USHV Press Release: HAMMER HORROR SERIES DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    FROM THE VAULTS OF FAMED HORROR STUDIO HAMMER FILMS'

    HAMMER HORROR SERIES DVD

    A COLLECTIBLE SET OF EIGHT BLOOD-CURDLING CLASSICS FEATURING FRANKENSTEIN, THE WEREWOLF, DRACULA AND MORE SCREAMS ONTO DVD SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 FROM
    UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT


    Universal City, California, August 12, 2005 - Brace yourself for pre-Halloween thrills with Universal Studios Home Entertainment's The Hammer Horror Series - a two-disc set containing eight spine-tingling titles from renowned horror and sci-fi studio Hammer Films. Focusing on Hammer's astoundingly prolific output during the 1960s, the collection includes such memorable chillers as Brides of Dracula, The Curse of the Werewolf, Phantom of the Opera, Paranoiac, The Kiss of the Vampire, Nightmare, Night Creatures, and The Evil of Frankenstein. In stores on September 6, 2005, featuring new collectible packaging, The Hammer Horror Series is priced at $29.98 SRP.

    HAMMER FILMS: CLASSIC HORROR AT ITS BEST
    The name Hammer Films has been synonymous with horror for more than half a century, ever since the British studio began focusing its prodigious talents on the increasingly popular genre in the late 1950s. The company's signature approach to retelling classic horror stories - shooting in period castles, in lurid color, with visionary shock sequences and vivid special effects - was an instant hit with moviegoers. Throughout the '60s, the Hammer team produced dozens of scream-inducing features whose unique style would later exert a powerful influence on U.S. filmmakers from Roger Corman to Martin Scorsese. Now recognized as one of the most significant independent film studios of all time, Hammer Films titles continue to attract new generations of fans.


    SYNOPSES

    Brides of Dracula
    Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur), a beautiful young French girl, is stranded en route to a teaching assignment in Eastern Europe. She is persuaded to spend the night at the nearly deserted castle of a mysterious Baroness (Martita Hunt), where she accidentally discovers a man chained to the wall of his room. The Baroness only explains that he is her seasick and feeble-minded son. Unable to get any further information from the maid Greta (Freda Jackson), Marianne steals a key and sets him free. Once unbound, the Baron (David Peel) fiendishly recruits the undead for his evil purposes until captured by Marianne and the indefatigable Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing).

    The Curse of the Werewolf
    Oliver Reed portrays the bloodthirsty man-beast who loves by day and kills by night in this gripping gothic thriller. Directed by famed horror filmmaker Terence Fisher, this atmospheric tale of terror follows Reed, the orphaned baby of a maniacal beggar and a mute girl, from birth to manhood, when he discovers his horrible secret. Try as he may, the cursed youth is unable to suppress the dark forces within. When the moon is full, he becomes an uncontrollable killer incapable of distinguishing between friend and foe. Spectacular makeup effects and beautifully photographed 19th Century European locales heighten the suspense of this classic werewolf story.

    Phantom of the Opera
    Herbert Lom stars as the Phantom in Hammer Films' celebrated production of Gaston Leroux's horror classic. Mysterious mishaps bedevil a London opera house, but when tragedy strikes during an opening night performance, it's clear that these "accidents" are the deliberate work of a deranged madman - the Phantom. When Christine (Heather Sears), the young star of a new musical is contacted by the shadowy specter, her producer (Edward de Souza) investigates, tracking the ghostly Phantom to his secret underground lair. More than an evil apparition, the Phantom proves to be a brilliant composer. Disfigured and nearly destroyed, he now demands his hellish revenge. Christine, his new star, is the Phantom's one weakness, and he pays the ultimate price to keep his love alive.

    Paranoiac
    Nothing is quite what it seems in this riveting, complex tale of greed, dementia and deceit. Rescued from a suicide attempt by a man claiming to be her long-dead brother, a young heiress (Janette Scott) finds a new reason to live. But her relatives have doubts; they think "Tony" (Alexander Davion) is an imposter who's trying to get his hands on the family fortune. Everyone has their own secret reasons to suspect Tony, as well as their own designs on his vast inheritance - especially brother Simon (Oliver Reed), a magnetic but devastatingly cruel wretch who'll stop at nothing to thwart the supposed pretender. In this flavorful feast of a thriller, "the horror-mystery elements are brewed to a fine discriminating savor."

