Hammer Studios was very busy during the 60’s and 70’s as we have covered before, and as you can tell by my rash of reviews of their films lately. As I have previously stated other than the classic monster films they dipped into a wide variety of horror and science fiction elements. One of those came out in 1966. It was called The Reptile. Filmed back to back with Plague of the Zombies The Reptile is not as bloody as a typical Hammer film, and not as “Erotic” as some from this era. The Reptile is more of a slow burn horror suspense film that met with a great amount of critical praise upon its release.
The Reptile takes place in a small village where Harry and Valerie Spalding have just moved to. Harry’s brother passed away and left him his home. Although anxious to start there life there they notice hardly any of the townspeople talk to them, or even look at then for that matter. The only person who talks to them at first is Tom. He lets them know it’s not them, it’s the fact that people in the town keep dying. The local Dr says “The Black Death” is the cause. The local Dr, Franklyn lives next to Harry with his daughter and a mute servant. He blames The Black Death for everything.
As this Black Death is responsible for the death of Harry’s brother he decides to start investigating further. He decides to invite the town lunatic over for dinner to discuss it. Because who better then to help lead an investigation then a man nicknamed Mad Peter. Peter basically tells them to get out before they die, then runs off into the night. He does come back after he runs away. He comes back to die. He’s convulsing, foaming at the mouth, and his skin has a black tint to it. Obviously this is the work of the Black Death.
Harry decides to take his investigation to the next level and dig up Mad Peters body, as well as his brothers so he can examine their corpses. He finds, on both, a bite mark in the neck similar to what you would find from a snake or reptile if you will. Obviously the Black Death is being caused by something evil, and Harry along with Tom must try to find it and stop it.
Scream Factory has just added this one to there ever growing collection of Hammer Blu-ray titles and like the others they have done an amazing job with the transfer. The video and audio are fantastic. There really is nothing I can ever say bad about the work Scream Factory does. They have the transfer process on these old films down to a sweet science. Apart from looking and sounding amazing the film boast an impressive amount of special features as well.
· Presented In Two Aspect Ratios – 1.66:1 And 1.85:1
· NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historians Steve Haberman, Constantine Nasr And Ted Newsom
· NEW Interview With 1st Assistant Director William P. Cartlidge
· The Serpent's Tale – The Making Of The Reptile
· World Of Hammer – Wicked Women
· Theatrical Trailers
· TV Spot
· Still Galleries
As I stated not bloody like many other Hammer films from this time, but still a really fun story. The cast does a great job and the film moves along at a fast pace. Fans of old school horror will definitely get a kick out of this one. Pick it up for a fun enjoyable evening movie.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars
Hammer, one of the most innovative studios ever. Combining classic movie monsters with ample amounts of blood, and nudity, they were producing a line of films vastly different than American audiences were used to seeing. Some of there films in there vampire showcase were heavily sexual. Vampire Lovers, Twins of Evil, and Lust for a Vampire, the “Karnstein Trilogy”. Made in 1971 Lust for a Vampire was one of the more erotic films to come from the studio. It feels slightly out of place in terms of the atmosphere audiences were used to when watching a Hammer production. This one has more of a Drive-Inn style about it in my opinion.
The film takes place in 1841, 40 years after the death of Carmilla Karnstein. We see the Count and Countess Karnstein as the film begins. They grab a young girl from the village and take her back to their castle. Once there the Count performs some type of Satanic ritual. He slashes the young women’s throat and fills a chalice with the blood. He then pours it over the remains of Carmilla. This works wonders as it brings her back to life. We then meet Richard, he’s a writer researching the legend of the Karnsteins. He is looking around the castle grounds when he meets Giles, a professor at a school located near the Castle. He takes Richard to the school to talk when Carmilla arrives. She is using an alias of Mircalla and plans on feeding on the unsuspecting students. Richard, who has no idea she is really a vampire becomes instantly attracted to her and gets a job at the school as an English teacher just to be close to her.
It does not take Mircalla long to begin seducing the other girls, yes you read that right, and killing them in good old fashioned vampire blood draining style. Now it does not take long for people to figure out what’s going on. Richard figures it out fast and truthfully doesn’t care. He simply loves Mircalla and begins a relationship with her. He does want her to stop killing people but its not his top priority. Giles, figures out she’s a vampire and tries to make a deal where he can serve her family. And because the town knows the legend of the Karnsteins they safely assume that there the family responsible for all the dead bodies piling up around the village.
