Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Camp > B Movie > WWII > Thriller > Crime > Supernatural > Martial Arts > Beast From Haunted Cave (1959 w/Ski Troop Attack (1960))/Film Masters Blu-ray Set*)/Desperate Hours (1955/Paramount/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Don't Look Now 4K (1973/Criterion 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Iro

Beast From Haunted Cave (1959 w/Ski Troop Attack (1960))/Film Masters Blu-ray Set*)/Desperate Hours (1955/Paramount/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Don't Look Now 4K (1973/Criterion 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Iron-Fisted Monk (1977/Arrow Blu-ray/*all MVD)

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

Here are some thrillers, A and B-movie level, all getting impressive upgrades...

Monte Hellman's The Beast From Haunted Cave (1959) is the underrated director's first film and we covered it in an earlier, then-restored DVD version we reviewed at this link:


The film is as fun as before and is here in two versions versus, the longer 72 minutes version from that DVD is here in and also in a block style 1.33 x 1 presentation, but we also have a shorter 65 minutes-long version in old widescreen. They are about on par with each other and you can read more about it technically below, but it is nice to have both versions and this is the way to catch the film now.

The set also includes the low-budget Roger Corman-directed WWII action film Ski Troop Attack (1960) that is amusing and were both early productions of the Film Masters that is amusing and also worth checking out. Versus many of the big budget duds we seem to get all the time, these films get oddly better with age and seem more ambitious on some level.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and solid essays by C. Courtney Joyner and Tom Weaver, the bonus Ski film, plus the discs also add new trailers, Original Theatrical Trailer for Cave, new feature-length audio commentary track on Cave by film scholar Tom Weaver and filmmaker Larry Blamier, new feature-length audio commentary track on Ski by writer C. Courtney Joyner and filmmaker Howard S. Berger, Original Production from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures covering The Filmgroup called Hollywood Intruders. It says it is a first part on the case, but not on the program. It was so good, a continuation would be nice.

William Wyler's The Desperate Hours (1955) remains one of the few thrillers ever shot on a large-frame format, joining several Hitchcock films and maybe some recent Christopher Nolan films. Often imitated remade in 1990 (see the link a little below this text) and holding up as well as ever, I originally reviewed the very old DVD from Paramount at this link:


Once again, not having seen to for a while, it remains one of those films that once it gets started, you cannot stop watching. Bogart and two 'associates' invade the suburbs by picking a home to hideout in so the cops cannot recapture them until they can make their next more to get away from the police permanently. They'll use threats, terrorism and violence in the meantime to get what they want.

Everyone here is really good, this is very well shot, little about how it was made has dated, the screenplay is tight, the actors are dead on, the directing might be some of the most underrated in Wyler's long career and most thrillers today could not come close. Bogart was great until the end of his career, Frederic March was more than a match for him and has to play weak and smart to be convincing, while Gig Young, Martha Scott, Arthur Kennedy, Dewey Martin, Whit Bissell, Alan Reed, Bert Freed, Ray Teal, Richard Eyer and others round out a great cast. Ann Doran, Beverly Garland, Burt Mustin and Simon Oakland also turn up uncredited. Yep, its that kind of a film.

Extras include an illustrated collector's booklet on the film including informative text featuring new writing on the film by Philip Kemp and Neil Sinyard, while the disc adds a brand new feature-length audio commentary by film historian Daniel Kremer

  • Trouble in Suburbia: brand new appreciation of the film by Jose Arroyo, Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick

  • The Lonely Man: brand new visual essay by Eloise Ross, co-curator of the Melbourne Cinematheque

  • Scaled Down and Ratcheted Up: brand new audio interview with Catherine Wyler, daughter of director William Wyler

  • Lobby cards gallery

  • and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio

Additionally, you can read more about Michael Cimino's 1990 remake of the film with Anthony Hopkins in its new special edition Blu-ray at this link:


Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now 4K (1973) remains one of the director's biggest hits, still talked about with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a happy couple who loses their daughter who lose their daughter in a mysterious accidental drowning, but something more may be amiss here. You can read about my thoughts on the film when I reviewed an import Blu-ray edition at this link:


Though some aspects of the film never did work for me, the many parts that do are as effective as ever and the actors are as top rate as the cinematography, directing and superior use of color. No matter what, you will find it creepy and as creepy as ever if you have seen it before. This is by far the best version you will see of the film outside of a clean, colorful, mint 35mm (or maybe 16mm) film print. Roeg remains one of the most underrated of all filmmakers and this 4K upgrade shows once again why.

