Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 3rd, 2015
BluRay released: Novmeber 9th, 2015
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Blu-Ray Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £17.99 (UK)
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors was directed by Freddie Francis who other notable directing credits include, Paranoiac, The Skull and Girly. Besides directing Freddie Francis has an extensive resume as a cinematographer and a few of his notable credits as a cinematographer include, Time without Pity, Sons and Lovers, The Innocents and The Elephant Man. Key collaborators on Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors include cinematographer Alan Hume (The Legend of Hell House, The Watcher in the Woods) and composer Elisabeth Lutyens (Never Take Sweets from a Stranger, The Psychopath).
The narrative for this film comprise of five tales with opening an opening sequences that sets the premise in motion and a twist ending that perfectly wraps brings these five tales together.
The first tale ‘Werewolf’ revolves around an architect who is lured by vengeful werewolf back to an estate that was formerly owned by his family. The second tale ‘Creeping Vine’ centers on a family who finds themselves besieged by vines that kill anyone who tries to remove them. The third tale ‘Voodoo’ involves a musician who tries to steal music that he heard at voodoo ceremony. The fourth tale ‘Disembodied Hand’ revolves around an art critic who becomes the target of a disembodied hand. The fifth tale ‘Vampire’ centers on a doctor who discovers that his new wife is a vampire.
From a production stand point the visuals are rock solid and give these tales a tremendous amount of atmosphere. And when it comes to pacing there are no issues with forward momentum as this film does a great job in its transition from one tale the next. Out of these five tales the strongest one would be ‘Disembodied Hand’, while the weakest of the lot is ‘Voodoo’. With that being said, no matter you stand with any of these tales. The end result is a highly effective Horror film that holds up remarkable well even after all of these years.
Of course one of the strengths of this film is its cast. Which is features several recognizable faces like Christopher Lee (Count Dracula, The Wicker Man) in the role of Franklyn Marsh, the critic who is terrorized by a disembodied hand, Donald Sutherland (Don’t Look Now, Fellini’s Casanova) in the role of a newlywed doctor who discovers that his wife is a vampire and Peter Cushing (The Hounds of Baskerville, Corruption) in the role of the tarot card reader Dr. Schreck (aka Dr. Terror). Other recognizable faces include, Michael Gough (Horrors of the Black Museum, Batman ‘1989’) and Bernard Lee who is most remembered for portraying ‘M’ in the first eleven James Bond films.
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 4k transfer at Pinewood Post Production. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. Also there are no issues with compression or DNR and grain looks natural. And though this release only lists region B compatibility. It should be noted that this release played in my Blu-Ray player that is locked to only play region A content.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English. The audio is in great shape as there are no issues with distortion or background noise. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. When it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack they are well represented and the score for the film sounds robust. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, a trailer for the film (1 minute 1 second), a career spanning documentary about Christopher Lee titled ‘British Legends of Stage and Screen’ (47 minutes), a featurette titled ‘House of Cards’ (57 minutes 44 seconds) and an audio commentary with director Freddie Francis and moderator Johnathan Sothcott.
Topics discussed in the extra titled ‘House of Cards’ include, Amicus Productions, the origins of the title Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, anthology films, films that influenced the five tales from Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Freddie Francis direction and the look of the film, the cast and their performances, the five stories from Dr Terror’s House of Horrors are all discussed in depth and critical / audience reaction to the film when it was first released.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, other films that Freddie Francis worked on including his collaborations with Hammer Films, working with screenwriter / producer Milton Subotsky, the cast, working with Amicus Productions and how they stretched their limited financial resources and the film’s twist ending.
Rounding out the extras is a twelve page booklet with an essay about the film written by Johnny Mains. Overall Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors gets an exceptional release from Odeon Entertainment, highly recommended.
Note: This collector’s version is limited to 4,000 individually numbered Steel Books.