Of The Animals (1977/Film
Look Now (1973/Umbrella
Region B Import Blu-ray)/The
Flesh & Blood Show
(1972/Kino/Redemption Blu-ray w/3D)/Frightmare
Comes The Devil
Fear (2013/Anchor Bay
(1980/Universal/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/The
(1964/Universal/Arrow U.K. Region B Import Blu-ray)/Macabre
(1957/Allied Artists/Warner Archive DVD)/Meet
Him And Die (1976/Raro
(1976/Umbrella Region Free Import PAL DVD)/Taxi!
(1931/Warner Archive DVD)/Tower
Of Evil (1972/aka Beyond
The Fog aka Horror
On Scape Island/Scorpion
Region B Blu-ray, The
Region Free Blu-ray and Scobie
Region Free PAL Import DVD releases are only available from our
friends at Umbrella Entertainment, the Macabre
(1932) DVDs are exclusives from the Warner Archive website The
(1964) Region B Blu-ray Import is now only available from our friends
at Arrow U.K. and all can be ordered from the links below. Be sure
you have a machine that can handle region-locked Blu-rays or PAL
video before ordering an import.
many thrillers arrived at the same time and with so many connections
that despite pushing my luck, I needed to include them in the same
text, making the 15 titles here a bit of a record for the site. If
you read however, it will make more sense.
Of The Animals
(1977) is the first of our natural disaster films, a hit in its time
with a cast that included a still serious Leslie Nielsen, young
Andrew Stevens, Paul Mantee, Christopher George, Lynda-Day George,
Michael Ansara, Richard Jaeckel, Jon Cedar and Ruth Roman. They are
among the people who get together to go for a hike when it turns out
abuse of the ozone layer (topical even then) would ruin their outdoor
hiking vacation as that depletion suddenly makes all the animals
attack and kill!
moments are not bad, some good and some unintentionally hilarious and
that is before you count for Nielsen's 1988 transformation late in
his career into comedy starting with the first Naked
film. I enjoyed the film when it first arrived and still enjoy it,
though the ozone angle has become more a threat than anyone could
have imagined upon its original release. An ambitious independent
release, it is a must-see for what does work and for just being fun.
include Original TV Spot, trailers for other Scorpion releases, Fun
Facts & Trivia section by Katrina and two separate on-camera
interviews with Jon Cedar and Paul Mantee which have some location
audio issues but are fine otherwise.
(1976) is now a curio since star David McCallum (The
Man From U.N.C.L.E.,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) is a favorite again on the original
series. Another natural disaster film like its predecessor and even
more inspired by Jaws,
the attacks happen suddenly as well and except for a brief note about
the government possibly experimenting on the title animals, the
killings star and just keep on coming.
of the problem with the film was always that the attacks are never
vicious enough to be a threat, made more amusing by the fact that the
trainer of Benji (the lovable star of a series of hit kids movies at
the time) handled the animals, so that's a problem and the is not
enough suspense. What we do get is some amusing scientific dialogue
that McCallum manages to pull off, intentionally funny moments that
sometimes work punctuated by unintended laughs and a script that is
consistent if nothing else. George Wyner is great here and Linda
Gray also shows up (pre-Dallas)
in a few scenes and all that is enough to make this curio worth your
the Original Theatrical Trailer, a Fun Facts & Trivia section by
Katrina and Making Of featurette.
(1973) is Roeg's second solo directing effort after the
internationally successful Walkabout (1971, reviewed on Criterion
Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and he had to come up with something
exciting. The resulting thriller was adapted from a book by Daphne
Du Maurier (who Hitchcock made even more popular with his films
adaptations) about a married couple (Julie Christie and Donald
Sutherland) visiting Venice in the wake of losing their young
daughter for a job he has to restore art at a church. However,
something is wrong.
meets two sisters and one who is blind says she can get them in
contact with their dead daughter. They are not happy about this, but
odd things begin to increasingly happen and he especially thinks they
are phonies until he becomes more haunted than his wife. That is
until he starts to see something is going on when he starts to have
premonitions including things the sisters could not possibly know
cast is good, Sutherland & Christie are totally convincing as a
couple and this is a visually intriguing film that still challenges
the viewer far beyond what most supernatural films do these days,
including the many overhyped ones. My only problem is that it is so
metaphysical and loose in what it shows that it lands up lacking
impact in the end and despite being smart, ambitious and handled by a
master filmmaker; lacking that final impact despite its shocks and
accomplishments in suspense is slightly disappointing. Still, it is
long overdue for rediscovery, especially being so challenging and is
as accomplished as any film on this list. See it!
include another solid feature length audio commentary track with
Director Roeg, Danny Boyle's compressed version of the film as
tribute to Roeg from the BAFTA tribute, the Original Theatrical
Trailer, intro by film scholar Alan Jones, Nothing
Is As It Seems
featurette and interviews with Boyle, Sutherland and
screenwriter/producer Allan Scott.
