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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Mystery > Telefilm > TV Movie > Monster > Camp > Anthology > British > Action > Comedy > Vam > Fearless Vampire Killers (1966/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Watch Me When I Kill (1977/Synapse Blu-ray)

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973/Lorimar*)/Eegah! (1962/Film Detective Blu-ray)/From Beyond The Grave (1973/Amicus*)/Fast & Furious present: Hobbs & Shaw 4K (2019/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Fearless Vampire Killers (1966/MGM/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Watch Me When I Kill (1977/Synapse Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B Sound: B-/C+/C+/B/B-/B- Extras: B/B-/C-/D/C/B- Films: B/C/B-/D/B-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, From Beyond The Grave and Fearless Vampire Killers Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a group of usually fine titles (in time for this Halloween season) that includes several we are revisiting and one new one we would have been better without....

John Newland's Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) has always been one of the best, most favorite TV movies ever made and when Warner Archive released the Lorimar-produced gem on DVD years ago, fans celebrated including yours truly when I covered that release at this link...


It turned out to be so popular, Warner Archive has issued it in a remarkable Blu-ray edition totally restored, looking and sounding better than anyone during its original broadcast could have ever imagined and delivering the impact the creepy haunted house film was always capable of. I love the look, the cast, the script, the terror implied and it has aged better than you could imagine. Original and not trying to imitate much of what we've seen before, it was ambitious during the original peak and cycle of telefilms and holds its own against many classics of the time on the big and small screen, including choice episodes of TV horror.

Young filmmakers could take some tips from this one, using its limited money and impressive talent and knowing what to do with it all. That brings me to director John Newland, who I did not get into the last time, but should go into briefly now. A director on TV classics like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Boris Karloff's Thriller, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, Name Of The Game, Night Gallery, Harry O and Wonder Woman, he also directed several theatrical film releases and even more TV movies, yet he is still best known as the host and often director of One Step Beyond and its several revivals.

Along with shows he worked on and series like Way Out! with Roald Dahl, it was one of the mystery/horror anthology shows in the early days of TV that competed with Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. It has been issued on DVD several times (see elsewhere on this site), but had its share of great episodes that sometimes get forgotten in the shadow of the other shows. Newland was an underrated master of suspense and mystery and Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is a later work that adds to the legacy and testament of how good he was. Its great to see the film get this treatment and have this success. I hope it leads to more of his work finally seeing the light of day on Blu-ray.

Extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks: one by Amanda Reyes and the other by Steve ''Uncle Creepy'' Barton, screenplay writer Jeffrey Reddick and writer/scholar Sean Abley.

Arch Hall, Sr.'s Eegah! (1962) stars his son Arch Hall Jr., who made his way around B-movies at the time and is not that bad, as a Rock singer looking for fun and a hit when people start to get hit in the head by a prehistoric man out to kill anything or anyone he does not understand, played by the late, beloved Richard Kiel. Kiel landed up with the bigger career playing the killer henchman 'Jaws' in Roger Moore's two biggest Bond films (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker) among other spy films, Arthur Hiller's Silver Streak and two of the most interesting monsters on the old Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series.

Our would-be Everly Brother has to take on the creature when his girlfriend and her father are kidnapped by him, so as her absence from the soda shop is absolutely intolerable, he'll have to fix that no matter what!

Making many 'worst films of all time' lists, it is bad, but often a hoot and now that it has been restored, you can see everything that has gone wrong even more and the result is you laugh harder. I have seen it here and there over the years, including on the Elvira DVD we covered as part of that series years ago on DVD, so it is a curio that keeps gaining an audience. This new Blu-ray, despite being limited to only 1,500 copies, will only help that cause and all fans of the film will want to grab a copy before it is too late. Nice that the disc offers more.

Extras include the 1993 lampooning of the film by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (aka MST3K) TV series in its full length entirety, interview with lead Arch Hall Jr. and interview with MST3K creator Joel Hodgson.

As also previously reviewed on DVD, Kevin Connor's From Beyond The Grave (19733) is an Amicus Studio anthology film that Warner still has rights too, featuring several stories that play better here on Blu-ray than they did on the older DVD. Helping things are improved cinematography here and a great cast that includes Ian Bannen, Diana Dors, Peter Cushing, Ian Ogilvy (already a horror veteran and future Simon Templar on Return Of The Saint), Nyree Dawn Porter (The Protectors), David Warner (Time After Time), Leslie-Anne Down and Donald Pleasance (Halloween) make it more of a pleasure to revisit as Cushing runs an antiques store and everything he knowingly sells is supernaturally cursed. It is the different ways they are cursed that makes this more interesting.

