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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Tromos" or "Delirium House" or "Killing House")

 

directed by Norman J. Warren
UK 1978

 

When producer James Garrick (John Nolan, BATMAN BEGINS) makes a horror film about the witch who cursed his family for burning her at the stake, people connected to the production - and seemingly anyone else willing to be drenched in Kensington Gore - start to die mysteriously sometimes at the hands of a black-gloved assailant. Could the killer be James' cousin Anne (Carolyn Courage) - who he just met last week and is (along with him) the last of the line - who tried to kill him with a word while in a trance? How about Philip (James Aubrey, THE HUNGER), James' long-suffering producer? Delores (Elaine Ives-Cameron, MURDER BY DECREE), the owner of the hostel where actress Anne and her thespian friends are living (she's not really connected with the production, but she swans around like a creepier Norma Desmond). That's about it as far as suspects, everyone else just has "victim" stamped on their foreheads; although, come to think of it, James' whereabouts are also unclear during the killings.

Director Norman Warren has stated that he was inspired by SUSPIRIA to do TERROR as a series of horrific set-pieces goosed with irrational color gel lighting (with an emphasis on green) and a loud soundtrack (albeit not 4-channel like the Argento film) with a hybrid score of processed electronic music, moans, and groans. Warren and screenwriter David MacGillivray were trying to get away from the Hammer horror template, to which they felt their previous film SATAN'S SLAVE belonged, and embraced Argento's rule-breaking visuals-over-plot ; although, it should be said, that
SUSPIRIA's thin story is stronger than that of TERROR (which might have been better with a more focused story that better-connected the various victims). A death by a pane of plate glass does anticipate a sequence in Argento's INFERNO. Actor Michael Craze (SATAN'S SLAVE) had an epileptic fit during the production, so he was replaced by James Aubrey playing a different character in order to preserve the footage already shot (Craze's brother Peter also has a role as the temperamental softcore director named after the film's cinematographer Les Young); however, Nolan's and Courage's characters also disappear for extended stretches of the narrative for extended set-pieces involving barely-related characters (one of these set-pieces is just one lengthy false scare). Mary Maude (CRUCIBLE OF TERROR), William Russell (TV's DOCTOR WHO, which also featured Craze), and Glynis Barber (EDGE OF SANITY) also have small-though-prominent roles.

Eric Cotenas

Posters / VHS / Vinyl

Theatrical Release: 26 October 1979 (USA)

Reviews                                                                  More Reviews                                                        DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

BCI/EclipseEclipse
Region 0 - NTSC
Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Vinegar Syndrome- Region FREE- Blu-ray
Runtime 1:19:21 (4% PAL speedup) 1:24:27 1:24:18 1:24:32.734
Video

1.80:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.93 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.11 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 36,030,296,916 bytes

Feature Size: 24,414,071,424 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.82 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection)

 

Bitrate:

BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature)

 

Bitrate:

Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater)

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English DTS 5.1; English Dobly Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1656 kbps 1.0 / 96 kHz / 1656 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Interview:

Dolby Digital Audio English 128 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 128 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English HoH, none none none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Norman J. Warren and writer David McGillivray
• French Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:37)
• U.S. Radio Spot (0:20)
• Deleted Scenes
• - Bathtime with Brenda (16:9; 1:15)
• - Night Club (16:9; 1:32)
• BONUS DISC (disc 5):
• BLOODY GOOD FUN documentary (16:9; 41:05)

DVD Release Date: 22 November 2004
Coffin Boxed Set

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: BCI/EclipseEclipse

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Bonus Film: LAND OF THE MINOTAUR (see above)
 

DVD Release Date: 26 September 2006
Amaray

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Scorpion Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Playable with optional KATARINA'S NIGHTMARE THEATER segments
• BLOODY GOOD FUN featurette (16:9; 40:40)
• Deleted Scenes
• - Bathtime with Brenda (16:9; 1:14)
• - Night Club (16:9; 1:32)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:41)
• French Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:37)
• Trailers for NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, and THE DEVIL WITHIN HER
• Bonus Film: THE DEVIL'S MEN (see above)

 

DVD Release Date: 24 January 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Vinegar Syndrome

 

1.85:1 Disc Size: 36,030,296,916 bytes

Feature Size: 24,414,071,424 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.82 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video    

 

