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HAMMER FILM BLU-RAYS IN THE U.K. ... getting closer to the Holy Grail (DRACULA, 1958)...


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#1 of 350 Dick

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Posted July 28 2012 - 11:30 AM

Hammer Films are being spit out at a fast pace in the U.K. (good enough reason by itself to go with an all-region player if you haven't one yet), including THE REPTILE, PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THE MUMMY'S SHROUD, and now are taking pre-orders for THE DEVIL RIDES OUT and CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Their web page provides news of restoration work in preparation for the eventual release of DRACULA (1958). So cool. Add these to the few available in the U.S., TWINS OF EVIL and VAMPIRE CIRCUS, and it looks like this year and next are going to be Nirvana for Hammer fans. I'd heard Warner Bros. was eventually going to release some Hammer material, but I ain't waitin' to see if it's true!

#2 of 350 John Hermes

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Posted July 28 2012 - 12:13 PM

Don't forget RASPUTIN - THE MAD MONK!

#3 of 350 Billy Batson

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Posted July 28 2012 - 11:20 PM

Hammer Films are being spit out at a fast pace in the U.K. (good enough reason by itself to go with an all-region player if you haven't one yet), including THE REPTILE, PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THE MUMMY'S SHROUD, and now are taking pre-orders for THE DEVIL RIDES OUT and CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Their web page provides news of restoration work in preparation for the eventual release of DRACULA (1958). So cool. Add these to the few available in the U.S., TWINS OF EVIL and VAMPIRE CIRCUS, and it looks like this year and next are going to be Nirvana for Hammer fans. I'd heard Warner Bros. was eventually going to release some Hammer material, but I ain't waitin' to see if it's true!

Alas The Curse Of The Werewolf is not one of them, that's Universal (but the DVD from the Hammer set looks very good). Hammer did say that they were probably going to use the BFI restoration for the Dracula release next year. I remember seeing Dracula, Prince Of Darkness & Rasputin The Mad Monk as a Hammer double bill back in the sixties, not a good idea to pair them up, as a lot of the cast are in both films, & you could tell that many of the sets were the same.

#4 of 350 Derek M Germano

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Posted July 30 2012 - 03:23 PM

Looking forward to U.S. Blu-ray releases of the titles Hammer has been working on in the U.K.. Hopefully they will be coming to Blu-ray sooner rather than later, with QUATERMASS AND THE PIT and THE DEVIL RIDES OUT being the 2 I am most eagerly anticipating. Warner needs to get their sacred trinity of Hammer horrors- CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF DRACULA and THE MUMMY out on Blu-ray. Of course, Sony needs to release THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE GORGON on Blu-ray. And Universal needs to release CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, BRIDES OF DRACULA, KISS OF THE VAMPIRE and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
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#5 of 350 Dick

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Posted July 30 2012 - 03:53 PM

Perhaps if the Classic Monsters Blu-ray set does well for Universal, they might look into their Hammer catalog, otherwise, I doubt it. As for the Sony titles, well, I wouldn't hold your breath. I think you surest bet is going to be the U.K. series that is going to continue. After all, that is where these superb films originated, and that is where the biggest consumer base is for them right now. CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF is out now in the U.K., but not part of the Studio-Canal series, but is rather from Final Cut. I am hoping that company has the rights to other Hammer films (such as those you mentioned) that were controlled by Universal in the U.S.

#6 of 350 Billy Batson

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Posted July 31 2012 - 10:00 PM

I think the only hope for the Sony Hammer's is Twilight Time, but I'd want double bills, maybe: The Gorgon/Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb, Terror Of The Tongs/Revenge Of Frankenstein, if I had to buy those four as single releases from TT it would be very expensive, well I just wouldn't buy them, Hammer fan that I am.. On DVD, the Corman/Poe's were double bills. You had the Universal Hammer box & a couple of Sony Hammer boxes. Blu-ray is not new anymore, & they have to work harder to sell them (to the public that is, not us, but there's not a lot of us!).

#7 of 350 bgart13

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Posted August 16 2012 - 06:25 AM

Covers for the three upcoming UK bd releases: Posted Image

#8 of 350 John Hodson

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Posted October 09 2012 - 05:30 AM

The Curse of Frankenstein BD has been discussed to death in the Aspect Ratio Research thread, but there's a review here and a review for The Devil Rides Out here. Disappointment on two fronts it would seem.
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#9 of 350 bgart13

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Posted October 09 2012 - 05:41 AM

Goddamn, that transfer of DEVIL RIDES OUT looks so damn good! Why couldn't they leave the fx alone?? Damn, damn, damn.

