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Directed by Val Guest
UK 1958

 

Val Guest is a director who has received sparse attention from scholars, but in the 1950’s he directed and wrote many films for Hammer. Unlike Terence Fisher, Guest was able to leap easily from genre to genre, but for me Guest is at his best when dealing with gritty and realistic material. He is a filmmaker who worked particularly well with black and white, and much of the resonance and reality of this film is evoked through the beautiful monochrome cinematography of Jack Asher. It gives the film a sense of immediacy and a brightness which indicates the brutal toll of a blazing sun. The film sets its stall out instantly with an opening sequence which sees an under nourished man digging what turns out to be his own grave. He is dispatched with the wave of a hand in a cruelly economical fashion in front of the watching prisoners. The Japanese are coldly logical in the manner in which they deal out punishments, but this cool logic is sometimes betrayed by a need to mock and humiliate. The indignities visited upon the diplomat Beattie (Walter Fitzgerald) illustrate a desire on the Japanese part to reduce figures of respect and authority to animals.

Excerpt from The Celluloid Highway located HERE

***

It is 1945 and a prisoner-of-war camp in Malaysia is ruled in brutal fashion by Colonel Yamamitsu and his henchman Captain Sakamura. Aware that his war crimes will condemn him, Yamamitsu vows to kill all his prisoners if Japan surrenders. Inmate Colonel Lambert, desperately trying to keep order amongst his men, discovers that the war is over and tries to keep the fact secret from his captors in the hope that the camp will be liberated. However, his acts of sabotage bring about reprisals from the Japanese…

Excerpt from HorroCultFilms located HERE

 

 Posters and one book cover

 

Theatrical Release:  April 15th, 1958

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Review: Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Presently only available as part of Indicator's Hammer Vol 3 - Blood And Terror - Limited Edition Blu Ray Set:

    

 

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:20:57.143
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,539,868,944 bytes

Feature: 23,853,524,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.59 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Audio

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

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,539,868,944 bytes

Feature: 23,853,524,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.59 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• New and exclusive audio commentary for The Camp on Blood Island with Hammer icon Barbara Shelley and horror novelist Stephen Laws
• Inside The Camp on Blood Island - documentary written and directed by Hammer expert Marcus Hearn, narrated by Claire Louise Amias and featuring film historians Alan Barnes and Jonathan Rigby (25:48)
• From Light to Dark (2018): Professor Steve Chibnall, author of British Horror Cinema, looks at Val Guest’s career and the making of The Camp on Blood Island (17:39)
• Hammer’s Women (2018): new profiles of actors Mary Merrall by Kat Ellinger
• Return to Blood Island (2018): a new and exclusive interview with Hammer script supervisor, Renée Glynne (3:25)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:08)
• Image galleries: promotional photography and publicity material
• Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklets for each film, with new essays by Kim Newman, Neil Mitchell, James Oliver and Samm Deighan, archival cast and crew interviews, original pressbook extracts, contemporary critical reviews, and film credits


Blu-ray
Release Date: July 30th, 2018
Custom Blu-ray box

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: (July 2018) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray: Indicator have transferred The Camp on Blood Island to a dual-layered Blu-ray with a max'ed out bitrate. The black and white film visuals have a thickness that accentuate the texture. It is neither crisp nor unnaturally glossy. Contrast is strong but while the image can be a bit soft at times - it looks pleasing in-motion with a very film-like appearance.   

The film is presented with a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. There are effects including gunfire, grenade explosions etc. that carry a modicum of depth. The score by Gerard Schurmann (Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh) suits the film and augments the atmosphere and bleakness of the storyline. The Indicator has optional English (SDH) subtitles on its Region FREE
Blu-ray.

Indicator, as usual, add many supplements starting with a new audio commentary with Hammer icon Barbara Shelley and horror novelist Stephen Laws detailing some of the film's history and production details. I found it very interesting. Inside The Camp on Blood Island is a 26-minute documentary written and directed by Hammer expert Marcus Hearn, narrated by Claire Louise Amias and featuring film historians Alan Barnes and Jonathan Rigby mentioning specifics about the film, hammer and the performers. From Light to Dark is a new video piece with Professor Steve Chibnall, author of British Horror Cinema, looking at Val Guest’s career and the making of The Camp on Blood Island. It runs shy of 18-minutes. We get another segment of Hammer’s Women with Kat Ellinger giving a profile of actors Mary Merrall. Return to Blood Island is a short, new, interview with Hammer script supervisor, Renée Glynne plus there is both an original theatrical trailer and an image gallery with promotional photography and publicity material. The Hammer Vol. 3 package has a limited edition exclusive 40-page booklets for each film, with new essays by Kim Newman, Neil Mitchell, James Oliver and Samm Deighan, archival cast and crew interviews, original pressbook extracts, contemporary critical reviews, and film credits.

The Camp on Blood Island is another fine addition to Indicator's Hammer Vol. 3 Blu-ray Boxset. It's fairly unique in the legendary studio's library of gothic horror but they have produced war films before. This is a doozy in its harshly portrayed topic. A highly memorable film and an excellent Blu-ray package - that we strongly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

 

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Presently only available as part of Indicator's Hammer Vol 3 - Blood And Terror - Limited Edition Blu Ray Set:

    

 

Distribution Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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