Scalpel - Scalpel(Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2018]From Arrow Video here we have a Blu Ray reissue of Scalpel- A tight-as-drum & twisted-as-a-snake 1970’s thriller with southern gothic edges & subtle horror touches. This is the first Blu Ray release of the film, which I believe has only had a VHS release in the past.
Scalpel(aka False Face) came out in 1977, and was the directorial debut of George Grissmer- who’s only other credit in the director's chair was campy-to-downbeat 1987 slasher Blood Rage. Scalpel's plot revolves around southern psychopathic plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip Reynolds- played by regular TV actor Robert Lansing(12 O’clock high noon, Insight, Auto man, and The Equalizer)- who transforms a badly disfigured women into the spitting image of his missing daughter.
Though described in some places as a southern gothic horror film, I’d say Scalpel fits much more into the bracket of a taunt & twisting thriller, with some slight horror overtones in a southern setting (Covington, Georgia). And to honest I was pleasantly surprised by how much the film really pulled me & held me, when I was expecting somewhat of a run-of-the-mill late 70’s thriller/horror fare. Though-out the film's plot is constantly twisting & turning in often surprising ways, Lansing is great devilishly dark yet suave 70’s Doctor, the supporting cast is top notch, and the film is paced tightly coming in at just over the hour & a half mark.
Scalpel really is the prime example of a film you know less about the better it is, so I won’t go into detail any more of the plot here. But if you enjoy well acted & cleverly plotted thrillers you’ll really enjoy what’s on offer here.
Extras wise you get a new 2K scan of the film- which comes in two versions, one with a more yellowed & southern gothic-tinged lighting to it, and one with standard 2K transfer. You get a new commentary from film histrionic Richard Harland Smith – this is full of facts & information, but maybe a little dry & scholarly for my tastes- though I did find it worth a play. We also get three lots of fifteen-minute interviews- one with the director, one with the lead actress, and one with the cinematographer.
All in all, this is a nice reissue, and I’m glad I’ve seen Scalpel as I’d say it’s one of the better & more intriguing thrillers I’ve seen in some time- so big thumbs-up to Arrow for reissuing this.Roger Batty