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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Supernatural > Gothic > Mystery > Werewolf > Anthology > The Amicus Collection (And Now The Screaming Starts/Asylum/The Beast Must Die!/Dark Sky Films DVD Set)

The Amicus Collection (And Now The Screaming Starts/Asylum/The Beast Must Die!/Dark Sky Films)

 

Picture: B-/C+/C†††† Sound: C+/C/C†††† Extras: B-/C/B-†††† Films:

 

And Now The Screaming Starts! (1972) C+

 

Asylum (1972) C

 

The Beast Must Die! (1973) B-

 

 

Amicus was the #2 British Horror company behind Hammer and though their legacy is not as remembered as the films were not as Gothic, stylized or had the comparatively larger budgets or star monsters, they were a formidable entity.Dark Sky Films has grouped three of their more memorable films in The Amicus Collection.Asylum is an anthology film at least as savvy as Twilight Zone Ė The Movie (1983, reviewed elsewhere on this site) despite its own troubles, while The Beast Must Die! is a unique twist on the werewolf genre.

 

That leaves And Now The Screaming Starts!, Dark Skyís expanded version of a previous DVD release, which we already reviewed.You can read more about it at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/4925/And+Now+The+Screaming+Starts!

 

 

Asylum has been issued in many video versions, but despite some minor problems, the Dark Sky DVD is far superior to the previous releases.The film (directed again by the great Roy Ward Baker) offers several segments with an exceptional cast including Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse, Barbara Parkins, Charlotte Rampling and Herbert Lom in the best segment devilish as ever.The film may not add up like one would like, but it is worth a good look as enough of it does work.It has aged with mixed results, but donít let that get in your way.

 

The Beast Must Die! is what it would have been like if William Castle made The Last Of Sheila, making a mystery out of which guest of a rich man who loves to hunt (Calvin Lockhart) is actually a werewolf, complete with a Werewolf Break!Yes, you get to guess who is the killer in the best of the three films in this set, with a cast that includes Peter Cushing, Marlene Clark, Anton Diffring, Charles Gray, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon and Michael Gambon.Paul Annett directed from Michael Winderís screenplay that throws in action and even Spy elements to the story.This is much fun and rounds out the set nicely.

 

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image in the three cases vary a bit, with Screaming looking the best, Asylum having some picture issues but being clearer, cleaner and more color accurate than its many previous issues and Beast surprisingly soft throughout.None were three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor releases in the U.S. as we could gather, though they might have been in the U.K. and camerawork on all is pretty good.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in each case is weaker than expected, except for Screaming, which sounds a bit better and has the same extras as the previously reviewed disc.

 

Extras on both remaining releases include stills, text cast/crew bios, trailers for all three films and liner notes, for which Asylum offer such in a paper pullout/foldout in the DVD case and adds both Inside The Fear Factory featurette and feature length audio commentary by cameraman Neil Binney and director Baker.Beast has a making of featurette and audio commentary by director Annett.

 

All in all, this is still a good set of thrillers that remain interesting, even when they do not always work.You canít say that about many such films today.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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