Extras include a poster pullout of the new cover art on one side, an essay by film critic David Thompson, illustrations and tech info on the other, while both discs add a conversation between editor Graeme Clifford and film writer and historian Bobbie O'Steen

Don't Look Now: Looking Back, a short documentary from 2002 featuring Clifford, Richmond, and director Nicolas Roeg

'Don't Look Now: Death in Venice, a 2006 interview with composer Pino Donaggio

Program on the writing and making of the film, featuring interviews with Richmond, actors Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, and co-screenwriter Allan Scott

Program on Roeg's style, featuring interviews with filmmakers Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh

Q&A with Roeg from 2003 at London's Cine Lumiere

and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

The only other thing I can complain about is that the audio commentary by Roeg himself on the film was not available for some reason or this release that was on the import we covered, but otherwise, this is as complete a release of the film as we are likely ever to get.

The Iron-Fisted Monk (1977) is (as I said when I reviewed the DVD version back in 2005!) to be Sammo Hung's directorial debut, with another monk that kicks butt when pushed too far. Many such films later, it is not as tired and has some interesting fighting, but it ultimately wears thin as it is still not as serious as it needs to be.

Years later, I have seen much more of Hung's work and enjoy watching him in action more than ever, even when the films are not as good as he is. This is one of his better and more well-known films, so nice to see it getting the upgraded treatment and anyone interested in it or him should check it out in this nice upgrade.

Extras include a DigiPak with a nicely illustrated collector's booklet on the film including informative text and new writing by Brandon Bentley, while the disc adds:

  • Audio commentary by martial arts cinema expert Frank Djeng

  • Two archival interviews with Sammo Hung

  • Archival interview with Casanova Wong

  • Original theatrical trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Mills

  • and a double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Mills.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Don't Look Now was always known for its extensive use of the color red and each version over the years has improved this, but this new version has an excellent 4K scan and not only looks at least as good as the 35mm print I saw many years ago, but is very often an incredible representation of how great 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor print versions of the film must have looked. There is some softness, but that is from choices the makers made in the filming, so the best and most vivid shots exceed my rating.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on the also-included Blu-ray edition is not as good, has some good moments, but also has motion blur, extras softness and is color poor as compared to the 4K version. Additionally, they come from different scans from the looks of it and this is not the same transfer as the Umbrella import Blu-ray, which has even more blur and softness.

The place that import is better is in the sound, as it was presented in PCM 2.0 Mono and despite the excellent work that was just done retransferring the audio from its original monophonic magnetic soundmaster for/by Criterion, they have chosen PCM 1.0 Mono and it is just not quite as clear or detailed as the older disc. Otherwise, an amazing upgrade that will even stun fans and serious film people.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Desperate Hours is from a new 6K scan of the original 35mm VistaVision camera negative, resulting in some impressive shots throughout and another demo that proves how good black and white can look. Like all large-frame format films saved and preserved properly, it does not show its age hardly at all great to see after all the other versions I have enjoyed over the years.

The sound is PCM 1.0 Mono and though it sounds good, it could sound a little better. The old 12-inch LaserDisc had PCM 2.0 mono, but some restoration work has been done here.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on both 'TV' versions of Cave and Ski can show the age of the materials used, but these are superior transfers to all previous releases of the film, while Cave is also featured in a 1.78 X 1 presentation that shows the film was hot soft matte (they used the full 35mm film frame, knowing they were especially shooting the center part for wider presentations) that has some detail and depth the 1.33 x 1 version misses, but you can also notice that you are missing some interesting top and bottom visual information. Glad both versions are included here.

The soundtracks for both films are offered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mixes for older systems and devices, but the DTS tracks are better and as good as these low budget films are ever likely to sound.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Monk is a new 2K scan of the original 35mm camera negative, but it can still show the age of the materials used. This is better than the older DVD from years ago, yet maybe it could use some more work down the line. However, some of the dated aspects of the look are a permanent part of how the film was made, so expect limits.

As for sound, we get a bunch of choices including original lossless Cantonese and Mandarin PCM 2.0 Mono audio, plus lossless English dub mono option that is not as good by any means. There is also a second choice in English dubbed audio with that original export dub mono (first time ever in the US) joined by a newer 2004 5.1 dub created for international DVD presentations like the previously reviewed DVD that is as unconvincing. Fortunately, unless you must hear it in Mandarin, a Cantonese 5.1 mix is here that I really liked despite some sonic and soundfield limits and save the Mandarin, its the track to watch the film with. I doubt the film will ever sound better than it does on those two tracks.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com