The availability of Australian genre titles on home video in the U.S. has been a hit-and-miss thing over the years but certain titles have enjoyed a few lives on domestic home video. Thirst is a member of that lucky circle, having earned DVD releases from first Elite and later Synapse. It has just made the transition to blu-ray via a new combo set from Severin Films – and it’s the best version of this title yet for the American market.
This set boasts a new high-definition transfer that looks fantastic, particularly on the blu-ray. Vincent Monton’s ‘scope-format lensing comes across beautifully, with a velvety/earthy color palate that looks robust here and sharp details throughout. The mono audio mix is retained and is pretty strong for a non-stereo mix, particularly in the DTS version included on the blu-ray.
This combo set also carries over the special features included on prior U.S. DVD releases. The most substantial is a commentary track featuring producer Antony Ginnane and director Rod Hardy. This duo offers a consistent stream of comments throughout the running time, including information on the cast and crew, how Australian film finance rules dictated a quick schedule and how they struggled with figuring out a proper ending.
You’ll also hear about the surprising low-tech method used to get the film’s “glowing red eyes” visual effect and get some insight into why the film seems to flirt with an R-rating at times without ever going too far. All in all, it’s a solid track that sheds some light on how genre fare was made in Australia during its commercial heyday.
Also included are the theatrical trailer created by New Line for the film’s U.S. release, plus a trio of t.v. spots from the same campaign. The theatrical trailer is a fantastic hard-sell spot, piling on the shocks over a vigorous cue from Brian May’s musical score. The narration also does a great job of selling the film’s high-tech vampirism concept without giving away too much. The t.v. spots offer condensed versions of stuff from the theatrical trailer, all of them using that great shot of Chantal Contouri rising from her coffin with a scream.
In short, this is a worthwhile upgrade for an Aussie genre favorite. If you own this on DVD, the high-definition transfer makes it worth a double-dip – and if you don’t own this title, this is the home video version you want.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Thirst, click here.