Fast Company [Limited Edition] [2 Discs] [DVD]

Blue Underground adds to its impressive catalogue with this hot release of the David Cronenberg exploitation gem, Fast Company. Delivering not only a gorgeous version of the film, the DVD is stuffed with extras that highlight the director and even his later projects. As a bonus, two of Cronenberg's earliest and most elusive short features were supplied by him for this two-disc Limited Edition, making Stereo and Crimes of the Future available for the first time outside of grey-market bootleg copies. Technically, the disc is a dream, starting with the anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that was supervised by cinematographer Mark Irwin and struck from the original negative. With little-to-no age marks and rich colors throughout the film, Fast Company now belies its drive-in roots, thanks to attention to detail -- something that is enriched even more by the sound mixes. Four audio options are included, with the highlights being the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX and 6.1 DTS ES tracks. Full of depth, clear of distortion, and rip-roarin' when the engines are gunned, it's hard to say whether the film ever warranted such a high-level treatment, though any gripes should be thrown out of the window after feeling your teeth rattle in the racing scenes. If that weren't enough, there's also a Dolby Surround 2.0 track along with the original mono mix for those looking to relive the grindhouse feel. As far as extras go, you can't get any better than a David Cronenberg commentary. Sure, he's got the monotone thing going, but that will always be who he is, and never will it take away from your appreciation of what the man has to say. Fast Company always seemed to be the black sheep in the director's filmography, though you'll find that much of what propelled the film directly corresponds to many of his interests and hobbies. Cronenberg has been a car enthusiast most of his life, and after hearing him talk about the various "firsts" that they achieved in Canadian filmmaking and the true love he has for this particular time and place, the bigger picture just seems to make sense with this somewhat simple flick. The high-quality extras continue with a 12-minute interview with star William Smith and cult favorite John Saxon, along with a 14-minute interview with Irwin that covers his collaborative years with the director. The theatrical trailer, an extensive photo gallery, and a Claudia Jennings bio have also been included on the disc. As far as the second disc goes, both Stereo and Crimes of the Future are stunning in their transfers and, with the inclusion of chapter selections, could easily be sold separately from this disc. Concluding the set is a quality Cronenberg bio that caps a truly remarkable package from Blue Underground. Fans of the director would be proud to have this fine release on their shelf.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with co-writer/director David Cronenberg
  • "Inside the Character Actor's Studio": Interviews with stars William Smith and John Saxon
  • "Shooting Cronenberg" interview with director of photography Mark Irwin
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Poster & still galleries
  • Claudia Jennings bio
  • The early films of David Cronenberg: "Stereo" and "Crimes of the Future"
  • David Cronenberg bio

Synopsis

Crimes of the Future
Fans of innovative Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg will recognize the emergence of a his unique voice in this 1970 project, the director's second feature (following the 1969 Stereo). The bizarre premise introduces a dystopian future society in the wake of a devastating epidemic -- which killed off most of the adult female population thanks to a buildup of dangerous chemicals in cosmetics. Victims of this particularly gruesome affliction are marked by multicolored bodily secretions from every orifice -- which seem to produce an irresistible aphrodisiac effect on others. The majority of surviving females are pre-pubescent and frequently sought by creepy underground organizations of pedophiles. When one such group kidnaps a five-year-old girl, an agent from the Institute of Skin -- bearing the interesting moniker Adrian Tripod -- sets out to find her. Tripod drifts from one bizarre situation to another in his quest to find the girl, leading to several cerebral and frequently twisted episodes. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Fast Company
Amidst such formative shockers as Shivers, Rabid and The Brood, writer/director David Cronenberg dashed off this semi-documentary. Fast Company relates the life story of race car champion Lonnie Johnson. The ubiquitous William Smith, veteran of many a low-budget cycle flick, is quite convincing as Johnson. The film does not shirk in its depiction of the principal character's womanizing, which in itself is surprisingly endearing. Cronenberg also offers an indictment against corporate sponsors who tend to squeeze drivers like Johnson dry of all their salability. And, of course, we're offered plenty of breathtaking racing scenes, some of them real, others skillfully reenacted. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Stereo
The first film by director David Cronenberg, the black and white, hour-long feature Stereo is more self-consciously avant-garde, and less visceral, than his later work. Nevertheless, many of the usual Cronenberg concerns are present: a futuristic setting, bizarre scientific experimentation, and an obsessive exploration of perverse forms of sexuality. Stereo borrows the structure of an educational film, masquerading as a documentary record of an experiment performed by The Canadian Academy for Erotic Inquiry, under the guidance of Doctor Luther Stringfellow. (Indeed, the film is almost entirely silent, except for a series of voice-overs by the experimenters.) The project centers around a series of surgical techniques that are designed to create the ability for telepathic communication. The scientists are successful, and proceed to examine the interaction between the experimental subjects, especially the rise to dominance of one of the telepaths. As the study progresses, the researchers introduce the telepaths to various drugs, including aphrodisiacs, to increase the intensity of their bond and induce a state of "omnisexuality." When the telepaths begin to isolate themselves, however, it becomes clear that the experiment has had unforeseen side effects -- effects that ultimately lead to violence. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Ronald Mlodzik - Adrian Trilpod
  • Image coming soon
    Jack Messinger
  • Image coming soon
    Iain Ewing
  • Image coming soon
    Don Owen
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