Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Passing - The Passing( Blu Ray & DVD) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2019]

The Passing is a dizzying, often disorienting, wholly idiosyncratic Sci-fi film that randomly darts between whimsical & felt, sad & morose, 1980ís technology headiness, and trippy-to-horror fed surrealism. Original appearing in the first few years of the 80ís- this distinctive & effecting oddity has been un-earthed by Vinegar Syndrome- been given a new 2k scan, offering up a new commentary track, shorts by the same director & more.

The release comes in two versions- an embossed slipcover limited to 2,000 copies(only available from here), and the standard VS packaging- with the double region free Blu ray & DVD coming with a reversible cover- taking in two different poster artwork.

The Passing appeared in 1983, and seemingly played for only a week in a few selected US screens- then seemingly disappeared. The film was the first feature directed & written by Washington born John Huckert- who seemingly didnít resurface until the late 1990ís/ early 2000ís when he once again wrote/ directed a no-budget serial killer thriller- Hard, experimental documentary about Busch Gardens  in Pasadena  Garden Of Dreams, and  sexualized on-line stalker movie Strangers Online, as well as co-writing a selection of low budget action-adventures & Dino attack capers. With The Passing, heís certainly got one foot in more experimental film-making, though for the most part, the whole thing( just at times) hangs onto some sort logic, even if the plot is often unfolded in a fairly no-linear manner.

For most of itís runtime the film flits back & forth between two stories/ two sets of characters- we have skinny & goateed blue-collar worker Wade Carney (played by director Huckert), whose bartender girlfriend is raped by a intruder , and he takes out revenge & killing the rapist in a most unsettling manner (involving a car lift, spanners inserted somewhere delicate), before getting put on death row. Then we have aging veteran Ernie Neuman- whose wife passed away some years back, and he now lives with his aging fellow serviceman black American Leviticus Washington- who Ernie Often thinks is his departed wife. The film has a very schizophrenic quality as we, at times jarringly, switch between the bleak, grimy & dark life of Wade- this is soundtracked by soured & pitch sliding synth craft. Then we have Ernieís story- which is sentimental & whimsical, with moments of sadness &  dark humor- which are soundtrack by snippets of quirky novelty songs from the 1930ís/í40s.  The pairs stories move towards each other over the film's length, and in its last quarter switches to lo-fi 80ís tech fed sci-fi, as the pair finally switch bodies- and we get some really brain-scrabbling & trippy imagery.

The Passage really is quite unlike anything Iíve seen before- I guess the best way to try & get to grips/ explain what we have here is a mix of Requiem For Dream, felt & sad drama, and early Cronenberg. Itís a film that certainly needs a fairly clear & focused head to watch it, and  to fully get all the layers, storylines occurring here- but itís well worth the focus & effort, as Hucket has really created something very unique- though I can also understand why it only played for a short time on its original release- as it shifts & jumps cinematic genres, as well as it does tone & atmosphere- which most audience I think would find too jarring & unbalancing.

Moving onto this new presentation of the film- we get a 2k scan from the original 16mm film- this is not up to the normal well defined & well balanced Vinegar Syndrome treatment, but as they warn before the film begins they where using very damaged & aged worn stock- so the print is just so-so, but the damage ware is never too drastic. We get a commentary track from the films director & Tom Fitzgerald of EXP TV, whose a big fan of the film- so you really get all the questions answered you could wish about The Passing- as well as film facts Huckert is full of interesting tales from around the  films production & release, including the input of a certain John Waters who advised him on early cuts of the film. Next, we get two stand-alone fifteen-minute interviews with the crew- first is with the films producer/co-writer Mary Maruca, the second is with cinematographer Richard Chisolm- these both are interesting seeing each interviewee discussing how they got involved with the project & their early dabblings in film. Next, we get a selection of four short early films from Huckert- these run between around nine & nearing thirty minutes, two of the longer films are rough-runs for scenes & ideas from The Passing. The other two films are a little too arty, jarring, or student film like- sure there are interesting elements, but neither is wholly satisfying. Lastly, we get promotional & article gallery. So all told a nice bunch of worthy extras.

What makes Vinegar Syndrome one of the most appealing & cult-followed labels is their talent for hunting down surprising, creative & often long lost slices of cinema- and with The Passing theyíve done it once again- really I canít think of another film that blends together sentimentality with 80ís techno grimness, and moments of horror & trip-ness. Well done guys- this is yet another winner!.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
Latest Reviews

The Passing - The Passing( Blu Ra...
The Passing is a dizzying, often disorienting, wholly idiosyncratic Sci-fi film that randomly darts between whimsical & felt, sad & morose, 1980ís te...
230819   Richard Stevenson - Spectrum ...
230819   When the Walls Talk: The Whis...
230819   Schramm - Schramm (Blu Ray/ CD)
220819   Various Artists - Lux And Ivy...
220819   Wuso 命 - Lonely Streets
210819   Darsombra - Transmission
210819   Ato Vari - Stele
200819   Hellmaster - Hellmaster(Blu R...
200819   Osibisa - Welcome Home
200819   The Incredible String Band - ...
Latest Articles

Leyland James Kirby (The Caretake...
Leyland James Kirby has been a singular figure in UK electronic music for over two decades. He first came to prominence in the late 1990s with the resolutely...
240819   Leyland James Kirby (The Care...
060819   Stevan Mena - A Cut Above The...
280619   Michael Ridge - From Tools O...
250619   Merzbow/ Merzbow & Balazs Pan...
110619   Elsewhere Music label intervi...
170419   Damien De Coene - Pedal Chai...
120419   Raison D'Etre, Desiderii Marg...
290319   She Spread Sorrow - Who are y...
190319   Stephen Thrower - Harvesting...
120319   Dave Parker - A True Passion ...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom