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Blu Review – The Caller (Vinegar Syndrome)

Director – Arthur Allan Seidelman (Trapped in Space, Hercules in New York)
Starring – Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Halloween) and Madolyn Smith Osborne (Urban Cowboy, Funny Farm)
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5

Tagline – “A strange visitor. A mysterious woman. A surprise ending”

I’ve been an Empire Pictures and Full Moon fan for sometime now. Over the years I thought I had at least heard of all the Empire/Full Moon flicks but I learn something new every day. Back when Vinegar Syndrome announced their July releases I noticed the Malcolm McDowell flick The Calling was listed among those releases. After looking into it I saw that it was an Empire Studio’s release which really caught my interest. Once I got it in I had to make time to check this one out and I’m glad I did. This unusual film is one of those you have to see to truly believe. Thank you Vin Syn for sending this one my way.

**spoiler Alert** The film follows a woman (Smith) who lives alone in the woods miles away from anyone when she receives a visitor late one evening claiming to have car trouble. What seems like an innocent interaction turns frightening when ill intentions from both sides comes to light and neither one of them seems to be telling the truth. The viewer is then tossed into an unknown game where the participants are known but the rules are not clearly written.**Spoiler Alert**

I was curious how this one would play out and I was definitely caught off guard by the film especially the ending. The movie doesn’t really fit the title but I can’t think of an actual title that would fit the movie itself. It really is different and hard to explain. I can see why horror and sci-fi fans didn’t take to it upon it’s original release but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. I really enjoyed the uniqueness and acting.

The acting in this one is absolutely fantastic. The film consists of two actors and they are perfect. McDowell is a screen legend and I would lying if I said this wasn’t my favorite performance from him. He is thrilling at times and sensitive at others. Here he shows why he has had a career for as long as he has. Also, Smith is great as well. She gives an emotional performance that throws just as many twists to the story as McDowell’s character.

The story for this one is very fun, especially the ending, but is a bit of a confusing one. I don’t want to give too much away but the lack of a back story or development does make some of the scenes feel lost in the translation.

Finally, this is not a bloody film. We do get one death scene and I use the term death loosely. The scene is pretty fucking cool and the practical effects we get are absolutely amazing from effects legend John Carl Buechler. It’s not a bloody mess like most of you would like but it fits the film and offers up something drastically different that you will not see coming. Overall, The Calling will not sit well for others but for those of you with an open mind looking for something different will truly enjoy this odd piece of Empire history. The blu from Vin Syn is absolutely pristine with a gorgeous transfer. Check this one out whenever you get the chance.

Special Features:
Region A Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm interpositive
“Boiling Over” – an interview with director Arthur Allan Seidelman
An audio interview with writer Michael Sloan
Promotional still gallery
Reversible cover artwork
SDH English subtitles

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.