. This feature is full of chaotic moments that you won’t forget on screen which makes this Italian horror worth checking out or revisiting any time!!!!Let’s discuss the high definition presentation from Severin Films! This 2160p (1.85:1) transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 is the best that The Sect has ever looked on home video. I’ve owned the previous VHS, DVD, and Blu Rays of this Italian horror feature so when compared to those there’s no competition. Director Michele Soavi always had a great visual eye when it came to his work and this one is no different. All the typical highlights are boosted when it comes to quality. It has a few different audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 on the UHD. The audio here is a huge improvement when stacked against all of the other home video releases of The Sect. My preferred track is the English dub since that’s the one I grew up on. All of the dialogue is very clean, the batshit crazy moments have a killer boost, and the impressive score is elevated here. If you enjoy this soundtrack, Severin Films has included a CD of it with this top notch set. It also has English and English SDH subtitles!!!!Let’s talk about the special features from Severin Films! “Sympathy For The Devil” is a little over 20 minute interview with director Michele Soavi. He chats about Argento’s influence on him. He talks about working with him and the cast on this plus a variety of other subjects. “(You’re The) Devil In Disguise” is a little over 15 minute interview with co-screenwriter Dario Argento. He talks about how he met Soavi. He chats about working with the director on their collaborations. He brings up seeing his name promoted on this rather than the actual director. “Catacumba” Is a little over 35 minute interview with co-screenwriter Gianni Romoli. He brings up how the project started and how he became involved with the film. He discusses working with Soavi and Argento on this. “Cult Of Personality” is a little over 20 minute interview with actor Tomas Arana. He chats about how he got the part. He brings up his character and the script here. He talks about the lead and his experience with her. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” is a little over 12 minute interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice. He chats about how he met and started working with the director. He jokes about stealing a few acting roles from him for Fulci. He mentions their various collaborations. He said he took a small role because he was doing lots of stage work at the time. “In The Shaded Area” is an almost 28 minute interview with cinematographer Raffaele Mertes. He talks about where his career was at the time during this production. He brings up working with Soavi and Argento. He chats about his shooting style and how he set up some shots. “Four Times Argento” is an almost 13 minute interview with composer Pino Donaggio. He talks about Two Evil Eyes and working with Argento in general. He discusses his score and inspirations. He brings up some projects that he turned down and ones that he actually worked on including Argento’s Trauma. “Total Eclipse” is an almost 13 minute interview with special FX artist Sergio Stivaletti. He chats about his FX work on this project. He goes into great detail on his work for this feature. “Oh Well” is a little over 23 minute interview with set designer Antonello Geleng. He goes over his experience working on The Sect. He chats about difference from working on a sound stage compared to an actual location. “The Birth Of Evil” is a little over 25 minute interview with film historian Fabrizio Spurio. He brings up Soavi’s career. He talks about the history of this movie. He chats about The Church when it compares to this one. “Into The Dark Well” is a little over 5 minute interview with Author Alan Jones. He chats about how The Sect was created. He brings up Argento and Soavi working together. He talks about the locations. “Catacomb In The Kitchen” features director Michele Soavi giving a 3 minute tour of his Dark Basement. It has two different “Trailers” on it. The Sect 4K is packed with so many interviews on here, Severin wasn’t messing around with the special features on this release. These are all located on their own blu ray. 7 interviews plus one of the trailers were ported over from the previous limited edition release from Ronin Flix and Scorpion Releasing. The rest of the special features are exclusive to this set. Just a warning, most of the extras are in Italian with English subtitles. It also comes with a slipcover, a 40 page booklet, a blu ray, and a CD of the soundtrack. This is one of the most impressive home video releases from last year. It’s available exclusively at the Severin site/store right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!