Umbrella Entertainment is bringing back Frank Shields‘ (The Breaker) ’80s cult classic ‘Hostage‘. Not only is this version restored so it can be viewed in glorious 4K, this is also a slightly longer director’s cut of the film, based on the incredible, yet terrifying true story of Christine Maresch (Kerry MackThe Lancaster Miller Affair).

Christine, a naive 16-year-old working at a carnival, meets the handsome German immigrant Walter Maresch (Ralph SchichaSturm der Liebe) and under weird circumstances feels forced to marry him, before she discovers he’s a psychotic neo-Nazi, who’ll stop at nothing to manipulate and control every move she makes, for the rest of her life. Now living in West-Germany, Walter gets to be closer to his circle of Nazi sympathizers, and Christine finds herself in a whirlwind filled with domestic violence, drugs and armed robbery. It’s now up to Christine to save herself and her child, and safely get back to Australia.

Hostage couldn’t be more of a B-film. Fans of the genre will appreciate this melodramatic “Ozploitation”, which is based on true events – only slightly exaggerated. Lots of action, crazy fast editing and a score by Davood A. Tabrizi that probably went down in ’80s Australian film history as one of its finest. The twists and turns get a bit repetitive at some point, especially when it becomes annoyingly clear Christine misses every opportunity she gets to escape her abusive husband.

Luckily Kerry Mack knows how to sell the part, even if it may be a bit silly and over-the-top at times. The styling, make up and hair are always on point, even after she wakes up from a drug induced fever dream in which we see her tossing and turning up against the walls of some sort of dollhouse inside her head – Dario Argento would’ve been proud. Schicha on the other hand, overdoes it as soon as he gets confident in the role of neo-Nazi. He’s mostly here to shout, punch or grab Mack, while keeping it all very on the surface.

Sensational, suspenseful and overly violent, ‘Hostage: The Story of Christine Maresch‘ ticks all the boxes of exploitation cinema which some cinephiles will definitely enjoy in their collection. Never dull, fast-paced and taking place on multiple continents, the sky is the limit with an explosive finale that’ll either make you cringe or clap your hands.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hostage‘ will be available for on demand viewing from May 6 via Google Play, Fetch TV and Umbrella Entertainment.

Extended Director’s Cut releasing for the FIRST TIME on Blu-Ray and DVD May 6.

Review – ‘Hostage’ (1983)

Reviewed online (screener provided by Umbrella Entertainment), May 2, 2020. Rating: M. Running time: 93 min.

PRODUCTION: An Umbrella Entertainment release of a Frontier Films, Klejazz production. Producer: Frank Shields.

CREW: Director: Frank Shields. Screenplay: John Lind, Frank Shields (based on the novel by Christine Maresch). Camera: Vincent Monton. Editor: Don Saunders. Music: Davood A. Tabrizi.

WITH: Kerry Mack, Ralph Schicha, Judy Nunn, Vic Robins, Doris Goddard, Michael Harrs, Clare Binney, Henk Johannes, Burt Cooper, Ian Mortimer.

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