Flesh & Blood Show
(1972) is one of the films on the list that precede the slasher and
slice & dice trends of the 1970s and 1980s, with a group of young
actors (including later General
star Tristan Rogers and Robin Askwith (famous for playing hip teens
of the period in films like If...,
On Snape Island
(reviewed below), Horror
and some sex comedies) in a mixed, ambitious film where they will
slowly be hunted down and killed. Someone's taking the term break
way too far.
is limited suspense, more nudity than even Walker says he wanted,
some good exposition, amusing scenes, odd scenes and interesting
performances that might not add up to a great film, but even without
the 3D, an interesting one worth a look that I also a bit of a period
piece. The conclusion is mixed, but I was never bored and genre fans
will especially want to check this on out.
include the original 3D sequence in bonus 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded
3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image and 1080p 1.85 X
1 red/blue anaglyph versions (glasses not included for either),
Original Theatrical Trailer for this & other Walker films and
interview featurette Flesh,
Blood & Censorship
with Walker, et al.
(1974 aka Cover
is able to go a bit darker as the script abandons most comedy and
film avoid nudity for this darker tale about a farm house where
people are starting to disappear. The old couple (Sheila Keith and
Rupert Davies) who lives there used to be in a mental hospital and
that is only the beginning of what might be going wrong around there.
This one has its creepy moments and is not bad, but can also be a
little uneven. I like the look of the film and Walker is at least
trying to be original. though he reminds me of an effective
journeyman maker of thrillers like John Llewellyn Moxey, if not as
Genn, Deborah Fairfax and Andrew Sachs are among the fine supporting
cast and I will not say anything else to ruin this one for you, but
it is as dark as any horror film on this list and this Blu-ray does a
great job presenting it.
include the Original
Theatrical Trailer for this & other Walker films, a
feature length audio commentary track with Walker and DP Peter Jessop
that covers all kinds of ground, interview
The Sake Of Cannibalism
with Walker, et al and Sheila
Keith: A Nice Old Lady? featurette
on the character actress who appeared in several Walker films.
Garcia Bogliano's Here
Comes The Devil
(2012) is like Don't
in that children disappear, maybe die and there are mysterious
circumstances that partly suggest the supernatural, but unlike the
more clever Roeg film, this Spanish production have its parents get
increasingly odd in behavior and unlike the couple in the Roeg film,
land up coming across as more immature, less realistic and the script
eventually renders too much of this a spoof of itself.
get nudity and sex here too, but it is trite and the fancy editing
here is a mess. Then the mysteriously implied supernatural angle
slowly becomes explicit at the cost of suspense and filled in by
clichés. The acting is decent, but the actions of the characters
honestly do not make sense, even with the givens of the horror genre
and the ending rings flat, dull and dumb as a result. Too bad
because with more concentration, exposition and holding back later
elements, this might have been more effective.
include BD Live interactive features, a feature length audio
commentary track with Director Bogliano, AXS-TV look at the film,
Rehearsals, Behind The Scenes Comparisons, Behind The Scenes Photo
Gallery and Extended Nightmare Scene.
(2013) has a young couple (Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker)
heading to an outdoor concert show, trying to find the hotel they
plan to stay at. He suggests they go to a hotel for the weekend to
be alone, but she wants to stick with their original plans, so off
they drive. When they get where it is supposed to be, the roads seem
desolate, signs inaccurate and a wooden gate even chained. Instead
of leaving, they unchain the gate, go in and cannot find anything,
then it gets dark and someone is following them.
result is another twist on the many horror films we call stuck-in-a
movies, but in this case, they are stuck looping on endless roads.
Had the script made them a little less silly and irresponsible, this
might have worked with more realism and suspense. I even liked the
leads, but it loses you in the suspension of disbelief half way
through even though it is also well shot and often well edited. By
the end, I was very disappointed, with a cheesy ending and too many
missed opportunities for its own good.
only extra is a Behind The Scenes featurette.
(1980) was Universal's blatant attempt to have another Jaws on their
hands complete with a book from the same author (Peter Benchley) and
the same main producers (Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown), but that
is the end of the common denominators as Michael Caine plays a
British reporter who investigates odd disappearances of people in the
Caribbean by going there. We know from the opening scenes that
someone is killing these people and even wearing odd clothing, so it
is not just mere pirates.
his son along as if it will be some kind of vacation, it turns out to
be far from it, but after that, the script gets highly convoluted and
the film lands up being a mess. David Warner (Time
and Angela Punch McGregor show up in the supporting cast, but even
they cannot save this from falling apart very early. Not even as
good as The
(reviewed elsewhere on this site), it is one of those curios that
disappoints every time and even I forgot how bad it was.
are understandably no extras.