The film has a lot of nudity in it. A lot. More than your average Hammer Film. The only issue is, its not really erotic, not that interesting. I dig the atmosphere and score, which is amazing like all Hammer films. The acting is good, not to campy, not to serious. The special effect are well done. There is a nice amount of blood and gore. And the film has a pretty standard run time of around 93min. The problem is, its just really slow.
Scream Factory has done an amazing job once again with the transfer. The colors are bright and vibrant. The dark scenes look fantastic as Scream Factory is always able to avoid that blue tint that plagues many transfers. The audio is crisp and the score sounds fantastic playing through your surround sound. The release also boasts a great amount of special features.
· NEW 4K Scan Of The Negative – Presented In Two Aspect Ratios – 1.66:1 And 1.85:1
· NEW Audio Commentary By Author/Film Historian Bruce Hallenbeck
· NEW Interview With Actress Mel Churcher
· Audio Commentary By Director Jimmy Sangster, Star Suzanna Leigh, And Hammer Films Historian Marcus Hearn
· Theatrical Trailer
· Radio Spots
· Still Galleries
Fans of Hammer films will ant to pick this up, as Scream Factory is doing an amazing job regarding their catalog of films. Average horror fans may find this a bit slow. Its not the best effort from Hammer but its definitely worth watching.
Overall 2.5 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I have long been a fan of the Critters franchise. What’s not to like? Cute yet ugly evil little balls of alien fur with big teeth that devour people. Think of them as violent bloodthirsty Gremlins from outer space. Launched in 1986 the first film spawned quiet a successful franchise. It was a unique blend of horror, science fiction, and comedy. Over the top gore campy dialogue, and lets not forget a young Leonardo DiCaprio in the third entry It was followed by three sequels, a web series, and now a new film in the Franchise Critters Attack.
The newest film sticks to the same tried and true formula. A sleepy town becomes overrun with the evil Space Critters. Drea and her brother Phillip are living with their Uncle the local Sheriff after their mom dies in a car accident. Drea has all her hopes set on going to Leroy College but in the beginning we learn she was not accepted. But all is not lost as her friend hooks her up with a babysitting gig for one of the heads of the schools admission department. Drea jumps on the chance and decides to, along with Phillip takes the kids on a quiet nature hike. As they walk up the sleepy town they encounter a cute little white ball of fur. That fur turns of to be a female critter. She (the critter) is there because she has followed the male critters to the town where they have already began attacking random people.
Also hot on the heals of the Critters is Dee Wallace from the original Critters film. However this time she is playing a completely different character. She is Aunt Dee, a bounty tracker after the Critters and looking for revenge after they murdered her family years ago. I have read that she is supposed to be playing her original character (Helen) and just going by a different name, but I didn’t get that. SO what you have is Drea, Phillip, the kids she’s watching and the little white critter heading into town along with Aunt Dee (she wanders off quiet often) to stop the Critters. They have to run around as the Critters were smart enough to kill the cell phone service.
I really had a fun time watching this. The campy humor, over the top gore, and a really good performance by Wallace all made for an enjoyable little film. I really wish Wallace would have been it in more (Her part is spread out by still fairly small) and I also wish we could have gotten a real clarification as to if she was Helen now going by Aunt Dee or just a new character entirely. Either way the film was still a great way to spend the evening.
The Critters look just a good as the always have. The blood and gore is still there, and so is the predictable plot. I say predictable because this is nothing you haven’t seen before, and that’s just fine. Critters Attack doesn’t try to start anything over, or jumpstart anything new. It simply took the evil little aliens killing a town and threw in a white female critter. That was it. But that was all it needed. These films are made for campy fun and Critters Attack succeeded that on every level.
The special effects look good, both in terms of practical and CGI. The acting and chemistry between all the main players was fine. Warner Brothers did a great job on the Blu-ray as the film looked and sounded fantastic. I love hearing little Critter noises through my speakers. There are a few short but still cool special features thrown in that fans of the series will enjoy.
