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Amazing Value! Even if only a fraction are really good!
on May 16, 2010
The Gorehouse Greats 3-disc DVD collection is a fantastic set if you love horror movies of any kind, including dated, low-budget, drive-in or grindhousey ones, because that's what you get here. This set holds 12 feature films, an amazing amount for the price you can sometimes find this at, considering that these aren't the same public domain horror films that have been on dollar DVD releases for years. These films are all from Crown International Pictures, released by Mill Creek Entertainment in a pretty cool looking case, and are a really nice variety of plots. I'll describe the films below, pointing out my faves. Bear with me though, as I'm listing them as they're listed on the back of the DVD case, and they just happened to list the best ones near the bottom...
"Blood of Dracula's Castle": A young couple inherits a castle in the middle of nowhere, but to move in they have to first evict the current tenants, Dracula and his wife and staff. This ended up being the last film I watched in the set, despite having the most appealing title to me (because I love the old Christopher Lee Dracula stuff). From 1969, this film is in color, but it is also probably the worst print in this set, at times being hard to watch at all, though being fine at other times. For the record though, most of the films in this DVD set are pretty decent quality. Anyway, Blood of Dracula's Castle also ended up being the last film I watched because it starts out so hokey. You really have to stick with it through the introduction of the young couple, because it quickly becomes a very enjoyable, entertaining flick after that. It's cheesy, but it's also funny and surprising at times, because in the beginning it seems like it's a 60's beach movie or "Girl in Gold Boots" or something. Thankfully, it's not. When all is said and done, while "Blood of Dracula's Castle" is not the best film in the set or anything, I'd definitely list it as one of the better ones, despite the awful quality of the print.
"Blood Mania": A doctor being blackmailed over his history of illegal abortions attempts to gain the money by romancing a rich woman, but she turns out to be too jealous for his own good. From 1970 and in color, "Blood Mania" would be on the lower end of the spectrum for me in this set. It's interesting enough to hold ones attention, but you keep wondering when it is going to live up to the title. It doesn't until near the end, when it starts to get pretty good but ends too abruptly and leaving too big of a question. This one is more about blackmail than anything else, at least until near the end.
"Brain Twisters": A college professor's experiment in mind control goes out of control in this sci-fi thriller. Pretty descent flick from 1991, and the most recent in this set. Still, not a top fave.
"The Devil's Hand": When a man is bewitched by a sorceress in a bizarre cult, he joins the group and struggles with the decision, especially when it begins to endanger his former fiancé. This 1962 horror film is your typical black and white, low budget fair. It's a good film over all, surprisingly interesting.
"The Madmen of Mandoras": Better known as "They Saved Hitler's Brain", that bit of info alone makes this black and white 1963 film worth having. It is as bizarre as it sounds. At least, the scenes with Hitler's head in a jar being ported around by Nazis in a South American country. Unfortunately, those scenes are the most interesting part of the film, which otherwise isn't that great. Ya gotta see this at least once though.
"Nightmare in Wax": From 1969 and in color, this story of a disfigured man forced to leave the world of filmmaking to work in a Hollywood wax museum from where he exacts a gruesome revenge is pretty good, but it's also one of the not so good prints in this set, if I recall correctly. It's totally watchable though, and I particularly found this one interesting because it was partly shot at the Movieland Wax Museum I have memories of visiting on a family trip to California as a very small child. I even recognized some of the displays.
"Prime Evil": From 1988, this film about a sect of monks turned to Satanism is very entertaining, though at times feels like one of those barely coherent Italian horror films, ha. It surely took some inspiration from those, but it's a bit better.
"Satan's Slave": From 1976 and in color, "Satan's Slave" is among the best movies in this set, I'd say, though it's also the first one I watched, so I don't remember it as well now, ha. It is more in line with something from Hammer or Amicus, which I really like, and is the story of a young woman who goes to visit her secretly deranged cousin and Satanist uncle, not knowing they have big plans for her. This one and two others I'll be describing soon make this set worth the price on their own.
"Stanley": This quirky, 1972 film about a man who only seems to be able to relate to rattlesnakes, to the point where he lives with tons of them in his home and usually carries his favorite freely around his neck, is another of my absolute faves in this set. I even remember seeing the trailer for this one at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater one day, so maybe some of you saw that too. It's just plain weird, but it is great!
"Terrified": From 1963 and in black and white, this film about a mysterious hooded killer is only occasionally interesting, though the ending is good. It's one of the weaker ones in this set, and just not very memorable.
"Terror": From 1978, this color film starts out very promising, but it quickly loses its oomph to the point where you're lucky if you can remember how it ends, as I can't right now. I can tell you it's about some filmmakers and actors in London, one of which believes there is a curse placed on his family from way back when they helped destroy a local witch.
"Trip with Teacher": This 1975 color flick is about a small group of female students and their young teacher who are going on a camping trip when they are sidetracked by a crazed biker and his brother and become tortured hostages. This one is very much in the vein of "Last House on the Left" and its copycats, but it's also one of the three best films in this set alongside "Stanley" and "Satan's Slave". There are a lot of moments when you wonder why certain people do the stupid things they do, or don't do other things, to improve their situation, but that's to be expected. It's still a highly engaging and tense flick. Good stuff!
And that's the "Gorehouse Greats" collection, a fantastic set for the price. These flicks aren't going to give you nightmares, but many of them will sure entertain you! Too bad there are no DVD extras, as some trailers for these flicks would have been a hoot to see as well!