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 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

Perdita Durango - Perdita Durango(Blu Ray/ 4k HD) [Severin - 2021]

Perdita Durango is Alex de la Iglesia’s first English language film and his follow up to the critically acclaimed Day of the Beast. It is based on the Barry Gifford novel “59 Degrees and Rainy: The Story of Perdita Durango”, which is the second in the Sailor and Lola series and a sequel to the first novel “Wild at Heart” which David Lynch made into a successful movie starring two of Hollywood’s up and coming actors at the time, Nicolas Cage and Laura Dearn who took on the roles of Sailor and Lola. 

Anyway, back to the film at hand, and from the first moment we are introduced to her, Rosie Perez is effortlessly cool as Perdita Durango, the beautiful sociopathic mad woman channelling the spirit of another exploitation legend, Tura Satana of Fast Pussycat, Kill! Kill! And The Corpse Grinders fame. The other half of this crime duo is Javier Bardem, who plays Romeo Dolorosa. Romeo is the high priest of a voodoo/ Santaria style cult, it’s never explicitly explained which it is, but there appear to be elements of both in the ritual sequences. Screaming Jay Hawkins, plays Romeo’s sidekick, Adolfo, adding a little gravitas to the idea that this is meant to be some form of voodoo or Santaria cult. 

Romeo is given a job by local mobster Santos (Don Stroud) to transport a truckload of refrigerated human foetuses to a lab in Las Vegas. Before the couple leaves for the handover, they decide to abduct a random young couple, Duane and Estelle (Harley Cross and Aimee Graham) with the intention of raping and sacrificing them. However, a cop from Dallas, “Woody” Dumas (James Gandolfini) is on the tail of Romeo.

After the ritual sacrifice is interrupted and a fight breaks out Romeo and Perdita flee the scene with Duane and Estelle in tow. They are followed by Dumas and the local sheriff. Perdita and Romeo head to the drop off point to collect the truck, during the exchange process, they are attacked by Dumas, the sheriff and his nephew/deputy, this ends in a big shoot out. Perdita, Romeo, Duane and Estelle escape uninjured with the truck and head to Las Vegas to hand over the cargo, unsure of what awaits them. Our protagonists have time for a few adventures along the way, including Romeo’s revenge on the loan shark, Catalina (Demían Bichir) which he undertakes in suitably visceral style. 

Perdita Durango is a hyperviolent slice of exploitation cinema that relies heavily on generous amounts of humour to lighten what would be otherwise a very dark movie. The cast is excellent, particularly the two leads, who are ably supported by an excellent supporting cast, Gandolfini is brilliant as Dumas, as is Screaming Jay Hawkins as Adolfo. There is also a great cameo from Repo Man director Alex Cox as Doyle. 

This new release from Severin represents the first uncut release of the film in the US and under its real title (it was previously released in a truncated version as Dance with the Devil, and missing much of the violence). Severin has really gone to town on this release, the film itself looks stunning and it benefits enormously from the restoration of the previously excised material, running at a whopping 130 minutes. It is great that we get both the UHD and the Blu-ray disc, as the Blur-ray features some excellent bonus materials including interviews with director Alex de la Iglesia, writer Barry Gifford, composer Simon Boswell and director of photography Flavio Labiano. There is also the short film, Dancing with the Devil, an appraisal of the film from film scholar Rebekah McKendry. 

Overall, this is a package worth picking up if you like Alex de la Iglesia’s other work, or if you like a good, solid, well written, well-directed and well-acted exploitation flick. Perdita Durango is a film that I have been aware of for a good many years and never got round to watching. I am really pleased to be able to say that I have now seen it and would heartily recommend it to anyone with a taste for the darker side of cinema. This is an absolute classic and Severin have given it the release it very much deserves.

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

Darren Charles
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