BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) - Blu-ray Review

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Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) - Blu-ray Review

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4 beersFive men board a train. They don’t know each other. They hardly acknowledge one another until a sixth joins them in the same small compartment. Little do they know that their final destination is linked together by this mysterious figure and the tarot cards he carries with him. His name is Dr. Schreck and the art of Tarot is his profession. Will the cards tell him your future?

This is the territory of director Freddie Francis’ Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. It is a film that rivals those produced by Hammer during the late 60s. Of course, it has half the budget of a Hammer film, mind you. If you’ve never heard of the film or seen it, you aren’t alone. It is a relative obscurity in the genre. Olive Films continues to deliver oft-ignored gems like this one, debuting them on the blu-ray format for fans of the cinema of yore to enjoy. They definitely do not disappoint with the dusting off of cobwebs on this release.

What we have with Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is actually a horror anthology that dives into each of the lives of these passengers as Dr. Terror (in a rather chilling performance from Peter Cushing) tells them their possible fate as foretold by the cards. Shreck is quiet, disguised by a scrappy beard, a faint accent, and small thick-rimmed glasses. He is also calm, well-mannered, and a master of meaning when he speaks.  

From werewolf attacks to a living vine that strangles its owners, the separate and twisting fates of these strangers – played by a young Donald Sutherland, Michael Gough, Roy Castle, Alan Freeman, and the always excellent Christopher Lee, who plays the sceptic to Dr. Terror’s brand of supernatural hoodoo – merge into one unforgettable conclusion that rattles the nerves. They certainly are on a down bound train and as much as Lee admonishes the others for getting sucked into Dr. Schreck’s nightmarish world, he can’t but help himself when faced with his own destiny: that of an unattached hand...

Directed by Freddie Francis, the low budget swagger of this wannabe Hammer film totally wins over any lingering doubts with its crisp direction and engaging storytelling. Francis overcomes a lot with the strength behind the camera and his actors rise to the challenge of the anthology with a nice chemistry that is heightened by their solo performances in their individual tales. Each story has a decent twist (and, honestly, some you won’t see coming) and, as written by American Milton Subotsky (who also produced the flick), it is more than obvious that the material is competing with the highs of Hammer Films in the British market.

The B-movie is a weird one, true, but that’s just the way we like these Tales from the Crypt to be.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
98 mins
Director
: Freddie Francis
Writer:
Milton Subotsky
Cast:
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Roy Castle
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Acclaimed as "THE FEAR OF THE YEAR"
Memorable Movie Quote: "This town isn't big enough for two doctors... or two vampires."
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 28, 1965
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 27, 2015
Synopsis: Aboard a British train, mysterious fortune teller Dr.Schreck, uses Tarot cards to read the future of five fellow passengers.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - Ocober 27, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Olive Films continues to deliver a fine array of obscure titles onto blu-ray. You know, the titles no one really asked for but thought would be nice to see again. The condition of Cauldron of Blood’s print is terrible and no restoration attempt has been made. Therefore, the AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 is a disappointment. Marred by consistent damage to the elements which include scratches, dirt and other blemishes, the picture is a bit of a mess. Colors do pop and tend to be surprisingly strong for such a poorly handled print. Fine detail is lacking throughout. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track is weak. Dialogue is thankfully sparse.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

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