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Directed by Larry Yust and shot in and around Cincinnati, Ohio, 1974's Homebodies revolves around a group of elderly citizens who all live on the same block. Unfortunately for them, the aging brownstone that they all call home is scheduled for be demolished to make way for a new apartment building. They don't take kindly to this news, and soon enough Mattie (Paula Trueman), who watches everything going on in her neighborhood with the eyes of a hawk, decides that they don't need to take this lying down.
When she witness a construction accident leading to the death of one of the workers, a sinister seed is planted in Mattie's mind. She gets together with a few of her fellow elderly tenants: Mr. Blakely (Peter Brocco), Miss Emily (Frances Fuller), Mr. Sandy (William Hansen), Mrs. Loomis (Ruth McDevitt) and Mr. Loomis (Ian Wolfe). Together, they decide to plot various murders of various people involved in the construction, figuring that as the bodies pile up, their pending eviction problems will just disappear. It doesn't quite work out the way that Mattie and company envisioned, but it's fun to watch them try.
Featuring some impressive photography from Isidore Mankofsky and set to a score by Bernardo Segall, Homebodies is a pretty effective black comedy thanks to some strong direction, a fun and clever script and some pretty solid casting choices. It's an odd, quirky film, quite tense and suspenseful at times, even creepy in a few spots, and it's made all the better by the fact that the main characters are all nicely fleshed out and well-written, these aspects of the script giving the talented cast members quite a bit to work with here.
And of course, the solid production values and obvious amount of talent behind the camera pays off, but the performances here really are very good. Paula Trueman is the star of the show, her character having a bit more to do than the others as she's the one who really gets the ball rolling, so to speak. She's definitely the ring leader and more is demanded of Trueman than the others, she pulls it odd admirably. The rest of the cast are also very solid here, equal parts likeable old folks who you want to see the best for and cold blooded murderers you wouldn't want anything to do with in real life. It makes for good entertainment.
Homebodies arrives on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer provided taken from a new 4k master. The widescreen image looks very good here, with nice colors and strong detail present throughout. The image looks nice and filmic, showing the expected amount of natural film grain but very little actual print damage. Skin tones look good and black levels are solid as well. The picture is free of any obvious noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems of note.
The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English with optional subtitles provided in English only. This is a fairly dialogue driven film but the track handles everything well, giving things some punch when the movie calls for it and doing a very nice job with the score. No problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are balanced nicely. The subtitles are clean, clear, easy to read but you might spot a typo or two here and there.
Extras on the disc start off with a new audio commentary by Director Larry Yust that goes over how he came to direct the picture, working with the cast and crew, the storyline and work that he did on the screenplay and quite a bit more. Additionally, the disc includes a new interview with Producer Marshal Backlar that goes over his work on the picture. Both of these are interesting enough and provide some welcome background detail on the film.
The disc also a trailer and TV spot for the feature and a few bonus trailers for other Kino Lorber properties, as well as menus and chapter selection options.
Homebodies is one part creepy, one part funny and one hundred percent entertaining. Those with an appreciation for dark humor should definitely enjoy this quirky, underappreciated picture. Kino has done a nice job on the Blu-ray release, offering up the picture in a strong presentation and with some nice extra features as well. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.