Amicus is the underrated, lower-budget producer of horror movies in the U.K. that still managed to attract some of the best talent around to make films with them and the films often hold up very well. In this case, since I saw it last on DVD (reviewed in a box set of similar films from Warner elsewhere on this site) among several included and the several times I have seen it over the years, this one surprised me by having a new impact and richer feel seeing it on Blu-ray. I'll explain more in the tech section, but outside of a really good film print, this is the only way to see the film and really enjoy what they made here. Its the kind of horror film we don't see enough these days.

The only extra is the Original Theatrical Trailer.

David Leitch's Fast & Furious present: Hobbs & Shaw 4K (2019) is a spin-off of a franchise that continues to make a ton of money, but in the morbid shadow of the loss of one of its main leads, Paul Walker. Not that there is not plenty of other talented persons in the films, but without him, none of this would have ever happened. Now the films just become silly two-hour ads for a bunch of new cars with classic ones added for good measure to celebrate car culture with so-so action scenes and scenarios that take a good bit of suspension of disbelief to enjoy. Go to this spin-off and it becomes almost impossible.

Taking two characters that apparently dislike each other from the previous films, Like Hobbs (extremely overpaid non-actor with limited hits aka Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, a piece of the rock serious film fans could do without) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham who can act and at least do convincing fight sequences, but tends to do his better films in the U.K.), are forced to work together (one of the most played out cop/buddy film cliches) when a deadly killer (the underrated Idris Elba, once lauded to play James Bond, playing a villain here where he outacts one of the leads and keeps stealing scenes) is on the loose and has to be stopped.

A ton of money was spent on the film, almost everything that is but the vapid screenplay that has zero originality, energy, intelligence or sense of anything resembling fun. Add that this runs on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on for almost 2 hours and 20 minutes and this pure torture test is the worst of many bad blockbuster films in 2019 and definitely so bad, it is up there with the worst of the last few decades. Talents like Ryan Reynolds and the inarguable Helen Mirren even show up, but all they can do is get their paycheck because no one or nothing can save this inane catastrophe that makes the Marvel Comics movies (many of which I have enjoyed) look like Francois Truffaut's priceless series of autobiographical pure cinema classics!

Life is too short to explain how bad this is, but like an ultraviolent train wreck, it just keeps happening and never quits until the (if you have not bailed) merciful end credits. The music is awful, cinematography dull, acting highly questionable, action badly choreographed (though you know you are in trouble when the cars and motorcycles are more interesting and give better performances than some of the cast!) and to say it is all predictable is an understatement.

Note the early use of split screen, which you rarely see used and very rarely well, letting us know that the title characters are 'different' and showing us shallow differences like 'one has a motorcycle, the other has a car' and other brilliant contrasts that will not require a rocket science degree from MIT. I also caught a few British references U.S. audiences might miss including Statham's character as a reference to the great actor Martin Shaw, who made a splash on the violent, controversial U.K. hit TV series The Professionals CI-5 or the way the opening seems more like the opening of another U.K. hit series The Persuaders with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, both exercises in Shakespearian deep thought versus this!

But enough about losing three hours of my life to this horrid mess. If you really like the cars or either of the leads, you might like this, but I thought every frame pure visual NyQuil. See it at your own risk.

Per the press release, extras include Digital Copy, plus (as the press release goes):



  • JOHNSON & STATHAM: HOBBS & SHAW - Why this film duo works so well together on and off the set.

  • PROGRESS OF A FIGHT SCENE WITH DIRECTOR DAVID LEITCH - From script, to storyboard, to finally arriving on set and working with cast and crew, this piece will illustrate the progression of fight scenes from concept to execution.

  • PRACTICAL ACTION - Any film featuring Jason Statham or Dwayne Johnson is sure to be action packed and feature some over-the-top fight scenes. For the film, each fight sequence was carefully choreographed and shot ahead of time for the actors to use in training and ultimately in shooting the scene.

  • THE BAD GUY* - Fans can explore what makes the ultimate baddie, as well as Brixton's backstory, casting Idris Elba, special effects for his cyber features and what makes him tick.