(1964) is a remake of the 1946 Noir classic about a hitman (played
here by Lee Marvin) is out for a young man (John Cassavetes) who it
turns out has fallen for the girlfriend/mole (Angie Dickinson) of a
deadly crime boss (Ronald Reagan in his last acting role and one of
his best performances) in a worthy remake of the Burt
Lancaster/Robert Sidomak original. With Siegel's brand of brutal,
realistic violence (he directed many Noirs and later Dirty
among other hits), Universal has decided to allow the Blu-ray debut
be this Arrow U.K. Region B Import release all on its own.
film was intended to be a TV movie, one of the first in a format
Universal (and ABC-TV in the U.S.) would invent, but it was
considered too violent for TV at the time, so it was a theatrical
release and holds its own as a solid crime film with a fine pace,
edge and realism for the time that makes it very watchable on its
Anniversary. More people need to see how good this one is and it
might seem easy to underestimate, but don't. Everyone here is in
include a DVD version of the film, reversible cover, illustrated
booklet (including lobby cards) on the film including informative
text, while the Blu-ray adds the featurettes Reagan
with writer Marc Eliot on his Hollywood Years, Screen
with Dwayne Epstein (a scholar who wrote a book on Lee Marvin), a
Behind The Scenes image gallery and archival 1984 interview with
Siegel from the French series Cinema
(1957) was one of his early films where he tries to become a serious
thriller filmmaker with a hint of humor and a bit of gimmickry, but
is a very mixed bag as the short 71 minutes film tell the tale of
grave-digging, grave robbery, dead corpses, skeletons, murder and
maybe someone being buried alive. Allied Artists was anxious to make
a name for themselves at this time, but the script starts much more
than it can finish.
being creepy is insufficient and Castle eventually went the campy
route and rode it to much more commercial success after this did not
do well, but with a cast that includes William Prince and Jim Backus,
genre fans (and especially Castle fans) should see this one at least
once. It serves as a dry run for the films he was about to start
are sadly no extras.
Him And Die
(1976) is another interesting film out of the Italian police crime
drama cycle of the 1970s putting one of its rising stars, Ray
Lovelock, in the leading man role. This early lead for him has him
as a cop who goes undercover to pretend to be a criminal, purposely
botches a robbery and gets arrested to create a cover so he can break
a drug ring lead by a crime boss (Martin Balsam) who will do anything
to make money and keep power.
the way, he has several fights, a few chase sequences, a few gun
fights and even gets involved with a sexy woman (a nice turn here by
Elke Sommer) in a decent film with all the trappings of such a film,
but sadly not much more. Locations are nice, performances not bad
and action decent, but it is also a little too predictable and a
little clichéd, even for the genre. Nice to have it on Blu-ray,
though and it is worth a look.
include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including
informative text by Mike Malloy, who also appears on camera with a
brief (6:34) clips talking about the film and the genres it is in.
(1975) has a few things in common with Meet
Him And Die
besides being released within months of each other. It is also a
crime film with a popular lead playing a cop, has its share of
action, blood, fights, nudity and violence and is not afraid to be a
little exploitive. It is also part of Australia's own crime film
cycle (plus Oz-Ploitaiton of the time) with Jack Thompson in the
title role. He is more of a smart-talker and does not follow rules
much. Rod Taylor first played the role in 1968 (in Nobody
so one wonders if in this case, this was meant to be the first film
in a series.
investigation surrounds the ugly death of a woman (Judy Morris)
Malone met once and has found brutally murdered in an indoor out of
the way section of said building. However, she was tangled up with
some tough, dangerous and even powerful men, so the investigation
will be more complicated than anything he may have tackled before.
He has a new partner, but that may not help either.
the mystery angle is not handled badly, but the film tries to be many
things and lands up not doing any of them as thoroughly as it could,
counting on Thompson's star appeal. It too still has more than
enough good moments to give it a look.
are surprisingly no extras.
Del Ruth's Taxi!
(1931) might not seem to belong here at first, but it is enough of a
mystery of sorts and bold in its tale of a new big taxi company
arriving in NYC, intending to get big bucks by putting all of its
competition out of business even if by illegal means. James Cagney
is a cabbie for the underdog company and is fighting back upon attack
before he even knows the whole story. When a veteran cabbie is
threatened, then his cab is hit by a huge delivery truck on purpose,
his retaliation gets the story going early. A young, edgier Loretta
Young is is daughter fighting for, but wants a more peaceful
may be in vein, but she immediately collides with the rough,
short-tempered Cagney, yet they are soon a couple just the same. At
only 69 minutes, this is a brisk, strong, tough, consistent,
remarkable film from a very nice period of early sound films (1929 -
1933 before censorship codes started to kick in) and some moments are
as strong as they ever were. A nice little gem, glad an official
edition has been issued.
are oddly no extras.
