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Hammer Horror Classics, Volume One Collection: The Mummy, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Taste The Blood Of Dracula

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Hammer Horror Classics: Volume 1 - Blu-ray Review

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5 stars

People are still talking about Hammer Films and for good reason.  We are referring to, after all, a bedrock of lavish horror films that have withstood time and changing tastes.  Uniquely antiquated in style and very, very British, this independent production company originally made a name for them shortly after the ending of World War II by cashing in on a series of cheap detective B-movies.  It wasn’t until their success with 1955’s The Quatermass Xperiment that they began to open the tomb of horror and became Britain’s most successful independent movie production company. 

With a series of madly popular Dracula and Frankenstein films, a new house of horror was built and single-handedly launched the acting careers of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  They became icons in the genre and, with the release of Hammer Horror Classics, Volume One Collection, Warner Home Video celebrates Hammer’s dominance in the genre.  For the first set, Warner unleashes The Mummy, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, and Taste The Blood Of Dracula and still – with the tease of Volume One – we are left begging for more.

The packaging of the set is exquisite.  Opening this release is like opening a nice leather-bound edition of a favorite book.  Slip off the cover and the collection of movies open to reveal its contents.  Each “page” is dedicated to one movie, complete with art, production stills, and a movie that is securely in place in its sleeve.  While there are no supplemental items on any of the discs, fans are certain to be pleased with this collection of gothic gruesomeness. 

Things get started with 1959’s Technicolor classic of The Mummy, a murderous tale of bandages and gooey gauze highlighted by Lee’s tortured turn as Kharis as he stalks Victorian England and avenges his love by going after those who dared to desecrate her tomb.  With 1969’s Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Cushing continues to experiment with the dead but this time it’s to save the life of a colleague who is slowly going insane.  The two Lee-helmed Dracula flicks included in the set are slickly produced bawdy films that deal with the very lively undead world.

All in all, this collection of horror is a celebration of British style, wit, and production values as Lee and Cushing go at each other as bitter fictional enemies.  These movies are economically minded but, with a serious eye toward the gothic, audiences won’t ever see the skimping.  Rich layers are everywhere.  Expressive details are dominant and the march of Hammer’s strong production values continues.  Regardless of the era, that feature never changes.  Even during the second wave of classic Hammer after they made the executive decision to amp up the gore and the sexuality.

When you see the words “A Hammer Film Production” on the screen before a movie, you know you are in for a damn good treat.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 6, 2015
Screen Formats: Various
Subtitles
: Various
Audio:
The Mummy; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono (Spain)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital Mono; German: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono (Spain)
Taste the Blood of Dracula; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital Mono; German: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono (Spain)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono (Spain)
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set (4 BDs)
Region Encoding: Locked to region A, B

Warner Bros presents the uncut 1080p transfers with a few impressive results.  First, there’s no denying the films have never looked better.  Colors are bold and dynamic and that fake blood is more obvious than ever.  That being said, there are a few problems with shading as most of the blacks bleed into other colors more often than they should but this isn’t a horrible aspect.  Obviously, there are some issues with the original film stock and while the sets are glorious under the restoration, it is more than obvious details aren’t exactly being picked up like one might expect.  The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track provides the sound for each film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

None

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