Thirty years later and the Critters are still a great franchise. This was a great albeit short little film that fans of the series, as well of fans of horror and science fiction alike should check out. If you have never seen a Critters film before shame on you, but don’t worry you wont be lost. Pick this one up on July 23rd and enjoy.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!
When the Hellboy reboot was announced it was met with mixed responses. There were those who were upset that the franchise was starting over without Ron Pearlman behind the makeup as Hellboy. Others, like myself saw it as exciting news as a comic accurate R-rated version of Hellboy was coming to theaters. Guillermo Del Toro was not returning to direct so Neil Marshall stepped in for those duties, and David Harbour went under the makeup to portray Hellboy.
Hellboy is working on a case for B.P.R.D (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) he’s tracking a former agent who was turned into a vampire. Hellboy is able to hunt him down but right before he terminates him the vampire tells Hellboy the end of the world is coming. When Hellboy returns to the BPRD Headquarters he is assigned to stop the threat of the 3 Giants. This however is merely a backdrop for the real threat. A changeling named Gruagach wants Hellboy dead for reasons I will not spoil here. He is working with a witch named The Baba Yaga (not John Wick) To retrieve the body parts of an evil queen named Vivian Nimue, who tried to destroy England during he Dark Ages but was thwarted by King Arthur. Arthur used the magical sword Excalibur to kill and dismember her, then to insure she did not return scattered her body across England.
Gruagach is able to succeed in his plans and unleashes Nimue who needs Hellboy to bring about the apocalypse. Hellboy, as we learn is a descendant of King Arthur and he possesses the power to hold Excalibur. However removing the sword from the stone will cause a portal from hell to open here on earth thus releasing demons and bringing about the apocalypse.
Sound confusing, well it sort of can be. I have been reading Hellboy for a long time now so as a comic book guy it was fantastic to see Ben, Alice, Trevor, Lobster Johnson, and more. Now if your not a comic book reader this is a hell of a lot for a film to throw at you. It’s a good film don’t get me wrong but way way to much is introduced to the average viewer. The universe in this version is different in certain aspects than the other two films, but its all just dumped on you. Nothing is slowly introduced. So for all the folks who only know Hellboy from the previous two movies they may find this film to be a bit to out there.
Now the one thing I must say is the film is a very violent and bloody hard R film. I’m really surprised the horror fans did not embrace it a bit more. It’s a very good horror film on its own merits. And I must say that David Harbour did a fantastic job as Hellboy. He really did a fantastic job of transitioning the comic characters traits to the big screen. The directing was great, the score sounded fantastic, the effects were amazing as well. It was a well-acted, well-made production. For all the people out there saying they want more hard R violent comic book movies, this is for them. The Blu-ray from Lionsgate looks and sounds great and its one you really should be up.
Great for fans of the comics, great for horror fans, but a bit much for a casual view of comic book films the film is good. I really liked it. I will admit had I not read any of the books it would be a bit much to take in all at once. But that aside, ignore the bad reviews and watch this as a popcorn horror movie with a comic book demon as the star. Its actually quiet enjoyable.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, as you can see by just reading the bold letters it spells Shazam. Shazam is actually Billy Batson, a mild mannered kid who, when he yells Shazam becomes a superhero. Essentially Superman only powered by magic. It’s a character that has long been in film development. Well when DC hit big with the bright and colorful Aquaman they decided to go the route of another light hearted take and make Shazam. It was DC’s first take into a kid friendly superhero film as opposed to their usually dark and brooding style. The result was a critical and commercial success with a sequel already in the works.
Billy Batson is an orphan who spends most of his time running around looking for his long lost mother. He keeps running away looking for her with a compass he has until he’s finally put in a new foster home with 5 other kids. He actually gets along quiet well with them, especially Freddy Freeman, an avid superhero fan. One day at school Freddy is getting beaten up by a couple of punks and Billy runs in and beats them with a crutch. He makes a run for it, and hops on a subway to escape. Suddenly he’s transported to the Rock of Eternity where he meets the wizard Shazam. Shazam finds Billy to be “pure of heart” and endows his powers on him. Superhuman strength, flying, speed, invincibility (close to anyway) and the power to use lightning. All he has to do is yell “SHAZAM” and he transforms into adult superhero. Billy is transported back with the wizards Staff and begins using his powers for good, and with the help of Freddy, social media fame.
