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The Premature Burial [Blu-ray]
(Roger Corman, 1962)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)
Video: Koch Media / Kino Lorber
Region: 'B'-locked / Region 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:17:55.760 / 1:21:15.871
Disc Size: 15,927,707,902 bytes/ 20,891,601,831 bytes
Feature Size: 13,724,939,264 bytes / 17,652,916,224 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps / 25.79 Mbps
Chapters: 13 / 8
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 24th, 2012 / May 12th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution:1080i / 23.976 fps / 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1562 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1562 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1806 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1806 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1604 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1604 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Original Trailer (2:28)
• Buried Alive - Joe Dante on The Premature Burial (9:48)
Description: Roger Corman's success with low-budget adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe tales continued with this third installment, the first to lack the commanding presence of Vincent Price. Instead, we have Ray Milland as tormented protagonist Guy Carrell, who is so traumatized by the death of his father -- whom he believes was entombed alive after suffering a cataleptic attack -- that he becomes convinced that he will meet a similar demise. Guy's mounting dementia rapidly undermines his recent marriage to the lovely Emily (Hazel Court), particularly after he begins the construction of a specially designed crypt rigged with numerous escape devices. Encouraged by Emily to face his fears, Guy decides to view his father's remains, to prove once and for all whether he died peacefully. When the crypt is opened, however, what he finds there is so horrifying that he succumbs to a cataleptic episode himself, which doctors misdiagnose as a fatal heart attack... and Guy's worst fear soon becomes a reality. Milland's performance conveys the requisite amount of hand-wringing torment (in the mode of The Lost Weekend), even if he fails to capture the manic intensity that Price brought to the other Poe films. Corman's deft direction, employing a rich palette of colors and superb widescreen compositions, is on a par with the series' finest installments.
The third of Corman's generally impressive Poe cycle suffers from the fact that Milland, rather than Vincent Price (lead in most of the other entries in the series), stars as the cataleptic medical student haunted by fantastic fears of being buried alive like his father before him. Needless to say, nightmare becomes reality and revenge is meted out; indeed, the predictability of the plotting clearly led Corman to focus his attention, somewhat decoratively, on conjuring up a gloomy Gothic atmosphere that, while effective, too often seems an end in itself, rather than a means of creating horror. The film does have its macabre moments, however, notably Milland proudly showing friends around a tomb he has devised for himself, complete with a variety of exits should his worst dreams come true.
The film is set in England and stars Ray Milland as Guy Carrell, a former medical student who is obsessed with the fear that he will be buried alive. He's convinced that a similar fate befell his father. Like the elder Carrell, Guy suffers from cataleptic attacks which leave him in an unconscious state with a pulse so faint that he appears to be dead. Terrified that he will be mistaken for dead and quickly buried, Guy builds an elaborate crypt with many fail-safe devices thrown in. Into his maddening world comes old flame Emily Gault (Hazel Court), who's intent on rekindling their relationship. The two end up marrying, but Guy's nightmare continues. Now he's hearing eerie noises at night and his nightmares are intensifying. Finally, after going to his father's crypt and seeing the face of frozen, wide-eyed fear on the corpse, Carrell collapses into a catatonic-like coma and his phobia of being buried alive becomes frighteningly real! Is Carrell going mad or is a sinister, murderous plot afoot?Excerpt from ClassicHorror located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Premature Burial was available in the 2007 Roger Corman Collection DVD set . Unfortunately in this German Blu-ray it is in 1080i - running in, sped-up, PAL time. The Koch Blu-ray image is modest. The image quality is superior to SD - but not by a large proportion still showing some softness. The colors are fairly tight and vibrant. This Blu-ray visuals are damage-free but never export a sense of depth or healthy grain texture. The 2.35:1 framed transfer gave me an enjoyable presentation but never advances to the heights of the format.
The Kino Lorber is also single-layered but has a higher bitrate and is marginally tighter in the static captures. Where the big difference will be noted is that the German BD is in PAL timing and is interlaced. Kino is, by far, the best in-motion.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
There is a decent lossless 2.0 channel track (DTS-HD Master). The score by Ronald Stein - who has done more than his share of exploitive 'B', API-style, Drive-In flics (She Creature, It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth, Dementai 13, Spider Baby etc.). There is an optional German DUB, no subtitle and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
The Kino Lorber audio is about the same technical quality as the German - also with a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track, but those sensitive to it - will notice the PAL speedup and higher pitch on the German Koch. Neither offer subtitles and they are coded for their respective regions.
Included are trailers (with German title sequence), an older Corman interview and an image gallery. Better than bare-bones but I'd love a commentary as the film has some interesting and odd attributes.
Kino Lorber go a step further than their German counterpart with a new 10-minute appreciation from director Joe Dante on The Premature Burial, the same Roger Corman Interview as on the Koch, add a brief Trailer From Hell episode with Corman and an original trailer.
The Kino Lorber bests on every front and theirs is the best package for this Corman classic.I enjoy it each timer I see it.
September 1st, 2014
April 29th, 2015
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 3500 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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