The late 70s and early-mid 80s in Poland were a time of incredible censorship and, miraculously, a time of phenomenal output from Polish filmmakers. Often overshadowed on the world stage by his peers, Piotr Szulkin was a visionary pioneer in the dystopian Sci-Fi genre. Presented here are the four films that comprise Szulkin's Apocalypse Tetralogy, originally released between 1980-1986, arguably the busiest period for the scissors of Polish censors. Cleverly working around content restrictions, Szulkin delivers tense and disturbing Sci-Fi, telling fantastical, and often horrific, allegories of living in a corrupt bureaucracy and police state. From aliens to artificially-created beings, from brainwashed masses and ultra-violent indulgences, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present Piotr Szulkin's Apocalypse Tetralogy, making its Worldwide Blu-ray debut.
93 min / 1.66:1 / Polish Mono / © 1979 Film Polski
Pernat finds himself in a police interrogation, accused of a murder, and unable to recall any details of the crime, or even his own life. He's released back into a world of raving lunatics and deranged dentists, murderous doctors and scientists who believe the secret of human creation is inside the walls of a cast-iron oven. Pernat's odyssey to find out who he is, and what it is to be human, will force his path to cross with all of them.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS: NEXT CENTURY
97 min / 1.85:1 / Polish Mono / © 1981 Film Polski
The Martians have landed and they're not to be feared! Or at least that's what TV personality Iron Idem has been telling people. Soon after their arrival though, his apartment is ransacked and his wife kidnapped. He's tagged like a wild animal and his nightly scripts are being changed. What Idem's eyes are seeing no longer matches what he tells audiences night after night. Are the Martians as good-natured as he believed, or is he being used in a more sinister plot that endangers the entire planet?
O-BI, O-BA: THE END OF CIVILIZATION
89 min / 1.85:1 / Polish Mono / © 1984 Film Polski
The world has been ravaged by nuclear war. The planet is frozen and radiation kills anyone or anything that ventures outside of 'The Dome'. Soft is a shepherd for the last remnants of humanity who have gathered together as they await rescue from a mysterious craft known only as 'The Ark.' He wanders among the masses, performing his regular daily tasks; keeping morale from plummeting, wooing prostitutes, squashing rebellions, and sometimes feeding the hungry. But as the true and sinister nature of 'The Dome' comes to light, Soft must ask himself if humanity is worth saving?
GA-GA: GLORY TO THE HEROES
84 min / 1.66:1 / Polish Mono / © 1985 Film Polski
Scope is a prisoner on a behemoth space station and is chosen, like all his fellow prisoners, to 'volunteer' for the exploration of far-away planets. Landing on planet Australia 458, he is given a hero's welcome with all the sex, booze, and violence that any one man can stomach. But as his new caretakers push him towards even more heinous and deplorable acts, Scope finds that his freedom comes with a high price; his own violent demise, broadcast live for the viewing pleasure of Australia 458's inhabitants. Is there a way out? Or is Scope's fate sealed?
directed by: Piotr Szulkin
starring: Marek Walczewski, Krystyna Janda, Roman Wilhelmi, Mariusz Dmochowski, Jerzy Stuhr, Kalina Jedrusik, Daniel Olbrychski, Katarzyna Figura
1979-1985 / 363 min (combined) / 1.66:1 & 1.85:1 / Polish Mono with English subtitles
- 2-disc Region Free Set: Blu-ray x2
- Newly restored by Vinegar Syndrome from existing studio masters
- Brand new commentary track with film historian and author Samm Deighan for GOLEM
- Brand new commentary track with film author and critic Michael Brooke for THE WAR OF THE WORLDS: NEXT CENTURY
- "Actually Existing Dystopia: Politics, Delusion and Language in O-BI, O-BA: THE END OF CIVILIZATION" (17 min) - a video essay by Jonathan Owen
- "Hard to be a Hero: Piotr Szulkin’s GA-GA: GLORY TO THE HEROES" (21 min) - a video essay by Andrew Nette
- 40-page perfect bound book with essays by Samm Deighan and Patrick Dahl alongside an archival interview with director Piotr Szulkin
- Reversible sleeve artwork
- Newly translated English subtitles