4 Stars

Scream Factory is once again gracing our home theaters with another entry in their Universal Horror Collection.

This time, Volume 4, which hits some high points in the series.

Most interesting, for me, was the inclusion of The Climax, a 1944 Technicolor Boris Karloff production, one of only four, released by Universal that year. There were only three in 1943, and a single production in 1942.

Generally, The Climax looks nice. Not great, by any means, but more than watchable. Some major mis-alignment, especially during printer functions, and some uneven fields for illumination are the culprits.

The three black & white productions are Night Key (1937), another Karloff film, Night Monster (1942), with Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill, and House of Horrors (1946), with Rondo Hatton as The Creeper.

Night Key is a good looking transfer, albeit with the Realart main title sequence. Nice blacks, good shadow detail, grain, et al.

Night Monster is beautiful, with the exception of the third reel, which is a less than stellar dupe.

House of Horrors is also a quality transfer, with an interesting doc on Mr. Hatton, who used to frighten me on TV as a child.

All in all, a nice addition to the Scream Factory series. Hopefully, we’ll get more in the future.

Image – Night Key – 4.25
Night Monster – 4.5
The Climax – 3.5
House of Horrors – 4.25

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Recommended

RAH

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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris

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Please don't spread the exposure to mustard gas story as the cause of Rondo Hatton's acromegaly. That old story is more like studio publicity than good medical information.
First reason I'd come across in the doc. Is it untrue?
 

aPhil

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First reason I'd come across in the doc. Is it untrue?
Not true. The only time you will find mustard gas and acromegaly listed together is the continued myth of correlation with Rondo Hatton. He may have believed that, but acromegaly being caused by mustard gas in WW1 is perhaps slightly more likely than giant ants and radiation in "Them".
 
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TravisR

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Not true. The only time you will find mustard gas and acromegaly listed together is the continued myth of correlation with Rondo Hatton. He may have believed that, but acromegaly being caused by mustard gas in WW1 is perhaps slightly more likely than giant ants and radiation in "Them".
I assume it endures because it makes Hatton's sad story even worse. I know I've seen it stated that his Acromegaly was not caused by his experiences in the war but until you had mentioned it, I had forgotten because I had heard it for so long.
 

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The mustard gas story has been proffered by the new doc on the set.
 

Nick*Z

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I cannot abide Technicolor misalignment. Projected, it makes me nauseous - literally. And what's the point of releasing something that is so blurry it renders our enjoyment of the performances moot?
 

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Yes, mustard gas was basically a nasty irritant and would not cause an endocrinological condition like acromegaly. Acromegaly is caused by growth hormone excess produced by a type of pituitary tumour (which is benign, except in what it does if left untreated).
 
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Robert Harris

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Yes, mustard gas was basically a nasty irritant and would not cause an endocrinological condition like acromegaly. Acromegaly is caused by growth hormone excess produced by a type of pituitary tumour (which is benign, except in what it does if left untreated).
Thank you!
 
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I hope The Black Castle (1952) will be next. One of my Favorites.
 

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My favorite of the bunch is of course HOUSE OF HORRORS. It does look a little video-ish, but nice. THE CLIMAX looks very muddy and the color is too saturated. The 1943 PHANTOM OF THE OPERA looked perfect. THE CLIMAX is also not very good as a story. The best thing on the whole set is the documentary dedicated to Rondo Hatton. Wow! Finally this man is being given the credit he deserved. And it is well-done with photos and documents his whole life.