Written by: George Pacheco on November 21st, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: UK, May 27th, 1981
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writers: Edward Abraham, Valerie Abraham
Cast: Vincent Price, John Carradine, Stuart Whitman, Donald Pleasance
DVD Released: September 30th, 2013
Approximate running time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78.1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Monster Club was the final theatrical release from Britain’s Amicus Productions, one of the three formative horror film studios-alongside the legendary Hammer and Tony Tenser’s Tigon Films-who ruled the proverbial roost from the 1950s straight through the sexy seventies and into the eighties.
The film follows in the tradition of such landmark Amicus films as Tales From the Crypt and Vault of Horror in that it’s an anthology piece, one which stars horror icon Vincent Price as the benevolent vampire Eramus, who attempts to bring horror writer R Chetwynd-Hayes-played by the legendary John Carradine-into “The Monster Club,” a members only group of monsters from all walks of life…erm, “death,” including werewolves, vampires and ghouls.
After attacking, but not mortally wounding Hayes at the film’s beginning, Price’s character introduces three separate, long form stories which serve as the film’s primary meat and potatoes, all of which delivered with typically engaging and atmospheric Amicus flair. The first follows a lonely creature called “The Shadmock” who ends up being the victim of a conspiring couple of thieves, while the film’s second story follows a group of B Squad vampire hunters-lead by Halloween actor Donald Pleasance-hunting an undead father and son. Finally, the third story depicts an American director (Stuart Whitman) who stumbled upon a (quite attractive) human/ghoul hybrid when scouting locations for his latest films. Her father, unfortunately, has other designs…
The Monster Club is great fun in the traditionally classic Amicus style. It’s the wrap-around story of Price and Carradine which serves as the most fun, however, as musical accompaniment-ranging from The Pretty Things and Night to UB40!-introduce each segment, while Price and Carradine chew the scenery with tongue-in-cheek delight. The sight of actors shaking their tail feathers in plastic monster masks is a great throwback to the irreverence of classic British horror, while The Monster Club on the whole appeals to both genre diehards and families alike, as the film really drives home the old school scares on every level.
Scorpion Releasing presents The Monster Club in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors are nicely saturated, with minimal print damage apparent in the transfer. It’s a great, warm picture which ties in the nostalgia of the medium with modern home video amenities. Extras include archive interview footage with Vincent Price, conducted by film critic and journalist David Del Vallue, as well as the film’s original trailer and an isolate audio track of all the film’s great music. Overall, The Monster Club receives a great, respectful release from Scorpion.
NOTE: Scorpion have also released The Monster Club on Blu Ray.