Director – Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare Beach)
Starring – Tomas Milian (Murder, She Wrote), Henry Silva (Superman, Fists of Steel), and Laura Belli (The Great Kidnapping, Execution Squad)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Most of you may have noticed that I have a soft spot for Italian horror and a deep love for action flicks from the 70s and 80s. Sadly, I have never ventured outside of Italian horror films which is a shame considering that most of the same cast and crew worked in many different genres. Shameless Screen Entertainment recently released the 1974 Umberto Lenzi crime thriller Almost Human on DVD and blu. I’m very familiar with Umberto Lenzi’s horror films and was curious how this film would play out. I reached out to Shameless and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way. Thank you guys for allowing Horror Society and myself to check out this great release!
**Spoiler alert**The film follows petty criminal Guillio Sacchi (Milian) who schemes to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman after he spots her one day when he visits the place where his girlfriend works. He partners with a few men and plan their kidnapping but not without shedding some blood along the way prompting a serious police investigation. They kidnap the young woman and try to extort money from her father but things quickly spirals out of control when the police gets too close and Guillio can’t control his bloodlust.**Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from this one. Umberto Lenzi has made great contributions to Italian horror and the film’s artwork painted the picture that it might actually be heavily influenced by horror. I really enjoyed the film and the hybrid story it offered.
The acting in this one is great. I’ve seen so many Italian horror films over the years and they all surprise me by how well acted they are. The star of the show is Tomas Milian. He is fucking insane and makes every scene he is in feel like a powder keg. You never know when he is going to go over the deep end which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. His supporting cast is great but nowhere near as intense as Milian. He was perfectly cast and made this movie what it was.
The story for this one is nothing that new or original but it does a great job at centering itself around the characters and not the events. There has been so many films, rather it be action, spy, or adventure, that follows people attempting to kidnap someone of power and holding them for ransom. What made this one stand out and so damn entertaining is how high-brow the characters are and how each scene is filled with chaos and uncertainty. There is a few scenes that drag on too long and have pacing problems but the overall story is written well enough to hold the viewer’s attention.
Finally, the film has several on screen kills. These deaths are mostly done by gunfire and offer up just the simplest effects. Those of you looking for Italian gore reminiscent of Fulci will be sadden. Overall, Almost Human is a fun watch and worth every penny for the blu. Collectors and movie fans alike will enjoy this release so check it out.