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Hammer Horror Series: (Brides of Dracula / Curse of the Werewolf / Phantom of the Opera / Paranoiac / Kiss of the Vampire / and more)
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Hammer Films, one of the most celebrated horror studios in the history of cinema, presents 8 classic horror films in one collection. From Dracula to Frankenstein, werewolves to phantoms, the Hammer Horror Series showcases some of the most terrifying monsters in the history of cinema and features legendary performances by Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed and Janette Scott.
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I knew I would love "Brides of Dracula," which has some of the most gorgeous castle sets ever in a movie, Hammer or otherwise. David Peel turned in a great performance as did Peter Cushing and Freda Jackson. Revisiting "Curse of the Werewolf," "Night Creatures," "Evil of Frankenstein" and "Phantom" brought a smile to my face as I had not seen them in over 30 years.
But the real surprise here is that the movie I never heard of before, "Paranoiac," would become just about my favorite in the whole set! This unsung gem was made after "Psycho" and before "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," when psychological horror was in vogue. And it's really good! The fact that it stars one of my favorite British actors, Alex Davion, doesn't exactly hurt either.
What fun this set is. Indulge yourself now--you won't be disappointed!
The second viewing (on Feb. 1) coincided with the trial of a new Blu-ray player I purchased to compliment the new television my family bought me for Christmas. The second disc played fine again, but side two of the first disc, 1963's "Phantom of the Opera" with Herbert Lom and "Paranoiac" with Oliver Reed both froze in both players. The two movies on side one played fine. The vendor I purchased the set from in December said if the discs played fine on the first viewing, they could not be considered "defective." So, as I looked to the new release of "Phantom" as part of Universal's Vault Series MOD DVDs for a new source for this film and then saw a new Blu-ray presentation of "Paranoiac" from Eureka Video available, I breathed easier. I asked my sister if I could have back the DVD of "Kiss of the Vampire" also in the set I had disseminated to her as an extra gift at Christmas, in case that film degraded as well.
Universal Studios for a matter of pennies produced this set, as they have with other of their franchises and provided good films and beautiful transfers but should be embarrassed of this manufacturing decision to go on the cheap, but then turn a deaf ear to disgruntled customers. But then, hasn't Universal been the major studio who opted for exploitation more often than others?
It remains unknown how to replace the other films in the Universal set when they degrade as they are unavailable separately.
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN is another gem of the Hammer horror collection and Peter Cushing, again, shines as the evil Dr. Frankenstein.
CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF starring Oliver Reed was another old time favorite of mine, it didn't have the wow factor it used to have but it was great to see it again.
KISS OF THE VAMPIRE was a disappointment, it was never one of my favorite vampire movies, it just lacked the horror factor that vampire movies usually have, it really was a tad on the boring side compared to most vampire movies I've seen. "Brides" was much better of the two.
I haven't watched the other movies in this collection but I had the concern of everyone in the back of my mind about the skipping and the freezing, I saw none of that in any of the movies I saw this far and I have the double sided discs.