BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Amsterdamned: Collector's Edition (1988) - Blu-ray Review

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Amsterdamned (1988) - Blu-ray

4 beersPsycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?

If the opening of Amsterdamned doesn’t prove to you that this thriller is different from all the rest, then may the Goddess have mercy on your soul.  We start with the POV of the killer the police will spend the rest of the movie searching for.  It is a submerged view of the Netherlands’ capital.  We surface only to view the nightlife before we float on.  Sometimes targets are hard to find.  We slip into a restaurant to steal a knife before returning to the water.  The split view returns of the city.

The intended target seems obvious enough after we make it onto land.  In the next scene, the result of our submerged stalking is revealed.  A strung-up woman, hanging low enough to slide against the glass of a tourist boat as it glides under a bridge, is discovered as her bloody body scrapes and slides against the craft.  A killer is on the loose.  This is the starting point of Dick Maas’ Amsterdamned and it only gets more clever from there, subverting our expectations with clever edits as one laidback detective joins in on the hunt.       

Blue Underground returns to the scene of the crime with their blu-ray handling of Amsterdamned.  The film has been granted a 2K restoration under the supervision of the director.  The pulse beating throughout this slasher by way of a murder mystery is a solid one.  Constantly switched on, this film never gives up.  It is wrought with rage at certain places as it plays the audience, challenging what we think we know to expect from horror films.

From nods to Rembrandt’s The Night Watch to its own underwater investigations, Amsterdamned is reserved thriller.  And it builds its strength from the charismatic performances from Huub Stapel as Eric Visser, our lead detective with a 13-year-old daughter (who does her own sleuthing) and Monique van de Ven as Laura, the ceremonial damsel in distress.  It only drops its guard with a motorcycle chase sequence through the city and a couple of slick speedboat chases through the canals, all coordinated by Dickey Beer and featuring the talents of the world’s most prolific stunt double, Vic Armstrong.

While the mystery dominates the movie (especially when Visser’s entire family is on the hunt) there are enough humorous beats to make this flick worthy of a return visit.  This is only my second viewing and, honestly, it is so much better than I recall it being.  Little moments as the characters learn more and more about each other build a solid foundation.  An old man with flippers, baggy shorts, and a diving mask entering the police station ready to confess is a highlight. 

And then there is the horror. 

Oh! The horror.  Those tense and gory elements are sprinkled throughout and creative enough to keep us fully engaged.  There is another highlight as the film hits the middle point in which our killer takes a knife and slices through the bottom of an inflatable float and, with the help of a killer shot, angles is blade and heads right for the crotch of an unsuspecting bikini-clad blonde.  OUCH!

Amsterdam’s murky canals might be things of beauty.  They also might hide some of man’s dirtiest deeds.  With one body part after another, Amsterdamned gives howling hounds of horror more than a couple of bones to gnaw on.  Everybody out of the water!  There’s a psycho killer on the loose.  Run run run run run run run away.

Amsterdamned (1988) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
114 mins
Director
: Dick Maas
Writer:
Dick Maas
Cast:
Huub Stapel, Monique van de Ven, Serge-Henri Valcke
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Be glad you're afraid. It means you're still alive.
Memorable Movie Quote: "They were the ones who ended up being sampled."
Theatrical Distributor:
Vestron Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 25, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 29, 2017
Synopsis: Down in the murky depths of Amsterdam's famous canals lurks a murderous predator. Surfacing at night, he kills at random and disappears without a trace. As the bodies begin to pile up and mass hysteria envelopes the city, Detective Eric Visser is assigned to head the investigation. With only the escalating number of victims to go on, Visser pursues his quarry with a vengeance, unaware that his beautiful new girlfriend may be the mysterious killer's next victim.

Amsterdamned (1988) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Blue Underground
Available on Blu-ray
- August 29, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
Dutch: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dutch: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Blue Underground presents Amsterdamned with a robust 2K restoration presented here in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  It looks gloriously fresh in 1080p and buzzes with a new sense of urgency as the crisp visuals are punctuated in a way I previously had not noticed.  Interiors, especially onboard the old drunk man’s boat, are solid and expressive.  Black levels are strong throughout, revealing layers in the shadows as the killer stalks the town and the canals.  With a Dutch DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track leading the way, the release also offers an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  A DVD copy is also provided for fans. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  The best supplemental item on this release is the new audio commentary by writer/director Dick Maas and editor Hans van Dongen.  They are both engaged and quite responsive as they describe the making of the movie and its growing fans.

Special Features:

We get a new interview with stunt coordinator Dickey Beer.  Actor Huub Stapel, in a new interview, also comes to the rescue with a detailed discussion of the film.  A Lois Lane music video, directed by Maas, is provided.  There is also an illustrated booklet featuring an 18-page essay by Michael Gingold.  A collection of original trailers for the film and a DVD copy rounds out the collector’s edition.

  • The Making of Amsterdamned (37 min)
  • Tales From the Canal (9 min)
  • Damned Stuntwork  (19 min)
  • Lois Lane Music Video
  • Poster & Still Gallery
  • Trailers

Amsterdamned (1988) - Blu-ray

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