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  • The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark)
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The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark)


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The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark) + Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton - The Man in the Shadows + Curse of the Demon / Night of the Demon (Double Feature)
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Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 646 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A0GOEQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark)" on IMDb

Special Features

Audio Commentary: Greg Mank with Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, Steve Haberman with Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, Tom Weaver on Bedlam, and Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim. Documentaries: Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton LegacyAudio Commentary: Greg Mank with Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, Steve Haberman with Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, Tom Weaver on Bedlam, and Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim. Documentaries: Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton LegacyAudio Commentary: Greg Mank with Simone Simon on Cat People and Curse of the Cat People, Kim Newman and Steve Jones on I Walked With a Zombie, Steve Haberman with Robert Wise on The Body Snatcher, Tom Weaver on Bedlam, and Steve Haberman on The Seventh Victim. Documentaries: Shadows In The Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Val Lewton Horror Collection, The (DVD) (5-Pack)

Amazon.com

Val Lewton's name is synonymous with the subtlest, most mysterious brand of horror filmmaking in Hollywood's golden age, and the nine horror classics he produced at RKO between 1942 and 1946 constitute the most remarkable cycle of creativity in B-movie history. (For the record, the Lewton/RKO legacy also includes two non-horror entries, Youth Runs Wild and Mademoiselle Fifi.)

Before becoming a film producer, the Russian-born Lewton was a prolific writer of pulp fiction, nonfiction, and a couple of pornographic novels. He also worked for years as assistant to David O. Selznick, a legendary producer with a distinctive personal signature--and a flair for grandiosity Lewton himself never emulated. It's ever so revealing that, on Selznick's Gone With the Wind, it was Lewton who came up with the idea for the famous rising shot of the Atlanta railyard filled with Southern wounded, with the Confederate flag streaming above--only he idly proposed it as a joke, never imagining that anyone would actually film such a spectacularly ambitious scene.

In 1942 Lewton left Selznick to undertake a series of horror films for RKO Radio Pictures. The studio would give him a budget around $200,000 per picture and a title RKO deemed to be grabby; Lewton would have a free hand as long as he stayed on budget, used the title, and gave the studio a salable movie of second-feature length (around 70 minutes). Over time, Lewton would increasingly have trouble with studio supervisors, but RKO was the right place for him. Although low in the pecking order among Hollywood majors, the studio made up for its lack of MGM-style glamour and Warner Bros. grit-and-gusto by working in a finely filigreed, almost miniaturist style. The art department under Van Nest Polglase and Albert S. D'Agostino was capable of exquisite artisanry, and in Nicholas Musuraca, a master of low-key cinematography and supple camerawork, Lewton found an invaluable collaborator in creating moody shadow-worlds where what you couldn't see was more disquieting than what you could.

He was also fortunate in having Jacques Tourneur to direct his first three efforts (they had teamed years earlier on the Bastille-storming sequence for Selznick's A Tale of Two Cities). They scored first time out of the gate with both a popular hit and a masterpiece: Cat People (1942). The story involves a pretty young Serbian woman in Manhattan (Simone Simon) convinced that her ancestors had practiced animal worship during the Middle Ages--and that she herself might shape-change into a lithe, ravening panther if her passions were aroused. The film is uncannily successful in keeping the viewer guessing whether this is a phobia borne of morbid obsession and sexual repression, or a genuine, horrific possibility. There are two sequences of matchless artistry and almost unbearable suspense--a lonely, echoing walk through pools of lamplight alongside Central Park, and a late-night swim in a deserted indoor pool--that build to throat-grabbing climaxes and remain milestones in the history of screen horror.

Many critics feel that the second Lewton-Tourneur endeavor, I Walked With a Zombie (1943), is both men's finest work. The title is so lurid that the heroine-narrator (Frances Dee) must shrug it off with her very first words, yet the movie is an amazingly delicate and poetic piece of spellbinding--nothing less than a reworking of Jane Eyre on a voodoo island in the Caribbean. Other horror aficionados prefer the more mainline ferocity of The Leopard Man (1943), an adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich story about a serial killer strewing corpses along the U.S.-Mexican border. Although on one level this is the Lewton film that veers closest to conventional mystery-suspense, there's no end of unsettling ambiguity (another black panther on the loose!) and hints of occultism and religious mania.

RKO promoted Tourneur to A-movies after this; Lewton would never again have so masterly a directorial partner. Yet in a weird sense (which is only appropriate), this underscores how much Lewton--with his wealth of arcane historical lore and storytelling archetypes, his quiet, patient attention to detail, and his taste for oblique narrative--was the essential auteur of all his films. Promoting first Mark Robson and then Robert Wise from the editing table, Lewton went on to make the deeply mysterious The Seventh Victim (1943) and The Ghost Ship (1943), two films in which such grotesque elements as Satan worship and murderous psychopathology are folded away inside eerily drifty, almost becalmed sleepwalks into eternal night. The Seventh Victim--a movie populated with more walking dead than Lewton's out-and-out zombie picture--is one of the cinema's supreme meditations on the ways lives brush against one another in the spaces of a great, impersonal city. And The Ghost Ship (the rarest of Lewton's films, owing to a ruinous copyright suit) is like a fever dream from which the viewer never awakens.

That's enough for a legacy, surely. Yet there remain The Curse of the Cat People (1944), a sequel that is not quite a sequel, a pretend-horror movie that's really a contemplation of the fragility of childhood; Isle of the Dead (1945), a doomed reverie about travelers who escape the Goya-esque chaos of a 19th-century war only to be beset with plague on a miasma-shrouded island; The Body Snatcher (1945), an atmospheric Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation that invokes the grisly history of graverobbers Burke and Hare, and supplies a together-again-for-the-last-time occasion for Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi; and Bedlam (1946), the Hogarth painting come to life to portray the real-life horrors of an 18th-century insane asylum. Bedlam's critical and box-office failure ended Lewton's quasi-independent status at RKO; he would live to make only three other, unsuccessful films.