As Billy is experimenting with his newfound powers a threat by the name of Thaddeus Sivana has emerged. When he was a child like Billy he was transported to the Rock of Eternity, but he was not deemed worthy as he was tempted by the Seven Deadly Sins. Tempted by there power he is sent back to earth where he vowed revenge. Now a full grown adult Sivana Has found a way to return to the Rock of Eternity where he steals the Eye of Sin thus becoming the host for the Seven Deadly Sins. He returns to earth and see’s Shazam on the news. He easily defeats the inexperienced Billy in battle and tries to steal his powers to add to his own. Billy will need the help of his family and all his inner strength to stop Sivana in his quest to rule the world.
Lighthearted is the best way to sum this up. Its very faithful to the comics, very fun, and very action packed. It has a big heart, and even teaches a lesson or two, it is in my opinion DC’s best feature film to date. The parts with Sivana and the exploration of the Seven Deadly Sins are surprisingly dark, but never in a way that is going to frighten your kids, and that is who this film is made for. Its is probably the most family oriented superhero film since Christopher Reeves Superman, and that’s not a bad thing.
The film is fun. Watching Billy turn into Shazam (Played wonderfully by Zachary Levi) is just a laugh a minute. All the scenes are played for laughs but in all actuality is probably pretty accurate on how a kid would handle becoming an adult superhero. Learning to use his powers, fighting bad guys, buying beer, its really very funny. Its also got a great heart about it. Billy is an orphan. His mom abandoned him. We see him bond and learn to love all his fellow foster brothers and sisters. You see early on, and especially towards the final act what a heart of gold the kid really has.
The special effects are top notch as well. The Shazam costume looks fantastic, as do all the lighting fights. Warner Brothers has done a tremendous job on the Blu-ray so the video and audio quality are amazing. Its as if you’re watching a cartoon come to life. The sound quality is some of the best I have heard. You can hear all the effects, and flying sounds through your speakers. If the quality was not enough there are even special features, and yes, stay after the credits as well.
I am a fanboy for DC in terms of their comics, television shows, and animated films, but I have been very critical of there live action films. I’m not saying there is anything wrong making you films more adult, or with a darker tone. But there is nothing wrong going the family route either. Shazam is funny, exciting, and safe for the entire family. It was designed for a young audience and it delivered. Its just a well made well-acted film that every superhero fan young or old will enjoy. Pick it up.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray set was provided to me by Warner Brother for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I began reading and collecting comic book 38 years ago, yes I am old. When I was a kid a comic came out in 1980 from DC called New Teen Titans. It took a group of younger college aged heroes and sidekicks and showcased them as a team. Clearly as a way to combat Marvels X-Men comics. I read these books but thought nothing of them until a storyline called The Judas Contract was published. It put a different layer on each character, turned a throw away villain into a major player (Deathstroke) and really showed that even colorful and young characters can have an edge to them. DC adapted the story line into an animated film a year or so back that was changed for time and continuity but still very good. Before this however we had a fantastic Teen Titan cartoon that ended to soon. We then got treated to Teen Titans Go which I personally find hysterical, and that introduced these characters to another audience.
With not only the success of superhero films and tv shows it came as no surprise that DC would be starting a live action streaming service. They in fact had many cartoons, shows, and comics they could offer online. Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and more were gracing our evening on the CW Network so to entice subscribers DC created their own line of Shows for the service. Not facing network censorship they were able to go a bit edgier and more R rated in terms of themes. There first show out of the gate was The Teen Titans. A live action update of the groups core characters. Robin, Raven, Beast Boy, and Starfire. It was an odd choice but when the first trailer hit people were blown away buy how good it looked. I just completed watching season one and let me tell you, its one of the best superhero shows I have ever seen.
Titans is at its truest form a gritty mystery series. It centers on Dick Grayson, who we all know is the original Robin. He’s no longer in Gotham City, he’s now living in Detroit as spends his days as a police detective and nights fighting crime as Robin. He encounters a young runaway named Rachel Roth (Raven) who has some type of psychic power. She has had dreams of Grayson but before he can try and figure out what’s wrong with her she is kidnapped. She wakes up to find herself impressed by the man who murdered her mom but all at once she turns into a demon, kills the would be kidnapper and goes back to normal. Robin arrives after this to save her and find out what is going on.
