Review: The Night of the Hunted
Blu-ray & 4K UHD Blu-ray: The Night of the Hunted (1980)
Beginning with a scantily dressed woman running down a quiet road during the night, she is picked up by a concerned man (Robert, played by Alain Duclos) who ushers her into his car and offers safety from whatever/whomever she is fleeing from…as we then see a naked woman crouched by a tree calling out for the disappearing “Elysabeth”.
We find out that Elysabeth (Brigitte Lahaie) is suffering from a form of amnesia which only allows things to stay in her memory for just moments at a time, so of course she strips off and has sex with Robert…this IS a Jean Rollin movie after all!
In a post-coital haze, Elysabeth is bundled into a car by 2 shady characters proclaiming to be her only hope, leaving Robert alone and searching for her.
It is now that we find out that Elysabeth and many others like her have been affected by an accidental chemical/radiation leak that the government want to keep concealed from the general public and have lumped everybody together in a large unobtrusive office block to live out their final days before their minds finally die and they are euthanised.
Can Robert find Elysabeth in time? How many naked women will be onscreen?…it’s Jean Rollin, so a lot.
Stepping away from his usual erotic vampire subgenre, Rollin has crafted an intriguing mystery/horror/thriller which kept me interested throughout, despite its overlong sex scenes…though with a cast mostly drawn from France’s adult-film industry, there’s no surprise at all when people keep getting their kit off…and with this new 4K restoration, you even get the “joy!?” of seeing Duclos’s testicles in one sex scene…previously hidden from view in the darker less detailed releases. You have been warned!
Slow paced and very dialogue heavy, The Night of the Hunted does have a few action moments here and there, all accompanied by the usual “bright red paint” blood which frequented lower budgeted movies of the time.
Add on some very interesting special features and you have a package well worth picking up in either its Blu-ray or 4K UHD versions.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
- New 4K restoration from the original negative by Powerhouse Films
- Original French mono soundtrack
- Selected scenes audio commentary with writer-director Jean Rollin (2006)
- Selected scenes audio commentary with actor Brigitte Lahaie and Jean Rollin (2006)
- Audio commentary with film expert and author Tim Lucas (2023)
- Jean Rollin Introduces ‘The Night of the Hunted’ (1998): filmed appraisal
- Jean Rollin on the ‘The Night of the Hunted’ (2007): the director in conversation with festival programmer and journalist Joshua T Gravel at the Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal
- Perdues: ‘La Nuit des traquées’ (2023): updated documentary on the making of The Night of the Hunted, directed by Rollin’s personal assistant, Daniel Gouyette, and including interviews with Lahaie, critic Daniel Bird, and key collaborators Jean-Pierre Bouyxou and Natalie Perrey
- Le Pont (2023): short film revisiting the aqueduct seen in The Night of the Hunted
- Newly edited archival interview with Lahaie (2023)
- Newly edited archival interview with producer Lionel Wallmann (2023)
- Archival interview with porn performer Alain Plumey, who acted in The Night of the Hunted and Fascination, filmed at the Museum of Eroticism (2006)
- Filmed critical appreciation by author and musician Stephen Thrower (2023)
- Alternative sex scenes
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image galleries: promotional and publicity material, and behind the scenes
- New and improved English translation subtitles
- Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Ruairí McCann, archival writing by Jean Rollin on the making of the film, an archival interview with actor Brigitte Lahaie, and full film credits
- Limited edition of 10,000 numbered units (6,000 4K UHDs and 4,000 Blu-rays) for the UK and US
Released 28th August.
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.