The Premonition centres around Andrea (Ellen Barber, below), a mentally-imbalanced woman whose daughter, Janie (Danielle Brisebois), is given up for adoption to Sheri Bennett (Sharon Farrell) and her professor husband, Miles (Edward Bell), but five years later, she’s starting to lose her mind.
Stepping in to try and right the situation, not necessarily by lawful means, is Andrea’s boyfriend, Jude (Richard Lynch), but his better half isn’t the only one who’s losing the plot as Sheri has bizarre premonitions while Andrea tries to reclaim her daughter.
Rather than be a typical ’70s horror movie, this was one of the earliest films to delve into the paranormal, dealing with parapsychology and elements within that such as telepathy; and early on we see this tested as Dr Jeena Kingsly (Chitra Neogy) is with a team of participants, who are tasked with sketching the dominant figure in their dreams, inspired by telepathy.
However, there’s a lot of weird stuff going on that doesn’t make a whole heap of sense, and whereas for some films this isn’t always an issue, The Premonition really does require something with which to give some answers to what you’re seeing. Alas, you don’t get it and Det. Lt. Mark Denver (Jeff Corey, on the right of the bottom-pic) sums it up perfectly with the line: “There’s too many weird things going on.”
As always, the film plays with an introduction (3:16) from Stephen Thrower, author and co-curator of the American Horror Project.
Note: The film is a 15-certificate, but the boxset is rated 18 overall.
The film is presented in the original 1.85 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and occasionally has some issues, such as an infrequent shimmering effect on the picture, plus blue lines down the left-hand side of the screen courtesy of one camera. Like all the films in this package, and in general with Arrow’s releases, any such problems are down to the original print and cannot be removed, and not for the want of trying on Arrow’s part. To that end, the booklet also states that the presentations of the three restored feature films in this collection have been approved by their directors.
For the record, I’m watching on a 50″ Panasonic plasma TV.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (mono) and is reasonable throughout without any major issues.
Taken from the Collector’s booklet about the video and audio transfer:
- “The Premonition is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with mono sound.
The original CRI was scanned in 2K resolution at OCN Digital, USA. Kodak Digital Ice was used to remove instances of dirt and debris during scanning. Grading was performed on the Baselight grading system at Deluxe Restoration, London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, light scratches and other forms of film damage were removed or improved through a combination of digital restoration tools.
The mono soundtrack was transferred from the original 3-strip magnetic reels.”
The extras are as follows, including a new interview piece for Arrow, plus some fantastic archive footage in the form of short films and “Peace spots”:
- Pictures from a Premonition (21:19): Clips from the film mixed with interviews with director Robert Allen Schnitzer, composer Henry Mollicone and cinematographer Victor Milt, including the former telling why he preferred NOT to make this just another ’70s slasher flick. This is a new piece, shot last year.
- Robert Allen Schnitzer interview (5:51): An older interview from 2005, shot in 4:3.
- Richard Lynch interview (16:06): Another interview from 2005, this time featuring the actor who passed away in 2012, following a heart attack, talking about the movie as well as his passion for acting. He looks a hell of a lot older here, too.
- Short films: Three from Robert Allen Schnitzer: Terminal Point (40:45) – shot in 1969, plus the director’s first two films from 1968/9, Vernal Equinox (30:08), and A Rumbling in the Land (11:05).
- Peace spots (3:38): Four made-for-TV segments produced for the Film Industry For Peace 1970, calling for an end to the war in Vietnam.
- Theatrical trailer (2:23): Presented in 4:3.
- TV Spots (3:27): Three of them, all in 4:3.
- Reversible sleeve: featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil.
- Audio commentary: with director Robert Allen Schnitzer.
The package also comes complete with American Horror Project Journal Volume I, a limited edition 60-page booklet which, for the whole set, comprises of new writings from Stephen Thrower (American Horror Project: The Return of the Exploitation Independents); Kim Newman (All the Fun of the Fair: Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood), Kier-La Janisse (“A Goddamn American Saint”: The Perversion of Perfection in The Witch Who Came from the Sea) and Brian Albright (Motherhood, Metaphysics, Mississippi, and The Premonition).
Subtitles are available in English, the main menu features clips from the film set to the classical music-style theme, which I first thought was something created many decades ago, it was so good, but no, it was created for this film. The chapters are the usual bog-standard 12.
The Premonition is available as part of the American Horror Project Vol.1 out now on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack Limited Edition, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
The three films in this boxset are:
Running time: 94 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: February 22nd 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (Mono)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Robert Allen Schnitzer
Producer: Robert Allen Schnitzer
Screenplay: Anthony Mahon, Louis Pastore and Robert Allen Schnitzer
Music: Henry Mollicone
Sheri Bennett: Sharon Farrell
Prof. Miles Bennett: Edward Bell
Janie Bennett: Danielle Brisebois
Andrea Fletcher: Ellen Barber
Jude: Richard Lynch
Dr Jeena Kingsly: Chitra Neogy
Det. Lt. Mark Denver: Jeff Corey
Andrea’s Landlady: Margaret Graham
Lenore: Rosemary McNamara
Todd Fletcher: Thomas Williams
Nurse: Tamara Bergdall
Gypsy Woman: Wilmuth Cooper
Dean Fuller: Stanley W William
Dr Larabee: Roy White
Carnival Watchman: Robert Harper
Patrolman at Bennett House: Mark Schneider
Questioning Student: Edward L Emling Jr
Receptionist: Bonita Chambers
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.