Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion: Beast Stable DVD Review
PictureFor a film which is now 34 years old this is a remarkable presentation. Brought to us in it's original 2.35:1 anamorphic ratio I was pleasantly surprised at how well this feature comes across to the eyes. Exploitation has always had low production values but Scorpion: Beast Stable raises its head above the parapet well. Certainly there is grain and that cannot really be avoided however the print lacks dirt or other blemishes commonly found on prints of this age.
Often shot at night or in the dim sewers the film never shows any sign of blocking or other distracting artefacts. The shadow detail is excellent from the dark subway tunnels to the murky sewers beneath the city. Contrast is excellent and depth is more than sufficient.
On a lighter note a full colour palette is used. The prostitutes always lovingly presented in deep bold ranges of colours, never once overstepping their borders. The cityscape itself is well defined presenting a neon glow of a seedy nightlife.
SoundOn offer a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps track. Like the video and genre the sound is bold and up front. Expect your surrounds and LFE to have a day off for once. The spoken word is sparse in this film but when it is you'll never miss a syllable of the Japanese tongue. For those not familiar with the language though don't worry comprehensive English subtitles are on offer.
The main focus of the audio comes from the enthralling sound track itself. A product of its era it's dramatic, enhancing the scenes on offer. During times of emotion or compassion the track becomes a little slower, softer almost haunting in its execution.
Panning between your front speakers is subtle, all of the dialogue and most of the track itself remaining firmly locked to the centre channel. At the end of the day though the audio track on offer here perfectly complements both the video and script.
ExtrasThe trailer of course and this in itself is a joy. A blast from the past, speedily edited and presented it achieves its purpose of dragging you in to see the film. Although the trailer is in itself something which could be studied I don't count trailers as extras so unfortunately the score here reflects this.
VerdictIf you're wanting to do some research before jaunting off to see Planet Terror or Death Proof (or in fact if, like myself, you're going to wait for the original double bill to appear on disc) then please give Scorpion: Beast Stable your full attention. It's a perfect example of the genre at the start of the 70s.
As well as encompassing all of the usual exploitation characteristics, sex, violence, revenge, dramatic styled acting, odd camera angles the director adds some loving touches of his own. The relationship between Yuki and her brother is presented as one of true devotion. Yuki never being able to refuse even though she knows it's morally incorrect. The inhumane slave like existence of the prostitutes and the agony they continually have to suffer.
Coupled with this some superb angles, and altogether inspired photography (the lit matches down sewers is stunningly beautiful) you'll have an enjoyable night with Scorpion: Beast Stable. Fantastic cinema history for a genre which is perhaps only in recent years reaping its full rewards.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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