As this is happening we are introduced to Kori Anders (Starfire), who when we first encounter her she had no memory of who she is. She was hired to locate Rachel and has the ability to shoot fire. She continues on her way to Detroit to find the girl after killing the gangster who hired her. We also meet Gar. A green kid who is able to transform into animals (Beast Boy). He’s only seen for a second in the first episode but he as well as Starfire also head to Detroit. The group all converges and team up to find out who wants Raven dead.
This is a violent, well-acted, slow burn of a series. Its exactly what it needs to be. We are introduced to the Doom Patrol, The Nuclear Family, The new Robin, Trigon, Batman, Hawk and Dove, and more. The show takes the time to explain all of these characters, and in the case of The Doom Patrol give them a spinoff show, to start building a universe. This show is so well crafter DC will be able to launch an entire universe off of Titans, much like they were able to use Arrow to bring in a series of other shows and spin offs. The show has a very impressive budget as the costumes, which are very comic accurate look better than lots of the big screen films.
The chemistry is great between all involved. Brenton Thawaites as Grayson and Teagan Croft as Raven as my two personal favorites. Everyone involved does a fantastic job. From the acting to the costumes, to the effects, and especially the action choreography everything about Titans is top notch. It was an amazing first season, that like I stated moves slow and methodical but is never boring. Its done to build a universe and introduce all these characters to you. It was a fantastic choice as the series to launch the channel.
If you do not have the streaming service, first of all get it, second Warner Brothers is releasing Titans on Blu-ray with all the episodes of season one on a gorgeous Blu-ray set. Its worth buying even if you have watched the show as not only is the Blu-ray transfer amazing in terms of audio and video quality but its loaded with special features.
· Raven and Robin Dark Rebirth
· The Story of Titans
· The Characters of Titans
· The Making of Titans
· Dick Grayson’s and Rachel Roth’s Dark Past
· A Look at Vigilantes Hawk and Dove
· The Identity of Titans Kory Anders/Starfire
· Gar Logan’s Journey
· Rachel’s Powers
· The Doom Patrol Meets the Titans.
· Jason Todd’s Robin
· From Comic to Live-Action Adventure
· Meet Wonder Girl
· Dick Grayson’s Dark Past
· World of Super Heroes and Vigilantes
Top to bottom this is what a superhero series should be. Great acting, story, and effects make this one of DC’s best works to date. I cannot stress enough how much comic fans, and non-comic fans alike will enjoy watching this. Pick it up and add it to your collection.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
Universal Pictures is, for horror fans famous for the Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from The Black Lagoon, etc. Well guess what they made lots and lots of other horror films as well. From Serial Killers, to Ghoul’s there were quite a few put out by the studio. Well not nearly as well-known as our Monsters these films were all well regarded by not only horror fans but critics alike. Luckily for us Scream Factory has been releasing sets of these films on their Universal Classics Collection. Volume 2 is set to come out, and let me tell you its just as great, if not better in a few films cases as the first set. This collection once again features 4 classic movies from the Universal Vault.
The first film up is titled Murders At The Zoo. Made back in 1933 it’s the story of Eric, a zoologist who has a horrible cheating wife. We first meet him sewing the lips of one of his wife’s lovers shut then throwing him out into the jungle to be killed by animals. He’s in the jungle with his wife to bring animals back to the states to keep in his zoo. His wife begins a romance with one of the ship hands so Eric devises a way to create a mechanical snake, load it up with Mamba venom and murder him. It’s a very well thought out plan that really is not a corny as it may sound. The film is fantastic. Played very seriously it really is a tale of a man driven to the depths of madness. Its one of the better psychological thrillers out there. Great acting, and a great cast and a very short run time (66min) make this fly right by. It’s a must see for horror fans.
