Icons of Horror Collection - Sam Katzman

 

   Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)       The Werewolf (1956)


Zombies of Mora Tau (1957)       The Giant Claw (1957)


Sam Katzman never made great film classics, instead he produced cost-effective productions that made money for the studios and the financial backers. He is noted for numerous Western films of the 1930s, his Bela Lugosi and East Side Kids features of the 1940s, the 15-chapter Superman serial of 1948, and a string of rock-'n'-roll musicals in the 1950s. At MGM Studios in the 1960s, Katzman produced several Elvis Presley films and singer Roy Orbison's only film, The Fastest Guitar Alive.

On the set, Katzman would use his collection of canes as a personal prop, banging them against the floor, or the scenery, when production fell behind schedule. Indeed, the pace of Sam Katzman’s film production from 1950 to 1959 is blistering, touching nearly all the generic bases in the process including the 5 Horror representatives in this new Sony DVD boxset - Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The Werewolf (1956), Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) and
The Giant Claw (1957).

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

 


Titles

 


 

CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955): From the pen of the legendary Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man, Donovan’s Brain) and director Edward L. Cahn (It! The Terror From Beyond Space) comes this smash-bang thriller starring Richard Denning (Creature From The Black Lagoon) as a police doctor hot on the trail of a mob boss who’s hired an ex-Nazi scientist to re-animate his dead thugs to do more dirty work! If it seems like a condensed serial, it shouldn’t be a surprise: the cast is packed with such vets as Gregory Gaye, Tristam Coffin, Harry Lauter, Pierre Watkin, Lane Chandler, Don Harvey and Charles Horvath.

 

THE WEREWOLF (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.

 

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957): Director Edward L. Cahn teams with another great writer, Bernard Gordon (using his blacklist nom de plume Raymond T. Marcus) for this delightfully loopy adventure about a sunken ship whose cargo of diamonds is guarded by its zombified crew members. And wouldn’t ya know it, there’s a bunch of foolhardy scavengers who aren’t scared of The Swimming Dead. The 50’ Woman herself, Allison Hayes, stars along with Gregg Palmer (From Hell It Came), Morris Ankrum (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers), Gene Roth (Attack of the Giant Leeches) and B-western star Ray “Crash” Corrigan.

 

THE GIANT CLAW (1957): The movie that’s literally a turkey! In an act of cosmic irony, an enormous bird from outer space descends upon the Earth and begins chowing down on people. As usual, scientists and the military must team up to save our planet. This hysterically feathered fable stars sci-fi icons Jeff Morrow (This Island Earth), Mara Corday (Tarantula!), Morris Ankrum (Invaders From Mars) and Robert Shayne (TV’s The Adventures of Superman), and is directed by Fred F. Sears (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers).

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1955 - 1957

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sony (2-disc) - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 1:14:03, 1:19:24 + 1:08:57 + 1:09:03
Bitrate:

Disc with Creature With the Atom Brain + The Giant Claw

Bitrate:

Disc with Zombies of the Mora Tau + Werewolf

Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 for Creature With the Atom Brain and

1:85:1 for The Werewolf, Zombies of Mora Tau and The Giant Claw

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

 

Comments:

Much in the vein of Sony's Icons of Horror Collection - Boris Karloff, the four feature films of this boxset are shared, two each on two dual-layered, progressive DVDs with the three widescreen  features being anamorphically enhanced. Each disc is coded for Regions 1, 3 + 4 in the NTSC standard. They have original mono audio (or 2.0 channel stereo) and the dialogue is supported by optional English subtitles. The DVDs are housed in two slim individual transparent keep cases (see image above) and they are not sold separately at this time. I believe these particular editions can only be obtained in Sony's Icons of Horror - Sam Katzman collection at present.

Image quality: Aside from noting some softness in Zombie of Mora Tau - the image quality looks quite strong and fairly consistent. Contrast gives excellent support to greytones and I have no strong complaints with the way these, essentially single-layered, transfers look.  There is some minor digital noise in all four but nothing distracting. There are no overt damage marks. I think the captures below give a fair representation of how the DVD package looks. They are very watchable!

Audio volume was acceptable if unremarkable. It was consistent and clear and the dialogue is supported with optional English subtitles.

 

Extras are kinda cool - they give us Sinister Savages: Chapter 2 of Katzman's serial Mysterious Island which fits perfectly within the confines of the boxset collection. I enjoyed seeing a Mr. Magoo cartoon entitled Terror Faces Mr. Magoo. I haven't seen one in years. There is also a terrible comedy short called Midnight Blunders from 1936 (directed by Del Lord of 3 Stooges fame) - I wasn't too keen on this. Plus there are trailers for all 4 features and some other sci-fi classics. Excellent - a commentary would never be warranted and these supplements had some relevance and fit snugly into the collection's kitschy appeal!

 

I had so much fun watching these films - I wish I could do it fresh all over again. This is an avenue of cinema that continues to appeal to me - and I suppose not knowing why only adds to the desirability. For the price this has super value and we strongly recommend! - Yes, the films are horrible.

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus


Supplements


 

 

Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 
Screen Captures
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

The Werewolf

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Zombies of Mora Taue

 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 

The Giant Claw


 

Subtitle Sample
 

 

Screen Captures

 

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!