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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Estate of Insanity" )

 

directed by Robert Hartford-Davies
UK 1964

 

Sir Richard Fordyke (John Turner, THE POWER OF ONE) returns to Fordyke Hall with his new bride Lady Elizabeth (Heather Sears, Hammer's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) to a chilly reception from the locals after a village girl who had been raped died screaming his name. Although Sir Richard was a hundred miles away during the crime, his paralyzed father Sir Giles' (Joseph Tomelty, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER) steward Seymour (Peter Arne, STRAW DOGS) informs him of talk of witchcraft and deviltry among the villagers. Worse yet, the villagers have claimed to see Sir Richard on horseback at night being pursued by the specter of his first wife Anne - who supposedly committed suicide when she was unable to bear him an heir - crying "Murderer!" When Sir Richard himself starts seeing the apparition himself and his sleep is constantly disturbed by the banging of the window from which Anne leapt, the seasoned viewer will deduce that a bit of gaslighting. On the other hand, when the members of the household - including Elizabeth, Anne's sister/Sir Giles' caregiver Diane (Ann Lynn, SCREAMTIME) and jittery butler Harris (Norman Bird, HANDS OF THE RIPPER) - start encountering Sir Richard in different places simultaneously (and in extremely contrasting moods) and the chambermaids start disappearing, it becomes apparent that something more sinister (or even demonic) may be afoot.

Producers Tony Tenser's and Michael Klinger's (GET CARTER) Compton-Tekli would also give us Polanski's REPULSION and CUL-DE-SAC, but THE BLACK TORMENT is more indicative of the direction Tenser would take when he formed the company Tigon (WITCHFINDER GENERAL). While Terence Fisher's DRACULA and Roger Corman's THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM are usually regarded as the heavy influences on Italian gothic horror, one can also see the influence of THE BLACK TORMENT on some later entries like the Spanish/Italian SCREAM OF THE DEMON LOVER and the Italian pseudo-supernatural THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (the Amicus production AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS also seems to crib an aspect of the plot in which the recent break in the alternating naming tradition of the first born heir has sinister significance). The film is prettily photographed by Peter Newbrook (Freddie Young's assistant on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA) - who would go on to produce low budget British horror films like CRUCIBLE OF TERROR and Hartford-Davies' BLOODSUCKERS and direct the THE ASPHYX (gorgeously shot by Young) - nicely designed and acted but otherwise clunky like director Robert Hartford-Davies' other films (including the recently released CORRUPTION). DOCTOR WHO's Patrick Troughton appears as the stable groom and Francis de Wolff (Hammer's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES) plays the surly blacksmith.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 September 1965 (USA)

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DVD Comparison:

Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Redemption Films/Image Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Redemption Films/Kino Lorber
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:57 1:26:15
Video

1.30:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.65:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

Redemption Films/Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Redemption Films/Kino Lorber

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Redemption Films/Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.30:1

Edition Details:
• Stills Gallery

DVD Release Date: 13 September 2005
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Redemption Films/Kino Lorber

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.65:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Robert Hartford-Davies (4:3; 13:23)
• Trailers for 'The Blood Beast Terror', 'Virgin Witch', 'Burke & Hare', and 'Killer's Moon'

 

DVD Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Released theatrically in the US by the short-lived Governor Films in 1965 and then available on VHS as ESTATE OF INSANITY, THE BLACK TORMENT has had three DVD releases stateside thus far. The Redemption/Image release was the first US DVD of the film while the Redemption/Kino Lorber edition is the third (with a Redemption/Koch Lorber reissue of the Image version with the added Hartford-Davies interview in between). The Image and Koch discs featured a slightly cropped/open matte interlaced presentation while the Kino disc is sourced from a brand new HD master in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The new transfer is a little less blue in the night scenes than the older transfer but it sports overall better contrast, bolder colors, more detail, and more peripheral picture information (so the fullscreen versions are cropped rather than unmatted). The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is also cleaner.

The director's interview is a ponderous affair, and not because of Hartford-Davies. A vintage film interview focusing on Hartford-Davies as an independent producer, it appears to have never been edited so they are constantly interrupted by technicians offscreen and an ill-prepared interviewer. There is no trailer for the film but there are trailers for four other Redemption titles of the same vintage.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus


(
Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Redemption Films/Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Redemption Films/Kino Lorber - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Redemption/Kino Lorber

Sound:

Redemption/Kino Lorber

Extras: Redemption/Kino Lorber
Menu: Redemption/Kino Lorber

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Redemption Films/Image Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Redemption Films/Kino Lorber
Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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