  • THE SISTER* - This piece will highlight Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw - she may be Deckard Shaw's little sister, but don't be fooled, she's equally capable of kicking just as much ass as he does.

  • HOBBS' FAMILY TREE* - This character piece will highlight the extended family of the Hobbs heroes. From Hobbs' daughter, mother and brothers, take a high-energy, behind-the-scenes look at their time on set.

  • THE MATRIARCH* - With her brief appearance in HOBBS & SHAW, audiences are reminded of the matriarchal might of Helen Mirren as mother Shaw. This piece will feature Mirren in her return to the role.

  • NEW FRIENDS - Featuring hilarious moments with the cameos featured in the film, this piece will showcase some of the best moments from their days on set.

  • ELEVATOR ACTION* - The elevator scene in the trailer - yes, you know the one. This is just one of the crazy stunts in the film - now fans can see how it was done.

  • STUNT SHOW AND TELL* - Along with film clips and stunt vis, this firsthand look at some of the key sequences in the film will peel back the layers of the stunt process.

  • KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: A CONVERSATION WITH ROMAN AND DWAYNE* - In this intimate conversation, Roman Reigns and Dwayne Johnson discuss their personal relationship, coming from a long lineage of wrestlers, and what it's like to be working side by side on a project so close to Johnson's heart.

  • BLIND FURY* - Dwayne reveals the inspiration behind one of the film's key scenes - his grandfather!

  • DWAYNE AND HOBBS: LOVE AT FIRST BITE* - We know how important family is to Dwayne Johnson, and his French Bulldog Hobbs is no exception. In this fun piece, fans can learn more about Dwayne and man's best friend.


* Exclusive to Digital, 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray

Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (1966) was the first time the later-controversial director worked with a major Hollywood studio, but once he completed the film under its original title, Dance Of The Vampires, MGM took it out of his hands, recut it and gave it a new title that was meant to mirror Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1965) by having a funny subtitle they hoped would be catchy. Polanski was furious, disowned the film and never got to get his original cut back together. As it stands, it is still a remarkable film visually and as a spoof of vampire films, still tops anything Mel Brooks did and is even more effective than Love At First Bite (1979), though I would argue the underrated Old Dracula (1974) was better than it got credit for (and we're still waiting for the Ringo Starr/Harry Nilsson musical film Son Of Dracula (1974) to get restored and reissued no matter what).

Polanski and Jack MacGowran play two men trying to infiltrate the castle of a fiendish vampire Count (Ferdy Mayne) without detection, discovering all kinds of secrets and another closed world of luxury, elites and sexy women within his world. This includes a sexy woman (Sharon Tate, who is good here) gaining the interest of many a man and can the duo save her or even save themselves being a pair of dolts? Alfie Bass leads the rest of the supporting cast and despite not being what Polanski wanted, it is still a very atmospheric comedy and has its moments, though I have a feeling his original cut of the film was better and would have made this both a bigger hit and maybe a comedy classic.

Either way, the actors are fine, the film looks great and the music is also terrific, so if you like this kind of comedy or are a horror fan, the script leave no tomb-stone unturned and isa a must see for diehards of the genre.

Extras include an alternate opening with more animation, the earlier version of the Original Theatrical Trailer with an earlier logo and cleaver 10-minutes-long vintage promo featurette Vampires 101.

Finally we have one of the more interesting giallos from the original cycle of such bloody thrillers from Italy, Antonio Bido's Watch Me When I Kill (1977) where a dancer (Paolo Tedesco) witnesses the first of what will be many brutal murders by a serial killer who no one can seem to find or stop, so she immediately turns to her boyfriend (Corrado Pani) for help, but that just puts both of them in grave danger as the killer slays men, women and anyone else in his way.

There are technical reasons this stands out from the many films in the cycle kno0wn for its high use of blood and rich color, but there are other differences including not the usual amount of nudity (especially female), a mystery that is very well thought out and just the ambition of the screenplay to add to this kind of filmmaking by doing something a bit different while still being a giallo. The acting is solid and it is very well paced to take advantage of all the suspenseful possibilities.

Synapse has issued a really impressive Blu-ray edition here that does justice to all the work here and allows the film to take its place high on the shelf of all the major giallo films. It may have even helped give the cycle a longer life.