    The Kiss of the Vampire
    Lost on the way to their honeymoon, a young couple stumbles upon a mysterious family of vampires and their evil leader. A wrong turn leaves Marianne (Jennifer Daniel) and Gerald (Edward de Souza) stranded in a remote Bavarian forest where they have no choice but to accept the hospitality of the hypnotic Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman), distinguished lord of the local castle. Ravna uses his "children" to lure the newlyweds to his lair, and soon, they are plunged into a nightmare of horror and deception from which there may be no escape. Their only hope is Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans), who calls upon an ancient ritual in a desperate attempt to destroy the vampires and free Marianne from Ravna's power. A lush 19th-century-setting, masterful direction, and vivid special effects intensify this spooky Hammer Films chiller.

    Nightmare
    This thriller walks the thin line between sanity and madness, exploring the shadowy world between dreams and reality. As a child, Janet (Jennie Linden) witnessed an unbearable horror: her insane mother stabbing her father to death. Now a young woman, Janet's recurring nightmares have her convinced she'll follow her mother to the asylum. Accompanied by her schoolteacher Miss Lewis (Brenda Bruce), Janet retreats to the home of her guardian (David Knight), who has hired lovely Grace (Moira Redmond) as a companion to help calm his troubled ward. But Janet's nightly terrors, magnified by the eerie, creaky old house, bring all of her fears chillingly to life. Are Janet's problems all in her head, or is there a sinister force at work? Startling plot twists reveal that sometimes when you wake up, the nightmare is just beginning.

    Night Creatures (Captain Clegg)
    In this engaging costume melodrama of skulduggery on the low seas set back in the 18th-century, the Royal Crown suspects a bit of smuggling is going on in this locale, and they send Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) and his crew to check it out. When a mysterious swamp phantom clouds the investigation, Captain Collier suspects the odd village vicar (Peter Cushing) may be hiding something. What better way to do that than by the appearance of ghosts to scare away the curious, or by posing as someone he is not?

    The Evil of Frankenstein
    Peter Cushing stars in this inspired fantasy as Baron von Frankenstein, the creator of the infamous monster. On the run from irate villagers who disapprove of his unorthodox experiments, Dr. Frankenstein returns to a remote mountain castle with his assistant Hans. Caught in a snowstorm, they are rescued by a mute deaf girl (Katy Wild) who leads them to the safety of her cave home. There, Frankenstein finds his original creature preserved in ice. Resurrecting the monster in his laboratory, Frankenstein discovers the brain is dormant, and he calls in Zoltan, a mystical hypnotist (Peter Woodthorpe). But Zoltan uses the creature for his own selfish purposes, and unleashes a violent chain of events. This chiller offers all the excitement and suspense of the original with spectacular effects and blood-curdling action in vivid color.

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (Brides of Dracula)

    Director: Terence Fisher
    Screenwriters: Jimmy Sangster, Peter Bryan and Edward Percy
    Executive Producer: Michael Carreras
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Associate Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys
    Director of Photography: Jack Asher
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Editors: Alfred Cox, James Needs
    Original Music: Malcolm Williamson
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Peter Cushing, Freda Jackson, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Curse of the Werewolf)

    Director: Terence Fisher
    Screenwriter: John Elder
    Based on a Novel by: Guy Endore
    Executive Producer: Michael Carreras
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Associate Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys
    Cinematography: Arthur Grant
    Editors: Alfred Cox, James Needs
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Original Music: Benjamin Frankel
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Clifford Evans, Oliver Reed, Yvonne Romain, Catherine Feller

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (Phantom of the Opera)

    Director: Terence Fisher
    Screenwriter: John Elder
    Based on the Novel by: Gaston Leroux
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Associate Producer: Basil Keys
    Cinematography: Arthur Grant
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Editor: Alfred Cox
    Original Music: Edwin Astley
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Herbert Lom, Heather Sears

