DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Horrible Horrors Collection Volume 2

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Elliott, Sep 8, 2004.

  1. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

    Jul 11, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Michael Elliott

    Horrible Horrors Collection Vol. 2

    Studio: Rhino
    Year: varies
    Rated: varies
    Film Length: 720 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Open Matte (4:3)
    Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
    Subtitles: None
    Retail Price: $24.95

    Disc 1 Side A

    Don’t Answer the Phone (1980) [​IMG][​IMG]

    As with the previous DVD released by Rhino, the version included here is the TV print, which of course has all the nudity, violence and gore missing.

    A Vietnam Vet (Nicholas Worth) spends his days working as a photographer but at night he stalks the streets of L.A. looking for beautiful women to strangle. The police don’t know what to think but it doesn’t take long for them to connect the murders due to their brutality and the sexual assault involved. Radio talk show psychiatrist Lindsay Gale (Flo Gerrish) begins receiving phone calls from the killers and soon realizes it’s he who is killing off her clients.

    Even with all the gore and violence cut out I could tell this was a very sleazy film that didn’t have anything going for it. The performances are all very bad, especially the killer who goes around talking on the phone with a stupid Spanish accent and making funny voices. Gerrish also manages to be as wooden as a tree because she never gives any facial expressions throughout the film. She has one look on her face and that look is there no matter if she’s talking on the radio, having sex or getting ready to be butchered.

    Feminist would probably have a field day with this film because all the women characters are either whores and druggies, which I usually don’t mind but this film was so pointlessly mean-spirited and badly directed that it really didn’t sit too well. The two police detectives on the case couldn’t solve a Scooby Doo mystery so they are just added weight here as well. This TV print of the film is missing all the nudity as well so perhaps that would have added a bit more energy but I doubt I’ll be paying this turkey another visit to find out. For a better film dealing with the same subject matter you should check out Bill Lustig’s Maniac.

    Terrified (1962) [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    As one character explains, fear is the ultimate weapon that will force countries to fight one another and force one person to kill another. If someone has fear then they can be destroyed or destroy anyone in their way. A small town is being stalked by a maniac wearing a mask and this maniac likes to use fear as his weapon. One way of gaining fear is by playing chicken on the road forcing people to make up their mind on which way to turn the wheel. Another way to gain fear is by burying the victims alive so they can slowly count their final seconds before their air supply is gone.

    Terrified is a wonderfully entertaining picture that goes on the same tactics used by director William Castle. In this film, the director tries every way possible to make the viewer feel uneasy and the entire film is about making the viewer go into a state of fear. The film certainly isn’t horrifying but it does contain some wonderful atmosphere and some incredibly well directed scenes that do add a bit of eeriness, which makes this a perfect little sleeper that not too many have seen.

    There’s a wonderful sequence in the middle of the film where the maniac is stalking a victim inside a house. As the victim tries to make an escape, the maniac slowly walks behind him closing any door he goes through so that the victim can’t go back but instead he must continue going forward where he will eventually be out of places to run. This scene lasts a good ten minutes and the thing gets more nail biting as every new door is closed. The one problem with the film is that there are way too many dialogue scenes where characters are trying to predict who the killer is. This here really takes away some of the tension and it would have played better without the characters guessing at who the maniac is. There’s a shorter version of this movie available that is missing this dialogue so perhaps that version would be even better. This DVD contains the uncut, 79-minute version of the film.

    Disc 1 Side B

    Blood of Dracula’s Castle (1969) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Let me start off by saying the horror dork inside of me almost shed a tear when I received this screener and realized that this Al Adamson film was included. Back when I was around ten or so I had the pleasure of my dad buying me Adamson’s Blood of Ghastly Horror and Dracula vs. Frankenstein, both which lived up to their reputation of being among the worst films ever made. However, they fell into that “so bad they’re good” category so I set out to locate this flick. After five years of searching I finally found a copy at a mom and pop store and they took pity on me and gave me the tape for free. Went on, put it in the VCR, the film started and smoke came from my VCR, which was eating my tape. My young heart was broken but I kept on until nearly ten years later when the postman dropped this disc off at my house.

    Okay, enough dork talk and on to the movie….

    A young couple inherits an old castle and to their shock they soon learn that Count Dracula and his wife are living there. With the assistance of a hunchback and caretaker (John Carradine), the Count and his wife keep the basement full of women so that the blood supply is never low. The young couple wants them out of the castle but Dracula will do whatever it takes to remain there even if it means making the new couple partners.

    After a while I soon realized that Blood of Dracula’s Castle is to Al Adamson what Jail Bait was to Ed Wood and that is the director’s best made film, which means we aren’t going to get as many laughs that we might expect. I was also disappointed to see John Carradine wasn’t making a return to Dracula but even with that the film is campy enough to enjoy on many levels but just don’t expect the goodness of say Dracula vs. Frankenstein.

    The biggest flaw with the film is that Dracula and his wife just aren’t very interesting and they’re overshadowed by Carradine, the hunchback assistant and the werewolf, who never actually transforms. Perhaps Adamson was wanting to make a straight and serious film and while doing that, this one here comes off a bit boring and never reaches its potential of becoming an outrageously funny film. The silly music score and wooden acting brings some charm and minor laughs as done Carradine who chews up the scenery like he always does. But again, what in the hell was Adamson thinking not using the great as Dracula? It’s also interesting to note that the cinematographer was Laszlo Kovacs who would later go on to do Easy Rider, Targets, Paper Moon, Shampoo and more recently doing a couple Sandra Bullock films.

    Nightmare in Wax (1969) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Former actor Vincent Renard (Cameron Mitchell) had to put his acting career on hold after his lover’s jealous boyfriend burned his face beyond recognition. Vincent, being the good guy he is, didn’t let this deformity get him down. Instead of lying around doing nothing, Vincent decided to open a max museum to display various celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Elizabeth Taylor. However, there’s also a special section devoted to recently missing actors who in fact are the real victims killed by Vincent himself.

    It’s quite clear this is another takeoff on Mystery of the Wax Museum, which was also remade by Vincent Price in House of Wax. Both of those films are highly entertaining mysteries but that’s not the case for Nightmare in Wax, which comes off more of a hack job than anything else. Unlike the previous two films however, this one here allowed some more graphic death scenes including the wonderfully bloody disfiguration of Vincent himself, running around with blood gushing from his eye.

    The actual “mystery” of the previous two films were a bit far fetched but the mystery in this movie really hurts the film because it’s so damn obvious Vincent is the killer that it gets quite boring watching the detectives try and figure out the mystery. There are so many clues given to the police that I had to keep shaking my head wondering how long it was going to take them to figure it out. Cameron Mitchell, God bless his poor soul, is quite good here in his usual over the top way and keeps the film interesting throughout. If you haven’t seen Mystery or House then check those out before viewing this one.

    Disc 2 Side A

    The Crater Lake Monster (1977) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Scientists are up in arms after they discover evidence that dinosaurs were around at the same time as man. While they party the night away, a meteor on the other side of the lake crashes into the water where it hits an egg, which eventually hatches and sets forth a dinosaur who isn’t very happy about being woke up. The dinosaur sets out for revenge killing anyone or anything that gets in its way.

    I’ve always been a fan of films like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms but this here certainly isn’t in the same league. The film was released around the same time that the Loch Ness monster was in the news and it’s clear the filmmakers are trying to cash in on that but they left this viewer pretty much scratching his head. The stop-animation looks pretty good throughout the movie and the ending is very nicely done but for some unknown reason the director saved all the action for the end of the movie.

    The first 80-minutes is pretty much dialogue driven with only a few attacks, which are mainly kept off camera. Are two “heroes” are a couple rednecks who are apparently trying to be Abbott and Costello but their material certainly isn’t fresh nor is it funny. We get other oddball characters thrown in for comic relief but none of them deliver any laughs and while all the jokes are going on we’re missing any chance to see the monster go into action. The movie pretty much fails on all levels with the exception of the dinosaur, which keeps this from being a complete dud.

