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I want BORIS KARLOFF"S THRILLER on DVD !! (1 Viewer)

Flashgear

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Please humour me fellow travellers.. and commiserate with this humble and much tortured soul as to when the Hell we can perhaps begin to hope for this unique and much loved classic series,Boris Karloff's Thriller,to be released by Universal or licensed to an eager and naive minion like Timeless, (eager and naive but also much appreciated as late, I would however appreciate a first rate presentation, we all know the difference) I therefore summon up the most damnable and unspeakably angry resolve of my many generations of cranky and mildly dispeptic ancestry...a terrible curse awaits teetering on my sodden and withered lips...mock us not well, Hollywood! Seriously though, I would be beside myself in joy, having jumped out of my own skin...for 67 episodes, a very high proportion of great and memorable shows...and every kid at school the morning after would be abuzz about the previous night's episode...we all love the atmospheric horror eps, but a lot of the crime and mystery eps are nearly as memorable...first and foremost Boris himself...and great casting for this anthology...first rate original sources and brilliant teleplays adapted from them...your thoughts, fellow sufferers...
 

Jeff*H

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This is a great show and I would love to see Universal license it out to some company that would do justice to both seasons of the show. To this day, my favorite episode ("Pigeons From Hell") is one of the spookiest pieces of TV that I have ever seen (well, that and any given episode of 'Flavor of Love').
 

Hank Dearborn

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That show kind of falls into the category of one that Universal probably won't want to license out because it will do well but they also don't seem to want to put it out themselves. I picked them up from a run on a Canadian horror channel that ran them complete and uncut.
 

cwilli

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I remember one story called "La Strega" that took place in Italy and was about a horrible witch that cast spells on people. I haven't seen the episode in thirty years so the details aren't so clear. i was just left with the impression of being frightened at the time because the story was so atmospheric. Quite a few of the shows from that era have been released but this is the one I'm impatiently waiting for. This and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
 

JeffT.

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I would enthusiastically support a quality BORIS KARLOFF'S THRILLER DVD collection and it would certainly make for a great Halloween season release to be sure.

In a viably commercial sense it does have the distinguished and formidable Boris Karloff name associated with the show.

However Universal Studios Home Entertainment generally doesn't seem to be all that vigorous when it comes to marketing the company's film and television series catalogue.

Another possible obstacle is that at present Universal has committed itself to the better known and highly celebrated ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS which is very much in an identical vein as THRILLER in addition to a suggested resumption of ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY anticipated sometime in the Fall of 2008.

Universal may not want to flood the market with this sort of dramatic anthology cum dark suspense shocker entertainment.

But there is nothing wrong in suggesting a THRILLER DVD release nonetheless. As I have already affirmed you have my dauntless support! This has definitely got to be one of the more interesting tv properties under the aegis of Universal.

Jeff T.
 

Peter M Fitzgerald

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THRILLER is currently my #1 most-wanted TV series currently unreleased on R1 DVD.

Considering that the original TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS have long since been issued in their complete runs on the format, ONE STEP BEYOND is virtually complete (albeit in "public domain" releases), ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS has three seasons currently available (hopefully Season 4 will come out this October), and NIGHT GALLERY has Season 1 (with Season 2 possibly waiting in the wings for this Fall) out, that leaves THRILLER as the sole hold-out*, in the classic genre anthology DVD sweepstakes.

[* Not counting the much-wanted, though obscure and/or short-lived series WAY OUT, SUSPICION, PANIC!/NO WARNING!, (Kraft) SUSPENSE THEATER, OUT OF THE UNKNOWN, JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN, GHOST STORY/CIRCLE OF FEAR, DARKROOM, and of course, THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR, which I figure Universal views as the expanded-to-an-hour final three seasons of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS.]

To THRILLER's advantage (as far as Universal's marketing department is concerned):

1.) Boris Karloff (as host, and sometimes performer), especially since Universal's catalog reservoir of his starring horror/suspense films has been exhausted on DVD.

2.) Guest stars (though there are scores of great character actors featured, who fans and buffs will know, I'll just stick to the actors who modern audiences may recognize):

Leslie Neilsen, Rip Torn, Richard Chamberlain, Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore (twice), Warren Oates (twice), Werner Klemperer, William Shatner (twice), Russell Johnson, Donna Douglas, Richard Kiel, Robert Vaughn, Marlo Thomas, Marion Ross, Henry Silva, Natalie Schafer, Elizabeth Montgomery, Tom Posten, John Carradine (twice), Bruce Dern, Ursula Andress, David Janssen, Dick York, Luciana Paluzzi and George Kennedy

4.) Behind-the-scenes talent:

Many teleplays by Robert Bloch (so Universal can reference PSYCHO in the packaging), three episodes based on Cornell Woolrich (REAR WINDOW) stories, plus scripts by genre giants Richard Mathesan (TWILIGHT ZONE, SOMEWHERE IN TIME, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN), Charles Beaumont (TWILIGHT ZONE), August Derleth and Barre Lyndon (THE LODGER, HANGOVER SQUARE, WAR OF THE WORLDS); "Pigeons from Hell" is based on a Robert E. Howard story (so CONAN can be referenced); the regular stable of directors includes Herschel Daugherty, Douglas Heyes and John Brahm --who helmed many of the best/creepiest TWILIGHT ZONE episodes-- as well as ONE STEP BEYOND's John Newland, and star-turned-director Ida Lupino; camerawork by John F. Warren (PSYCHO), Benjamin Kline (DETOUR) and Lionel Lindon (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE); music for several episodes by Jerry Goldsmith (POLTERGEIST, ALIEN, THE OMEN, PLANET OF THE APES, THE MUMMY ('99))

3.) It's mainly a horror show --though the first third of Season 1 is primarily crime/suspense tales, before a change of strategy by the producers-- and horror (typically) sells, especially when Universal can brand it "Universal Horror".

4.) All the episodes are in good shape, the restoration work and modern film-to-tape transfers already have been made, as evidenced by broadcasts on The Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. and Scream Channel in Canada within the last decade, plus the episodes that Universal released on VHS and LD in the 1990s

5.) Universal has its own television and online platforms to promote it: Chiller Channel, Sci-Fi Channel, Sleuth Channel, USA Network and Hulu.com --and they could cross-promote it with a quick trailer ("Karloff! Horror! Suspense! Guest Stars!") on concurrent Universal horror and TV series DVDs.

6.) No outstanding music rights issues that need to be cleared (or worked around).

7.) It only ran two seasons, so the commitment isn't much, especially as Universal hasn't embraced the "split-season" trend. Like THE MUNSTERS, it's two sets, and they're done.

So, if properly marketed, this seems like a no-brainer to me, particularly in the pre-Halloween marketing window of August-October.
 

Gary16

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I have the laserdisc set of "Thriller" that Universal put out. Of course it doesn't contain anywhere near the entire number of episodes but it's one reason why I've kept my laserdisc collection intact. It would be great if they would release them all on DVD.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Or maybe the weak sales of the far superior and higher profile Alfred Hitchcock Presents series have discouraged them. Does anyone know how those sets sold?

This also may be the perfect case of absence makes the memory grow fonder. I remember when this show originally aired in the 10 p.m. hour and the rare instances I could stay up to watch it and how special it was to actually see an episode and how much I was a junkie for everything horror, Boris Karloff, Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, and Joseph Stefano (The Outer Limits).

But I also have copies of the Canadian run of this show when it aired and screened them recently for the first time in 40-some years and the only thing shocking about Thriller now is how bad it is compared to those other excellent anthologies of the same era. We're talking not even B actors, C scripts, or D production values. I think they spent all their money on Karloff and had nothing left for the show.

Oh, there are a few gems in there; a few great creep shows. But the majority are poorly acted, hackly written, and cheesily-produced. I was really appalled. How could my memory be so clouded through the mists of nostalgia?

Maybe this is the ugly secret of Universal's reticence - the show just wasn't that good and poorly serves Karloff's memory (although he's the best thing about it, of course). But more likely, it's purely based on sales expectations. I mean, come on, where's The Virginian? Name of the Game? Shows that had longer, more successful runs?

I'm sorry for this seeming blasphemy, but I was every bit the Thriller fanatic, too. That's why I was so disappointed.

As Frankenstein said (and Karloff himself might add about this show) ... "We belong dead."
 

Joe Karlosi

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I'd purchase this show in a heartbeat.

I've always wondered, though... "As sure as my name is Boris Karloff, this is a THRILLER!" -- but his real name wasn't Boris Karloff!
 

Joe Lugoff

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You mean, he never had it legally changed? They made his checks out to Bill Pratt? I know that's possible ... Judy Garland was still legally "Frances Gumm" well into the 1950s, for instance.
 

chas speed

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I was wondering if you knew that this is your opinion and not an actual fact. Troll on pal.
 

Joe Lugoff

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There's some validity to his opinion. The earlier episodes of "Thriller" were rather dull suspense and espionage things, which definitely disappointed this ten-year-old at the time. Things got better later.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Course it's just an opinion; any critique or review is. In that regard, I plead guilty to being the Simon Cowell of this thread on this particular topic. But it is just a discussion after all, and all opinions are valid - at least if they're based on actually seeing the show, or having been a real fan of it. And you'll never catch me insulting someone else for their opinion (especially if they have some inside knowledge on the actual production or budget).

My opinion just came out of having started re-watching season one of Thriller recently. But perhaps Joe is right and the episodes improve later on. I couldn't get through the first season this time around. I'll take a second look. I do remember my favorite episode was about the poisoned guillotine executioner who may not make it to his appointed duty in time. I haven't got to that episode yet.

And if there's a vote somewhere to have the show officially remastered and released on DVD, I'll gladly sign the petition. My only point was that not everything is always as good as we remember it. I'm not trying to rain on anyone else's parade.

I also couldn't make it through The Man From Uncle despite paying the big bucks for the series from Time Life. It was just too cheesy. Perfect for a 10 year-old, but not for one long grown up. For such a grown-up re-kindling their interest in series past, it doesn't hold a candle to I Spy.

But that's just my opinion.
 

JeffT.

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I completely neglected to mention that Stephen King himself is an unabashed fan...yet another exploitable aspect that would work in the show's favour!

The ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS complete season sets have done (at the least the second and the third seasons) outstandingly well on both AMAZON.COM and AMAZON.CA scoring very high sale ranks.

As the first three seasons have been marketed annually around Halloween time we should see if this consistently continues...surely the most conclusive proof of this tv property's success!

Incidentally both ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and THRILLER were both distributed by the selfsame television production company Revue Studios.

I myself became a fan of all the episodes either straight suspense drama or Gothic horror and to its credit THRILLER did last two respectable seasons in primetime on the NBC Television Network. It is a matter of acquired taste.

Point-of-fact it has been emphatically stated that NBC was perfectly content to renew THRILLER for a third season but Alfred Hitchcock himself discouraged this because he felt it posed a (competitive) threat to his own series.

THRILLER pioneered the hour long format for this type of specialized drama a good two years before ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS became THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR. Indeed this is likely what influenced Mr. Hitchcock to follow suit with his own show.

Now I like both ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS/THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR and THRILLER but the latter must be accorded its just due as the innovative and finely crafted piece of extraordinary entertainment that it truly is.

Serving as a source of inspiration for not only Alfred Hitchcock but Joseph Stefano in his Gothic mood pieces approach to THE OUTER LIMITS segments that he personally scripted.

As was aptly stated THRILLER is definitely not the type of programming that would especially appeal to 10 year olds...albeit I myself was much younger when I first saw it!

BORIS KARLOFF'S THRILLER (Click Here).

Jeff T.
 

JoshuaB.

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I'm a genre anthology junkie, so I'm very interested in a potential DVD release of Thriller. I've never seen it, but I've heard many good things about the series. I would think that Boris Karloff's name, like Alfred Hitchcock's for suspense, would be an easy sell for classic horror film fans.
 

Bob Hug

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I'll make the assumption that most of the posters to this thread either own or have seen Karloff's other (aborted) anthology series "The Veil." If not, it's available from several different releasing companies . . . . Karloff bookends each episode and acts in nine of the ten episodes that were produced. Worth a view if you haven't seen it.
 

Hollywoodaholic

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Yeah, I was surprised how adult-oriented the themes on this program were when seeing it again. Many of the episodes are purely crime-oriented, or about domestic violence such as Naked City (or Alfred Hitchcock Presents).

I'm glad to hear the Hitchcock sets are selling. Those have been great.

I attended Hitchcock's funeral back in 1980 at Good Shepherd's church in Beverly Hills. He was a true hero to me both as a director, television series host, and collector of suspense stories in print. Janet Leigh was there, and Charleton Heston spoke (though I remember wondering if or when he had ever worked with Hitch).

I also attended a tribute to Boris Karloff at the Motion Picture Academy theater a few years later hosted by Vincent Price. Another big highlight for a lifelong fan of both. They showed clips throughout his career and had a panel discussion, including Peter Bogdanovich. I remember them talking about how Thriller came along at a good time for Karloff to earn a steady paycheck and stay in the public eye without too much exertion. Bogdanovich directed him several years later in one of Karloff's last films, Targets.

Yeah, I get it chas, "Who cares?"
 

Jeff*H

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I was fortunate to have discovered "Thriller" on a local channel that aired it Mon-Fri late at night during the summer of 82 or 83, and followed it with "Six Million Dollar Man" reruns (you'll never see a local station do that nowadays). Watching it in the middle of the night with the lights off definitely made me a fan in short order, to the point where I acquired my own set of DVD's to enjoy until the series (hopefully) gets an officially release that I can buy.

As someone pointed out, there were so many great guest stars, and Karloff's macabre humor in his intro's and frequent guest appearances within the stories made them all the more enjoyable.
 

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