The Monster (1994) Blu-ray Review: Delivers Quite a Bit of Silliness

The Monster, Roberto Benigni’s fifth joint, finds the co-writer/co-producer/director star as Loris, a display designer who is mistaken for the titular character, a serial killer who has raped and murdered 18 times over 12 years. While that premise sounds like it’s for a grim thriller, the film plays like a TV sitcom with Benigni finding humor in situations reminiscent of a European sex farce.

Buy The Monster (Special Edition) Blu-ray

While working a party, Loris is told a nymphomaniac is at the party. He mistakenly approaches the wrong woman and while told she’ll do it with anyone, he fondles her in private, ignoring that even a nymphomaniac might want a greeting before a groping. While bringing out mannequins and equipment for the garden party, Loris encounters the same woman in the parking lot while he holds a chainsaw. This interaction terrifies her. She reports what happened to the police, who believe it’s a botched attempt by the serial killer.

Behind on his rent, Loris welcomes Jessica Rossetti (Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni’s wife) as his roommate. She is an undercover police officer assigned to catch him in the act, which she does by parading around him naked (off screen) in the apartment and tempting him in secluded parks at night, Loris is attracted to her but doesn’t know how to respond.

Due to Loris’s lack of action, Jessica doesn’t believe he is the killer. The doctor working with the police wants to see for himself, so he and a companion get invited over for dinner. While the meal is never served, there are so many gags of misinterpreted actions by Loris, the sequence brings to mind an episode of Three’s Company.

Benigni seems influenced by silent-era comedy stars. His performance is very physical, and the character is a bit like Chaplin’s Tramp. Even though Loris has a job, he’s low on funds and always looking to pull a fast one, from grabbing items off a passing food tray to overwhelming a grocery store’s security system. The film concludes with what may be an allusion to Modern Times. The scenes of Loris chased through the city streets by a very large group of people is like Buster Keaton being chased by potential wives in Seven Chances.

The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Taken from a brand new 4K master, the image is clean. It delivers a spectrum of strong color hues, from rich reds seen in the Red Riding Hood costume Jessica wears to vivid blues seen in the cars and clothing of the police as they close in on Loris. Blacks are inky and contribute to the contrast. The image also delivers good depth and texture details throughout.

The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and sounds free from signs of age or defect. The Italian dialogue is clear, although their industry’s practice of recording in post production is more distracting in some scenes. The score comes through with good fidelity as do the effects, although the latter isn’t taxed with a lot to do.

The extras are an audio commentary by critic Peter Tonguette and six trailers from KLSC titles, including The Monster‘s international trailer.

For those who like their comedy broad, Benigni’s The Monster delivers quite a bit of silliness, especially for a story with a serial killer on the loose. The Blu-ray delivers quality high-def video and does the best it can with the limited audio source.

Posted in , ,

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones


  1. Greg Hammond on May 10, 2024 at 2:07 pm

    Well, since Benigni was able to make parts of the Holocaust hysterical, I suppose he can lighten up rape and murder for us. This goes straight to my “Must Watch” list.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter