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The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964) - Blu-ray Review

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The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964) - Blu-ray

There is a chill to the proceedings of The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre that, thanks to a series of interesting shots and edits, bring a sense of dreadful beauty to the sight of a car going over a cliff as its driver falls along with those spinning four wheels and crashes below.  Dead.  There’s no coming back from that fall.

From Joseph Stefano, the creator of The Outer Limits, comes the atmospheric haunt that is the chilling The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre.  This made-for-television movie was meant to kick start a new television horror series. . . except it didn’t take hold, so 10-minutes were added to the failed pilot and what once known as The Haunted became The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre, which, mined and cleaned-up by Kino Lorber Studio Classics, is now available on blu-ray

As a result, many have not seen this spooky gem; they’ve only read about it.  Those that have seen the pilot it once was (The Haunted) – which, ironically, would be everyone outside of the USA (since it was never broadcast here) probably remember the bizarre ghost effects, done via negative processing, of the main ghoul but little else.

"many have not seen this spooky gem; they’ve only read about it.  Those that have seen the pilot it once was (The Haunted) – which, ironically, would be everyone outside of the USA (since it was never broadcast here) probably remember the bizarre ghost effects."


Starring Martin Landau as Nelsen Orion, the architect who dabbles in the paranormal in his free time, The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre also features Judith Anderson and Diane Baker as Henry’s wife, Vivia, one spook comes back from the dead to enact her revenge upon the living.  But why?  And is it really happening?  This is where Orion (Get it?  He’s named after the hunter constellation.  Hmmmm.) comes into play. 

But his theories are far more philosophical that audiences were expecting.

The pitch for the television show is made clear by the opening few moments: from a fabulous looking bachelor’s pad, complete with an awesome view of the ocean, one bored architect would defy the beliefs of both his housekeeper, Mary Finch (Nellie Burt), and his friend Benedict Sloane (Leonard Stone) and chase after the paranormal. . . no matter where it took him.

And the first case he responds to concerns a blind man, Henry Mandore (Tom Simcox), who, terrorize by the constant ringing of a phone that shouldn’t be ringing at all, swears his dead mother is calling him from the phone she had installed in her tomb.  Seriously. 

This telephone-in-the-crypt idea might be a laughably awful set-up had the awesome brilliance of cinematographer Conrad Hall, who adds so much CREEP to these haunted proceedings, not been on duty to help sell the project.  Instead, it goes off like gangbusters and, complete with the ghost (Priscilla Morrill) and some crazy sound effects – a potent mixture of howling and bawling – the scenes involving the tomb work spectacularly. 

But, as both versions of the pilot are included here, one can easily see that the additional 10-minutes of material take away the tightness in the pilot episode of the proposed series.  It's a shame that the series did not come to fruition as The Haunting is a far better experience.  The film still works, mind you, but it is cushioned with additional material that doesn’t need to be there no matter how well-crafted the scenes are. 

Go bump in the night with The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre, now on blu-ray!

3 beers

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
80 mins
Director
: Joseph Stefano
Writer:
Joseph Stefano
Cast:
Martin Landau, Judith Anderson, Diane Baker
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Haunted.
Theatrical Distributor:

Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 30, 2018
Synopsis: Terrified of being buried alive by mistake, a woman puts a phone in her crypt to be able to call home if she needs help. She dies and nothing happens. One day, the phone suddenly rings. Paranormal investigator Nelson Orion is brought in.

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Available on Blu-ray
- October 30, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in two-channel mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The brand new 2K restoration, handling the crisp B&W photography, is simply gorgeous.  The newly minted 1080p transfer is glorious.  Textures are full of life and the details are strong, ringing true in almost every scene.  Black levels are deep and keep their edges in the shadows.  Optical effect shots are clear, with some minor fuzziness, but the edges are usually quite sharp.  The 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in two-channel mono is adequate for the at-home experience. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Diving into the proposed series is a great audio commentary with Film Historian David J. Schow.  There is a second commentary, attached to The Haunting, which is done by Film Historian Eric Grayson.

Special Features:

This release includes the original cut of The Haunted.

• The Haunted (Alternative Cut)

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (1964) - Blu-ray

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