69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2004
I just got this set and it's great. The video transfers are all vivid and beautiful, the colors pop, especially those all important blood reds. The mono soundtracks are surprisingly robust and clear. If you love Hammmer Films like I do then this set will probably make you drool.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957): Terence Fisher is a master director and this, the first of Hammer's reinvention of classic gothic horror, proves why. Story, performances and, oh, those colors are stunning.
Horror of Dracula (1958): Perhaps Hammer's finest hour, this is the best Dracula film ever. Great cast, direction, photography, costumes, etc. And the music by Hammer veteran James Bernard is terrific--it really gets your blood pumping. Oh, and Lee and Cushing truly strike sparks.
The Mummy (1959): The third in Hammer's fantastic Lee/Cushing Gothic re-imaginings. Chris Lee is the best mummy. Like his interpretation of Dracula, Lee is dynamic and forceful--and he does this with absolutely no dialogue!
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968): The third in the Lee Dracula cycle. This one's exciting and fast-moving with some interesting visuals--the use of color filters on Dracula, Dracula's suspenseful removal of a stake from his chest, and some wonderfully eerie rooftop sets make this a winner.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969): The fifth in the Cushing Frankenstein cycle and my personal favorite. The doctor is truly a complex character in this one. At turns, charming, cunning, witty, brilliant and evil. Cushing is amazing in the role and proves why he was such a great actor. Exciting and absorbing from start to finish.
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970): This DVD presents for the first time the full 95 minute cut in America. All previous releases were 91 minutes. This version is rated R and has bits of nudity and bloody violence reinstated. Chris Lee is as commanding as ever as Dracula but, to be truthful, he's not in this very much--in fact, it's barely more of an extended cameo. Still, the film has much to recommend it. The cast is one of the best in the entire Hammer catalogue, especially Geoffrey Keen as the hypocritical Hargood and Ralph Bates as the sinister Courtley and, in a small role, Russell Hunter as a flamboyant Bordello owner. The production is quite beautiful and it's the first and only Hammer Dracula that's set in Victorian London.
Extras are slim, just some cool trailers, but the movies are the thing and they're great.
174 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2005
This is a list that will help new fans of the Hammer hoorrors keep track of the series. First the Dracula series.
1) HORROR OF DRACULA (aka DRACULA) The first Dracula to feature Chris Lee as the count and Peter Cushing as Prof. Lawrence Van Helsing.
2) BRIDES OF DRACULA No Dracula here but Van Helsing returns to fight the Counts remaining deciples in this first sequel that is just as good as the first.
3) KISS OF DRACULA (aka KISS OF THE VAMPIRE) More stray vampires terrorize tourists. Good, but no Lee or Cushing. (aka KISS OF EVIL in Britain , KISS OF THE VAMPIRE in US theatres and was retitled KISS OF DRACULA for some US TV showings.)
4) DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS Lee returns to the role. This time the Count is revived by the devilish Mr. Klove. Dracula is silent in this film. Not one word is spoken by Lee.
5) DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE Starts with a prologue that takes place during DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS, then jumps to several months later when Priests accidentaly free Dracula from his watery grave during an exorcism. (We see Drac's reflection in the water. OOPS!!) One sequence is tinted in psychedelic colors.
6) TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA picks up right were the last left off.
A group of wealthy thrill seekers, led by Ralph Bates, resurrects the count.
There are two versions. The US cut on VHS was rated PG.
The US DVD is the uncut R rated version which has nudity.
7) SCARS OF DRACULA Dracula returns to his carpathian castle, where, aided by his henchman Klove, he stalks busty girls in sheer nighties. With a phalic dagger no less, and with Bob Todd, Benny Hills tall balding sidekick, who dresses as if he's from the 1500s (?!?). (Has nudity)
8) DRACULA A.D. 1972 During a coach chase both Van Helsing and Dracula are killed. 100 years later Dracula is revived and stalks sexy mini skirted girls and other mod types in 1970s London. Lorimer Van Helsing (Cushing again) , grandson of the original, shows up with his
beautiful granddaughter Jessica (Stephanie Beacham) to stop him. Some of the plot is lifted directly from
TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA. (This was called DRACULA IS DEAD AND WELL AND LIVING IN LONDON in some US TV prints)
9) THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (aka COUNT DRACULA AND HIS VAMPIRE BRIDE) Is a direct sequel to the last film. Dracula, back with no explanation, is now a wealthy London businessman who controls a wide spread satanic cult. They are attempting to wipe out the human race with a deadly viras.
Lorimer and Jessica Van Helsing lead Scotland yards new team of vampire hunters.
Joanna Lumley replaces Stephanie Beachum as Jessica. Dracula uses Hell's Angels to do his dirty work
and some of the plot is, again, lifted from TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA.
(The title was changed to THE RITES OF DRACULA for its US VHS release in the 80s. In North America this
movie is considered in public domain, even though Hammer still holds the copyright.)
10) LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (aka THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA) Back to basics. In the early 1800s Dracula's vampire plague spreds to China. 100 years later a chinese village seeks out Lawrence VanHelsing and his son Leland for help against the growing army of the dead, led by 7 golden vampires and a high priest who is possessed by Dracula himself. (There are two distinctly different edits
of this film. The US DVD/VHS has both versions on it.)
The Frankenstein Saga..
1) THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (aka FRANKENSTEIN) Cushing is the selfish science student and Lee is his monster. Victor is portrayed as arrogant and villainous.
2) THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN is a direct sequel with Cushing returning to create a new creature.
He is much nicer, yet, still corrupt. He creates himself a new , lookalike, body. But this is never refered to
in the series again (!?!).
3) TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN (THE FACE IN THE TOMBSTONE MIRROR) is an unsold pilot for a Hammer/Screen
Gems Frankenstein series. Anton Diffring replaces Cushing as a goodhearted, but still criminal, Victor and stock shots from Universal's horrors are used in the opening credits (In public domain in the US.
Some of the plot was later reused in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED.)
4) THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN Cushing returns to his castle and discovers a previous creation (One we've never seen before) to still be alive. This time Victor is a good guy and some of the plot, and art direction, is lifted from Universal's Frankenstein Series. A US TV version had new scenes shot by Universal added to expand the running time. These scenes were not included in later TV showings and are not on any DVD/VHS.
5) FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN Victor survived the fire at the end of the last film, but it left his hands horribly scarred. His surgical techniques hindered, he attempts a new experiment. Transpant of the soul or mind from a man to a woman. Victor is arrogant but still, basically a generous good guy.
6) FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED Still crippled, the increasingly mad Victor blackmails a young couple into assisting him. Victor is depicted as completely evil and a cold blooded killer. A brief "semi-rape" scene
(Victor beats a girl up, tears her dress and kisses her) was cut from US theatrical versions. (The movie works better without it.) The US VHS/DVD is uncut.
7) HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN is just a remake of CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN with Ralph Bates replacing Cushing as
a blase' but evil Victor. David Prowse is the creature.
8) FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL Back to basics.
Cushing is Frankenstein again and now he runs an asylum full of loonies and potential spare parts. This was Cushings last performance as Victor and it is a brilliant descent into total madness. He is a kindly old man at times but also ruthless. He is still blackmailing people to get what he needs.
The Mummy series...
THE MUMMY Cushing is the archyologist who unnearths a curse and Kharis the Mummy played by a very scary Christopher Lee. Its really a remake of Universal's THE MUMMY'S TOMB with bits of THE MUMMY'S HAND, THE MUMMY'S CURSE, THE MUMMY'S GHOST and the original THE MUMMY thrown in. Similar to today's "re-imagining" remakes. Lee is quite good as the heartbroken Kharis, despite it being another silent part.
THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB Is another mummy (not Kharis) on the loose.
The US trailer and TV ads for this movie had a funny "beat-music" "jingle"!!!
THE MUMMY'S SHROUD a third egyptian is revived as a living mummy.
BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB has a very busty & sexy brunette female mummy tempting men,
and women as well, to their doom.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Long time fan of the works of Chris Lee and Peter Cushing these are some of the early and best works. Hammer did good! Hammer Horror Collection (The Curse of Frankenstein / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed / Horror of Dracula / The Mummy / Taste the Blood of Dracula). Hammer brought lush colour to the old B&W classic, in fast pace, visually beautiful films.
You notice when amazon has used DVD and books listed, an item is good if the use price is 1/2 the original price. I notice on these, the used price is HIGHER. I think that says it all. Get these for your collection before they run out!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
In the last 25 years, we've been bombarded with horror films designed to shock rather than scare. We have Jason, a mindless murderer back from the grave, Freddie, a murderer who haunts our dreams, and Chucky, a little doll who likes to kill people. I'm not saying these newer films are bad. They're just not as good as the older ones.
Case in point, the horror films released by England's Hammer studios from the late 50s into the 70s. All of these films have villains, murderers and shock. But they also have interesting stories. They're not mindless.
This gem of a collection is a great starting point for somebody interested in owning Hammer horror films. There are other Hammer films out there besides these, but these are some of the best.
The Curse of Frankenstein. This is where it all started. Peter Cushing is excellent in his sinister portrayal as Victor Frankenstein, and Christopher Lee is an admirable monster.
The Horror of Dracula. Peter Cushing is back, and is great this time around as Van Helsing. Christopher Lee plays the infamous count for the first time.
The Mummy. This is the best remake of the Boris Karloff original. Lee stars again, this time as Kharis, a resurrected mummy out for revenge against those who desecrated his beloved Ananka's ancient tomb. Peter Cushing is one of the people he wants to get even with.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. Perhaps Cushing's most sinister stint as Dr. Frankenstein, this time stopping at nothing to make history in the science of brain transplants.
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. Lee's third stint as the evil count, this time using a priest to exercise his agenda of death and destruction.
Taste the Blood of Dracula. Lee's fourth go-around as the blood-sucking monster, this time seeking revenge against the three men who murdered his disciple.
All of these films are beautifully presented in anamorphic widescreen. The colors, particularly the red, stand out.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2004
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is an absolutely top-notch collection. The widescreen transfers are nearly flawless, with rich colors - far and away better than any previously video releases. My only beef (minor at that) are the lack of extra disk features. This is especially notable when you compare this set with the recent Universal Monster Legacy collection. That aside, viewing this collection makes it easy to see why Hammer was so popular in its day - high production values, great casts, great pictures. I am just hoping that Warners follows up this US set with a second one because on the Amazon UK site I noticed that there is another box set with lesser, but no less desirable, Hammer titles such as Scars of Dracula, Horror of Frankenstein, The Devil Rides Out, Lust for a Vampire and Blood from the Mummy's Tomb. It would be nice to have that one available in a Region 1 version...
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
When Hammer revived the horror film in the 50's they injected color and, more importantly, blood into the mix. Terrence Fisher directed the trio of classics inthis set--"Curse of Frankenstein", "Horror of Dracula" and "The Mummy". All three feature the duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing with Lee playing the monster in all three. While "Curse of Frankenstein" lacks the strong action that makes "Horror of Dracula" so memorable, it still holds up very well today due to Cushing's performance of Dr. Frankenstein. His Frankenstein is almost a sociopath interested in only achieving his goal of creating life. The scene where locks his mistress (also his servant)in with the monster (Lee) when she reveals she's pregnant is one of the most chilling moments in the film but also represents everything about the character that's memorable.
"Horror of Dracula" still in my mind is the best film made from Stoker's novel. While it isn't faithful to its source, it has the energy lacking in Todd Browning's version with Lugosi. Lee's charismatic performance sucks (no pun intended) you in and makes it clear why Dracula can be as seductive and charming and yet a monster when necessary. Cushing's energetic, decisive Van Helsing is every bit the equal of Dracula. His Van Helsing is heroic. The rich color and lack of analog artifacts makes this a very pleasing transfer. There have been some complaints that this film is cropped incorrectly for widescreen 16X9 TV sets but I'm honestly happy to just have it available in the DVD format looking so sharp and rich.
When Fisher made "The Mummy" it was the first time Hammer was able to do a direct remake of a Universal horror film (hence the retitling of "Cure" and "Horror" in the U.S.). It's essentially a superior remake of "The Mummy's Hand" not "The Mummy" although elements from the plot from "The Mummy" do creep into Jimmy Sangster's screenplay. Well performed and with the energetic editing/pacing of the first two films, "The Mummy" features Lee as the imposing title character and Cushing as his nemesis who while on an archelogical dig falls under the curse of the ancient Egyptians.
"Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" is one of Fisher's finest sequels. While "Dracula Has Risen from The Grave" (which was originally supposed to be directed by Fisher but was handed over to cinematographer/director Freddie Francis when Fisher was injured in a car accident)dosn't measure up to the first two sequels ("Horror" and "Bride" available in October 05 as part of Universal's "Hammer Horror" release)it's still good and entertaining.
"Taste the Blood of Dracula" also has its moments with some imaginative sequences particularly when Dracula is revived by the hedonistic Lord Courtley (the late Ralph Bates-- who was the great, great nephew of Louis Pasteur). Although Peter Sasdy's direction brings life to the film, it's clear that this would be the last true quality release from Hammer featuring Dracula. You'll notice the passing resemblence between Lee and Bates. Originally, if Lee hadn't signed to do "Taste the Blood of Dracula", Hammer had annointed Bates to succeed Lee and play the part of Dracula in this film. When Lee elected to return evidently the role of the Count was geared towards Bates' talents. This boxed set pulls together some classic Hammer films as well as some solid sequels.
Although there's no commentary tracks or extras (beyond the trailers), the transfers are sparkling and look exceptionally crisp and sharp. This is a pretty good place to get your fix of Hammer films.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
From the mid-'50s until the mid-'70s, the British Hammer Studios specialized in producing gothic horrors, with great success. Showcased here are three of their early productions, all directed by stalwart Terence Fisher, along with three of their later productions.
The seminal Curse of Frankenstein (1957) contains all the sophistication, irony and terror that made the Hammer Frankenstein series so successful and memorable. Peter Cushing plays the villianous Baron magnificently, and Christopher Lee presents us with an original and sympathetic portrayal of the creature. Production design is stunning, especially some of the lush matte paintings, and veteran James Bernard supplies one of his best scores.
Horror of Dracula (1958) is generally regarded as Fisher's masterpiece. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are pitted against each other as vampire-hunter Van Helsing and the nefarious Transylvanian aristocrat respectively. Fisher brings style and depth to the Dracula myth, and is fortunate to have the brilliance of composer James Bernard and designer Bernard Robinson at hand. Here we are presented with some of the cinema's most memorable images of vampirism of all time.
The Mummy (1959) never quite reached the heights attained by Frankenstein and Dracula, but it remains an entertaining piece of vintage Hammer.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) is a much later example of Terence Fisher's work, and is one of his finest achievements. With an almost Hitchcockian flair, Fisher adds new dimensions to the Frankenstein legend. Freddie Jones gives the screen's most tragic and sympathetic "monster" since Christopher Lee or perhaps even Boris Karloff (1931), and Peter Cushing turns in his best performance as the notorious Baron himself.
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), directed by Freddie Francis, is entertaining hokum, lacking the depth and sophistication of Fisher's instalments, but nevertheless far ahead of some of the deplorable later additions to the series.
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) is a fine film that picks up where Risen from the Grave left off. Peter Sasdy directs this time, and at its best, his work harks back to Fisher's monumental vision of the Dracula myth. Unfortunately, the series went downhill rapidly from there.
