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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Fisher, 1973)

 

UK Blu-ray - Region 'B' edition being released in April 2014:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: Shock (Australia)

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:37.160

Disc Size: 32,564,031,640 bytes

Feature Size: 23,832,348,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 18th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Marcus Hearn with Madeline Smith + Shane Briant

Making of... (24:52)
Terence Fischer Featurette (12:56)

DVD available

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The finale to Hammer's Frankenstein cycle features a young Doctor who is interned in the asylum where Baron Frankenstein supposedly perished after being found experimenting on stolen corpses. In the asylum he meets the mysterious Doctor Victor (Peter Cushing), and gradually comes to realize that Frankenstein is alive and well and continuing his work.

 

 

The Film:

The sixth entry in Hammer Films' Frankenstein series, this film finds Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in charge of a lunatic asylum. When young doctor Simon Helder (Shane Bryant) is institutionalized for attempting to create synthetic life, Frankenstein is delighted: now he'll have an assistant for his own diabolical experiments. This time out, the monster is played by David Prowse, who later went on to international fame as Darth Vader in Star Wars (though of course Vader's voice was provided by James Earl Jones). A new wrinkle to the old story is the Monster's cannibalistic tendencies, allowing for a number of gruesome, gore-encrusted horror highlights.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

After creating the first full color Frankenstein back in 1957, the Hammer Horror Studios found themselves at the end of their series with the seventh and last of their series of these films, the 1974 release Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. Director Terence Fisher was their in the beginning and also helmed this farewell installment. This one begins with another “highly experimental” doctor (Shane Bryant, making the rounds in the genre in feature films and on TV in the Dan Curtis Portrait of Dorian Gray) who lands up at a prison asylum.

However, that does not stop him form his “puzzle people” obsessions. Upon arrival, he decides to inquire about the Baron Frankenstein, the legendary doctor, who is not far behind. Peter Cushing is not far behind. Of note also is the fact that the monster is played (again, but looking different here) by David Prowse, who had already gained notice in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Prowse and Cushing made enough of an impression together that George Lucas would reunite them in the first 1977 Star Wars, as Darth Vader and the equally evil General Tarkin respectively.

Excerpt from Fulvue Drive-In located HERE

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

Firstly, this is the Australian Blu-ray version and we hope to compare it to the UK edition when it is released. Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell gets a 1080i transfer to Blu-ray from Shock. This seems supported by the shorter running time (25 fps as opposed to 24 fps). It is dual-layered with a high bitrate and looked okay on my 60" system. It has some inconsistency but overall provided a decent HD presentation. Generally the visuals are pleasing with a few exceptional scenes showing great clarity and depth. Colors perk-up but I am ken to see the Icon release out of the UK. Contrast appears adept adding some minor depth in the 1.66:1 frame. I wasn't disappointed in the appearance despite being interlaced.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Shock utilize a linear PCM mono track at 1536 kbps. It is clear, flat but has a bit of punch. India-born James Bernard (Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein) score adds to the creepy atmosphere and benefits from the lossless transfer. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide. We should note that we don't yet know whether the UK Blu-ray will be region 'B' or region 'A'.

 

Extras :

Pretty good extras too - a commentary by Marcus Hearn with, stars from the film, Madeline Smith + Shane Briant who add nice flavor. It was decent to add some appreciation. There is a 25-minute Making of... and a glossed-over but informative 13-minute piece on director Terence Fischer. There is also a DVD of the feature included. I understand the upcoming UK Blu-ray duplicates these supplements.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell 's most redeeming feature is Cushing. But even as a lesser Hammer - it can be enjoyed.  The film is a bit awkwardly paced and the creature effects are below-par. It follows an appealing formula but just doesn't achieve as convincingly or atmospherically as most Hammers before it. The Shock Blu-ray provides a decent a/v presentation, despite being 1080i and includes valuable supplements. I suspect that the Icon Entertainment release in the UK will be equal-to or superior, probably being progressive - but we will see. 

Gary Tooze

April 21st, 2014

UK Blu-ray - Region 'B' edition being released in April 2014:


 

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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