    Stanley (1972) [​IMG][​IMG]

    Tim (Chris Robinson) is a Seminole Indian just returning from Vietnam. Due to all the racist people in town, Tim spends most of his time out in the everglades where he soon starts to befriend rattlesnakes and one in particular named Stanley. The snakes see Tim as a friend in a world where people are out to kill them for their skins. With the growing tension of racists out there, Tim soon starts to get mad and sends his snakes out for revenge.

    Director William Grefe is probably best known for his low budget shocker Death Curse of Tartu, which, while incredibly bad, was still mildly entertaining. I must also admit that I’m terrified of snakes so that film added a bit of charm because I was squirming in my seat. Stanley however is a horrid movie on all levels that is so incredibly stupid that I kept wishing one of the snakes would bite me.

    There’s no doubt this is a rip off of Willard only this time using snakes. The only somewhat entertaining moment occurs when Tim and Stanley celebrate the snake becoming a father. This is a rather cute and touching scene but everything else can be flushed down the toilet. The acting is horrible as is the direction, which is all over the place and at times the director seems to forget what the film is about. There are a few laughs to be bad at the badness but not enough for me to enjoy it.

    Disc 2 Side B

    Blood Mania (1970) [​IMG]

    Victoria (Maria DeAragon), the slut daughter of a rich old man, gets the bright idea to impress the doctor (Peter Carpenter) she likes by killing her father so that she can give the doctor his inheritance money. The sex maniac daughter eventually kills her old man and this here gets the doctor interested because the money can keep his good name from being ruined by a blackmailer. However, the good doctor has around five other women on the side and this isn’t going to sit well with Victoria.

    That’s basically what happens in this film but once again, I haven’t the slightest clue what this film is about. If you’re looking for any blood then you might as well skip to the final five minutes where we get one good kill scenes but don’t fear, the movie makes up in other ways. I’ll state the obviously bad stuff first however. Everything from the acting to the directing is lower than what you’d expect from an Ed Wood film and especially any scene where one of the characters has to be emotional. Another incredibly silly thing is Peter Carpenter and his playboy act. The actor also served as producer and I can’t help think he used this ability to be in sex scenes with beautiful women. His macho act never works but it does bring several laughs to the film.

    Is Blood Mania a complete bus then? Nope and I’ll tell you why. Outside an interesting animated sequence to start the film, this movie, like no other I’ve seen, has an outrageously good amount of nudity. You’ve heard people say a horror film needs at least one murder every ten minutes well this film has a nude scene at least every three minutes. All of the doctor’s lovers are happy to get naked and they do so throughout. Even though the story and actors were bugging me to death, I could never call this a complete disaster since the director was smart enough to throw in plenty of good looking women.

    The Devil’s Hand (1962) [​IMG]

    Rick Turner (Robert Alda) is your average man who starts having dreams about a beautiful blonde who is trying to communicate with him. These dreams keep occurring but Rick has no ideas what they are about until he enters a doll shop where he sees a doll that looks strikingly like the woman in his dreams. The shop owner gives him the doll’s models name and Rick sets out to visit her. The woman turns out to be a member of a Satanic cult and before Rick can get her into bed, he must join the cult. Soon the cult starts to take over his life but will Rick be able to leave?

    This is the movie that asks the serious question: would you enter a Satanic cult to get to bang of hot blonde? Keep your answers to yourself but The Devil’s Hand is about as silly as you can possibly get. The movie is apparently made on a shoestring budget and you can clearly see this during the opening minutes when a building catches on fire. There are several scenes that appear to have a match in front of the camera trying to capture the effect of a fire.

    While the movie is incredibly bad on all levels it’s thankfully enters Ed Wood territory of being so bad you might find yourself laughing. Just listen to the dialogue inside the Satanic church where their praise Satan. The words coming out of their mouths are among the funniest things you’ll ever hear. Another funny thing is how Rick acts after joining the cult. His John Barrymore wannabe rich act brings even more laughs but I’m sure the actor wasn’t meaning this.

    VIDEO---Like the previous set the films are delivered from various sources, most being VHS.

    Don’t Answer the Phone is shown fullframe but it appears to be open matte since I didn’t notice too much missing on the sides. Towards the end of the film there’s one scene that has a black matte at the bottom but this here only lasts a few seconds. The print used is the exact same as the previous release, which appears to have been taken from a VHS. The colors are all faded and there are a few speckles throughout but we’ve seen a lot worse. The nighttime scenes actually appear pretty good and there’s not too much dirt visible. Terrified appears to be open matte and it doesn’t look too bad for a low-budget B&W film. There are speckles throughout the entire film but they never become distracting. Contrast is a bit too high in certain scenes but the black levels are very nice making this is pleasant looking transfer.

    Blood of Dracula’s Castle is shown open matte but I’m going to guess this was shot the Standard (4:3) ratio because everything looks properly framed. The transfer is a mixed bag but I would say it’s just as good as the Adamson titles released by Troma. The colors go from looking good to being faded throughout the movie but overall they weren’t too bad. The opening credits look pretty worn out and are full of speckles and small holes but this is about as bad as it got. Nightmare in Wax is also shown open matte and it appears this should have been matted at around 1.85:1 at least. There’s a bit too much head room at the top but the sides looked okay. As with the previous film, this one here has good colors in some scenes with washed out colors in the next. When the colors are there they look very nice and full of detail. The psychedelic ending looks very well.

    The Crater Lake Monster appears to be the same transfer as the original DVD. The film is shown open matte and looks very good overall. The color is very rich and full of detail. Black levels are also very nice and print damage can’t be spotted. The scenes involving the stop-animation have some color drained but I’m going to guess these scenes have always looked this way. Stanley is also shown open matte, although there appears to be some information missing on the sides. This is most noticeable during the opening credits when the last letter of names are cut off. The print itself is in very poor shape with all the colors faded so badly you can hardly tell the setting of the film. There are also many speckles on the print as well as some scratches.

    The Devil’s Hand is shown open matte and it appears this could have been shot in the Standard format. I really didn’t notice anything missing on the sides and everything seemed properly framed. Outside the speckles that pop up throughout the print, the B&W film didn’t look too bad. Contrast seemed correct throughout and the whites were free of any major dirt. Blood Mania comes to us open matte and is the exact same transfer as the previous release. I guess beautiful women equals great transfer at Rhino because this is actually the best looking transfer I’ve seen from the company. There are a few speckles on the print but other than that this thing is pretty flawless. The colors are all extremely good and full of detail as are the flesh tones. The black levels are actually black and not faded.

    AUDIO---Each film is presented with a Dolby Digital Mono track and all appear just as they would on a VHS. Don’t Answer the Phone sounds decent with the dialogue clear throughout, although hiss can be heard at the same time. Terrified sounds very low so you’ll need to adjust your speakers quite often. You can still hear everything going on but you’ll have to adjust the sound a couple times. Blood of Dracula’s Castle sounds very good with clear dialogue and only some moderate hiss. Nightmare in Wax has clear dialogue but hiss runs throughout the track. The Crater Lake Monster sounds the best with its dialogue clear without any problems. Stanley also features clean dialogue without any hiss or scratches, although it does sound a bit low but this was probably due to how it was made. The Devil’s Hand, a mostly dialogue driven film, sounds pretty good. There’s some minor hiss heard in the background but the dialogue is never effected by this. The dialogue is clear throughout the film.

    EXTRAS---No extras are included.

    OVERALL---Unlike the previous release, which featured some really horrid titles, Volume 2 is actually coming highly recommended from me. We’ve got one very good sleeper and a few cult items with John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell. Even the “bad” films are bad enough to get some laughs making them worth viewing. Rhino hasn’t exactly spent money on this release but it’s still nice to have them out there at an affordable price. It’s doubtful these would have gotten released any other way so it’s better than nothing.

    Release Date: October 5th, 2004
  2. luke_ha

    luke_ha Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 11, 2004
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    i love bad movies for some reason and i have to have this one after buying the first.
  3. Gary Banks

    Gary Banks Auditioning

    Sep 6, 2004
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    Glad to see another convert to TERRIFIED.

    Don't Answer The Phone was a horrible movie even with the nudity intact. Saw it when it first played almost 25 years ago and actually the macho cop came off almost as creepy as the killer.

    Even though Terrified, Wax & Castle are in the set I'm still on the fence about buying it.As 10/5 gets closer I'll make up my mind.

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