Saturday, January 6, 2018

JULIE DARLING (1983) (Code Red Blu-ray Review)

Label: Code Red
Rating: R
Duration: 100 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 (No Subtitles) 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Paul Nicholas
Cast: Anthony Franciosa, Sybil Danning, Isabelle Mejias, Paul Hubbard, Cindy Girling

Trashy 80's thriller Julie Darling (1983) opens around the breakfast table with teenager Julie (Isabelle Mejias, Meatballs III), her too-doting father Harold (James Franciosa, Tenebre) and her mother Irene (Cindy Girling, Meatballs), it becomes evident within seconds that mom and daughter do not see eye to eye, with the mother getting upset because Julie is putting three heaping tablespoons of Quick chocolate powder into her morning glass of milk, but the brat Julie just smiles at her father and he overrides mommy, and mom about loses it all together when Julie's pet python crawls up her leg a few minutes later  beneath the breakfast nook. Thus the stage is set for a twisted and delightfully trashy thriller from the director of WIP classic Chained Heat (1983). 

While father and daughter are off on a hunting trip mommy dearest asks the local grocery delivery beefcake Weston (Paul Hubbard, Funeral Home) to dispose of the phobia-inducing python , and when the teen disocivers her snake is AWOL she gets very angry, and a few days later when her mom is attacked by that same delivery guy Julie hesitates to shoot him after catching him in the act and the mom dies from a knock to the skull during the struggle. It's perverse the way that the teen almost shoots him but when she realizes this is her opportunity to be free of her she hold back, very twisted, and Julie couldn't be happier, she even let's the guy go, only too happy to have her beloved daddy all to herself without her mother's meddling. Working against her newfound happiness is that daddy was having a fling on the side and marries his mistress soon after mum's demise1 Enter super-vixen Sybil Danning (The Howling II: Your Sister's A Werewolf) as new step-mom Susan who brings an adolescent son along with her, drawing the ire of the deadly daughter Julie.

Poor Julie is having none of this, after she spies her father lovingly tucking the young boy into bed she gets down right murderess - attempting to snuff the boy out in refrigerator during a game of hide and seek! But that's not the weird stuff, she watches her dad get it on with his new bride - this is where it gets WEIRD - and she imagines herself in her step-mom's place having sex with her father! It's right there on screen, the teenage daughter having sex with her father and moaning like a cat in heat! Crazy stuff, this film is so damn perverse and trashy. Afterwards the scheming Julie tracks down the perp who killed her Mom after deciding not to finger him during a police line-up for the crime,  and blackmails her way into having him take out her new rival for father's affections, but not all goes as planned and we get some fun shenanigans in the final run of the flick. 

As previously stated this is a super trashy thriller,  Isabelle Mejias is pretty great I think in the role, she's young but is so damn conniving and jealous, a real schemer, and she puts it across on screen very well. James Franciosa is his usual self, a bit saccharine sweet with a TV soap-opera delivery, I don't know him from all that much aside from Argento's Tenebre but he doesn't seem to have a wide range, but he worked for me. Sybil Danning does what she does best, dropping her top to deliver her top-shelf assets for a prolonged sex-scene, she sells it but Franciosa is floundering in the scene. Danning also delivers some good acting chops, making it very clear what her opinion of Julie is and how she won't stand for any of her shenanigans, she gets a meaty-enough role and I loved the comeuppance at the end.
The finale is a wonderful lurid cornucopia of voyeurism, teen-scheming and fun double-crossing - I loved it. There's even a twist to the twist at the end, and the revelation that Julie would sacrifice her only "friend" towards her own goal is delightfully awful. 

Audio/Video: Julie Darling (1983) arrives on single-disc Blu-ray from Code Red in 1080p HD framed in 1.78:1 widescreen. The image looks good, grain is nicely managed, there's some nice fine detail and texture, colors are strong. There is some print damage to contend with, running vertical emulsion scratches, a few hairs and frame damage but none of it I found to be ruinous to the viewing, this I looks quite nice in HD. 

The English language DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 audio is strong and powerful, limited in it's range but coming through with some nice presence without being overpowering. NO subtitle options are available on this disc. 

Code Red carryover all the extras from their 2011 DVD release, we get a brief intro from Danning and Mejies, the latter of who warns against watching it, which I though was funny. We also get a commentary from each and interviews as well, and again Mejias picks apart the film at every chance, everything from the bad script to the cheesy exploitation elements - it makes fro a fun commentary and interview! You can see director David DeCoteau reflected in the gklass of a door in the Danning interview.

Special Features:

Intros from stars Isabelle Mejias and Sybil Danning (1 min) 
- Audio Commentary with Star Sybil Danning moderated by David DeCocteau
- Audio Commentary with Star Isabelle Mejias,
- Interviews with Sybil Danning (21 min) 
- Interview with Isabelle Mejias (16 min) 
- Code Red Trailers:  Nightfall, Acapulco Gold, Mind Ripper, and The Terror Within II. 

Julie Darling (1983) is a perverse and sleazy thriller, Isabelle Mejias is wonderfully over-the-top in a Bad Seed sort of way, add to that some sleazy incestuous weirdness, and you have a nicely lurid thriller for fans of killer-teen exploitation. The movie can be picked up at for about $23 and free shipping! 

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