Our next picture on the collection is The Mad Dr. of Market Street. Made in 1942 it’s like a cross between Frankenstein and the Island of Dr Moreau. It’s about a mad dr. The Dr. in question is Dr. Ralph Benson. He is trying to reanimate people or as he calls it Experimenting with suspended life. He finds a human guinea pig for his experiment by that person dies. As he’s now a murderer he slips onto a boat to skip town but the boat crashes after catching fire. He manages to make it safely to a tropical island. He encounters a native woman who is dying, but he manages to save her. The natives believe he is a God and dub him “The God of Life”. As he is a mad scientist he begins to rule over the natives, the other passengers that survive notice he is becoming increasingly power hungry and begin to fear for their lives. Well-acted, and fun it’s a good albeit short (barely 60min) runtime. It’s a really good one to check out late one evening.
The third film is The Strange Case of Dr RX. This one was made back in 1942, and also has a short run time (a little over 60min) It’s a pretty effective, yet strange Detective Movie. A private investigator named Jerry Church is asked by his old colleague Dudley, who happens to be a defense lawyer help find a killer by the name of Dr. RX. See the last detective to get close to Dr Rx has gone insane, not to mention he was unable to capture him. In another twist every victim of this killer has been a client of Dudley who was found not guilty. Church is more effective than the others who were tracking him. So effective he gets captured and we learn Dr. Rx is also a crazed mad scientist who plans on swapping Jerry’s brain with that of a gorilla. This film is a bit more off the rails then the previous three but still a fun watch. Not played for laughs but a bit more unintentionally funny than the others. Its still a fun short watch that horror fans will enjoy.
The final film in the collection is The Mad Ghoul from 1943. This is my favorite of the bunch. Its about Dr. Morris and his assistant Ted who are conducting experiments with Mayan nerve gas. They are testing it on animals and when there monkey dies they are able to bring it back to life with fluid drained from another animals heart. Ted is dating a woman named Isabel who Morris instantly becomes infatuated with. He plans to gas Ted so he will become essentially a ghoul like the monkey and steal Isabella from him. It works, but for some reason Morris helps Ted stay alive by stealing the hearts from freshly dead bodies to keep him in a normal state. Isabel travels as she is a singer, and Ted and Morris follow her on tour and drain hearts in each town. It doesn’t take police long to notice that bodies keep dropping and they soon begin hunting the killer along with a local reporter who has a hunch a ghoul may be behind this. This one is also shot, and well-acted but the element of adding a ghoul that almost in a Jekyll and Hyde state really throws a classic monster twist on this one. It’s the most fun I had in quiet some time watching this old flick.
Its Scream Factory so you know the audio and video are great. These are all black and white films but they look crisp and clear. The shadows, and fog, and especially the jungle setting in The Mad Dr of Market Street all look and sound amazing. They even included special features for every film.
DISC ONE: MURDERS IN THE ZOO
· NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Greg Mank
· Still Gallery
DISC TWO: MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET
· Theatrical Trailer
· Still Gallery
DISC THREE: THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. RX
· NEW Gloriously Wicked: The Life And Legacy Of Lionel Atwill Featurette
· Still Gallery
DISC FOUR: THE MAD GHOUL
· NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian Thomas Reeder
· Still Gallery
Another fantastic set for fans of classic horror. Universal has lots out there to chose from so I for one hope that Scream Factory can continue to put these out. Pick it up today.
Overall 4out of 5 Stars!
When you see a movie title called The Leopard Man the first think I think is it’s a movie about a half man half leopard killing people. I hope I am not alone in this thinking. Well in the case of 1943’s The Leopard Man I, and hopefully you would be wrong. What it is, is actually one of the first films to deal with the premise of a serial killer and a leopard.
The film takes place is a dusty New Mexico border town where a nightclub owner named Jerry is trying to drum up business. He decides to get a real leopard to pose with his girlfriend, and club worker Kiki. He figures it will be a great piece of publicity. The problem is another girl from the club named Clo Clo is jealous of Kiki and all the attention she is getting from jerry and decides to sabotage this little stunt. She spooks leopard and it freaks out and runs away. Now here is where it gets a little more interesting. The owner of the animal is named Charlie but he goes by the name Leopard Man. He really wants his pet back, or at least the money to cover it. So he begins harassing Jerry for the money he believes he is owed for his missing animal.