(1972) is even more of a slasher film in the way we think of them now
and has some qualities of Bob Clark's Black
(1974, reviewed elsewhere on this site) again features Robin Askwith
Flesh & Blood Show
above) as a group of archeologists (including some teens) search for
a lost treasure that is going to get them killed. Jill Haworth,
Dennis Price, Anna Palk, Anthony Valentine, Marianne Stone and George
Couloris make this pretty watchable and interesting, plus there is
some suspense and a little more nudity than you would expect in a
film like this, especially for its time. Still that does not hurt
is simply that this is a good film, buy not always great and there
are some pacing issues, yet I liked the actors, locales and the look
of the film. The unsung hero of the film in this case is Director of
Photography Desmond Dickinson, B.S.C., (Horrors
Of The Black Museum,
Of The Dead,
and MGM's four 1960s Agatha Christie films) creating a palpable
atmosphere that helps it overcome its shortcomings and makes it a
good film. Again, genre fans will definitely want to see this one.
include the Original Theatrical Trailer, Katrina's
Nightmare Theater with
& Trivia on the film, an interview with film scholar David Del
Valle and trailers for other Scorpion releases.
image performance, we have mostly fine Blu-ray performers, especially
in the case of the 1080p 1.33 and 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfers on Killers,
shot on 35mm film and meant for TV when it was issued in theaters
instead. I like both aspect ratios, but you see more on the 1.33 X 1
version and Technicolor did the original prints. The age of the
materials used barely shows in either case, but I should add this
looked good on the Criterion DVD, so this does not surprise me one
bit. The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
is a very close second, which also shows the age of the materials
used at times, but was lensed by Director
of Photography Peter Jessop, who shot several Walker films as well as
the reggae film classic The
Harder They Come
and seven of the last episodes of the U.K. Spy classic The
with Patrick Macnee and Linda Thorson. The use of depth, darkness
and color is exceptional and will surprise viewers.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Now
comes from what looks like a restored print, but then someone came
along and dulled the image more than it was supposed to be, lost some
fine detail and overly dulled the color, especially red which is so
key to this film. I can see why complaints have been surfacing on
previous Blu-ray editions, but what has not seemed to have surfaced
in the discussion is that the film was originally issued in
three-strip Technicolor prints so the color is slightly off to begin
with. This is the first of several films Director of Photography
Anthony B. Richmond, B.S.C., lensed for Roeg and has nice composition
throughout. Only color and detail issues hold this one back when all
is said and done.
1080p 1.78 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer on Blood
can show the age of the materials used, but has decent color
throughout even of the print is not in as good a shape as Frightmare.
two newest shoots should be the nest here, but they are not starting
with the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
styled down to its disadvantage with some shots that are good and
others that are awkward, have Video Black issues and offers little
memorable visually, while the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfer on Fear
does know how to use the scope frame to its advantage at times and
has some nice shots, but it is also held back by its share of poor
shots if not as many.
1080p (listed as 1080/50i incorrectly) 2.35 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfer on Island
was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and has some good shots,
but other moments are not as good as the print used has its own
moments where the age of the materials used get in the way. However,
some bad transfer choices hurt this almost as much as Now.
1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC @ 23.97 MBPS digital High Definition image
transfer on Die
can show the age of the materials used more than expected, especially
in the amount of grain suggesting some second-generation film
elements, but color is
a plus in many scenes and
DVDs all tie for third and last place, but look about as good as they
ever will in the format with the 1.33 X 1 black and white image on
holding up well for its age, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X
1 image on Dogs,
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Tower
and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Animals
(shot with Todd A.O. 35Mm lenses) are derived from solid new HD
transfers that look good here and very likely look better on Blu-ray
versions also issued.
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 black & white image
and anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 color image on Malone
rounding out the DVDs with their own good quality for the standard
for sound, one would think the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless
mix on Devil
TrueHD 5.1 mix on
would be the outright sonic champs, but they both have their sound
more in the front channels than expected (especially Devil)
and also Island
(originally issued in 70mm blow-up prints with 4.1 mixes) with its
standard DTS 5.1 mix has some of the same issues, but has age as an
excuse. That leaves the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono on Now
and the PCM 2.0 Mono on Killers,
and (in Italian over the English dub) Die
more than holding their own and as nicely restored as they are going
poorest performers, in part because their audio is too low in volume
transfer, is the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Taxi
which are decent recordings and need some restoration work and sonic
adjustments. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono the remaining DVDs
with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and barely better lossy Dolby
Digital 5.1. That film was originally issued on 35mm film prints
with 4-track-magnetic stereo sound. This might sound better on
Blu-ray, so again, get that version if you can play that format.
for those special order links. You can order The
(1964) here starting at:
Umbrella import Blu-rays and Scobie Malone import PAL DVD by going to
to order either of the Warner Archive DVDs, Macabre
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases