Trust me, folks, I am probably not the happiest person when it comes to having to double dip on newer versions of the movies we love that keep coming out. New features, new 4K scan, and the rest of that stuff that tries to squeeze a little money from our wallets. Some titles are advertised with a bunch of new features but then you find out one of those “features” is a 4-minute interview. And don’t even get me started on this whole fascination with slip covers. Seriously … since when did a silly cardboard cover become more valuable than the actual movie?
With all that aside, when Shout Factory announced their new updated version of The Vampire Lovers, I quickly ordered it. I know. Pretty sad. But it all came down to that amazing 18×24 poster by Mark Maddox that was offered in the special deal. I have several prints from Maddox and just love his work, and with The Vampire Lovers being one of my favorites, I wasn’t going to pass up adding that poster to my collection. I believe I have all the posters that he did for Shout Factory that were offered. You have to figure that those prints are $25-$40 if you were to buy them at a show, so technically you’re getting the Blu-ray for free!
There is a new book that just came out called 40s Universal Monsters: A Critical Commentary, covering all of the monster films that Universal put out during that decade. Author John T. Soister had published a similar book back in 2001 covering the Universal films of the 30s, entitled Of Gods and Monsters: A Critical Guide to Universal’s Science Fiction, Horror and Mystery Films, 1929-1939. Now, along with contributors Henry Nicolella, Harry H. Long, & Dario Lavia, they take on the ’40s, covering 66 titles from The Invisible Man Returns to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.
But what does have to do with opinions? Hear me out. Looking through my own library, I have several books that deal with the early days of cinema. If we’re talking about the silent era, we have Silent Screams by Steve Haberman, or Wayne Kinsey’s entry in his incredible Fantastic Films of the Decades series, as well as Troy Howarth’s own series, Tome of Terror, who has covered the decade of the ’30s as well. Kinsey is already up to halfway through the ’40s with his ongoing series. But then I also have Universal Horrors by Tom Weaver, Michael and John Brunas, Soister’s aforementioned Of Gods and Monsters, Mank’s Hollywood Cauldron, Senn’s Golden Horrors, and even a few others titles. Then we move into the ’50s and beyond with multiple titles in each of those as well.
Director Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur, David Peel, Martita Hunt, Freda Jackson, Miles Malleson, Andree Melly, Marie Devereux, Michael Ripper
While most “normal” critics would look down on a horror film, yes… even ones from Hammer Studios, this is a perfect example of how well made these pictures really were, from the acting, the production design, to the look and lighting of the entire running time. If you ever doubted that, just watch this 2K scan of The Brides of Dracula recently released by Shout Factory on Blu-Ray. Continue reading
Coming to Blu-ray for the first time in the U.S., Warner Archives has announced a new 2-disc special edition of Hammer’s The Curse of Frankenstein, the movie that really put the Studio that Dripped Blood on the map. This new release will contain 75 minutes of new documentary work, audio commentary by Screenwriter/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr. You’ll get to hear from some of Hammer’s best scholars, such as Richard Klemensen discussing the history of the film, cinematographer and producer David J. Miller discussing Hammer’s underrated cameraman Jack Asher, as well as hearing from Christopher Frayling, Christopher Drake, and so much more.
The disc will contain a 1080p HD Restoration Masters from 4K scans of Preservation Separation Elements, but also a newly re-mastered 1.37:1 open-matte version as well. Continue reading