'Shock have gone all out delivering us a 7 Disc Blu Ray set of Vincent Price classics; check out our review.'
The Abominable Dr Phibes: 4.5/5
This wacky 1972 horror film is an incomparable masterpiece with all its ingredients.
The plot involves a held for the general public figure fatally injured organist and theologian named Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) makes a 10-member team of doctors for the death of his beloved wife in charge, having previously performed on her an unhappy running operation .
His revenge perpetrated Phibes on the most creative way of murders that has ever existed in the history of film. Here, the embittered man holds strictly to 10 Old Testament curses. He is assisted by his beautiful assistant Vulnavia (North Virginia).
"The Abominable Dr. Phibes" impresses with its unique atmosphere. In the audience, a high visual stimulus is triggered, which comes through the almost fairy tale-beautiful like scenery and the wonderful soundtrack of Basil Kirchin to its fully impacting deployment.
For all fans of old English horror films, with their atmosphere forests and romantic mansions, this film is hard to recommend. Unlike the old "hammer" movies such as the Dracula series with Christopher Lee, at the conclusion of the film might be a little faltering, it comes here to a tense climax.
For me not only the best Vincent Price movies, but actually the highlight of the set; a B Grade gem that knows what it is and is not afraid to show it.
Dr Phibes Rises Again :3/5
As a child I was very creeped out by his film - with many years distance can this film probably not be described as creepy.. It's hard to describe this film - perhaps macabre trip fits quite well:
The completely insane Dr. Phibes is after three years out of his coffin and travels with his assistant Vulnavia and the corpse of his beloved wife Victoria to Egypt to bring back to life the latter there. In itself, a bit strange. The whole is still much more absurd: he takes pretty much with all his household, so that it can play the organ in a secret chamber in Egypt. Also worth mentioning is the bizarre outfits or the gramophone similar device and the knob on the neck, can talk to the Dr. Phibes and his mute assistant or the corpse of his wife ever told anything.
It is a pleasure to listen to his pathetic monologues, while Hindu delt at the disco moderately illuminated organ in front of him (some easy-listening tinged), while staring mistaken, making wild gestures. If he does not do this straight, he comes up with the most abstruse ideas murder to carrying all who stand in his way on most macabre afterlife. He is haunted by two somewhat goofy Polzisten which also provide for very amusement. This whole strange trip is nice illuminated brightly, accompanied with polyphonic music. Not as strong as the original; but worth a watch.
Witchfinder General: 4/5
(Review taken from editor James Ackland)
1968 was a watershed year for horror. Night of the living dead ushered us into the classic Zombie age and Rosemary’s Baby into the world of physiological horror and occult.
Meanwhile in areas in East Anglia, England, Michael Reeves was mixing a historical cautionary tale with some soon to be well repeated horror tropes.
It’s 1645 and the english civil war is producing all sorts of social unrest. During this time the idea of Witchcraft bringing a curse on the town was perfectly accepted and lawfully punishable. Those who sought to benefit from purging a witch and their evil could profit handsomely. It’s religious righteousness running out of control.
Enter Matthew Hopkins, a real life figure who turns lawyer to Witch finder. Responsible for over 300 executions in a 2 year period. Here in Reeves’ adaption of Ronald Bassett’s book of the same name we see Vincent price play the witch finder and what a fantastic job he does.
In the town of Brandeston, Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) a young solider of the parliament stops to visit his priest and his lover Sara (Hilary Dwyer ) whom he is to marry. All this sets the dominos for what is to come as Hopkins and his drunk and violent associate, John Stearne (Robert Russell) appear and decide to earn some money by listening to the local rumour mill which puts catholic priest in league with SATAN!
Hopkins uses Sara as sexual blackmail to save the priest (also her father) from torture. However this can only last so long as the vicious bloodlust and jealousy of Stearne grows and his relationship with Hopkins starts to take a dark turn. I can’t say that the logic of proving witchcraft in the 17th century was entirely sound, but people seemed to agree that if you’re submerged in water, should you float (with help from SATAN of course) or swim (again… with SATANS help)… you’ll be sure to caught out a witch… or you just drown and well… that’s that.
On learning of the towns witch purge, Marshall absconds from his duties to return and investigate the executions.
I do dislike going to much into plot. So if I’ve caught your attention… then this film will not disappoint! Vincent price, riding his on a long and successful career was challenged to go to straighter places for Witch finder General. This was to pay off and add a much needed darkness to the film. Already a mainstay in American and British horror, Price famously was accused on set by director Reeves of overacting and subsequent filming incidents occurred. Only after viewing the finished product did Price realise what Reeves was striving for.
