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The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Vol. 2

 

Cult of the Cobra (1955)     Dr. Cyclops (1940)

The Land Unknown (1957)      The Deadly Mantis  (1957)

The Leech Woman  (1960)

 

Titles

 

 

 

Cult of the Cobra
Director: Francis D. Lyon
Theatrical Release Date: August 5th, 1955
Starts off with six boisterous US soldiers (including Richard Long and David Janssen) who are caught sneaking into the temple to watch a cult of cobra-worshippers, who reputedly have turned women into cobras and vice-versa. After they return to the States, they begin dying one by one, and it's all seemingly tied to the appearance of a mysterious beauty (Faith Domergue). Domergue is an awesome enough reason to indulge and it flows quite smoothly with an expected conclusion. Great fun!

Gary Tooze

Dr. Cyclops
Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack
Theatrical Release Date: April 12th, 1940
Marvelous performance by Dekker as the villainous Dr Cyclops - as bald as Lorre's Dr Gogol and going blind behind his pebble glasses, hence the echo of Homer's Polyphemus in his name and his ultimate fate - who lurks in the Amazonian jungle conducting experiments in which he shrinks people to manikin size. An engaging fantasy with brilliantly executed (though mostly rather unimaginative) special effects which look back to The Devil Doll and forward to The Incredible Shrinking Man. Let down by a dull supporting cast, but retrieved by the attractively pale, tremulous Technicolor.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

The Land Unknown
Director: Virgil W. Vogel
Theatrical Release Date: August, 1957
On route to an isolated Antarctic outpost a helicopter must make an emergency landing in a storm and three men and a woman crash-land in a deep crater several thousand feet below sea level. They encounter strange prehistoric creatures and a psychotic doctor who has survived, stranded in the area for years. It's the old Lost World/Land that Time Forgot thingy, but I liked it better than the Doug McLure version(s). It doesn't step too far beyond its boundaries but the monitor lizards with taped on fins is always a giveaway. The dinosaurs (men in suits aside a miniature helicopter) were much better in my opinion. How can you not love this?

Gary Tooze

The Deadly Mantis
Director: Nathan Juran
Theatrical Release Date: May, 1957
After tarantulas and ants, it was only fair to give the praying mantis a crack at world domination and Nathan Juran's cult classic does just that.
Thawed out from its polar icecap prison, the prehistoric ancestor of today's sensible sized predators lays siege to both American bases and Inuit villages in the frozen wastes before heading for New York where an army man (Craig Stevens) and scientists William Hopper and Alix Talton fight to save the city.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE

The Leech Woman
Director: Edward Dein
Theatrical Release Date: May, 1960
A woman, worn by alcoholic abuse and, at the end of a failing marriage to a doctor travels with him to Africa in search of a secret to youthful restoration. One catch - the potion requires the fluid from a pineal gland of a man hence the film's edict 'Forever young! Forever deadly! She lived off the life blood of male victims! ' . Grim and amusing film flawed by its incongruities but folks you are supposed to accept the faux-pas... and if you do it is more 'B' fun! 

Gary Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1940 - 1960

 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Universal (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for his assistance!

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:19:51 + 1:17:03 + 1:18:27 + 1:18:03 + 1:17:00 
Video Original Aspect Ratios (Deadly Mantis, Dr. Cyclops are 1.33 and Leech Woman, Cult of the Cobra 1.85 anamorphic and Land Unknown 2.35 anamorphic)
Average Bitrate: 6.3 - 8.69 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

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

Bitrate:  Disc 1
Cult of the Cobra / Dr. Cyclops

Bitrate: Disc 2
The Land Unknown / The Deadly Mantis

Bitrate: Disc 3
The Leech Woman 

Audio English (original) 
Subtitles English (Hoh), French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratios (Deadly Mantis, Dr. Cyclops are 1.33 and Leech Woman, Cult of the Cobra 1.85 anamorphic and Land Unknown 2.35 anamorphic)

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailers for each feature
 

DVD Release Date: September 11th, 2007
3 - tired Digipack (2 overlapping)

Chapters: various

 

Comments:

Follow up to the immensely popular and out-of-print The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Volume 1 (Reviewed HERE) from last year with The Mole People (1956), Tarantula (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Monolith Monsters  (1957) and Monsters on Campus (1958). It is fetching big bucks in online auctions!

The 5 films are spread over 3 single-sided discs - 2 dual-layered and 1 single layered. They are encoded in the NTSC standard for region 1. All are progressively transferred and have trailers. Each have original audio and English, or French subtitle options.

They look pretty good with The Leech Woman looking the best although all are fairly decent but have some digital noise here and there. Minimal damage and decent contrast help round out these transfers as quite good (considering the age of the films).

No extras save the theatrical trailers for each which remain quite a hoot in their own right. NOTE: Although on The Deadly Mantis it's the same one they added to the VHS edition which has no representation of the film.

I enjoyed this package even more than Vol. 1 with Cult of the Cobra and The Deadly Mantis standing out as memorable highlights - the latter must have been the inspiration for Joe Dante's Matinee (1993).  I've stated a few times that if I was to segregate DVDBeaver into a smaller niche - it would be either Film Noir, Antonioni or these flawed gems which resonate such innocence and evoke personal memories of childhood bliss. If these titles have any appeal for you then we can vouch that this DVD collection is great fun - the type of nostalgic cinema that I love to recommend!  out of    
 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus (Samples)


 


Screen Captures

 

Cult of the Cobra

 

 

 

 

 


 

Dr. Cyclops

 

 


The Land Unknown

 

 

 

 


The Deadly Mantis
 

 

 


The Leech Woman
 

 



DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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