One night a young girl who just happens to be terrified of the dark is on her way to get some tortillas for her father and is killed. The police find her completely mauled and suspect that it is the works of the escaped Leopard. Now as this is disturbing enough a few days later another girl is found mauled to death. The townspeople all decide to form a posse and kill this animal but Jerry is not as convinced thee murders are the work of the missing leopard. He has noticed just enough clues, and the fact the animal was not aggressive to begin to theorize that it may be the work of a human committing these crimes, and staging them to look like animal attacks.
This is one of the most atmospheric films I have ever seen, and its black and white which makes that even more incredible. Every time we have a night sequence it is of course very eerie and dark, but there are all these little subtle nods shown from which part of the town you are in. The poor side of town is always darker, more dreary and at times sinister. Now when we have the killing of the second woman who is on the richer side of the town everything seems brighter with more “hope” shall we say. Still dark, just lighted in a different way. To have a black and white film contract in colors that can identify different areas of the town is almost impossible to do with this type of detail. The acting is well done as well with everything coming across as serious and not in a corny hunting for the killer way.
What makes all of this even better is that Scream Factory has remaswtered this and given it the full Blu-ray treatment. The black and white is immaculate. Every shadow comes through hauntingly. Its so well done you forget you are watching a black and white film. The audio is crisp and clear and sounds as if it were freshly recorded yesterday. They have even given it a nice amount of special features.
·NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Nitrate Camera Negative
·NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
· Audio Commentary With Filmmaker William Friedkin
· Still Gallery
A very short runtime (Barely 70min) actually works in this films favor. The story, acting, and once again atmosphere is fantastic. Its one of the best early horror films I have ever seen. It’s a shame its not more well known. If your into horror and suspense pick this one up right away.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
Professor Bernard Quatermass really has done a lot in terms of fighting of aliens. In 1955 BBC aired a 5 part mini-series entitled Quatermass 2. Well just like before the fantastic folks at Hammer Studios adapted it into a feature film in 1957. Just a quick recap, Quatermass is a British Scientist who leads the British Experimental Rocket Group who are trying to colonize other planets. He’s like a super intelligent James Bond meets Indian Jones character. In fact if you watch the original mini series’ you can see the heavy influence of American serials. Hammer has taken this and condensed it into a tight Science Fiction film, with that Hammer touch or horror thrown in.
Quatermass 2 focuses on Pro Quatermass working on a moon colonization base. He suddenly finds his funding cut but before he has time to wallow he learns of a small village in Winnerden Flats that has been the location of tons of meteor crashes. He heads out and finds a huge base being built that looks identical to the plans of his moon base. His colleague Marsh decides to poke around a bit and finds what appears to be a meteorite. He goes to touch it but it opens and spays him with some type of gas that imprints a “V” mark on his head. Before Quatermass can check Marsh out the security guards come and take Marsh away and throw Quatermass out for trespassing.
As Quatermass is smart he simply schedules a tour of the complex with another group of people. He is told the building is actually going to be an artificial food processing plant. He doesn’t really believe that so he slips away, and after almost being killed when discovered by the guards after finding Marsh covered in goo in a chamber he knows this plant is not on the up and up. He tells the police inspector that the facility is being used to house aliens. They go to tell the chief but Quatermass sees he has the same “V” imprint that Marsh got when he stumbled upon the meteor. He soon comes to find out the aliens now control the entire government and more are on the way.
Another fantastic entry in the Quatermass series. I’m really surprised how much I am enjoying these as I’m by no means a science fiction guy, I don’t know if it’s the great acting, or amazing score from Hammer that draws me to them but they are just fantastic. I really like how the adventure parts are so much like the old serials of which I am a huge fan of. These films are much deeper in though than the US ones of this time but these are also just loads of fun.
Scream Factory has done another masterful job bringing this old classic back to life with a beautiful Blu-ray transfer. The picture is crisp and vibrant. It looks new, even though its black and white. The audio, especially the score sounds fantastic. They even pulled out all the stops once again in terms of special features.
