BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Vincent Price Collection III: Master of the World, The Tower of London, Diary of a Madman, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, and Cry of the Banshee (1961-1970)

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Vincent Price Collection Volume III

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 16, 2016
Screen Formats: Various
Subtitles
: Various
Audio:
Various
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set (4 BDs)
Region Encoding: A

3 beersVincent Price.  To put it mildly, there is no other actor alive today that can match the sheer weight of his importance in the horror genre.  No one.  Price, good or bad, was an absolute master at the macabre (in an entertaining way) and his involvement in any film – even the lesser-known titles included in this collection – elevated the film’s overall appeal and guaranteed an audience.

Scream Factory continues to roll out Price’s haunted filmography with a third collection of horror films.  While many folks are disappointed that the titles are not more widely known and accepted as classics of his career, there simply is no denying that Price’s continued celebration is something to cheer. 

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of Price’s passing and his absence in the genre in STILL felt.  While these sets from Scream Factory do honor the legacy of the actor, they still are collected and presented in a haphazard fashion.  I’m not sure why the films are chosen and included in the sets they are but I’d rather be able to watch and collect them like this than not have them at all.

Included in this set are five movies: Master of the World, about a fanatical inventor flying around the world in his flying airship and stopping war.  It co-stars a young Charles Bronson.  Roger Corman’s Tower of London is next and is, essentially, Price doing Shakespeare as only he can.  With rich production values and striking black-and-white details, it’s the dusty jewel of the set and co-stars Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil, and Ian Hunter.  Diary of a Madman roars next and it truly is a marvelous film that features a chilling performance from Price, a sculptor possessed by an evil spirit.  It also stars Nancy Kovack, Chris Warfield, Ian Wolfe, and Elain Devry.

An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe – on disc three – features for short stories from the pen of Poe and stars Price and Elizabeth Shepherd.  The stories included in this anthology are "The Tell Tale Heart," "The Sphinx," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum."  It is a mixed bag when it comes to the appreciation of this one but, with gruesome tortures, live burials, monsters, madness and murder most foul, the combination of Poe and Price fails to disappoint.

It is; however, the inclusion of 1970’s Cry of the Banshee that will satisfy most.  Directed by Gordon Hessler, Price stars as a horrific magistrate hell-bent on ridding the English countryside of witches … by any means necessary. Does it matter if some of the women he targets are innocent?  Not at all, at least he’s not fazed by it.  Starring Essy Persson, Hilary Heath, Carl Rigg, and Stephan Chase, the film and its scenes of torture get their own bonus feature: an unedited version of the movie is also included in the set which returns the footage of topless nudity and toned down assorted whippings and assault scenes to the original flick.  With a title sequence animated by Terry Gilliam, Cry of the Banshee is a horrible time at the movies gone gonzo.

When it comes to appreciating Vincent Price, thrice is nice!

Blu-ray Specifications:

Each of the movies packaged in The Vincent Price Collection III is presented in 1080p High-Definition with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.  Quit digging through the bargain bins at Target and Wal-Mart for these DVD titles.  None of these movies have ever looked or sounded as good as they do here.  Colors are warm and vibrant and black levels are thick.  Audiences will be pleased with the overall production of the set.  There are only a few wrinkles and signs of dirt and debris in the remastered prints.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See special features.

Special Features:

Scream Factory has done it yet again!  There are some nice inclusions here.  Richard Matheson fans will be stoked with the 72-minute documentary included on Disc 1.

DISC 1:

MASTER OF THE WORLD

  • High Definition 1080p (1.85:1)/DTS Master Audio Stereo/1961/Color/Not Rated/102 minutes
  • -High Definition Master from the inter-positive 
  • -Stereo Soundtrack created from the original 4-track mag
  • -Audio commentary with actor David Frankham
  • -“Richard Matheson: Storyteller:” Extended Cut (72 minutes)
  • -Theatrical Trailer
  • -Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
  • -Photo Gallery of images from David Frankham’s personal collection

DISC 2:

TOWER OF LONDON 

  • High Definition 1080p (1.66:1)/DTS Master Audio Mono/1962/B&W/Not Rated/80 minutes
  • -High Definition Master from a fine grain film print
  • -Interview with director Roger Corman
  • -“Producing Tower of London” – an interview with producer Gene Corman
  • -Two episodes of Science Fiction Theatre: “One Thousand Eyes” and “Operation Flypaper” (1956) both starring Vincent Price (in Standard Definition – 52 minutes)
  • -Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery

DISC 3:

DIARY OF A MADMAN

  • High Definition 1080p (1.66:1)/DTS Master Audio Mono/1963/Color/Not Rated/96 minutes

AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

  • Standard Definition (1.33:1)/DTS Master Audio Mono/1970/Color/Not Rated/53 mins.
  • -High Definition Master from the inter-positive film element (“Diary of A Madman”) 
  • -Master created from the original 2” tape masters (“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe”)
  • -Audio Commentary with film historian and author Steve Haberman (on both features)
  • -Interview with writer/producer/director Kenneth Johnson (“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe”)
  • -Theatrical Trailer (“Diary of A Madman”)
  • -Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (“Diary of A Madman”)
  • -Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery (“An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe”)

DISC 4:

CRY OF THE BANSHEE

  • High Definition 1080p (1.85:1)/DTS Master Audio Mono/1970/Color/Not Rated/91 minutes (Director’s Cut)/87 minutes (Theatrical Cut)
  • -High Definition Master of the director’s cut from the inter-positive 
  • -High Definition Master of the American International Theatrical Cut from the only surviving element in MGM’s Vault, a Color Reversal Intermediate
  • -Audio Commentary by film historian Steve Haberman (Director’s Cut)
  • -“A Devilish Tale of Poe” – an interview with director Gordon Hessler
  • -Theatrical Trailer
  • -TV Spot
  • -Radio Spot
  • -Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery

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