While technically the lead but not the star, Ian Ogilvy gives a strong performance and ends the film in a stunning bout of emotional fury. Also of note is the beautiful Hilary Dwyer in her cinematic debut.
Reeves, director of She Beast (1966) and The Sorcerers (1967) with Boris Karloff was riding high and was an up comer of the new english cinema. Unfortunately it would be his last feature as the 25 year old passed away soon after completion of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose.
Watching this with fresh eyes i simply am in awe of what Reeves accomplished. At 25, to make a classic of the genre AND put Vincent Price in probably his most compelling role to date. Simply awesome!
Tomb Of Ligeia: 3/5
Like its predecessor, we also see "Ligeia" in England - and this time you notice that Corman broke with the previous recipe for success, and made many things differently than in the previous films.. This is clearly equal to the radiant bright outdoor shots in the first third of the film. The Fox Hunt, and many people. Not a single man on a castle. One feels almost, rather than a Poe movie to see here a Hammer film at this time.
Corman wanted Poe's Stories tackle looser than before, the story is not designed so gloomy, typical horror effects and action are clearly in the foreground. That's not bad, but usually makes the film, especially in the second half. The film can not maintain the quality that promises in the first third. Soon, plays back everything only in "Castle" from which is but little moody, and it will all so'n bit like in the first episode of "The Harrowing Mr X", Morella. And Lady Rowena, initially drawn as a tough woman with a penchant for unusual; must then also run only concerned throughout the area and acts of fear. As I said, it is very common, and a bit boring. Price is obviously good as always, very good to be here in a shrill look with sunglasses and Wig. He was only missed because Corman wanted him somehow to appear much more younger. Corman had not planned to Price, he wanted a young performer. Under pressure from the studios, it was then again to Price. Ultimately a it was a blessing since Price yielded many ideas for the film. And some of the scary effects are not bad! The horror scenes and jump frights for example gives me goosebumps every time. Corman should have probably noticed how scary this is - why he parodied it after a few minutes in the same way.
The film was then not a great success but it was not the reason why Corman made it the finale. He had already decided by now to put an end to the Poe series because he simply ran out of ideas. A good decision to flatten the risk or to copy itself was large - I mean, so many films in 4 years. Vincent Price after the cycle was in a number of pretty trashy films before him, "Witchfinder General" in 1968 helped to comeback in England - where some of his best films should arise in the following years.
Fall of the House of Usher :4/5
Such a classic of course is now no more that what he once was: shocking and incredibly exciting.
Especially at the beginning of the film which is based on a beautiful and subtle creepy atmosphere. In fact, this is quite exciting. However, the whole thing, the more you will learn the secrets, somewhat sobering. It is thought more than what comes out at the end; I find yet that Poe with the border between genres (Hounted House, ghosts, horror, zombie) plays it over and blaspheme the audience, as he has classified the film.
The film has entertained me well and at times has very good acting, great scenery and actual voltage. In today's fast-paced movies this rarely comes really better on the screens.
As always impeccable service from Vincent Price . A classic for all lovers of cinema Corman ( and fantasy in general since history is not only drawn but Poe adapted by Matheson ) . However not the best of this duo , but an impressive start for the film, which would initiate the Poe cycle and has already many of the ingredients that made its success : scary atmosphere , lavish sets despite the budget, dream scenes composed of a succession of color filters , closed-door , finesse dialogues and characters, great Vincent Price in the ambiguous role , inevitable rise of madness ... A very beautiful film I recommend once again to all those who are horror fans of this era.
The Haunted Palace: 4/5 (Reviewed By Editor Glenn Mizstal)
"The Haunted Palace" is a 1963 fantasy film "Roger Corman" (based on the short novel "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" of "HP Lovecraft" (1890- 1937), written in 1927 but published in 1941 by his great admirer "August Derleth" that made know his friend (matched only) and inspirer by posthumous editions) with Vincent Price.
In 1765, Arkham, the necromancer "Joseph Curwen" (Vincent Price) is burned alive for witchcraft before his castle in pronouncing a curse on his torturers, "Ezra Weeden" (Leo Gordon), "Micah Smith" (Elisha Cook Jr.), "Benjamin West" (John Dierkes), "Ian Willet" (Frank Maxwell) and "Gideon Leach" (Guy Wilkerson). 110 years later, his great grand son back, "Charles Dexter Ward" (Vincent Price), and his wife "Ann" (Debra Paget) go to Arkham, but are greeted with an icy manner by a hostile population and suspicious except by Dr. Willet (Frank Maxwell). Despite the presence in the city of malformed human creatures, Charles and Ann still choosing to visit the castle of the cursed ancestor which awaits a disturbing guardian "Simon Orne" (Lon Chaney Jr.). While there, Charles becomes more and more obsessed with the picture of "Joseph Curwen" and a strange personality change begins to affect ...
The success of previous films from Roger Corman based on the works of "Edgar Poe", "The Fall of the House of Usher" in 1960, "The House of Torture" in 1961, "The Buried Alive", "The Tales of Terror "in 1962 and" The Raven "in 1963 prompted production to give this little masterpiece the title of a poem by this author" The Haunted Palace "quoted at the beginning and the end of this film is actually an adaptation of the short novel "HP Lovecraft", little known at the time: "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", which he shows the outline. In the novel, the action happens in Providence (here in Arkham, Massachusetts imaginary city, invented and often used in many new related to "Cthulhu Mythos" with "Lovecraft") and "Joseph Corwin" is reduced to life through his descendant (ie no split personality). However, more than in the novel, the influence of the book "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in "Oscar Wilde" is all the more strengthened. Also mentions of "Ancient Ones" as "Yog-Sothoth" and "Necronomicon", inseparable from the Lovecraftian universe, are present in both works. As for the medieval castle brought stone by stone from the Old World, it is more inspiration Poe who has never set his stories in America but still in Europe, Lovecraft did mention to him that ancestral property, but brings to Film an important element in the disturbing and gloomy atmosphere that emerges with its back doors leading to a cellar with a monstrosity. Arkham City, traveled by hybrid deformed mutants and cemetery wrapped in fog, the atmosphere particularly scary and creepy, the resurrection of the mistress of Curwen, "Hester Tillinghast" (Cathie Merchant), for Latin incantations, the disturbing presence livid servants "Simon Orne" and "Jabez Hutchinson" (Milton Parsons) who survived by black magic, the relentless posthumous revenge "Joseph Curwen" by the fire on the descendants of his persecutors, the fascination with the table and duplication of progressive personality "Charles Dexter Ward" beautifully sung by "Vincent Price" perfect in his element, the careful mise-en-scene and art of "Roger Corman" obviously inspired by the novel, the perfect cast, all made this film a complete success, which subsequently fail to later adaptations of "HP Lovecraft".
House On Haunted Hill: 4/5
This American Production directed by William Castle, released in 1959 under the title of "House on Haunted Hill" with Vincent Price (Frederick Loren), Carolyn Craig (Nora Manning), Richard Long (Lance Schroeder), Elisha Cook Jr. (Watson Pritchard) Carol Ohmart (Annabelle Loren), Alan Marshal (David Trent) and Julie Mitchum (Ruth Bridgers) is a mixture between the English detective stories Agatha Christie and the good old ghost movies.
William Castle includes all the cliches of the genre (pool of blood on the ceiling, spectral apparitions vat of acid, falling chandeliers, hanging, severed heads etc ...). For its part perceives it pretty quickly that Vincent Price (Frederick Loren) is the great manipulator of all this and very quickly we guess why. This short film (72 minutes) is a real horror theater play with a few twists that maintain a certain intrigue.
Early History: The billionaire Frederick Loren organized at the request of his wife Annabelle, an evening in a sort of modern mansion (Building dating from 1924 and designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, as the Ennis House) deemed haunted .He receives five guests (one of his company typists, a jet pilot, a journalist, a psychiatrist and owner of the horrific mansion). The game is to make sure they stay alive for 0:00 to 8:00 am and in this case, they will earn 10,000 dollars. Fear and Annabelle moved have mysteriously disappears; found hanged.
The house, is it really haunted or a murderer is hiding there among the five participants?
I really feel they have seen or read this story dozens of times. For me there was no real surprise, nothing new under the sun (many writers including police and British fiction had used the same strings).
As for the house; I do not find it beautiful at all seemed to me very cold. It's more like a penitentiary has a beautiful Gothic mansion.
I will not speak of the finale that ends abruptly. Anyone with Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen knows the remake of "House on Haunted Hill" with its splatter scenes or films like "Saw" and its associates. The film does not rely on gore but stands on psychological horror, shock and suspense which always create excitement. A highly fun and cliche gem.
Masque Of The Red Death: 3.5/5
In the early sixties, the American low-budget films Roger Corman turned a series of Gothic horror movies, which (at least in name) are based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. One of the most interesting films of this series is its adaptation of the Masque of the Red Death. As a side story even Poe's short story "Hop-Frog" was integrated.
But who expects a simple horror film, could be disappointed. Although we find the usual stylistic elements of horror movies of its era - the gloomy castle, garish red fake blood and gruesome deaths - but the film lives primarily by its artificial-looking, almost surreal atmosphere. The film is more like a fairy tale for adults, as a horror thriller. Corman's cameraman, Nicolas Roeg (later became famous as a director of "do not look now")., Enter opulent and fascinating images Particularly impressive: The contrast between the colorful interior of the castle and the gloomy world outside, in the only death brings color.
Just so no misunderstandings: Even though the film is partially staged very artfully, it remains a sometimes trashy-looking low-budget horror movie. In addition is the pronounced theatricality that is typical of the film adaptations of Poe-Corman / Price, certainly not any. But who can inspire the Gothic horror this era, should watch the movie necessarily. Through its visual qualities, he is among the best of his time.
The Last Man On Earth: 4.5/5
Dr. Robert Neville is apparently the only survivor of a global epidemic in which people have become like creatures in zombie / vampire form while the other have died. He waits three years from now and only the day can move outside because the monsters are only active at night. He is the dumb revenants technically superior intelligence but to the extent he is powerless. So, he clips the day through the empty city and collects everything he can use to survive.
That he increasingly loses focus over time and insanely threatening to become is only one problem.
The inventories are running low and the memory of past days is to him. Then he discovered one day impaled corpses .... but have not brought him to the track.
Is he not alone?
The Last Man on Earth in the year 1964 is the best in my eyes version of Matheson-book I am Legend.
The Omega Man was my favorite so far, but against this coherent black and white film he faded unfortunately somewhat.I am Legend with Will Smith has no chance for my taste against both films and the unspeakable I am Omega with Marc Damascus ; which was pure trash . Only The Quiet Earth, which is applied similarly, can compete with The Last Man on Earth rudimentary ..... but is a matter of taste.
The film itself impresses with its dystopian and threatening atmosphere and the times desperate, sometimes cynical monologues the Neville brings with it. It was actually very far ahead of its time, But the bombastic soundtrack, the settings and the subtle forms of revenants are 1A. The Last Man on Earth is in my eyes a cult film of the well could use a little more attention.
Included are the outstanding Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia and Umberto Raho.
Ok, so we have 9 films in this collection ranging from the late 50's to the early 70's; so quality is going to vary; however cinema cult have pulled together the best possible looking transfers for this region B release. To begin House on Haunted hill and Last Man on Earth are black and white. They present strong black levels and an great amount of detail in each shot, as you can see by the screen grabs. I have personally been used to seeing very poor transfers of house and last man in the past, with ghosting issues. Thankfully there is none of that here.
The Poe Corman era is the next bunch. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp and there are no issues with DNR or compression. Overall the sources used for these six films transfers is in great shape and it is easily the best they ever looked on home video. They are all in widescreen and make use of the scope. These actually look the best; due to their lavish production values and high quality film materials.
Last we have the british era with Witchfinder and the Phibes titles. Both films look great as colors are nicely saturated and appropriately vivid, black and contrast levels look consistently strong throughout. Details once again look sharp, grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. The Grain is heavy but very natural for the early 70s British Stock.
Shock really outdo the audio too; this is a mix of different audio types from different time periods. However they are presented uncompressed and as crisp as possible. Th Poe era has beautiful orchestral scores that really boom in the 2.0 Dobly mix. These were films obviously during the mono era. but they sound insanely good with no cracks or pops.
The UK Boxset is missing some films from our set; the Arrow set includes:
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (Not Included)
TALES OF TERROR (Not Included)
THE RAVEN (Not Included)
THE HAUNTED PALACE
THE TOMB OF LIGEIA
However we get these which the UK set is missing;
The Abominable Dr Phibes
Dr Phibes Rises Again
House On Haunted Hill
Masque Of The Red Death
The Last Man On Earth
Our set is worth getting for the sheer variety of films.
Shock have outdone themselves. Brining together an epic set of 9 Vincent Price classics. It comes house in a beautiful box and they present to us the best video/audio possible for a PAL release. Please do yourself a favour and pick this up, its a great introduction to Vincent price and gothic Horror in general. You need this set!