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (Paranoiac)

    Director: Freddie Francis
    Screenwriter: Jimmy Sangster
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Associate Producer: Basil Keys
    Cinematography: Arthur Grant
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Editor: James Needs
    Original Music: Elisabeth Lutyens
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Janette Scott, Oliver Reed, Sheila Burrell, Alexander Davion


    CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Kiss of the Vampire)

    Director: Don Sharp
    Screenwriter: John Elder
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Cinematography: Alan Hume
    Editor: James Needs
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Original Music: James Bernard
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Clifford Evans, Noel Willman, Edward de Souza, Jennifer Daniel, Barry Warren

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (Nightmare)

    Director: Freddie Francis
    Screenwriter: Jimmy Sangster
    Producer: Jimmy Sangster
    Cinematography: John Wilcox
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Editor: James Needs
    Original Music: Don Banks
    Wardrobe: Rosemary Burrows
    Cast: David Knight, Moira Redmond, Jennie Linden and Brenda Bruce

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (Night Creatures)

    Director: Peter Graham Scott
    Screenwriter: John Temple-Smith
    Based on a Novel by: Russell Thorndike
    Additional Dialogue: Barbara S. Harper
    Producer: John Temple-Smith
    Cinematography: Arthur Grant
    Production Design: Bernard Robinson
    Editors: Eric Boyd-Perkins, James Needs
    Original Music: Don Banks
    Wardrobe: Molly Arbuthnot
    Cast: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen

    CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Evil of Frankenstein)

    Director: Freddie Francis
    Screenwriter: John Elder
    Producer: Anthony Hinds
    Cinematography: John Wilcox
    Editor: James Needs
    Original Music: Don Banks
    Wardrobe: Rosemary Burrows
    Cast: Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont

    TECHNICAL INFORMATION
    DVD
    Street Date: 9/6/2005
    Pre-Order Date: 8/2/2005
    Copyright: 2005 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
    Price: $29.98 SRP
    Selection Numbers: 28333
    Number of Discs: 2
    Running Time: 11 Hours and 26 Minutes
    Layers: Dual/Dual (Double Sided)
    Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1:66:1 (Brides of Dracula); 1:85:1 (The Curse of the Werewolf, The Kiss of the Vampire, The Evil of Frankenstein); 2:00:1 (Phantom of the Opera, Night Creatures); 2:35:1 (Paranoiac, Nightmare)
    Rating: NR
    Technical Info: English Dolby 2.0 Mono/Captioned; French Subtitles; Spanish Subtitles
     
  2. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the info Ron.

    The only thing I don't like about this is Universal is taking the cheap way out once again & jamming 8 movies onto 4 sides ala Abbott and Costello & The Legacy Collections. Many people have complained about this reporting major playback problems. I just can't see why they can't use 4 SS/DL discs instead of 2 DS/DL discs. I would pay more $$$$ just to avoid the headaches of exchanging sets when problems arise. I just don't like the DVD-18 disc. Too many problems.

    Atleast they're OAR & you can't go wrong with 8 movies for $30 bucks or less on release day.
     
  3. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm really looking forward to this set. For Captain Clegg, in particular.

    I hope The Curse of the Werewolf includes the reinstated footage.
     
  4. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Quote:
    The company's signature approach to retelling classic horror stories - shooting in period castles

    Apart from the ornate gothic Oakley Court, next door to Bray Studios, all shooting in 'period castles' as described by Universal marketing is in fact due to the genius of Production designer Bernard Robinson and his team who constructed all the sets on a small acreage on the front grounds of the studio, and the house which was part of 'Down Place'(Bray).
    Quote:
    Aspect ratio 2:00:1 (Phantom of the Opera, Night Creatures)

    I still cannot get any response from Universal on the innaccuracy of their technical specs on these two films which should be 1.75 or 1.66. Hopefully it is just an error, if not these two titles will be severely overmatted as a result.
     
  5. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, that is rather worrying, Steve.

    I would assume that those two would have been 1.66:1. For their British Rank releases, at least.

