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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The House of Seven Corpses [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Harrison, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: International Amusements Corp.

Video: Severin Films

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:11.828 

Disc Size: 24,283,850,396 bytes

Feature Size: 20,294,608,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 13th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 945 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 945 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by associate producer Gary Kent Moderated by The Alamo Drafthouse's Lars Nilsen

Exclusive Interview With Star John Carradine (28:04)

Theatrical Trailer (2:08)

Second Disc DVD of the Feature

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: "Eight graves! Seven bodies!" screamed the ads, "One killer... and he's already dead!" Hollywood legends John Ireland (RED RIVER, SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS), John Carradine (THE GRAPES OF WRATH, VAMPIRE HOOKERS) and Howard Hughes' paramour Faith Domergue (CULT OF THE COBRA, THIS ISLAND EARTH) star this much-loved `70s shocker about a film crew shooting an occult drama in a sinister manor - actually the former Utah Governor's Mansion - with its own grisly history of family bloodshed. From its notoriously gruesome opening to the creepy zombie-attack climax, revisit the old-school favorite that Bloody Disgusting hails as "a classic Saturday afternoon `Creature Feature' scare" as you've never seen it before, now transferred in HD from original vault materials and featuring an exclusive archive interview with the legendary horror icon Carradine and a revealing new audio commentary.

 

 

The Film:

The only feature directorial effort for Paul Harrison, a TV writer on such series as H.R. Pufnstuf and Doctor Dolittle, is a decent low-budget nonsensical atmospheric horror pic. It was atmospherically shot in Salt Lake City, Utah. Harrison co-writes with Thomas J. Kelly a film-within-a film horror story, that slowly builds tension in a haunted house and in the climax the real life scene turns into a poorly executed gory slasher pic.

Harried and demanding veteran horror film director Eric Hartman (John Ireland) films his horror pic on location in the magnificent stately 19th century Beal Mansion, the notorious mansion cursed with seven inexplicable gruesome deaths among the Beal ancestors. The sinister estate caretaker, Edgar Price (John Carradine), warns the cocky director, who moves into the house with the cast during filming, the spirits in the house must not be aroused without putting everyone in danger. The thanks Price gets for his warning is to be kicked off the set.

Excerpt from Dennis Schwartz Ozu's Films located HERE

The director of the movie within the movie likes to slap down the acting takes where nobody blatantly blows it. Sounds like a carbon copy of Paul Harrison, director of The House of Seven Corpses. Granted, it's his first feature, but no wonder he spent the next fifteen years without a directing credit, instead directing silverware layouts. The camera movement is unremarkable, the audio sounds like they connected the boom to a tape recorder using twine, and the actors are given free reign to utterly suck. But that's too film school of an approach for this movie.

I really liked the setup for this movie. Call me a sucker, but I really dig the promise inherent in doomed family stories, a la Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher." Yeah, we know that every member of the family since whenever has died in a suspicious way, but the story is in the why and the how of it. But this setup ends up as a bait-and-switch; besides the opening montage and the basis for the ironic film within the film, there's little mention of these poor, doomed Beals. Mr. Harrison, however, decided that, with the success of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead six years earlier, zombie killers were much more interesting.

Excerpt from Furies review located HERE

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

The House of Seven Corpses goes Blu-ray from Severin Films.  The film remains a disaster but the composition seems more accurate in widescreen (in this case it is 1.78:1). Skin tones also gain more realistic colors in the 1080P.  This is only single-layered with a decent bitrate and show an abundance of grain. Contrast exhibits decent black levels - the overall visuals are brighter. There is a bit of a green cast but I didn't find it distracting. There is almost no noise. This Blu-ray has a bit of frame specific damage but even as a reasonable transfer from a good source - the presentation is nothing remarkable - much like the film.

 

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

 

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC HERE TOP vs. Severin Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC HERE TOP vs. Severin Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC HERE TOP vs. Severin Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master mono track at 945 kbps. The effects show a bit of depth but nothing dramatic. There is no real score that I cousdl ascertain but an eerie coo'ing voice permeating some scenes. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Sounds like a new commentary by associate producer Gary Kent moderated by The Alamo Drafthouse's Lars Nilsen with some reminiscences about the production. We get a poor-quality vintage interview with John Carradine for almost a full 1/2 hour. An interesting man. There is a theatrical trailer and the package contains a second disc DVD of the Feature.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Gracious - what a horrible film. Ughhh. I can forgive a lot but there are so many production type distractions - poor editing and even the sloppy acting leaves a lot to be desired.  There isn't much about this film to extol (poor Faith Domergue) but the Severin Blu-ray is adept if unremarkable. I can't recommend though this film, in or out of HD, - it is just a mess. 

Gary Tooze

August 14th, 2013

 

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)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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