PIC of the Week – The Lift
Article series by Ray Schillaci
1983: the beginning of video format wars, VHS vs. Beta, and height of one of the first cable services, ONTV. It is also a time when some of the crudest and rudimentary horror films became accessible to the public. This was also an opportunity for little known foreign horror to emerge and scare up an audience as well. Enter one clever little screamer, of all things, a possessed elevator! Dick Maas’ (Amsterdamned) The Lift was a great oddity to us horror hounds, and brings back a wonderful sense of nostalgia in its Blu release by Blue Underground.
1984 winner of the Grand Prize at Festival D’Avoriaz in France, The Lift had a wonderful tag line – “Take the Stairs, Take the Stairs, For God’s Sake, Take the Stairs!!!” How do you pass up something like that? The story of an elevator (or lift as they call them in Europe) that takes on erratic behavior after it accidentally gets a taste of human blood. Writer/director Dick Maas fashions a tale that sounds like something out of a Stephen King novella. Sure, it’s tawdry, ridiculous, and very basic, but all the while it’s so entertaining with its black humor.
In fact, this damn little cult movie caught the attention of so many that Maas was asked to remake his own film as an American movie, Down (European title, The Shaft) with stars James Marshall (A Few Good Men, Twin Peaks), Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) and genre greats Michael Ironside, Edward Hermann, Ron Perlman and Dan Hedaya. With stars and a bigger budget to play with, Maas is credited as delivering an even better remake. But, there is something that is charming about his original with all its flaws, quirks, and struggling budget that the remake does not capture. Interesting note, Down is also being released by Blue Underground on the same day.
Unavailable to the home entertainment market for many years, The Lift is now presented in a brand new 2K restoration from the original negative, and approved by writer/director Dick Maas!
– Audio commentary with Dick Maas and editor Hans van Dongen
– “Going Up” interview with star Huub Stapel
– 2003 short film, Long Distance by Dick Maas
– Dutch and U.S. trailer
– Poster and still gallery
– Bonus collectable booklet
Amazon – $19.90
Special scream out to Shout Factory’s wonderful Blu presentation of George A. Romero’s epic, Land of the Dead. This suppose to be Romero’s swan song, but was eventually followed up by two smaller scale films, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Great cast with the late Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker and Asia Argento. This is a special 2-disc set with an unrated version of Romero’s insane vision of the dead living in a wasteland and attempting to cross over with the living as they try to lead normal lives behind a great wall of a fortified city. Just when you think Romero cannot shock us anymore since Dawn of the Dead, he blows us away with some of the most outrageous dead effects provided by KNB EFX. By the way, this was done in 2005, and here we are in 2017 talking about building “great walls.”
Amazon – $21.99