A while back it seemed that Hammer’s movies were coming out thick and fast on Blu-ray but there’s been a bit of a drought of late, the only really recent release being the superb Blu-ray of The Hound Of The Baskervilles from Arrow Video. It was Studio Canal that seemed to be bringing many of them out, but they suddenly stopped doing so amidst many complaints about their releases, from poor transfers to wrong colours to out of synch sound to the controversial alterations [which were actually done by Hammer, and I don’t have a problem with as the aim was to fix faults] to The Devil Rides Out. However, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are finally getting their arse in gear and beginning to be bringing out the titles to which they own the US rights to.
Just in time for Halloween, those with a Region A-enabled Blu-ray plater can get their mitts on a set entitled Horror Classics Collection, Volume 1. It will contain The Mummy, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and Taste The Blood Of Dracula. Now The Mummy, as any Hammer fan will know, has not long had a stonking Blu-ray release from Lionsgate, but up to now only two out of the seven Christopher Lee Dracula series have been available, while the release of the Frankenstein title [one of the best of the series] now means that all the Hammer Frankenstein films can be obtained on Blu-ray with the exception of the non-Peter Cushing starring The Horror Of Frankenstein, which is no real loss. No news yet on whether Warner will be using the same excellent transfer of The Mummy that Lionsgate used, while there’s much talk around the forums as to whether Warner may bring out Dracula next, and what it may look like. While I was very happy with it, many complained that the Lionsgate Blu-ray of Dracula was too blue-ish and that the extra footage [which I personally loved] stuck out too much.
Here is the Warner press release:
Horror Classics Collection, Volume 1
Four Gothic Horror Films from Hammer Film Productions
Newly Re-mastered on Blu-ray October 6
from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Burbank, Calif., June 24, 2015 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will scare the heck out of fans when Taste the Blood of Dracula; Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; and The Mummy are released October 6 in the new Blu-ray Horror Classics Vol. 1 Collection, just in time for Halloween celebrations. All films in the collection are newly re-mastered in 1080p HD and packaged in elegant rigid pocketbook style ($54.96 SRP).
The quartet of classic horror films, featuring cinema monsters Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy, represent classic examples from Hammer Film Productions. Founded in 1934, the British company became best known for a series of gothic horror films and a leader among English filmmakers that dominated the international horror film market from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s.
ABOUT THE FILMS
THE MUMMY (1959)
In this vivid Technicolor® reincarnation of The Mummy, screen horror icon Christopher Lee wraps on the moldy gauze bandages and emerges as the tormented Kharis, an avenger stalking the hills and bogs of Victorian England to track down archaeologist John Banning (Peter Cushing) and other desecrators of his beloved Princess Anankas Egyptian tomb. Lee looks tremendous, smashing his way through doorways and erupting from green, dreamlike quagmires in really awe-inspiring fashion (David Pirie, Time Out Film Guide). Awe-inspiring, too, was the box-office success of this third Hammer reinvigoration after The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula of a classic screen monster.
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)
In his third incarnation as Bram Stokers infamous vampire, horror great and 55-year movie veteran Christopher Lee goes fang to cross with the forces of good in this atmospheric Hammer Studios film directed with stylish menace by two-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Freddie Francis.
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED! (1969)
Baron Frankenstein’s (Peter Cushing) experiment went wrong, dead wrong. Thus, another victim lies in a makeshift grave. Suddenly, a water main bursts, forcing the dead mans arm to the surface. Next, the torrent heaves the body upward. Frankensteins panicked accomplice tries to conceal the body but corpses can be so unwieldy.
This creepy scene is a highlight of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, horror great Peter Cushings fifth Hammer Studios Frankenstein saga. Other cast members of note include film-debuting Simon Ward (Young Winston) and Freddie Jones (The Elephant Man) as the scientists pitiable new creation.
TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (1970)
Taste The Blood of Dracula, the fourth film in Hammer Studios cycle of hemogobbling Victorian-era horror, is a showcase of why Hammer became the name in Gothic terror. The solid cast and rich production design raise goosebumps of real-life fear and otherworld dread. And Christopher Lee dons his red-lined cape again to become Evil Incarnate. Hes Count Dracula, a being neither dead nor alive…but his movies are livelier than ever.
You can pre-order the set here: