Guyana, Cult of the Damned

Overview

One of the most sought-after cult films of the 1980s finally gets a home-video release in the United States, though the final product might leave a bit to be desired for some fans. Guyana: Crime of the Century (better known in the United States under its American release title, Guyana, Cult of the Damned, which is name checked on the cover) has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio, and the English-language audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, with no subtitles or multiple...
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Overview

One of the most sought-after cult films of the 1980s finally gets a home-video release in the United States, though the final product might leave a bit to be desired for some fans. Guyana: Crime of the Century (better known in the United States under its American release title, Guyana, Cult of the Damned, which is name checked on the cover) has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio, and the English-language audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, with no subtitles or multiple language options. The only bonus materials included are biographies for several of the cast members (which include some glaring typos) and trailers for other DVD releases from VCI Entertainment. Unfortunately, the quality of the source materials isn't especially good, with the image dark and murky through most of the film and the resolution suggesting this was mastered from an aging tape source. Just as significantly, this release presents a cult version of the film, which eliminates several incidents of nudity from the original cut (as if anyone was expecting wholesome and responsible entertainment from this movie?). Still, given its low price and easy availability, this release will be a no-brainer for fans of strange cinema, though the definitive video version of this picture still waits to be released.
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Special Features

Actor bios; Trailers
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This Mexico-lensed tabloid epic is as exploitative as its title sounds, but it's a more skillful piece of filmmaking than it might seem. Guyana, Cult of the Damned plays up the unsavory aspects of the Jonestown massacre that it is modeled upon, but the script is surprisingly faithful to the real events and fairly compelling, particularly its last half. Veteran exploitation director René Cardona Jr. lingers on the lurid aspects of the case in a typically tacky style -- including a few kinky "punishment" scenes and a gut-wrenching re-creation of the Jonestown mass suicide -- but directs it with a solid sense of craftsmanship. He also gets above-average performances from a well-chosen cast: Stuart Whitman delivers a memorably intense performance as Johnson, really drawing out the character's combination of paranoia and narcissism, and Gene Barry lends a touch of class as the dedicated, righteous congressman who wants to free the leader's unwilling disciples. Ultimately, Guyana, Cult of the Damned is a difficult movie to recommend because its sensationalistic "ripped from the tabloids" approach is likely to offend many viewers, but it has high "guilty pleasure" potential for trashy movie fans.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/15/2005
  • UPC: 089859839924
  • Original Release: 1980
  • Rating:

  • Source: Vci Video
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:55:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 38,435

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stuart Whitman Rev. James Johnson
Gene Barry Congressman Lee O'Brien
John Ireland David Cole
Joseph Cotten Richard Gable
Bradford Dillman Dr. Gary Shaw
Jennifer Ashley Anna Kazan
Yvonne de Carlo Susan Ames
Mel Ferrer
Nadiuska Leslie
Erika Carlson Marilyn
Carlos East Mike
Hugo Stiglitz Cliff
Tony Young Ron
Robert DoQui Oliver
Technical Credits
René Cardona Jr. Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Bob Summers Score Composer
Stephen Purvis Sound/Sound Designer
Nelson Riddle Score Composer
Carlos Valdemar Screenwriter
Earl Watson Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Titles [1:37]
2. The Vision [10:14]
3. Johnsontown [6:21]
4. Discipline [7:12]
5. Unhappy Inhabitants [5:50]
6. Humiliation [5:31]
7. Practice Run [4:00]
8. Concerned Citizens [9:26]
9. Political Visit [6:00]
10. Persistent Opposition [4:02]
11. Congressional Inquiry [7:09]
12. Interviews [5:35]
13. The Note [4:42]
14. Tensions Rise [6:01]
15. Massacre [6:01]
16. "White Night" [5:10]
17. No Escape [9:01]
18. End Credits [2:44]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Chapters
   Extras
      Trailers: Robinson Crusoe
      Trailers: Hannibal
      Trailers: Mein Kampf
      Bios: Stuart Whitman
      Bios: Gene Barry
      Bios: Jennifer Ashley
      Bios: Rene Cardona Jr.
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