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The Man Who Could Cheat Death / The Skull [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This two-disc collection is filled with suspense and terror as it features classic, bonechilling tales from two of the biggest horror powerhouse producers: Hammer Studios and Amicus Productions. The Skull weaves a chilling tale surrounding the real-life terrors of the Marquis de Sade. Featuring outstanding performances by Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, this tale introduces Dr. Christopher Maitland (Cushing) who purchases the infamous skull of the Marquis de Sade, a decision that he was warned against by his good friend - and previous skull owner - Matthew Phillips (Lee). The question is whether or not Dr. Maitland will live to regret his decision.

The Man Who Could Cheat Death features a horror filled tale starring Anton Diffring as Dr. Georges Bonnet, a man with a hideous obsession to live forever… all he needs are the glands of some very unwilling donors. Also starring Christopher Lee and the beautiful horror legend Hazel Court, this film is a suspense-filled ride for all who enjoy classic horror cinema.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Cushing (The Skull), Patrick Wymark (The Skull), Christopher Lee (The Skull), Anton Diffring (The Man Who Could Cheat Death), Hazel Court (The Man Who Could Cheat Death)
  • Directors: Freddie Francis (The Skull), Terence Fisher ( The Man Who Could Cheat Death)
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004W6JJXC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,033 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2011
Terence Fisher's "The Man Who Could Cheat Death" made in 1959 is one of Fisher's lesser films. A remake of "The Man in Half Moon Street" it stars Anton Diffring as Dr. Georges Bonnett a talented surgeon who likes to sculpt in his spare time. Evidently he must have had plenty of spare time to learn how--he's over 100 years old yet looks like he is in his late 30's-early 40's. Jimmy Sangster's screenplay based on Barré Lyndon ("War of the Worlds")play tends to be heavy on the melodrama and short on the thrills. It's not a bad movie as there's some stylish direction from Fisher and Christopher Lee in a supporting role and good acting on hand from Hazel Court and others. The film just lacks the thrills so central to early Hammer films.

"The Skull" starring Peter Cushing and directed by Freddie Francis (who photographed "The Innocents" and "The Elelphant Man")is a very clever Amicus production based on a short story by Robert Bloch (author of the novel PSYCHO and a respected screenwriter as well). Featuring Christopher Lee and the late Michael Gough in suppporting roles "The Skull" Cushing stars as Christopher Maitland who collects "odd" objects such as...the skull of de Sade which exerts an evil influence on Maitland to do REALLY bad things.

The script by Amicus co-founder and producer Milton Subotsky helps raise the second feature on this set above the Hammer film.

Both films receive nice looking transfers to Blu-ray although the edge goes to "The Skull". "Death" doesn't look quite as "lively" as some of the more color saturated 50's transfers of Hammer films from Warner or Sony. For "Death" blacks aren't quite as solid as I had hoped and there are some minor digital artifacts that crop up now and again(no doubt due to the transfer).
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Both of these Blu-ray films are extremely entertaining, with good scripts, fine cast, and decent production--particularly The Skull. The widescreen pictures are clean and pleasant, which are enhanced for 16:9 TVs.
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For the first time in years, I just watched a double feature of THE SKULL, directed by Freddie Francis, and THE MAN WHO CHEATED DEATH, directed by Terence Fisher, released on blu-ray this week. THE SKULL has been reviewed ever since it opened without much enthusiasm, and DEATH usually gets mentioned in passing as a lesser Fisher film. Though I am not ready to proclaim the films masterpieces, I am here to urge those interested in Hammer and Amicus productions to take a look.

Fisher works from a highly melodramatic and talky Sangster script (based on a play) that somehow never transcends the boundaries of boulevard melodrama. Fisher, knowing he has a lot of talking to get the viewer through, stages each and every dialogue beat with a choreographer's exactitude, which seems at times more fitting for opera or musical theatre than film. But taking the piece as a whole, realizing the choices Fisher made and stuck with though out, there's an extraordinary sense of directorial craft on display. Typical of Fisher, every shot, camera move, and bit of blocking keeps the action forward moving; nothing is arbitrary, nothing is wasted. Jack Asher's lush photography distills Fisher's heightened dramatic choices with very clever and well placed color diffusions and short lens compositions that at times seem to sizzle in context to the action. And, of course, Robinson's sets utilize, as always, the Hammer stock, with vivid details framing the action, supporting Fisher's storytelling style with the kind of vitality only well chosen and appropriately placed details can. There is more to THE MAN WHO CHEATED DEATH then one might think. If nothing else, it offers us a rather nakedly displayed example of Fisher's directorial sense of craft, which in itself is worth the effort.
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These two above average British horror films are priced just right and look nice on BD. Not spectacularly restored but a definite upgrade from the SD DVDs. You can never go wrong with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis in hi def!
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This Blu-ray twin bill is worth the price - if for nothing else - for the film - The Skull. The Man Who Could Cheat Death was enjoyable - but I don't know if I would watch it more than two or three times, while The Skull is a film I've seen three four times already and look forward to watching again - in blu-ray. It will be like seeing it for the first time - the colors will be so bright and clear. Get it - you'll enjoy the Skull.

Larry
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10 bucks for a mid-grade Horror Double Feature in Blu-ray, is not unreasonable. I first saw THE SKULL, in the theater with my Dad, when I was 9. It scared me then. Now, as I watch it for the second time in almost 30 years, I notice the poor special effects, and bad acting. The gloomy Dark Theater atmosphere must have contributed way more to my reaction of this movie than I thought.

As long as you don't expect TOO MUCH from either movie, a little popcorn, and a darkened living-room, and a big screen TV,(These movies don't have the same Spooky Effect on a small screen TV)..... and the entertainment of these features is worth the meager price.
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