#10 of 350 John Hodson

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Posted October 13 2012 - 08:02 AM

Excellent review of an excellent transfer: Rasputin The Mad Monk (or two transfers...)
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#11 of 350 JohnS

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Posted October 13 2012 - 02:04 PM

Does anyone have The Reptile? How good is that transfer?

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#12 of 350 bgart13

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Posted October 13 2012 - 05:22 PM

I do, I think it's a very good transfer once the title sequence is done (title source is very rough).

#13 of 350 johnSM

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Posted October 13 2012 - 11:21 PM

The Curse of Frankenstein BD has been discussed to death in the Aspect Ratio Research thread, but there's a review here and a review for The Devil Rides Out here. Disappointment on two fronts it would seem.

Thanks for those very informative links. Well... That's my order for The Devil Rides Out cancelled! Why add effects into a classic film like this, or at least not include a branching option for new, or old FX!? Very bad decision indeed! I hope this doesn't become a trend with the rest of the Hammer on bluray catalogue! So pissed off about this - Devil is my favourite Hammer film too. :rolleyes:

#14 of 350 dpippel

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Posted October 14 2012 - 04:04 AM

What the HELL were they thinking???


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#15 of 350 John Hodson

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Posted October 16 2012 - 10:04 PM

Good news! Frank Collins review of The Mummy's Shroud: ...Another clean and spotless high definition transfer for this third release from StudioCanal. The results of this restoration aren't quite as eye popping as the work carried out on The Devil Rides Out and Rasputin the Mad Monk but it's pretty close and there is plenty here to enjoy....
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#16 of 350 Billy Batson

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Posted October 16 2012 - 11:43 PM

The problem for me about The Mummy's Shroud, is that it's quite a poor film, Hammer were way past their best by then. The glory years for me go from The Curse Of Frankenstein to The Gorgon. There is the odd late Hammer that I like, but they're guilty pleasures.

#17 of 350 Yorkshire

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Posted October 17 2012 - 02:51 AM

What the HELL were they thinking???

I'm not as bothered about the fact that they've re-worked the sfx as I am that (a) they've done so radically (as opposed to tweaking) and (b) they haven't included the original version. I love TDRO, but the sfx have always appeared awful to me, and totally pull me out of the film. It's not just that they're 'old-fashioned', they appear to be out of date compared to the rest of the film - very jarring. Satan looks like a bloke in a rug. Probably because he's a bloke in a rug! But the original should always be there. On the plus side, it looks like Hammer are getting an excellent reputation for picture quality on their recent catalogue titles. CoF looks soft, but we'll have to wait and see why this is (Hammer are posting at their blog on this soon - I'm guessing they might include some of the original, unadulterated 4k scans for comparison). Steve W
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#18 of 350 dpippel

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Posted October 17 2012 - 05:30 AM

I'm not as bothered about the fact that they've re-worked the sfx as I am that (a) they've done so radically (as opposed to tweaking) and (b) they haven't included the original version. I love TDRO, but the sfx have always appeared awful to me, and totally pull me out of the film. It's not just that they're 'old-fashioned', they appear to be out of date compared to the rest of the film - very jarring. Satan looks like a bloke in a rug. Probably because he's a bloke in a rug! But the original should always be there. On the plus side, it looks like Hammer are getting an excellent reputation for picture quality on their recent catalogue titles. CoF looks soft, but we'll have to wait and see why this is (Hammer are posting at their blog on this soon - I'm guessing they might include some of the original, unadulterated 4k scans for comparison).

I wouldn't be bothered by the revisionism at all if they also included the original version. The original effects in TDRO are what they are and for me, THAT is part of the film's charm. In fact the shoestring-budget effects work in most of Hammer's productions contributes a lot to the fondness I have for these films. The fact that many are solidly acted, well done movies that work *despite* their crudeness is in large part what makes them so great. NOW, if only we'd start getting some of these Hammer Blu-ray titles released here in the United States (or at least region-free from the UK) I'd be a happy camper. I need me some Quatermass and the Pit in HD!
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#19 of 350 John Hodson

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Posted October 17 2012 - 06:51 AM

Hammer responds to criticism of the quality of the image of 'Curse': A note on the restoration, mastering and authoring of THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
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#20 of 350 Richard--W

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Posted October 17 2012 - 07:47 AM

That explanation should be on the Blu-ray itself, either as a legend preceding the film or as an option on the menu. Explanations such as this clear up confusion before it starts and prevents people from jumping to conclusions. I don't see how anyone can fault Hammer for the restoration process. The aspect ratio is another matter.




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