    Fingers crossed that it's just another mistake in the press blurb.
     
  6. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Quote:
    I hope The Curse of the Werewolf includes the reinstated footage.

    The pre-print materials on "Curse of the Werewolf" were updated recently to include the censored footage for any future theatrical and home video use.
     
  7. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Can't wait.[​IMG]

    Eight Hammer films for £16 ($30)? It's a steal! I would have happily paid that amount for just one of them, Curse of the Werewolf, my favorite of the bunch.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    That's good to hear. You wouldn't happen to know if they've managed to source a better print of the censored footage since it was originally reinstated, would you? I remember, from the BBC showing a few years ago, that the inserted footage looked quite ropey compared to the rest of the film.
     
  9. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    From memory, I believe the censored trims were original negative and apart from Yvonne Romain's restored scene in the cell which I recall was a little scratched. I thought the material had a clean and rawer look to it, when I first viewed it on the laserdisc, which was only a video restoration. More recently Universal did a more thorough theatrical restoration on the film. I believe this restored version was run recently on a US HD channel and heard it looked very good.
     
  10. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the information, Steve. You certainly know your stuff! [​IMG]

    Yes, it was the scene in the cell I was thinking of, really. The picture quality in that scene looked quite poor, from what I remember. But it's been a few years since I've seen it, so it's probably just my addled brain playing tricks on me. [​IMG]
     
  11. AlanP

    AlanP Supporting Actor

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    I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS SERIES.
    I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THESE FILMS, SINCE, THE ADVENT OF DVD !!!!!!!!
     
  12. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Sounds good. I too hope to have actual working DVD-18's when I get this. I can't believe that Universal can't correct this problem. Even their recent single sided releases have stuttered on 2 of my players: during the Universal opening that starts beore the feature. The feature itself plays fine, so I'm not to concerned, but I'm yet to get a DVD-18 from them that didn't have some type of problem.

    I know it's not my player, I've never had a problem with a DVD18 from any other studio.

    I'll still be a sucker and buy this though, the price is too good on these legacy releases. I should probably bite the buillet and grab the Warner BRos. Hammer collection as well.
     
  13. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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  14. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    What's up with the 2.00:1 ratios for PHANTOM and NIGHT CREATURES? That can't be right...can it?
     
  15. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Who knows when it comes to Hammer and OAR. George compared PHANTOM to the LD and said a little is missing off the top and bottom but more picture was on the sides. He was still in praise of the transfers/matting so it must not be that big of an issue.
     
  16. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    It's possible they're supposed to be 2.00:1, but it seems rather unlikely to me.

    If the image was supposed to be as wide as that, surely they would have been shot in HammerScope in the first place?

    This all sounds very reminiscent of Warner Home Video's overmatting of Dracula (1958).

    [​IMG]

    On the whole, though, they do seem to have done an excellent job with the transfers.
     
  17. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    The HORROR OF DRACULA disc was uncomfortably over-matted to my eyes, too.
     
  18. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    My copy has shipped and will be in my hands in a few days...can't wait!!!! [​IMG]
     
  19. LaurenceGarvey

    LaurenceGarvey Second Unit

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    Although I'm no Hammer fan, I'm excited about this set, which contains two of few films from that studio that are worthwhile, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF and BRIDES OF DRACULA. I also like EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN and NIGHTMARE, so the set's a good deal.
     
  20. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Quote:What's up with the 2.00:1 ratios for PHANTOM and NIGHT CREATURES? That can't be right...can it?

    No it certainly isn't. No Hammer production, that was shot spherical, was ever intended to be presented in 2.00:1. They varied from 1.66 to 1.85:1.
    I was hoping that "Kiss of the Vampire" would be the uncensored version I saw about ten years ago, but DVD-Drive-in don't mention it in their review, although they do mention the extended staking sequence in "Brides of Dracula" that I have brought up in the past on Hammer forums.
    They claim that "Kiss" is 1.66, which it certainly should be, and I hope it is vertically framed properly otherwise the opening shot of the funeral procession will suffer horribly.
     

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