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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Fred F. Sears
USA 1956

 

Updating a horror staple to the Atomic Age, this moody chiller stars Steven Ritch (Murder by Contract) as an auto-accident survivor who’s used by two scientists as a subject for their experiments to create a vaccine for nuclear fall-out. Unfortunately, it has a rather hairy side effect. Another solid effort from director Fred F. Sears, with Don Megowan (The Creature Walks Among Us), Joyce Holden (Terror From The Year 5000) and Harry Lauter (It Came From Beneath The Sea), as well as some beautiful locations at Big Bear Lake.

***

The arrival in a small mountain town of a dissheveled stranger launches a series of murders committed by some sort of animal. As the town doctor and his daughter attempt to help the stranger, the sheriff investigates the murders; and they uncover a sinister experiment involving two rogue scientists, a car accident victim, his wife and children, and a serum that causes a man to turn into a ravaging werewolf.

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 1956

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Sony (Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC vs. Arrow (Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Box Cover

 

  

  

Only available from Arrow at present as part of their Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman which includes Creature with the Atom BrainThe WerewolfZombies of Mora Tau and The Giant Claw

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:19:24         1:19:32.768
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,072,388,896 bytes

Feature: 24,659,654,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate DVD:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Edition Details:

Sinister Savages: Chapter 2 of serial Mysterious Island
• Mr. Magoo cartoon (Terror Faces Mr. Magoo)

• Comedy Short: Midnight Blunders
• Trailer for all 4 features and other sci-fi classics

DVD Release Date: October 16th, 2007

2 Transparent Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 16 for each

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,072,388,896 bytes

Feature: 24,659,654,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Brand-new introduction by critic Kim Newman (13:53)
Brand-new audio commentary by critic Lee Gambin
Beyond Window Dressing, a brand-new visual essay exploring the oft-overlooked role of women in the films of Sam Katzman by historian and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (23:35)
Condensed Super 8mm version of The Werewolf, produced for home cinema viewing (7:33)
Theatrical Trailer (1:58)
Image Gallery

Fully illustrated 60-page collector’s book featuring extensive new writing by Laura Drazin Boyes, Neil Mitchell, Barry Forshaw, Jon Towlson and Jackson Cooper
80-page collector’s art book featuring reproduction stills and artwork from each film and new writing by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette
2 double-sided posters featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork for each film by Matt Griffin


Blu-ray Release Date:
September
13th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside hard case

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow Blu-ray (September 2021): Arrow have transferred Fred F. Sears's The Werewolf to Blu-ray. This is only available from Arrow, at present, as part of their Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman which includes Creature with the Atom BrainThe WerewolfZombies of Mora Tau and The Giant Claw.

The improved resolution advances upon the green-ish DVDs. It can appear a modest bump in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio but the 1080P is really a significant increase in terms of more layered contrast, better grain texture support and non-existent artifacts. This looks very consistent and relatively clean with only a film-level restoration or UHD bump advancing it further. Neither are likely to come anytime soon.  

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Arrow use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. The Werewolf has few aggressive growls and gunshots that export modest depth the score is an amalgamation of stock music uncredited - by the likes of film composers Mischa Bakaleinikoff (The Lineup, New Orleans Uncensored, The Crooked Web, Cell 2455 Death Row, Comanche Station, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Giant Claw, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 27th Day, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Lady for a Day,) Daniele Amfitheatrof's (Major Dundee, The Last Hunt, I'll Be Seeing You, Edge of Eternity, The Lost Moment, The Desperate Hours, Human Desire, Letter From An Unknown Woman, An Act of Murder), George Duning (Two Rode Together, The Eddy Duchin Story, 3:10 to Yuma, Jeanne Eagels, The Shadow on the Window, My Sister Eileen, The Mob, Affair in Trinidad, Tight Spot, Johnny O'Clock, The Dark Past, Convicted, and Between Midnight and Dawn etc.) and Leith Stevens (Larceny, The Time Tunnel, Hercules and the Captive Women, I Married a Monster From Outer Space, Great Day in the Morning, The Gun Runners, Syncopation, World Without End, The Night of the Grizzly, 20 Million Miles to Earth, When Worlds Collide) and conducted by Mischa Bakaleinikoff. The flat soundstage is faithfully represented by the uncompressed transfer. Arrow offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Arrow Blu-ray offers a new commentary by by critic Lee Gambin (author of The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film.) Lee focuses on the werewolf as examined in film history, the mythological animal and lycanthropy as the subject of many movies. He references many horror films and makes some interesting analysis and astute observations. He appears to be reading from prepared notes and it does sound a bit dry but the quality of information is excellent. Arrow include a brand-new 24-minute visual essay exploring the oft-overlooked role of women in the films of Sam Katzman by historian and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (author of 1000 Women In Horror, 1895-2018.) It is entitled Beyond Window Dressing. There is also another condensed, low quality, Super 8mm version of The Werewolf, produced for home cinema viewing. That runs about 8-minutes. I enjoyed the 14-minute introduction by Kim Newman where he talks about director Fred F. Sears; working in various genres including westerns and his more notable films the Bill Haley musicals Rock Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Rock. He also talks about 1950's 'monster movies' adding an atomic edge to them. There is also a theatrical trailer and image gallery. As part of the Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman is a fully illustrated 60-page collector’s book featuring extensive new writing by Laura Drazin Boyes, Neil Mitchell, Barry Forshaw, Jon Towlson and Jackson Cooper as well as an 80-page collector’s art book featuring reproduction stills and artwork from each film and new writing by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette, 2 double-sided posters featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin and reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork for each film by Matt Griffin.     

Fred F. Sears' The Werewolf is another spin-off that started with Universal's 1941 The Wolf Man series that includes She-Wolf of London , Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and later - I Was a Teenage Werewolf with Michael Landon, Hammer Studio's The Curse of the Werewolf, Jack Nicholson taking a turn in the 90s with the abbreviated title Wolf and Stephen King's Silver Bullet way back in the 80s plus plenty more. Horror fans love this sub-genre. 1956's The Werewolf takes an atomic turn with our amnesiac wanderer injected with "irradiated wolf serum" by unscrupulous doctors - not the usual infected bite deal-ie. The doctors believe that the serum, when isolated, will allow a select minority - not surprisingly chosen by them - to survive the inevitable nuclear holocaust imminently on the horizon. The Werewolf played on a double bill with Earth vs. the Flying Saucers or in the UK with Creature with the Atom Brain. While it lacks subtleties and subtext - it has the small town (updated Gothic village) location and resident fear and banding together to defeat the sub-human foe - yes with torches too! I love stuff like this and am very happy with the Arrow Blu-ray - so glad they have escalated these four fantasy, sci-fi, horror efforts to the superior resolution with extensive extras, commentaries and booklets. Nostalgia value is through the roof! It's too easy to critique these imperfect gems - just love their innocence and creative retelling while drinking deep from the fountain of Katzman... or not at all.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC

 

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC  TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

 

  

  

Only available from Arrow at present as part of their Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman which includes Creature with the Atom BrainThe WerewolfZombies of Mora Tau and The Giant Claw

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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