Edition Details:
• Extensive audio interview with director Norman J. Warren
Brand new video interviews with:
Norman J. Warren - director (20:34)
David McGillivray - screenwriter (12:57)
Carolyn Courage - actress (5:03)
Tricia Walsh - actress (8:49)
Mary Maude - actress (8:34)
Peter Craze - actor (10:06)
Deleted and extended scenes (4:46)
Reversible cover

Blu-ray Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Transparent
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 5

 

 

Comments

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

 

Vinegar Syndrome's new Blu-ray is cited as being "newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original camera negative". Their 1080P is a gigantic leap over the muddy, dark DVDs. The image is brighter an clearer with more visible color separation, better contrast and wonderful grain support on the dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. It's a wonderful example of the benefits of HD with the proper source material. It is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and shows more information in the frame. Night and day boost in video quality.

Vinegar Syndrome transfer the audio in a faithful DTS-HD Master mono track (24-bit) and it sounds, reasonably clean with the production limitations in tact. The score is credited to Ivor Slaney (Prey, Death Ship, Paid to Kill, Terror Street, Bad Blonde, Gambler and the Lady) and it sounds very strong in supporting the film. It's an interesting soundtrack - also available on CD HERE. There are optional English SDH subtitles are also provided (see sample below) on the Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Vinegar Syndrome include an audio interview, playing to the film, with director Norman J. Warren talking to Kat Ellinger for a shade over an hour about his career. There are also brand new video interviews with director Warren for over 20-minutes, screenwriter David McGillivray for a dozen minutes, actresses Carolyn Courage, Tricia Walsh and Mary Maude separately for 20-minutes in total plus actor Peter Craze for ten and 5-minutes of deleted and extended scenes. The package has a reversible cover (see below.)

This film really surprised- I loved the opening sequence and kept enjoying it all the way to the conclusion. It's a definite 'B' effort but, like Warren's
Prey, a great premise built upon well. There is both a style and intensity here that offers plenty of value if you aren't expecting large-budget production features. I liked it - especially in the new, vastly improved, HD presentation including the 2+ hours of extras. Vinegar Syndrome continue to impress - absolutely recommended!      

Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: NOTE: The 'Katarina's Nightmare Theater' Double Feature also has DEVIL'S MEN compared HERE.

Anchor Bay's UK DVD of TERROR featured a progressive, anamorphic presentation of a somewhat compromised version. The image is brighter (perhaps too bright with highlights that threaten to clip) and exposes more image on the right side of the frame, but it features less image information on the top and bottom (although this is only a problem during the opening credits where credits near the top and bottom of the frame in a couple title cards are cropped off). Scorpion's DVD features a progressive transfer of the Crown International U.S. version (BCI's transfer utilized the same master but was given an interlaced encoding). The US transfer is darker but still suited to the film's style, and is also longer than the UK version.

The US version features approximately a minute and a half of additional dialogue roughly split between the two "Bathtime with Brenda" studio shooting scenes (additional deleted material from the first of these shoots in the supplements is the same on both the Anchor Bay and Scorpion discs). The stabbing murder of the Tricia Walsh's character features a single additional shot missing from the UK version of a knife all the way through her foot. The X certificate theatrical version ran 87 minutes and 9 seconds, which is almost three minutes longer than the US print. It is possible that the missing footage could be comprised of the supplemental deleted scenes.

As with some other Anchor Bay UK releases of this period, TERROR featured intermittently effective 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS upmixes. The 40-minute documentary, deleted scenes, and French trailer on the Scorpion disc were all ported over from the Anchor Bay release; however, the commentary was either not licensed or could not be synchronized with the longer cut of the film. It's loss is regrettable, but the documentary features input from director Norman Warren, producer/cinematographer Les Young, associate producer Moira Young, writer David MacGillivray, actresses Carolyn Courage, Elaine Ives-Cameron, and Mary Maude, and actor James Aubrey. Exclusive to the Scorpion release is the American Crown International theatrical trailer, as well as the "Katarina's Nightmare Theater" intro and post-script.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 
 

   

 

Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample - Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Norman J. Warren Collection) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) BCI/EclipseEclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Scorpion Releasing (Katerina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 



More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

BCI/EclipseEclipse
Region 0 - NTSC
Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Vinegar Syndrome- Region FREE- Blu-ray

 




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