|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Song Of Solomon, The
Horrormeister Stephen Biro treads interesting ground in this world, not the least of which belongs to his studio, Unearthed Films, which releases some of the strongest horror around, with an emphasis on outrageous gore. Head-spinning and puking aside, outrageous gore is not what you tend to think of in regards to the exorcism genre, but that's what you get in Song of Solomon. Despite a few shaky performances, this profoundly disturbing movie leaves everything on the floor, continually topping itself in the shocks department on the way to a whacked-out ending that blends hope and cynicism in a startling way.
Things start off with a bang, as an aggrieved father (Biro in a manic cameo-of-sorts) gives himself a 'Cuban Necktie' in front of his disturbed daughter Mary (Jessica Cameron). When a family counselor fails to solve spooky daughter Mary's problems, the A-Team of exorcists is brought in to try a different solution, but will they be able to lead the girl into a life that doesn't involve wallowing in congealed blood? Only those with strong constitutions will find out, after which they'll have left only to pick their jaws up off the floor.
Biro's series of escalating shocks may feel episodic, especially when broken up by overlong scenes of the local Bishop explaining things to his crew of exorcists. And for this, the movie might fall apart, if it weren't for the fact that everyone involved gives the proverbial 110-percent, and more. Furthermore, jaded horror fans have reason to rejoice, as hardcore effects artists Marcus Koch and Jerami Cruise spray a vomit-inducing fusillade of practical gore scenes that just get worse and worse. I'm not even going to list any of them, as they're better enjoyed as horrifying gifts, however, there's a City of the Living Dead homage that throws the gauntlet down into the gutter and stomps it to death, which is like manna from the heavens for the CGI-glutted gore-hound.
Speaking of Heaven, Biro takes this subject VERY SERIOUSLY, which works for the integrity of the movie, providing it with earnest underpinnings to legitimize the blood-spray. Indeed, everyone who contributes simply makes the movie better, including the composers (Kristian Day, Scott Gabbey, Gene Palubicki, Jimmy ScreamerClauz, and Jimmy Wright) who contribute the evocative, disturbing score. More importantly there's Cameron as Mary, who delivers a demonic command performance, completely owning her role as a nasty, wanton temptress, at awful times a turn-on, even with gobbets of congealed blood around her mouth.
The Song of Solomon is not for your garden variety horror fan. Only those who wish to have their limits tested while being glued to the screen. It's a riveting tour-de-force of degradation and disgust. A simple plot allows all the revolting practical gore to flow freely, while a few shaky performances are balanced by Cameron's hypnotic, standout turn. This profoundly disturbing movie leaves everything on the floor. If it were made in the '70s, it would be legendary. But with a strong slate of extras, this release will have to settle for the coveted DVD Talk Collector Series appellation, to delight fans of extreme horror.
Unearthed brings us this song in an MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1.85:1 ratio presentation that holds up quite well for a low-budget production. Dark scenes at times are a little muffled, but overall, details are very sharp, the image is quite clean, and digital malfeasance (of the unintentional kind) is non-existent. Colors are also mostly rich and deep, with plenty of realistic blood. You won't be disappointed.
Coming at you in a Plain Jane LPCM 2.0 English audio track, Solomon sounds fine, if not as intense as it could be. Dialog is for the most part clear and intelligible, while the fantastic score is mixed carefully, so as to unnerve, but not compete. No distortion or hiss is present, but neither is a very invigorating spacial mix.
Unearthed layers on the extras for this release. Two Commentary Tracks are yours for the taking, both with Biro and companions. The first finds demonic actress Jessica Cameron joining the director for a somewhat informal affair, including Cameron's grumpy dog contributing, resulting nonetheless in a friendly, informative, fun track. The second Commentary Track pairs Biro with his two special effects artists, Marcus Koch (Oddtopsy FX), and Jerami Cruise (ToeTag EFX) who teamed up for the first time on the film. This track is more focused but just as much fun as the first.
But there's more! You also get Behind the Scenes footage, 70 minutes-worth! The footage focuses mostly on two of the goriest set-pieces, and is very entertaining for practical effects lovers. Eight minutes of Outtakes range from deleted scenes to gag-reel-type stuff. There's an auto-navigated Photo Gallery, as well. To round out the package are four Interviews. Jessica Cameron talks about dedication and other things for 20 minutes, and Stephen Biro lays it all on the floor again, for about 23 minutes. Marcus Koch is charming and earnest for 28 minutes, and lastly Director of Photography Chris Hilleke goes into detail for 35 minutes. I'll be God-damned if that's not 3 hours of extras plus 2 commentary tracks! (Two interviews with actors Gene Palubicki and David McMahon are mentioned on the back cover art but don't appear to be on the disc.)
The Song of Solomon is not for your garden variety horror fan. Only those who wish to have their limits tested while being glued to the screen. It's a riveting tour-de-force of degradation and disgust. A simple plot of Exorcists and a disturbed girl allows all the revolting practical gore to flow freely, while a few shaky performances are balanced by Jessica Cameron's standout turn. This profoundly disturbing movie leaves everything on the floor. If it were made in the '70s, it would be legendary. But with a strong slate of extras, this release will have to settle for the coveted DVD Talk Collector Series appellation, to delight fans of extreme horror.
- Kurt Dahlke