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Giuseppe Bennati
Rosanna Schiaffino, Chris Avram, Eva Czemerys
Writing Credits:
Giuseppe Bennati, Paolo Levi, Biagio Proietti

A killer stalks people trapped inside a theater.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Italian LPCM Monaural
English LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $99.95
Release Date: 7/26/2022
Available Only As Part of 3-Movie “Giallo Essentials (Black Edition)” Set

• Audio Commentary with Film Critic Kat Ellinger
• “Hanging with Howard” Featurette
• “Writing with Biagio” Featurette
• Trailer
• Image Gallery


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The Killer Reserved Nine Seats [Blu-Ray] (1974)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 24, 2022)

For the final entry in Arrow’s “Giallo Essentials – Black Edition” trio of movies, we go to 1974’s The Killer Reserved Nine Seats. Wealthy Englishman Patrick Davenant (Chris Avram) invites friends to his luxurious villa to celebrate his birthday.

In this setting, he invites his guests to visit a theater on the property. Closed for 100 years due to a tragedy, Patrick figures it seems like the right time to reopen it.

Or perhaps not, as a mysterious party locks the guests into this location. Stuck in the theater, a madman stalks the visitors and creates bloody mayhem.

Though I guess Seats sets up Patrick as the lead, it really feels much more like a true ensemble. For the most part, it treats the nine characters fairly equally.

This becomes a problem for two reasons. For one, Seats never develops any of the role in a particularly engaging manner.

In general, the characters just come across as generic horny Italians. The entire “plot” tends to revolve around sex, and given the nature of the tale, this seems theme.

I get that we expect some nudity and whatnot from Giallo films, but Seats integrates those moments awkwardly. In the midst of a chilling mystery, too many people take ill-timed breaks for a little lovin’, and it makes no sense.

“Hey, a maniac wants to kill us – let’s get it on!”

“Hey, a maniac wants to kill us – I think I’ll dance nude to semi-disco!”

It also doesn’t help that Seats portrays an oddly antagonistic group with no real sympathetic personalities. They all seem like unpleasant backstabbers.

I understand that the movie wants us to view any one of them as the potential killer, but it still becomes difficult to care about various fates. When deaths occur, they inspire no loss on the part of the audience.

Given the movie’s strangely random plot, though, I’m not sure more compelling characters would help much. The participants just wander about with little purpose until the next killing occurs, and this gets tedious.

Despite its attempt to conjure an Agatha Christie feel, Seats just becomes a snoozer. Not even nude disco dancing can save it.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C-/ Bonus B-

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed reasonably appealing.

Sharpness usually worked fine. Despite a few slightly soft wider elements, the majority of the movie appeared accurate enough.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural, and only a handful of print flaws materialized.

Colors went with a natural vibe that leaned red at times. The disc replicated the hues in an appropriate manner.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows looked smooth and clear. Even with some softness and a few marks, this was a pretty good presentation.

I expect little from circa 1974 audio, and I expect even less from Italian soundtracks. As such, the movie’s iffy LPCM monaural mix fared about as well as I anticipated.

That meant it seemed iffy at best. Speech seemed intelligible but the lines consistently came across as edgy and sibilant.

Music tended to sound screechy and shrill, and effects were rough as well. Given its age, the track still merited a “C-“, but it came with a lot of weaknesses.

That said, I preferred it to the awful English dub. The latter actually boasted more natural speech, but it came with awful vocal performances. The poor quality of the acting made the English version one to avoid.

A few extras crop up here, and we find an audio commentary from film critic Kat Ellinger. She presents a running, screen-specific view of aspects of the Giallo genre, a critical appraisal/defense of the film, cast and crew, sets and locations, and various production elements.

Ellinger covers the various topics in a fairly engaging manner. She goes into a good array of domains and makes this a largely informative discussion.

Two featurettes follow. Hanging with Howard brings a 2013 interview with actor Howard Ross.

During this eight-minute, 23-second chat, Ross discusses his co-stars and his experiences during the shoot. This becomes a decent chat but not one with a lot of insights.

Also from 2013, Writing with Biagio goes for 28 minutes, 38 seconds and offers an interview with screenwriter Biagio Proietti. He tells us about his career as well as his work on Seats. Expect a fairly useful collection of memories.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with an Image Gallery. It includes 23 advertising elements and feels like a mediocre collection.

Potentially a murder mystery in the Agatha Christie vein, The Killer Reserved Nine Seats lacks purpose or suspense. Slow and dull, it never threatens to engage the viewer. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and some useful bonus materials, but audio seems problematic. Not much about this sluggish thriller works.

Note that this Blu-ray of Seats comes as part of a 3-movie package called “Giallo Essentials”. It also includes 1972’s Smile Before Death and The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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