Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 10th, 2012
Release Date: UK, 1980
Directors: Don Leaver, Peter Sasdy, Francis Megahy, Tom Clegg, Robert Young, Alan Gibson, Don Sharp
Cast: Jon Finch, Ian McCulloch, Warren Clarke, Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing, Brian Cox, Diana Dors, Pierce Brosnan, Kathryn Leigh Scott
DVD released: September 11th, 2012
Approximate running time: 702 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95
Hammer Films in the mid-1950’s immerged as the most in demand film studio producing horror films in the UK. Over the next decade they continue to dominate the Gothic horror film market and even branch out into other genres, most notably the psychological thriller genre. Unfortunately by the late 1960’s the tide had already begun to turn on the type of the film’s that had Hammer Films that premier film production making horror films in the world. Though Hammer Films would press on through the 1970’s. By the end of the decade they had all but run out of steam and would eventually exit the theatrical film business. Down, but not out yet they would make the transition into television in 1980 with the T.V. series Hammer House of Horror. A one off series that would last for a mere thirteen episodes. Here is a brief rundown of each episode.
Witching Time: While working on an isolated farm in rural England countryside, a film composer is haunted by the ghost of 17th century witch.
The Thirteenth Reunion: An inquisitive reporter goes undercover and collects info for her article on a groundbreaking new weight lose program.
Rude Awakening: A real estate agent lose grip on reality, when the line between what is real and what is a nightmare are blurred.
Growing Pains: To help cope with the loss of their son, a couple adopts a new son. Unfortunately for them looks can be deceiving.
The House That Bled to Death: Bizarre things happen to a family, after they move into a house where a murder occurred many years before.
Charlie Boy: A carved African fetish with voodoo powers proves to be fatal for anyone, who comes into contact with it.
The Silent Scream: A recently released convict quickly discovers that a pet shops owners generous offer of employment comes at a great price.
Children of the Full Moon: A couple lost in the woods seeks refuge in sinister looking mansion that is occupied by an old woman and her wolf like children.
Carpathian Eagle: The police frantically search for a killer, who removes the hearts of its victims.
Guardian of the Abyss: An antique dealer helps a woman, who is being pursued by a satanic cult.
Visitor from the Grave: A mentally disturbed women kills her would-be rapist. Unfortunately for her the ordeal is far from settled. Since her would-be rapists body escapes from the secret place where she buried it.
The Two Faces of Evil: While on holiday a family picks up a psychopath hitchhiker.
The Mark of Satan: A man is convinced that something sinister is going one, when he sees the number nine everywhere he goes.
Though the series was made over thirty years, the content has not lost any of its bit in the intervening years. Some of the subject matter explored in the series includes, cannibalism, Satanism, black magic and various creatures of the night.
From a production stand point all of these episodes, are superbly directed, have a tremendous amount of atmosphere and feature strong performances throughout. Also is should be noted that each of these thirteen episodes stand alone by themselves and there is no link overlaying link besides them all being horror themed stories.
For those who are fans of Hammer films vintage period, Hammer House of Horror offers up a satisfactory return to form that features a lot of the talent that had been responsible for some of Hammer Films more revered films.
All thirteen episodes are presented in their intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look consistently good, details look crisp and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include intro’s before each episode and two interviews, the first one tilted ‘Grave Recollections: A Visit with Kathryn Leigh Scott’ (8 minutes 23 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the second interview titled ‘Hammer Housekeeping: A Visit with Mia Nadasi’ (6 minutes 13 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Both interviews cover similar ground as each participants discuss the episode which they appeared in, working in the horror genre and various other projects that they worked on. Overall Hammer Synapse Films gives Hammer House of Horror its best release to date.