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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 Documentary)
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"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.Read more ›
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!
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."
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my all time favorite old horror movies and easily my favorite Karloff movie. He is at his creepiest and the story is worth a watch as it is very good as well.Published 3 months ago by Guy
Working within a strict and limited budget and studio-imposed lurid titles, Val Lewton produced 8 classics of B&W horror. A must-have for collectors.Published 5 months ago by Thomas
I did not order this. I didn't know how to cancel it. I don't even know where it is.Published 5 months ago by Charles Kirchner
These movies hold up very well, and a nice collection to add to my library.Published 5 months ago by Eric
(this review refers to the 2009 re-release version of this set)
The Val Lewton Collection features nine of Vals wonderful works for RKO pictures in the 40s. Read more
The films live up to their reputation. CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE is especially fascinating.Published 9 months ago by kjb
This is a fine collection of Lewton's productions; it's great to have them together in a box set. My favorite: "The Curse of the Cat People." Light, shadow, and ambiguity. Read morePublished 12 months ago by S. Bruce
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