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Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman (The Giant Claw / Creature with the Atom Brain / Zombies of Mora Tau / The Werewolf)

4.4 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE GIANT CLAW (1957): The movie that's literally a turkey! In an act of cosmic irony, an enormous bird from outer space descends upon the Earth and begins chowing down on peo-ple. As usual, scientists and the military must team up to save our planet. This hysterically feathered fable stars sci-fi icons Jeff Morrow (This Island Earth), Mara Corday (Tarantula!), Mor-ris Ankrum (Invaders From Mars) and Robert Shayne (TV's The Adventures of Superman), and is directed by Fred F. Sears (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers). CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955): From the pen of the legendary Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man, Donovan's Brain) and director Edward L. Cahn (It! The Terror From Beyond Space) comes this smash-bang thriller starring Richard Denning (Creature From The Black La-goon) as a police doctor hot on the trail of a mob boss who's hired an ex-Nazi scientist to re-animate his dead thugs to do more dirty work! If it seems like a condensed serial, it shouldn't be a surprise: the cast is pa

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The four Sam Katzman films included in his Icons of Horror Collection stand as testaments to the American atomic age, reflecting public terror and awe towards 1950s technology and the accomplishments made in science and medicine. Sam Katzman, an incredibly prolific B-movie producer whose expertise in horror and sci-fi resulted in collaborations with Ray Harryhausen (Jason and The Argonauts), originally masterminded several wonderful thrillers, classic archetypal examples for later films on similar topics. In this DVD set, two of the four films are painfully slow paced, but contain horror scenes that vibrantly combine horror, sci-fi and film noir. Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) catalogues a researching team's attempts to confiscate a diamond stash lodged on an abandoned ship in a harbor guarded by the living dead. Some foggy shots of zombified sailors, eternally guarding the gems as a curse for stealing them, provide chills if even for a few moments. The Giant Claw (1957) introduces the viewer to the age of alien invasions and military paranoia. Opening with a great shot of an Earth diorama orbiting in space, the film chronicles Mitchell MacAfee (Jeff Morrow), an electronics engineer who reports from his aircraft shadows of a large bird dive-bombing his plane. Sally Caldwell (Mara Corday) stands by at home base, continually ready for action. When one does manage to see this elusive shadow, the viewer can almost make out the giant avian claw that looks like a chicken foot. The two films that really make the collection are Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) and The Werewolf (1956), which reinvent the Frankenstein story to chronicle humans-turned-monster in the name of science. In Creature, Dr. Steigg (Gregory Gaye) has reanimated dead men with atomic energy by injecting their brains with radioactive material that exponentially increases their strength to kill normal humans. Great sequences show Dr. Chet Walker (Richard Denning), the heroic scientist hired by police, using a Geiger counter at crime scenes. Live-dead men with stitched up heads wandering stiffly around as a monster mafia, giving hearty doses of humor to this fantastic film. Likewise, The Werewolf features awesome footage of star, Duncan Marsh (Steven Ritch), turning into a wolf while managing to keep his well-tailored suit clean as he runs through the forest. During most of the film, Marsh is fleeing a well-intentioned Sheriff Haines (Don Megowan), and two villains, Dr. Emery Forrest (S. John Launer) and Dr. Morgan Chambers (George Lynn), who accidentally turn him into a wolf when experimenting with radioactive injections that would protect humans from radiation. All four films have the look and feel of the epic Universal movies like The Wolf Man, and The Mummy, and give historical context to buffs researching 1950s monster films. —Trinie Dalton

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Don Megowan, Joyce Holden, Eleanore Tanin, Kim Charney, Harry Lauter
  • Directors: Edward L. Cahn, Fred F. Sears
  • Writers: Bernard Gordon, Curt Siodmak, George H. Plympton, James B. Gordon, Paul Gangelin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    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:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 292 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UAFDR0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman (The Giant Claw / Creature with the Atom Brain / Zombies of Mora Tau / The Werewolf)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Most Boomers already know why they love these particular flicks, so I'll get right to the important stuff: The Giant Claw, The Werewolf and Zombies of Mora Tau are all in the Anamorphic widescreen format (Creature with the Atom Brain is fullscreen). All the prints are sharp with crisp soundtracks. This is really a long way from all the poor bootlegs and cable copies that many Boomers were forced to live with for so many decades.

