Fan DVD #8: The Killer is Still Among Us (Camillo Teti, 1986)

Jay from the lovelockandload forums recently sent me a widescreen, uncut screener of this underrated 1980s giallo. The film itself is based on the unsolved ‘Monster of Florence’ murders which began in 1968 and were to influence a certain Thomas Harris who created the infamous character Dr Hannibal Lecter. Most reviews of the film tend to focus on the nastier elements such as the graphic murder scenes but there is more to this rarely seen thriller. In style it is more reminiscent of a television film than any of the quintessential gialli of the late 1960s and 1970s.

Christiana, a criminology student researching the case, becomes highly involved in the case, receiving threatening phone calls and begins to suspect that her boyfriend Alex might be the murderer. But is he? There are some nicely shot scenes such as the one where Christiana is terrorised in her apartment and the seance scene, which although seemingly out of place with the rest of the film leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. The murder sequences are well filmed and very realistic. Even the most desensitized horror fan might wince during the final scene. Surprisingly scripted by legendary giallo screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and well directed by Camillo Teti, whilst no masterpiece there is much more this film than its violent set-pieces.

After a long wait I first viewed the film last month via an English subbed avi made by lovelockandload member Luca Caneli. The source for the avi was the fullscreen Italian VHS which, although uncut, was overly dark, so much so that it was difficult to make out what was going on during the darker scenes. The widescreen screener I received was in similar shape seemingly taken from a print that was not in pristine condition. After viewing the fan DVDs of Queens of Evil (1970) and Formula for a Murder (1985) which used widescreen VHS as the source and were 16×9 enhanced and slightly remastered I have wanted to try my hand at producing something similar. The Killer is Still Among Us presented the ideal opportunity for such an effort.

To 16×9 enhance and remaster the video I used VirtualDubMod, a modified version of the original VirtualDub software which offers MPEG-2 support. I was surprised how easy it was to crop and 16×9 enhance the video and also alter the contrast and overall brightness of the image. Within two hours I had edited, mastered and encoded the new MPEG-2 file. Unfortunately it is still overly dark during the night scenes but is now a little better than the original source. Subtitles were a pain to synchronise as per usual but they seem to be timed correctly. Again I used DVD Lab to build the final DVD and create a motion menu. Below are some screenshots taken from my DVD:

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And here is the motion menu:

Next up will be fan sub DVD of the forgotten poliziesco Illustrious Corpses (1976). I was finally able to purchase the out of print Italian DVD and hopefully it will arrive this week. Also on my list is Duccio Tessari’s Death Occured Last Night (1970). I would like to work on some other 16×9 enhanced versions of gialli taken from widescreen VHS. Any suggestions?

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