· NEW 2K Scan Of A Pristine Archival Film Print
·NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker/Film Historian Ted Newsom
NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
·NEW Interview With Academy Award-Winning Special Effects Artist Brian Johnson (Alien)
·NEW Interview With Assistant Director Hugh Harlow
· Vintage Interview With Director Val Guest
· Audio Commentary With Director Val Guest And Writer Nigel Kneale
· World Of Hammer – Sci-Fi
· U.S. Theatrical Trailer – ENEMY OF SPACE
· Still Gallery
Once again this is, from top to bottom another fantastic Quatermass film in terms of acting, effects, and storyline. Scream Factory has restored it immaculately and for fans of Sci-fi, and fans of just fun movies in general it’s a must own.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
The Quatermass films were a sci-fi enriched staple of BBC Television in the late 50’s and early 60’s. As these TV mini series’ did so well Hammer Films decided to make them into feature films in the late 60’s and crank up a bit of the horror element to them. Quatermass is the name of a British scientist who leads the space program in London. Unfortunately things do not always go right and he is forced to help fight off alien attacks, and other evil forces. The topics of the film were a lot deeper than the Sci-Fi films in the United States at the time. They dealt not only with invasions but mind control, artificial intelligence, evolution, and the early findings of ancient civilizations. One of the most popular films of this series is called Quatermass and the Pit. Made in 1967 it is the 3rd of the Quaterrmass series, and definitely one of the most loved.
Quatermass and the Pit follows Professor Quaterrmass planning to lead a rocket exploration to the moon when he is met by Col. Breen. A military man who will be joining the space team. Breen gets a call about a mysterious bomb that has been found and when he goes to investigate it Quartermass goes with him to investigate when he learns of the discovery made with the bomb. They go to London in a place called Hobbs End, which translates into “Devils End” some workers have found the remains of what they believe is some time of ancient ape-men along with metallic ball they believe to be some type of V Bomb. Quatermass believes this is alien technology. A theory not shared by Breen or the other men there.
When workers and investigators in the are begin seeing ape-men in ghost form they believe its because Hobbs End is haunted. Quaterrmass is convinced that the place is evil but is still convinced that the are is part of an alien life form. They locate a chamber and when a door opens for them they encounter different bug like remains. Quatermass believes it to be bodies of Martians, and that the chamber itself is causing the ghosts to appear.
When one of the works begins having visions of alien attacks and Quatermass is able to tap into the chamber itself to reveal the images of Martians killing other creatures on their planet. However when an electrical line hits the chamber it somehow charges it and causes it to begin sending out a telekinetic link to all of London which makes the people begin to go insane and begin killing anyone who is different from them. It also begins ripping up the streets and destroying planes and anything in the vicinity.
As you can tell it’s a bit different from the standard Aliens invade formula. I’m not saying its only for the thinking mans sci-fi fans I’m just saying it gets pretty deep if you think about it. Raising the theory of evolution from ape to human, and the purge of people who are different. Its much different from the standard fair, which makes it a very good film. The series has always been great, and this is the best of the bunch in my opinion.
Scream Factory has picked this one up and like always they have given it the Scream Factory treatment. From the fantastic transfer in both terms of video and audio, it looks and sounds amazing. Everything is crisp and clear, while the atmospheric score is almost haunting to listen to in surround sound. Now Scream Factory never skimps on Special Features, but they have outdone themselves on this one.
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck
NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker Constantine Nasr And Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman
· NEW Interview With Actor Hugh Futcher
· NEW Interview With Academy Award-Winning Special Effects Artist Brian Johnson (Alien)
· NEW Interview With Clapper Loader Trevor Coop
· NEW Interview With Focus Puller Bob Jordan
· Interview With Author Judith Kerr
· Interview With Actor Julian Glover
· Interview With Actor/Writer Mark Gatiss
· Interview With Filmmaker Joe Dante
· Interview With Author/Film Historian Kim Newman
· Interview With author/Hammer Film Historian Marcus Hearn
· Audio Commentary With Director Roy Ward Baker And Writer Nigel Kneale
· World of Hammer – Sci-Fi
· Theatrical Trailers
· TV Spots
· Alternate U.S. Credits
· Still Gallery
Wow that’s a tons of special features for an awesome film. If you like science fiction this is for you. If you’re a horror fan who enjoys Hammer Films this is up your alley as well as it does have a horror element to it. It’s a fantastic film, and that’s coming from a guy who is not really a Sci-Fi fan. I highly recommend you pick this one up.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars