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Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics (The Walking Dead / Frankenstein 1970 / You'll Find Out / Zombies on Broadway)

47 customer reviews

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  • Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics (The Walking Dead / Frankenstein 1970 / You'll Find Out / Zombies on Broadway)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics (DVD)


Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are the magic names when it comes to a bygone era of horror, and quite a bit of that magic is still afoot in Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics, a two-disc, four-film set that gathers some of their lower-profile appearances. Karloff reigns supreme on the first disc, delivering a soulful performance in 1936's The Walking Dead, one of his life-after-execution pictures. Here Edmund Gwenn is the professor applying his reanimation technique to the unjustly electrocuted Karloff; revenge killings ensue--or is it karma? Michael Curtiz's energetic direction reminds you that he rarely phoned it in. Karloff takes on the Frankenstein family name (not the Monster garb) in Frankenstein 1970 (1958), which allows him quite a long leash and more than a few doomy speeches. It gets off to a great start and has a promising "meta" setup (a movie crew is at the Frankenstein castle in order to get authentic atmosphere for their horror picture), but it falls off pretty badly.

The second disc boasts You'll Find Out, a 1940 curiosity that not only brings Karloff and Lugosi together, but throws in Peter Lorre for an extra treat. With all that, who cares if the movie is really a vehicle for the popular radio personality Kay Kyser (and his "Kollege of Musical Knowledge")? Kyser's zany style, complete with sidekicks such as the ineffable Ish Kabibble, actually translates fairly well to the screen, and the movie cheerfully follows the blueprint of a screwball-paced haunted-house comedy. Even disappointed horror mavens will warm to the sight of Karloff, Lugosi, and Lorre huddled together, plotting no good.

Zombies on Broadway is a 1945 B-picture that probably ought to be unwatchable, but in fact it's quite competent (director Gordon Douglas was a versatile pro) and often fun. The headliners are Wally Brown and Alan Carney, whose sub-Abbott and Costello repartee is generally painful, although one grave-digging joke pays off nicely. Lugosi has a meaty role as a Caribbean hoodoo doctor who creates zombies in his jungle laboratory (shades of his White Zombie character). The film was made at RKO, home to Val Lewton's legendary horror unit, and is actually something of a send-up of Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie--complete with two of IWWAZ's notable cast members, the looming revenant Darby Jones and honey-voiced calypso singer Sir Lancelot. For fans of the terror titans, a respectable set, even if the chills are scarce. --Robert Horton

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Special Features

  • The Walking Dead (1936)
  • -Commentary by historian Greg Mank
  • Frankenstein 1970 (1958)
  • -Commentary by historians Charlotte Austin, Bob Burns, and Tom Weaver
  • -Theatrical trailer
  • -Widescreen
  • You'll Find Out (1940)
  • -Theatrical trailer
  • Zombies on Broadway (1945)

Product Details

  • Actors: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Edmund Gwenn, Don 'Red' Barry, Jana Lund
  • Directors: David Butler, Gordon Douglas, Howard W. Koch, Michael Curtiz
  • Writers: Andrew Bennison, Aubrey Schenck, Charles A. Moses, Charles Newman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 327 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002DY9KQG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Karloff & Lugosi Horror Classics (The Walking Dead / Frankenstein 1970 / You'll Find Out / Zombies on Broadway)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Randolph Nesseler on July 23, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
10/10/09 FOLLOW UP
The dvd set is now available and it is definitely worth buying!! You can read my commentaries of the four films below. This is just a follow up to say that all four features are excellent transfers with high quality image and sound - and most happy is the news that FRANKENSTEIN 1970 is in the WideScreen format!! Karloff and Lugosi fans should have no complaints and, indeed, rejoice in having such a fine dvd set to add to their collection.

The following are commentaries on the films included in the set. These are four worthwhile K&L movies and are presented in a pristine and proper condition, they're a must for all K&L fans and movie buffs everywhere.

THE WALKING DEAD - This is a fine thriller from the thirties. It's a fusion of crime drama and the supernatural. Karloff is a musician set up by mobsters for a crime he didn't commit and is sent to the electric chair. Scientist Edmund Gwenn resurrects him from the dead and Karloff seeks reprisal against those who wronged him - and finds a few moments to resume his music. A well done film from director Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA) with lots of atmosphere. It plays like a story from the thirties publication, WEIRD TALES. Film historian Greg Mank adds an informative commentary track.

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 - Warner DVD got it right! It is a CinemaScope picture and its in its proper widescreen format and not in a full screen distortion (like Warner's disappointing VHS release several years ago). Dr. Frankenstein (Karloff) accepts a lucrative payment for allowing a TV crew into his ancestral castle to do a documentary about his famous great great granddad. With his loot, Dr. F sets up an atomic lab beneath the castle's crypt to carry on with experiments of life and death.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2009
Format: DVD
This two disc collection contains the long-awaited "Walking Dead" and three other rather minor horror films.

The following is the press release for this set:

The Walking Dead (1936)
The Walking Dead is a unique blend of cinematic horror and the classic Warner Bros. gangster stylings. This long-admired cult favorite stars Boris Karloff, who gives an outstanding performance as John Ellman, an ex-con framed for murder who's sentenced to the electric chair. When Ellman is brought back to life through the miracles of science, his only task is to seek revenge against those responsible for his death. Michael Curtiz directs.
Special Feature:
Commentary by historian Greg Mank

Frankenstein-1970 (1958)
Nearly twenty years after his final appearance as the Frankenstein monster in Son of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff returned to the screen in a new film derived from the Mary Shelley story that first catapulted him to stardom. In this 1958 horror classic, Karloff appears in the role of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a descendent of the original doctor, whose depleted fortune forces him to grant a film crew access to the family castle to shoot a horror film. It's not all bad, though, since he now has a supply of fresh body parts ready for harvesting.
Special Feature:
Commentary by historians Charlotte Austin and Tom Weaver

You'll Find Out (1940)
Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre poke fun at their horror-genre personas in this 1940 RKO mix of music, murder and mirth. The plot finds the trio of horror legends leaving a trail of terror and laughs along the way, as they plan a murder in order to nab a young heiress' inheritance in a spooky, spoofy haunted house tale.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By tpm1800 on June 25, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I am happy to see a new major studio release of some Boris Karloff titles I am a little surprised that Warner didn't just release a full Karloff box set. I was hoping that they would take "The Walking Dead" and add "West of Shanghai" (Warners 1937), "The Invisible Menace" (Warners 1938), "British Intelligence" (Warners 1940), "Devil's Island" (Warners 1940), "You'll Find Out" (RKO 1940) and maybe even "The Lost Patrol" to create a complete Karloff tribute set. I am guessing that they didn't want to mix horror and non-horror titles and dilute what is obviously a Halloween themed set.

The one true gem in this collection is 1936's "The Walking Dead." This Michael Curtiz directed film is a strange combination of Warner gangster picture and Universal horror film. These two genres mix together to create a strange but entertaining hybrid. Karloff, at the height of his fame, gives a wonderful performance. "The Walking Dead" is an example of a quality big studio horror picture created in an era when this kind of entertainment hadn't been relegated to B movies. This film alone is well worth the purchase price.

The other films in this set are another story. "You'll Find Out" and "Zombies on Broadway" dating from 1940 and 1945, respectively, are comedies in which Karloff and Lugosi lend their horror personas as mere props for the likes of big bandleader Kay Kyser and a second rate Abbott & Costello team to play off of. Sadly, both actors are hugely wasted in these films. The last film in the set is 1958s "Frankenstein 1970." This one is another B horror film entry that probably played many a drive-in during it's original release. Karloff, as always, still manages to give a dignified performance.

If you are a Karloff fan you will probably want to add this set to your collection if only for "The Walking Dead."
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