James Agee, the premier American film critic of the 1940s, reckoned that Val Lewton was one of the three foremost creative figures in Hollywood--an assessment yet more impressive when we consider that the other two were Charles Chaplin and Walt Disney. His greatest films--Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, The Seventh Victim--are towering achievements, and even his half-realized projects are haunting experiences, the products of an utterly distinctive sensibility. This is an extraordinary collection. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

This great box set is a must have for all Val Lewton and classic horror films fans.
L. Dequesada
The quality of the DVDs I will discuss in a later post after I can compare them with the Laser Discs from my Box set.
Doug - Haydn Fan
Even today these films impressed by the beauty and poetry worked on the images of light and shadows.
tereca

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 24, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh, Wow! I just was doing a happy dance over Hammer's release of their films I have long wanted and now here is the ultimate Val Lewton Horror Collection. Jacques Tourneur and Lewton created very special horror films. They were thinking man's horror film. Film in glorious black and white where shadows were long and dark (never achieved in colour films because of the bright lights needed), these films are moody, sinister, dark tales that whisper from the shadows instead of screaming boo!

"The Cat People" is more familiar to most people. This deals with a female who is a marmaluke (in Scotland we call them Greymalkins or Cait Sidhe), a female who can turn into a cat. The sequel "Curse of the Cat People" was slightly oddball. A sequel and yet some of it seems off. In the first film, Kent Smith who plays Oliver Reed (joke there!!) falls for Simone Simon is Irena who is a marmaluke. Later, as her nature reveals itself Smith turns to Jane Randolf (Alice), sending Simone in to a rage. In Curse of the Cat People, Oliver and Jane have married and now have a daughter. She is a little odd and lonely and suddenly starts seeing Irena's ghost. Then an old lady and her daughter come into her life, both recognizing the child as a "cat person" EXCUSE ME? did something get left on the cutting room floor. Irena died. The child is Alice's so WHY is the child touched by the Cat People. This is never explained well. Still, it's a very moody film and is enjoyable.

One of my Fav films of all times is the silly titled "I Walked With a Zombie" This is Tourneur and Lewton adapting Bronte's tale into a modern day version of Jane Eyre! It dark, moody and simply a classic.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Atlanta Guy on January 15, 2008
Format: DVD
All of the films in this set are excellent, for reasons described in numerous other reviews on Amazon. The new documentary hosted by Martin Scorsese also provides a nice, atmospheric recap of Lewton's life and career.

But be forewarned -- the documentary contains a LOT of very serious spoilers for almost all of the best films in this set! So, enjoy the documentary by all means, but do so *after* you watch all the films. Happy viewing!
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2007
Format: DVD
This new set from Warner Home Video will contain the exact same titles as the currently sold Val Lewton Collection except there will be a documentary - "Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton Man in the Shadows". The documentary will be available separately for just under twenty dollars for people who already own the other five discs as part of original Val Lewton Collection.

Val Lewton is not a well known name in the horror genre for most people. Everyone knows about Universal's reputation in horror during the 1930's and 1940's even though, today, most of those early monster films have dated rather badly, though they still retain an atmosphere that makes them worth watching. Lewton came to RKO in the 1940's and had a very brief output of high quality films. He was pretty much given ready-made titles and his job was to turn a profit for the studio, not make art. Strangely enough, though, he managed to do both and came up with a series of films that retain an interesting psychological aspect even today. Thus he is often remembered as the producer of "the thinking person's horror films".

If you haven't already bought the Val Lewton Horror Collection, wait and get this expanded one. If you have, you can either pick up the documenary separately, or you can just watch the documentary when it premieres on Turner Classic Movies on January 14th at 8PM (EST). From the Warner Press Release: "Scorsese and writer/director Kent Jones take the viewer on a journey into the life and psyche of the man who left his mark in film history through the creation of such timeless thrillers as I Walked with a Zombie, Cat People and The Body Snatcher, to name but a few. The new documentary features insightful analysis, on-screen interviews with Lewton collaborators, and, best of all, an abundance of classic Lewton film clips."
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Eric on October 1, 2005
Format: DVD
Whereas in the 30s, low-budget studio Universal could only establish any success (with rare exception) with horror films, it was the 1940s when the brilliant producer Val Lewton re-invented the genre with a series of nine modestly budgeted films, most of which remain among the most highly-regarded in the genre.

I was fortunate enough to find an early copy of this boxed set today, and was bowled over by what I've seen so far. The transfers are the best I've ever seen, with wonderful commentaries (the best coming from Greg Mank and Tom Weaver) and

a terrific bonus documentary created especially for this collection.

Not just talking heads and clips, the Lewton documentary is expertly crafted.

DO NOT PASS THIS COLLECTION UP! I'm glad I didn't.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Lennhoff on June 24, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Yeah, compared to the horror movies from the late 50's (Hammer Studio productions and Psycho) to today's in-your-face horror, these films are like strange dreams; but to daydreamers like me they are a wondrous haven from reality and reality-based TV/movies. As long as a picture says a thousand words, and famous art is to be viewed and savored again and again, then that's where you'll find me on restless weekend nights with my provisions and my remote, steeped in the wistful tranquility these classics bring. I'm truly looking forward to these gems. I only hope Warner sticks to its release date. Happy Halloween - 2005!
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Anyone remember the title to this old horror movie ?
Hello,
I think the movie you are describing is called "Shock Waves." It was made in 1977 and stars the British horror actor Peter Cushing. It is available on DVD.
Apr 4, 2006 by T. L. Sauer |  See all 2 posts
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The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark)
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