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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > Thriller > Mystery > Comedy > Monster > Shark > Snake > Action > Adventure > Swords > Legends > Vikings: Season Five, Volume One (2018/MGM/Fox Blu-ray Set)

Dracula A.D. 1972 (Hammer/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Meg 4K (2018/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Snake Outta Compton (2018/Lionsgate DVD)/Sword Of Sherwood Forest (1960/Hammer/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition)/Vikings: Season Five, Volume One (2018/MGM/Fox Blu-ray Set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B/B+/B-/B+/B+ Sound: B/A/B-/B+/B+ Extras: C-/C+/C+/C+/B Main Programs: B/B/C/B/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Sword Of Sherwood Forest Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while Dracula A.D. 1972 is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Here's a really interesting set of genre films to check out...

Hammer's Dracula series starring Christopher Lee as the Count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing are must haves for any horror cinephile's collection. After all these years, these films are slowly becoming available on Blu-ray in America, but it has sadly been a long road waiting...

This year has been hot for re-releasing these titles on Blu-ray disc as Shout! Factory is about to do a new release of Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and Warner Archive has finally decided to remaster and re-release Alan Gibson's Dracula: A.D. 1972 (1972) and its successor, The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973, which we hope to cover on this site next soon).

Previously, Warner Bros. released Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968) back in 2015 on disc, and Millennium Media did a 2013 release of Dracula: Prince of Darkness as well that is not terrible. I still don't understand why there hasn't been a definitive release of the first (and best) entry, Horror Of Dracula (1958), on Blu-ray in America! Get on that, Warner Bros. or someone!

Dracula and Van Helsing fight in the past... with the Count thought to be defeated once and for all. However, the Count meets the counterculture as he gets resurrected via Johnny Alucard's Satanic worshiping in London in 1972, and all hell breaks loose! Soon, the fish out of water Vampire comes face to face with then-modern culture, and of course bends them to his will and benefit... making new vampires to serve him left and right. Luckily, Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham, The Colbys) and Peter Cushing's Van Helsing (reincarnated; a distant relative) are there to stop him!

The film also stars Christopher Neame, Michael Coles, and Marsha A. Hunt.

This has been remastered in 1080p HD and is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a nice sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix (48kHz, 24-bit). The film looks surprisingly good for it age (color was by the Humphries lab instead of Rank or DeLuxe, but was issued in three-strip 35mm Technicolor prints by Warner in its original U.S. release in prints that are now very valuable) and there's much more texture and detail in this transfer as opposed to other versions I've seen in SD. There is little signs of grain and the colors overall are vibrant and full of detail. This is definitely the best I have seen this film look and sound on disc so far!

Sadly, the only extra is a new HD scan of the Original Trailer.

The film is an absolute classic and one of the stronger entries in the Hammer Dracula series! It's just a shame that there wasn't more time spent on making this release more special with more extras and/or insights in the Hammer production. Hopefully more of these Hammer titles will be released and remastered in HD and available here as they should be.

Out of all the shark movies that you've seen over the years, Jon Turteltaub's The Meg 4K (2018) certainly brings you the largest scale marine predator to ever grace the silver screen. Able to swallow hundreds of swimmers in one sure gulp, the Meg (short for Megalon and NOT Stewie's sister from Family Guy) could easily take on Jaws any day of the week in hand to hand combat.

Struck with several delays over the years, The Meg has had a long journey to screen, (at one point Eli Roth was tapped to direct) and didn't turn out nearly as bad as it easily could have. A big budget Sy-Fy Channel movie in more ways than one, The Meg is more an action vehicle for Jason Statham than it is anything. While it could have been more memorable had it been rated R with gore (such a version does exist by the way), this PG-13 studio cut is more family friendly and is fun to watch in 4K.

The film also stars Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, and Winston Chao.

The Meg is a giant size shark that has finally resurfaced after thought to be extinct. When a submersible lies disabled at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, an expert deep sea diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) gets called in to save them (one of them being his ex-wife). Luckily, they have a multi-million dollar sea research facility and crew of experts to help launch the rescue mission, however once the Meg comes around, who knows how much or who will be left?

The Meg is presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and several high end audio options. The disc has Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless (Dolby True HD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, so plenty of options for home theater owners to test the film's beautiful sound mix out on. Details on characters are more pronounced in the HDR (high dynamic range) feature on the disc with lifelike characters and high end digital effects. A 1080p Blu-ray copy of the film is also included and a digital copy.

