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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Legend of Hell House [Blu-ray]

 

(John Hough, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Koch Media

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:51.667

Disc Size: 16,663,084,588 bytes

Feature Size: 16,402,022,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 23rd, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 961 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 961 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 986 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 986 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), German, none

 

Extras:

Trailer (2:24)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Richard Matheson adapted the screenplay of The Legend of Hell House from his own novel. In the tradition of Shirley... Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, four people with alleged extrasensory powers are called upon to spend a weekend in a supposedly haunted house, to either prove or disprove the presence of ghosts. Roddy McDowall has been in the house before, and refuses to treat the possibility of paranormal activity lightly; scientist Clive Revill believes that he can trace the happenings to rational explanations involving electric current; Pamela Franklin is convinced that, if spirits exists, she will be able to communicate with them; and Gayle Hunnicutt plays Revill's young wife, ripe for "possession.

 

 

The Film:

This unexpected characterization leads us to one of the more surprising aspects of The Legend of the Hell House: the restless spirit seems more interested in creating debauchery than murder. I’m used to seeing haunted house movies where the haunting is predicated on a history of horrific violence but in this film the sins of deviant sexuality seem to take precedence. When asked why the house is so evil, Benjamin runs down a laundry list of Belasco’s sins, emphasizing drug addiction, alcoholism, sadism, bestiality, and other ‘sexual goodies.’ There is also mention of a catastrophic night in which 27 revelers died, but more attention is given to detailing Belasco’s endorsement of sexual perversity, implying the house is haunted by the spirit of a sex addict who has more in common with Caligula than Charles Manson. While there are obligatory scenes of chandeliers crashing and projectile chinaware, the spirit is more interested in turning Ann and Florence into harlots who repeatedly attempt to seduce the fey Benjamin.

Excerpt from not coming to a theater near you (Stephen Snart) located HERE

The gloomy Victorian pile in question was once owned by a mysteriously departed, evil munitions tycoon, who filled it with those psychic phenomena. Now, it appears, Roland Culver, as another British millionaire, has acquired that specter-filled manse and hired a group of experts, including Roddy McDowall as a dour "physical medium," to check the dire legend for answers on survival after death.

One member of the group, Clive Revill, as a physicist who scoffs at ectoplasm, night noises and survival after death, is, however, convinced there are forces in the mansion and has a slew of scientific gadgets to destroy them.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

The 70's cultish horror The Legend of Hell House comes to on Blu-ray out of Germany with a decent HD transfer.  The image quality shows some grit and consistent grain that occasionally morphs into noise in the darker sequences. Detail rises in close-ups and colors seem faithful to the source.  This is only single-layered but with no extras sharing the disc the bitrate is acceptable. There are a few speckles but I don't have any strong complaints. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film The Legend of Hell House and it advances beyond the SD-DVD in some notable areas - notably detail and supporting the grain structure.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio offers a modest DTS-HD Master stereo at 961 kbps in the original English - and a similar German DUB. No depth worth discussing but a few punchy audio effects help the aura. I suspect the track is accurate and the lossless transfer benefits the overall presentation. Both German and English subtitles are offered. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

Eric tells us 'the fox DVD, HERE, has a 4.0 mix as well as original mono'.

 

Extras :

Nothing but a beat-up trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Super Richard Matheson-penned 70's horror story. There are some similarities with Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. It is imperfect as a story but it has enough chills-induced to create a spooky Friday-night-popcorn-flic atmosphere. Likewise the Blu-ray isn't fabulous but does a pretty decent job in supporting the film for an HD presentation. I love finding stuff like this on Blu-ray. I enjoyed my viewing a lot and expect many other will too. 

Gary Tooze

May 7th, 2012

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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