BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Hemisphere Box of Horrors: The Blood Drinkers, Curse of the Vampires, Brain of Blood, The Black Cat, The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism ( 1966 – 1971) - Blu-ray Review

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Hemisphere - Box of Horrors - Blu-ray

Fantastic! Shocking! Frightening! Operating as a sort of sequel to the wildly popular Blood Island Trilogy of films, Severin Entertainment reaches back and deep into the dusty vault of horror films and wipes away the cobwebs from these five crazy-ass flicks from the Philippines with the release of Hemisphere Box of Horrors, a relative potpourri of blood and guts.

"From hairy hunchbacks to acrobatic dwarves and villains with crazed libidos, these five flicks are sure to keep ANY cult cinephile entertained"


And what a visual treat it is for fans of horror bones and gristle when it comes to ‘60s and ‘70s drive-in/grindhouse era cinema.  After all, two of these insane flicks, The Blood Drinkers and Curse of the Vampires, are absolute classics of the era.  Hemisphere Box of Horrors is a satisfying trip back in time to a different era of filmmaking.

From hairy hunchbacks to acrobatic dwarves and villains with crazed libidos, these five flicks are sure to keep ANY cult cinephile entertained . . . even if you have to spread the viewings out.  Because, trust me, these horror films were cheap and easy and laughing at them is part of their collective charm.  That being said, there is an atmosphere to a lot of these productions which earns them bonus points in my book.

For instance, in 1966’s The Blood Drinkers, The Father of Philippine Horror Gerry de Leon gives us a stunning vampire story and, for the first time in the history of Philippine horror, it is in color!  And what a stunning use of color it is, too.  The bald head and the sharp fangs of the evil Marco (Ronald Remy) is still a haunting update of the vampire legend as one sleepy village gets ransacked thanks to a lost love of Marco’s.  And in 1970’s Curse of the Vampires, Gerry de Leon reimagines his take on vampirism through a gothic lens and gives us a tale of lust gone astray thanks to strong metaphors and a wealthy family that is, alas, cursed by the fanged ones

While definitely the strongest films in the set, they can’t hold a candle to the Z-grade brilliance of 1971’s Brain of Blood.  Directed by the legendary Al Adamson, Brain of Blood is the only film shot in one take and made to look as if it was coming straight out of the Philippines.  It is stark raving mad, too.  Because in this zany film, which stars Grant Williams, Kent Taylor and Reed Hadley, you have a midget and then there’s the girl chained in the basement.  And, oh yeah, it is ultimately about a brain transplant that goes horribly awry. I guess that’s what you get when you wait until the very last minute to find a host for your brain! Hemisphere - Box of Horrors - Blu-ray

The final two films in the set, 1967’s The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism and 1966’s The Black Cat, are double bill features.  Not entirely successful on their own, they do feature some surprises, such as Christopher Lee as Count Regula in The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism who, after being killed for killing virgins in his chamber, comes back to life 35 years later seeking revenge and, in the 1966’s The Black Cat (an updated version of the Edgar Alan Poe short story), Robert Frost’s performance as a man obsessed and on the verge of insanity.  Both can be shocking at times and, as a bonus, they are both good conclusions to this goldmine of horrors that Severin has unleashed upon us.

Hemisphere Box of Horrors is available now!

5/5 beers

Hemisphere - Box of Horrors - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray
- April 9, 2019
Screen Formats:
Subtitles
:
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Mono audio track
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; four-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Severin Films, using new 4K transfers from the original film elements, presents each of these four films with a crisp new picture.  Their NEW 1080p tones and levels are punctuated by the pop of color in a seriously impressive manner. The new 4K scans utilized here are impressive and soak up the colors and inky blacks quiet well.  Shadows go deep and colors – especially reds and greens – pop like few other restorations.  While the films are cheap productions, using natural light as much as possible, the films look almost brand new again.  Clothing fibers are detailed and backgrounds are crisp.  Lines are strong, too. Skin tones are perfectly natural throughout and contrast, as well as its DTS-HD Mono audio track, is super clean, tight, and uber groovy.  Black levels are solid and colors are bold.  There are also lots of details to enjoy while you watch.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Specific titles for details.

Special Features:

The Blood Drinkers:

  • Manong of the Philippines: Interview With Script Supervisor and Gerry De Leon’s AD Dik Trofeo
  • Hemisphere Appreciation by Filmmaker David Decoteau
  • Audio Commentary With Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S. Berger
  • Partial Audio Commentary With Hemisphere Marketing Consultant Samuel M. Sherman
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Blood Drinkers Trailer
  • Vampire People Trailer
  • Radio Spot

 

Curse of the Vampires:

  • Cursed Vampire: Interview With Actor Eddie Garcia
  • The Market Of Hemisphere: Interview With Marketing Consultant Samuel M. Sherman
  • Audio Commentary With Philippine Genre Documentarian Andrew Leavold
  • Partial Audio Commentary with Sam Sherman
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailer 1
  • Trailer 2
  • Beast of Blood / Curse of the Vampires radio spot

 

Brain of Blood:

  • Memories Of Blood: Interviews With Director Al Adamson, Producer Samuel M. Sherman, Associate Producer J. P. Spohn, Actor Zandor Vorkov, Actor Sean Graver, and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray
  • Partial Audio Commentary With Producer / Co-Writer Samuel M. Sherman
  • Trailer
  • Radio Spot

 

The Black Cat/The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism

  • Blood Demon Trailer
  • Black Cat Trailer

 

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4.5/5 stars

Hemisphere - Box of Horrors - Blu-ray Review

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