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Icons of Horror Collection: Boris Karloff (The Boogie Man Will Get You / The Black Room / The Man They Could Not Hang / Before I Hang) (1935)

Boris Karloff , Marian Marsh , Lew Landers , Nick Grinde  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Icons of Horror Collection: Boris Karloff (The Boogie Man Will Get You / The Black Room / The Man They Could Not Hang / Before I Hang) + The Boris Karloff Collection (Tower of London / The Black Castle / The Climax / The Strange Door / Night Key) + The Bela Lugosi Collection (Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven / The Invisible Ray / Black Friday)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Boris Karloff, Marian Marsh, Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Robert Allen
  • Directors: Lew Landers, Nick Grinde, Roy William Neill
  • Writers: Arthur Strawn, Edwin Blum, George Wallace Sayre, Hal Fimberg, Henry Myers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 17, 2006
  • Run Time: 262 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEVZ7G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,696 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Icons of Horror Collection: Boris Karloff (The Boogie Man Will Get You / The Black Room / The Man They Could Not Hang / Before I Hang)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Boris Karloff made his fame during the great horror cycle at Universal Pictures in the 1930s, but he also flaunted his iconic status at other studios. At Columbia, Karloff etched a handful of good mad doctor roles (notably The Devil Commands, available on a separate DVD) and other oddities. Four of these mostly low-budget pictures are gathered in this two-disc set--which, if not a collection of classics, is nevertheless a real boon for Karloffians.

Although it is called the Icons of Horror Collection, the "horror" is more macabre mood than monster mash. The best (and best-looking) film in the set, 1935's The Black Room, is a wonderfully lurid costume romp with Karloff in a dual role: twin brothers who inherit a baronage but live under a family curse. One is good, one bad, and happily enough, the bad brother has the upper hand. Karloff is in terrific form, and the film features a secret chamber (complete with torture pit) that provides just the right Gothic oomph. Director Roy William Neill later did Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

The Man They Could Not Hang, from 1939, is a solid mad-scientist picture. Karloff's Dr. Savaard has perfected a re-animation process, but the police arrest him before he can revive a student--and so the doctor is sentenced to death for murder. The hanging isn't a problem, not when the doctor's assistant has the process down pat, and now Karloff can take elaborate revenge. Before I Hang (1940) opens a similar vein, with Karloff once again sentenced to death and this time conducting experiments in prison (aided by Edward Van Sloan, filmdom's original Van Helsing). However, using a murderer's blood in the secret serum proves a fatal mistake.... These cheaply-made films are solid enough programmers of the era, and surprisingly literate--although it would be a stretch to call them scary.

The Boogie Man Will Get You (1942) goes the comedy route, spoofing Karloff's image as a white-haired gentleman who should not be allowed to run experiments in the basement. An Arsenic and Old Lace vibe prevails (Karloff had been starring in the stage production), and the labored comedy has Karloff and Peter Lorre using boarders at an early-American hotel as subjects for experiments. Larry Parks and "Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom co-star. Lorre, who's in his slim Maltese Falcon period, is as sly and peculiar as ever; of course, he and Karloff would team up again for more horror-comedy in the 1960s: The Raven and Comedy of Terrors. --Robert Horton

Product Description

The epitome of class and style. No matter how grisly the circumstances, he'd rise above them with talent, poise and even charm. And here, for the first time on DVD, are four of his finest chillers from his peak years in the 1930s and 1940s, all demonstrating his amazing range. In The Black Room, he plays twin brothers -- one good, one evil, naturally -- in a small country where beautiful women seem to turn up missing. The Man They Could Not Hangand Before I Hang present him in his classic "Mad Doctor" persona as forward-thinking scientists who run afoul of the law and become crazed killers. And in The Boogie Man Will Get You, he sends up that image in a delightful farce that also stars Peter Lorre and Larry Parks (The Jolson Story). It's a collection all fervent classic-horror fans have been eagerly waiting for!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Karloff Classics August 16, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This four-movie set contains one almost forgotten Karloff classic, two quite watchable B-thrillers and a comedic misfire noted only for the performances of Karloff and Peter Lorre.

THE BLACK ROOM (1935) - One of Boris's best. He plays twin aristocrats who grow up under a prophecy that says the younger will kill the older in order to fulfill a family curse. The curse apparently began in the "black room," hence the title. Karloff is at his best, playing the brutal older brother, Gregor, as well as his cosmopolitan younger twin, Anton. There are some nice twists and turns during the course of the film, and the pacing helps to hold our interest.

THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG (1939) - During his tenure at Columbia, Boris starred in a number of B-programmers playing a mad scientist. Here he plays Dr. Savaard, a med scientist obsessed with bringing the dead back to life, specifically by using a mechanical heart he has invented. Needing a suitable subject, he experiments on a medical student who is assisting him. This upsets the assistant's girlfriend, who tips off the police. Savaard is arrested for murder, tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang, vowing revenge on the judge, jury and prosecutor. His body is released to his right-hand man, who restores Savaard to life. Suddenly, it's noticed that six members of his jury have committed suicide by hanging and that the remaining jurors, along with the judge, prosecutor, police inspector and the girlfriend who blew the whistle have all been invited to Savaard's house.

BEFORE I HANG (1940) -- A fast paced B-movie using the old chestnut that blood has memory and that the tissues and bones of the criminally insane throb with a life that makes them who they are. Boris plays Dr.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ask And Ye Shall Receive. September 29, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
No sooner had I finished writing a review of THE BORIS KARLOFF COLLECTION saying that someone should release THE BLACK ROOM on DVD when lo and behold here it is. The fact that it's being issued by Sony means that it will use the best prints available which is great considering how often Boris is badly served by substandard prints of his non-Universal films. Sony has already issued a couple of the Columbia Karloff "Mad Doctor" films on DVD (THE DEVIL COMMANDS, THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES) and while they were devoid of any real extras, the visual quality of the films was an improvement over the old VHS copies. This will complete the set and give us THE BLACK ROOM in the bargain which is the finest of the films he did for Columbia. Directed by Roy William Neill (known for the modern day Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce) THE BLACK ROOM gives Boris one of his best acting opportunities in a double role as twin brothers one good the other evil (a triple role when you consider he also plays one brother impersonating the other).

The other films are THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG, BEFORE I HANG, and a comedy THE BOOGIE MEN WILL GET YOU. Although I haven't viewed the set yet I assume that Sony will do the same for these titles as they did for the others with hopefully a few extras thrown in although it's a shame that they didn't include the previous two on a third DVD to have all the films in one package. So Karloff fans rejoice even more so than for THE BORIS KARLOFF COLLECTION as overall the quality of these films are better. Thanks to these, THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION, and the British films THE GHOUL and THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND, virtually all of Karloff's 30s and 40s films are now on DVD.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An assortment of Karloff's Columbia output October 23, 2006
By tpm1800
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sony's new Icons of "Horror - Boris Karloff Collection" consists of four films Karloff made at Columbia between 1935 and 1942. Quality varies from film to film but with Karloff on board these films are all worth watching.

Perhaps the very best and most interesting film included is 1935's "The Black Room" a first-rate costume drama in which Karloff delivers a tour-de-force performance as twin brothers. This film is reminiscent of the fine historical spectacles one might expect from a studio like MGM. It also offered Karloff an opportunity to play a more mainstream dramatic role (or roles to be precise) before he got completely pigeonholed into the roles of monsters and mad scientists by the mid-40s. "The Black Room" is considered one of his all-time best films and should be a pleasure to all Karloff fans.

As for the other three films, well, they're not his best but they do offer some fun and entertainment. My favorite of these three is 1939's "The Man They Could Not Hang." In this one Karloff is a mad scientist sentenced to death who is brought back to life and seeks revenge against those who sentenced him (including the judge, DA, witnesses and jurors). He sets up a dinner party inviting his enemies in order to imprison them and kill them one by one every 15 minutes. This is Karloff at his most maniacal best.

"Before I Hang" (1940) recycles some plot points from "The Man They Could Not Hang," including the concept of the scientist being brought back to life after a death sentence, but isn't quite as entertaining as its predecessor. In this one Karloff is a kinder more gentle scientist who turns evil through the blood of a killer. It's also nice to see Karloff and his "Frankenstein" co-star, Edward Van Sloan, together again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good movie
Published 7 days ago by david hedge
5.0 out of 5 stars Four entertaining little movies.
Nice collection of four movies starring Karloff the Uncanny. All are entertaining: one a comedy and one a lurid costume drama and the other two unlikely stories of science gone... Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Goodell
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Actor
One of the classic horror actors. Can watch his films over and over again - I never get tired. Timeless.
Published 2 months ago by Richard J Solomon Sr
5.0 out of 5 stars Love This Collection!
As an avid movie buff, especially when it comes to classic films like this one, this is a definite welcome to my large and growing home library collection. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Wa2oosy
5.0 out of 5 stars Karloff rules!
This is one of those movies you just have a craving for. Clean, well-acted, and a terrific job by the master of terror, Boris Karloff. Rent or buy this in HD. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Francis J Flanagan Jr
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic
A Great film. A classic that I would recommend again and again for movie buffs of all generations. Excellent acting with interesting themes.
Published 4 months ago by NiCole Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars charly-dvd-movie.
region 1--only!!!!!-For all my dvd orders!!!!!PLEASE!!!!!!!!! I HAVE ORDERED OVER A 100 MOVIES----AND 2 MOVIES WERE SENT TO ME THAT DID NOT PLAY---"WRONG REGION'--REGIONAL... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ryan Olson
4.0 out of 5 stars You Want To Go On Living, Don't You?
Many of Boris Karloff's films are ify sort of things--as his reputation for horror films increased, the quality of his film frequently decreased, and while Karloff would make a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Karloff was simply
Like no other, his acting performances were astonishing, and his work lives on for those who bothered to look. Read more
Published 14 months ago by William
4.0 out of 5 stars classic
you can't go wrong with boris Karloff,if your a fan of his movies this is one for your collection,you won't be sorry.
Published 15 months ago by maxx
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