Extras include an Isolated Music-Only Track, Original Theatrical Trailer, T.V. Spot, and Radio Spots, Feature Length Audio Commentary by Film Historian and Author, Nathaniel Thompson, UK Interview with Academic Mikel Koven on WATCH ME WHEN I KILL, Three short films from director Antonio Bido: Danza Macabra, Mendelssohn Im Judischen Museum, Berlin and Marche Funebre D'une Marionette and BONUS CD SOUNDTRACK (BLU-RAY RELEASE ONLY) of the amazing film score by prog-rockers Trans-Europa Express!

Now for playback performance, where I can say all the discs look good for their formats, starting with the 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1 Dolby Vision/HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Shaw looking just a little better than the rest of the entires here. Unfortunately, it is a mixed 'victory' as this is one of the least exciting Dolby Vision releases to date because the way the film is shot is so unimaginatively that it is far from demo material in any case. The regular 1080p 2.35 X 1 Blu-ray is even more boring and has a flatter look with less depth and color range. At least it does not have as much motion blur as I expected.

In comparison, we have the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Afraid that was shot in 35mm film for TV and had a so-so DVD release. Though a few minor can show the age of the moments in rare, very brief spots, this looks great for its age, has excellent, even exceptional color and joins Classic TV movie Blu-rays like Bad Ronald, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, Night Stalker and Night Strangler as part of a growing number of stunning releases that play very well, can look great and even have demo moments..

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Grave is also an improvement on the DVD version to the point that you get a whole new appreciation for the great work here by the great Director of Photography Alun Hume, B.S.C., whose work includes episodes of the TV spy classic The Avengers and several Bond films from the 1980s. He has to give this film several looks for each of the sub-tales (this is an anthology) and yet also have them tie into the antiques shop run by Cushing, which is not as easy as it looks. The result is the film plays better than it did for me on DVD or ever before because I can see what Hume and Director Kevin Connor pulled off here. They have to keep the segments separate, but not too much, yet still have them al be atmospheric as the genre requires. Outside of a great film print, this is the only way to really see and enjoy the film.

The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Eegah can absolutely can show the age of the materials used since this is a low budget film, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film which obviously were sloppy, poor and from bad materials. This new 4K scan has some flaws, but also some better moments than I expected and was shot on 35mm Eastman Color/Kodak film. Turns out it is a saving grace that the stocks held up as they have, so now, it is even funnier to watch because you can see the corniness more vividly. Nice job all around.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Vampire looks great too, originally shot on 35mm film in real anamorphic Panavision, with great labwork by MetroColor, so you can see the atmosphere and richness Polanski and company intended down to the impressive cinematography and it allows the comedy to be even funnier like a Mel Brooks film. Even if this is not totally the cut Polanski wanted, it is certainly the look and it is like no other film in either the horror or comedy genre, especially when seen on this great Blu-ray.

That leaves the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Kill sometimes showing the age of the materials used, but this is far superior transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video thanks to a terrific 4K scan of the original camera negative and it is also because this is a very rare film in what stock it was shot on. It was all filmed on 35mm full color negative film from the Gevaert film company from Belgium. In 1964, they merged with Agfa in Germany and have been together ever since, but have not explicitly made movie film in years. They were also the last two film producers to use their own developing chemicals for color film before everyone surrendered to Kodak chemistry because it became so popular and dominated the industry (it still does), but Gevaert was the last to surrender. As a result, you get a color pallet that is not only different from Agfa, but even Kodak, 3M/Ferrania and Fuji which gives this film a unique atmosphere and make for a special visual experience. Though Agfa spun off its German lab in the 1990s, a failed move which caused its German plant to be closed and torn down, Gevaert still makes film at their Belgian plant to this day. Nice.

As for sound, Shaw is not only the only new film and stereophonic film here, but both disc version have Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) lossless sound, so yes, it is the sonic champ by default and not. Unfortunately, it lacks character and is one of the most forgettable 12-track movie mixes I have heard to date, so yawn and move on.

The rest of the films are all here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes and were monophonic releases and the Afraid TV movie is monophonic too as TV had not added stereo yet. Though it has post-production dubbing, it sounds like it is from magnetic soundmasters down to Billy Goldenberg's creepy, underrated music score. It actually sounds better than the sound on Eegah (expected) and Grave (sounding a little more compressed than expected, though still better than the DVD), but as good as Vampire or Kill (in Italian and English). The music and character of all five older films really holdup and will impress genre fans and specific fans of each film.

To order any or all of the Warner Archive Blu-rays covered above, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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