Special Features include...

Chomp On This: The Making Of The Meg

and Creating The Beast

While The Meg isn't going to be a classic or anything, it's a fine summer blockbuster film to watch and munch popcorn to. A little too heavy on romance and drama in later acts, when the focus could have been more on the giant shark eating people in this reviewer's opinion, the film still manages to be fun and really looks great on 4K UHD disc.

Easily one of the craziest and most over the top films of the year, Snake Outta Compton (2018) pits a group of wannabe rappers up against a mutating fifty foot tall snake that's attacking the city of Compton, California. Harryhausen this is not, but I don't think the goal here was to make... Citizen Kane.

When a snake is thrown out of a plane (yes, really) in the opening sequence and falls dead onto the windshield of a car, you get an idea of what you're in for. The film is so utterly ludicrous that it's hard to take it too seriously, but I would best describe it as a slapstick hip-hop parody mixed with a giant snake movie and every stereotype imaginable inserted therein...

The film is presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, both of which are the norm for the format at this point for newer films. I don't believe this film has been released on Blu-ray or HD as of yet, but it would certainly be beneficial.

Special Features...

Commentary with Director Hank Braxtan and Actors Ricky Flowers Jr., Motown Maurice, and Joston Theney

and a Trailer

We also received a very nice rubber snake with our review copy that is pretty thick and nice!

Snake Outta Compton is pure cheese, and it never strives to be anything less or more than that.

Known mostly for their horror films, Hammer Films also made other kinds of films and they include a a Robin Hood movie called Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960), which was also directed by Terence Fisher (Blood of Dracula) and stars Peter Cushing with Richard Greene as the man in tights and an appearance by Oliver Reed as Lord Melton. While nothing too far out of the realm of the traditional story, Cushing plays a great villain in the film and there's plenty of fun swordplay and nice production design to keep cinephiles interested.

Robin Hood (Greene) and Friar Tuck (Niall MacGinnis) go up against the Sheriff of Nottingham (Cushing) who is teamed up with the Earl of Newark to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury. But can Robin Hood defeat them and win the heart of Maid Marian (Sarah Branch)?

The film has been lovingly restored in 1080p with its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and paired with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless track. Shot on 35mm in MegaScope (relabeled CinemaScope), the film looks and sounds incredible considering its age. Colors are vibrant and pop, and there's little to gripe about in terms of presentation. It also looks better than the DVD version Sony issued years ago.

Special Features...

Original HD Trailer

Isolated Music and Effects Track

Reversible Cover

and a full color insert book with linear notes by Julie Kirgo

While there have been plenty of Robin Hood films over the years, this one isn't particularly the best, but it shows another side of Hammer that fans will find interesting. For more on this film and some other Robin Hoods films Columbia Pictures made over the years, try this ink...


Finally, the hit show Vikings returns for a fifth action packed season and lands on Blu-ray in all of its might and glory with extended and unrated episodes, which is a Blu-ray exclusive in this new Season Five, Volume One (2018) set.

Season Five centers around Ivar the Boneless, who is now leader of the Great Heathen Army, while Lagertha reigns as Queen of Kattegat. Ivar's murder of his brother Sigurd sets the stage for vicious battles to come as Ragnar's sons boil up a revenge plot. Bjorn follows his destiny into the Mediterranean Sea and Floki who is suffering from the loss of his wife Helga, takes to the seas submitting himself to the will of the Gods. For history buffs, the show continues historical accuracy in some regards, while mixing up plenty of fantasy into the fold.

Vikings stars Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Jessalyn Gilsig, Gustaf Skarsgard, and John Kavanagh.

11 Episodes span 3 Blu-ray discs and include The Departed Parts 1 and 2, Homeland, The Plan, The Prisoner, The Message, Full Moon, The Joke, A Simple Story, Moments of Vision, and The Revelation.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, both of which are a vast improvement over the original television broadcast. The money is on the screen with this series and the feel is highly cinematic and epic, all of which is captured nicely here. Hopefully one day, this show will be available uncut on the 4K UHD format.


I am Boneless

Bringing the Invisible People to Life: The Sami

Deleted Scenes

and Creator's audio commentary with Michael Hirst - Moments of Vision, extended episode 510 (Blu-ray exclusive)

To order The Sword Of Sherwood Forest limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




...and to order the Dracula A.D. 1972 Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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