Although these films are important to many who grew up with them, either seeing them during their first runs in the movies or later on Chiller Theater, some newer viewers may not see them in the same light (many younger people won't bother watching them for the simple fact that they're not in color). But then again, these newer viewers will never know of that magical time when these flicks were lighting up the huge screens in Movie Palaces and Drive-In theaters throughout the country.

It will be the true enthusiasts of this genre who will see this set as a home run, especially at these prices. Kill the lights, then hold tightly onto your honey and enjoy!
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I'm still in the second childhood phase and looking for all the old movies I watched as a child. This collection features some of the movies that I watched on those long ago Saturdays. While not great they are very fun and in some cases very funny.
1.The Giant Claw= The last word on monster fx's. You can see the strings and the "bird" looks laughable, but the movie is still great fun if you let it be.
2.The Werewolf= An "atomic" twist on the old werewolf legend and really pretty good
3.Zombies Of Mora Tua= Silly and very funny.
4.The Creature With The Atom Brain= Brain dead fun
Not for all taste but some fun for anyone who loves these old cheesy movies like I do.
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My dad took me to the movies back in the 1950's when "The Werewolf" and"Creature with the Atom Brain " were in their first run theatrical release. After seeing "Creature" this 8yr old boy was afraid to go to bed.
It haunted me for a long, long time. When I saw it again as an adult those childhood chills came right back. Glad these classics are getting a top notch release replacing the terrible copies made from poor prints.
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I am thrilled to have all these films on DVD at last, but the main reason I bought it was for THE WEREWOLF. Opinions on the other films may differ (I personally think ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU is vastly underrated and is a great early entry in the zombie genre--it may seem silly now but it sure didn't then!), but few would deny that THE WEREWOLF is a terrific film. I saw it when it first came out, double-billed with EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS. I was 10 at the time, and had already seen all sorts of horror films, but none of them scared me. My parents weren't sure I should see this film, but I insisted. They were right--this movie scared the hell out of me, as no film had before or has since. I had nightmares for weeks.

I watched the film many times during the next 10 years, first at matinees, then on the late show (it used to be a staple of late-night horror broadcasts). Then the film virtually disappeared, until recently when TCM showed it now and then. Although the movie doesn't have quite the same impact on me today as it did when I was 10, I still think it's damn scary. And now FINALLY it's available on DVD.

Although the transformation scenes and the werewolf's appearance are frightening enough, the great things about this film are the acting (Steven Ritch in the title role gives a wonderful performance), the plot and script, and the location photography. Also, it's one of the first films to combine horror with sci-fi. And it's played straight--there's none of the silliness and self-parody that mars more recent entries in the werewolf genre.

I urge everyone who loves werewolf movies to check this one out. And remember--in its day, this was one terrifying film!
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So, just who the heck is Sam Katzman, anyway? Most boomers will remember these flicks from late-night "Creature Features" or Saturday afternoons with Sir Graves Ghastly, but never associated them together, much less with a specific producer. But Katzman was an old hand by the time these were made. He was the man who got Johnny Weismuller out of the leopard skin and into the safari gear as "Jungle Jim". He's generally credited for coining the term "beatnik". He did the "East Side Kids" movies, including two with Bela Lugosi. He was also the producer for two early Ray Harryhausen flicks, "It Came From Beneath the Sea" (with the lovable six-armed octopus) and "Earth vs the Flying Saucers". He even did a couple of Elvis pics: "Harum Scarum" and "Kissin' Cousins".

These four are from 1955-1957. "Creature with the Atom Brain" (1955) has an ex-Nazi (wow, were these guys into *every*thing!) creating atomic-powered zombies, complete with glowing serum in their veins. These middle-aged creeps stalk their victims to help a typical crime lord take over the city. They're hard to spot, except for the flip-top skulls. Story by Curt Siodmak, who sure came a long way downhill from his brilliant "I Walked with a Zombie".

The following year (and 10 movies later!), "The Werewolf" jumps out. No full moon needed here - he's a radioactive werewolf! (See a trend?) Poor guy gets in an auto wreck and some helpful docs fix him up with an experimental serum. You can guess the rest.....

"Zombies of Mora Tau" is certainly original - these zombies are amphibious! They're the remains of a ship's crew, guarding a treasure of diamonds in the underwater wreck.
Read more ›
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