Director: Eloy de la Iglesia
Code Red

While most Spanish horror movies are fun outings comprised of sex and monsters, Eloy de la Iglesia's LA SEMANA DEL ASESINO ("The Week of the Killer") is a character-driven, psychological horror film that in turn is quite disturbing. Released in the U.S. in 1973 by Hallmark as APARTMENT ON THE 13 FLOOR, and also known as CANNIBAL MAN (sort of a misleading title), Code Red now unleashes this unforgettable mix of Euro arthouse and exploitive sleaze on Blu-ray.

The plot concerns a slaughterhouse employee named Marcos (played by Vicente Parra who was around 40 at the time but actually looks much younger) and his turbulent relationship with his girlfriend (Emma Cohen, star of dozens of Spanish horror films, including some with Paul Naschy). One night they indulge in some rather tame hanky panky in a cab, only to freak out the stuffy cab driver. An argument ensues, and after threatening to give her "the beating her father never gave her," the cab driver is bashed over the head with a stone by Marcos. The couple later discovers that the cabby died, and she can't live with what has happened, especially when the two are to be wed. The girlfriend desperately wants to run to the police, but Marcos just won't let that happen, and he strangles her after some passionate lovemaking. Not knowing what to do with the body, Marcos keeps it in his brother's room, keeping the door shut at all times. The problem is that every time someone pays a visit, they suffer the same fate as a murderous domino-effect triggers off.

THE APARTMENT ON THE 13TH FLOOR is a very tense, claustrophobic thriller that is reminiscent of Roman Polanski's REPULSION, made some years earlier. Most of it takes place in Marcos' ranch house, which is isolated in the middle of nowhere, yet frequently visited by an assortment of characters, all connected in some way. Although the film has some effective violence, it still manages to be quite suggestive (a room full of rotting corpses is often represented simply by the unsettling sounds of buzzing flies), with touches of black humor, and also takes time to let Marcos develop a bond with a lonely gay man (Eusebio Poncela, MATADOR) who lives in a high-rise across the way (he may or may not be witnessing all of Marcos' criminal activity through his binoculars). The viewer is fascinated by Marcos' ordeal, seeing how he conceals his dark secret. He tries to hide the smell of death with ample supplies of perfume and air freshener, while fighting off packs of dogs that come sniffing about the place. I won't tell you how he attempts to dispose of the bodies, but the guy does work in a slaughterhouse!

Code Red is presenting THE APARTMENT ON THE 13TH FLOOR in its fully uncut 107-minute version on Blu-ray for the first time in the U.S. (the previous Anchor Bay and Blue Underground DVDs – under the CANNIBAL MAN title – featured an Atlas International print that clocked in at 98 minutes and re-edited some authentic slaughterhouse footage as a pre-credit sequence). The film is presented in 1080p HD in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is crisp in its detail, while colors are bold and there’s virtually nothing in the way of blemishes, resulting in a terrifically clean presentation with excellent grain structure. The extra footage here consists mostly of extra dialogue centering around Marcos’ mother’s past accidental factory death, his questionable activities around the workplace, as well as the extension of a scene where a concerned father (Fernando Sánchez Polack, CURSE OF THE DEVIL) comes to Marcos’ house looking for his missing daughter. The print source here has Spanish credits (as well as title card markers – in Spanish – which show the day of the week as a scene transition), and the few extra scenes are in Spanish (accompanied by automatic English subtitles) where no English audio was available. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is clear and free of any noticeable hiss or distortion. Extras include a selection of Code Red trailers which include the English international trailer for the film (as “The Cannibal Man”), LAST CANNIBAL WORLD, THE MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD and CUT AND RUN. (George R. Reis)