All in all, an excellent collection containing some of Hammer's greatest output.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2003
This collection is a must for any fan of classic horror films. Yes, Hammer films were modest in budget, and compared to the pyrotechnics of contemporary horror films they seem downright quaint. However, at their best (and these are three of their finest) they redefined the horror genre for an entire generation. These are B movies with class. Great acting. Great scripts. Great talent. Christopher Lee as Dracula, the Mummy AND Frankenstein's monster. Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Frankenstein (not to mention Peter Banning, the Mummy's nemesis). Terence Fisher directing. It just doesn't get any better.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2004
I have been watching these movies my whole life, and I can say they have never looked better. Hammer films have always been known for the rich colors in thier movies, and it comes across beautifuly on these discs. The price is incredible. I easily would have paid more for this set than I did. The only things lacking are the extras. Enjoy horror fans! You won't be disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2007
The legendary British film studio, Hammer Productions began its climb to the top of the horror film genre with its Technicolor release of "The Curse of Frankenstein." Teaming Peter Cushing with Christopher Lee for the first time- the result is pure movie magic and the beginning of what was to become a beautiful friendship. As well as a great time for movie going gothic horror fans as Hammer began churning out one classic after another. This set of Hammer horror includes:
"The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957)
Baron Victor Von Frankenstein, (Peter Cushing) is in prison for murder and trying to evade the guillotine. While there he tells a priest how he and his mentor, Paul Krempe, (Robert Urquhart) had performed many scientific experiments, eventually leading to the resurrection of a dead body. Due to an accident, that damages the brain intended for Frankenstein's creation, the experiment goes horribly wrong. Instead of the intelligent being Frankenstein set out to create- a hideous monster (Christopher Lee) rises from the laboratory table! The baron's obsession and the monster's homicidal nature cause the deaths of several of those around them. Finally the Baron is confronted by an enraged monster about to throw Victor's fiancée Elizabeth, (Hazel Court) from the castle parapet. The DVD release has a clean transfer and the audio is vibrant. Great use of color and the studio sets and costuming are used to full advantage to set the gothic atmosphere to perfection. The beginning of Hammer's rise to the top of the Horror genre and the first of many classics to come!
"Dracula Has Risen From The Grave" (1968)
When his castle is exorcised, Dracula (Christopher Lee) plots his revenge against the Monsignor (Rupert Davies) who performed the rites by attempting to make the Holy man's young niece, Maria (Veronica Carlson) his bride. Great story and very enjoyable performances by the entire cast make this entry in Hammer's `Dracula" series a real treat!
"Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed!" (1969)
Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is once again working with illegal medical experiments. Together with a young doctor, Karl Holst (Simon Ward) and his fiancée Anna Spengler (Veronica Carlson) they kidnap the mentally sick Dr. Brandt, (George Pravda) to perform the first brain transplant ever!
"Horror of Dracula" (1958)
After Jonathan Harker (John Van Eussen) attacks Dracula (Christopher Lee) at his castle, the vampire travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker's fiancée. The only one who may be able to protect them is Dr. Van Helsing, (Peter Cushing) Harker's friend and fellow-student of vampires, who is determined to destroy Dracula, whatever the cost! The first in Hammer's "Dracula" series and possibly "the best" gothic vampire movie ever made! Lush visuals, great atmospheric music and studio sets, along with outstanding cast performances make this Hammer's crowning jewel of gothic horror!
"The Mummy" (1959)
Three British archeologists (including Peter Cushing) discover the grave of an important Egyptian female priestess (Yvonne Furneaux) who has died about four millennia ago. But when they open it a bad curse falls on them for having woken up the mighty "Guard of the Grave" (Christopher Lee) who was buried with the priestess. Hammer once again proved its ability to bring a classic horror story to vibrant life! "The Mummy" is perfectly wonderful in it's story telling, costuming, studio sets, and the cast performances are superb!
"Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1970)
Three elderly distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring lives and get in contact with one of count Dracula's servants (Ralph Bates). During a nightly ceremony they restore The Count (Christopher Lee) back to life. The three men kill Dracula's servant, and for revenge the Count makes sure that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own sons. An original ideal for Hammer's `Dracula" series makes this one quite enjoyable. Ralph Bates really puts in a fine performance as Dracula's devoted servant- he's so believable!
"THE HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION" is a great box containing some of the Production Studios finest. If only a volume 2 or even a volume 3 would have followed! Hammer Studios truly set the bench mark for the gothic horror genre, and as of yet, no other studio has come close to meeting Hammer's success!