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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

House of the Long Shadows [Blu-ray]

 

(Pete Walker, 1984)

 

Pete Walker is a British film director, writer and producer, who, in the 60s and 70s, confined his output to primarily horror and sexploitation films, often blurring the line and overlapping the two genres. Walker's work was initially dismissed as pedestrian, however some contemporary critics, found enlightened and challenging subtexts in his oeuvre of commercially-made exploitation films. As with Hammer Studios Walker's film are being revisited. The latter for their social relevance which frequently contained attractive young women at odds with the moral codes of mainstream society. He has stated "All I wanted to do was create a bit of mischief."

Walker's work is being recognized on Blu-ray by Kino (Redemption), BFI and others. A list is below:

 

For Men Only (1968)

Man of Violence (1969)

The Comeback

 (1978)

Die Screaming, Marianne

(1971)

The Flesh and Blood Show

(1972)

Frightmare (1974)

House of Whipcord

 (1974)

House of Mortal Sin (1976)

Schizo

(1976)

Home Before Midnight (1979)

House of the Long Shadows

 (1983)

The Pete Walker Collection I

The Pete Walker Collection II

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: London-Cannon Films

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:41:58.529 

Disc Size: 24,878,147,336 bytes

Feature Size: 21,037,344,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.90 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 15th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1564 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with Director Pete Walker
Audio Commentary by Film Historian David Del Valle
Interview with Director Pete Walker (14:48)
Trailers for House of the Long Shadows (2:27), Madhouse (1:48) and The Oblong Box (1:56)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newly Re-mastered in HD! Horror legends Vincent Price (The Oblong Box), Christopher Lee (The Crimson Cult), Peter Cushing (Madhouse) and John Carradine (The Sentinel) star as the screen s greatest gruesome foursome! When a young novelist, Kenneth Magee (Desi Arnaz, Jr., The Night the Bridge Fell Down) spends a night at Baldpate Manor to win a bet that he can turn a best-selling novel in 24 hours, he gets more than he bargained for. The grizzly Grisbane clan arrives to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a ghoulish family secret. And their dinner party has murder on the menu. Lightning! Thunder! Torrential rain! Clattering shutters! Creaking doors! A locked attic! A sinister secret! Murder! All the ingredients of the classic Old Dark House tale come together in this top-notch horror film by cult filmmaker Pete Walker (Frightmare). Co-starring Richard Todd and Sheila Keith.

 

 

The Film:

In this umpteenth remake of the George M. Cohan-Earl Derr Biggers play Seven Keys to Baldpate, Desi Arnaz Jr. plays Kenneth Magee, the young writer who bets that he can bat out a mystery play in one evening. Magee squirrels himself away in a forbidding old mansion where, unbeknownst to him, a bizarre family reunion is scheduled to commence. As the participants begin dropping like flies, Magee finds himself in the middle of a genuine mystery. At least, he thinks he does. At least, the audience thinks he thinks he does. Of historical importance is the fact that House of the Long Shadows represents the only co-starring effort of those titans of terror Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and John Carradine. The highlight is the cozy tete-a-tete between Price and Cushing during the climactic party scene.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

Cushing's performance is brilliant as ever as the lisping drunk, Lee actually bothers to act in this one rather than just looking menacing, and Price is mellower and more reserved than usual, but still a force to be reckoned with.

Considering the PG rating, the film is a typical Walker-esque gore-fest, too. There's throat cuttings, eye gougings, hangings, axe batterings and even a gruelling acid-in-the-face scene. In fact, it's far more brutal than supposedly X-rated shite like Crucible Of Blood. The less said about Arnaz and "love interest" Julie (Emmerdale, again) Peasgood the better.

House Of The Long Shadows could have been the last great creation of the ailing British horror film industry, a grand bowing-out by Walker and the three names synonymous with the genre.

Excerpt from British Horror Films located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of House Of The Long Shadows looks quite consistent in 1080P.  The image quality is acceptable for HD although not stellar. There are a few very light vertical scratches but they are mostly unnoticeable. It's neither crisp nor overly soft - it has some decent balance to the visuals - no noise - no real depth - some grain textures. It may be a shade faded but overall the Blu-ray  provides a decent, watchable, presentation.

 

NOTE: There is also an MGM (made-on-demand) DVD available HERE, although the AR is described as 'Full Frame'.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1564 kbps in the original English language. There are effects in the film - although not much beyond, rain, screaming and occasional violence in the conclusion. The score is by Richard Harvey (Lady Chatterley) and it sounds adequate and supportive to the film's suspense. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kino Lorber add two commentary tracks. A first with director Pete Walker and a second with film historian David Del Valle - expert in horror/science-fiction/cult and fantasy film genres. I enjoyed the latter - very educational - and will indulge in the first commentary at a later date. There is also a 15-minute interview with director Walker and trailers for House of the Long Shadows, Madhouse and The Oblong Box. I understand there is a 2012 documentary entitled House of the Long Shadows... Revisited that might have been a good addition.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I thought that House Of The Long Shadows was pretty entertaining. It probably had a lot to do with the star power - I don't think there is a film in existence with both Cushing and Lee that I can't warm to. Sure, it can get a little silly in the conclusion, but it didn't hurt the overall value, IMO. It has some Pete Walker signatures for those that appreciate his style. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
is a great package with the 2 commentary tracks and I enjoyed seeing the film in 1080P. I think this is a good purchase for fans of the genre, as well as those you enjoy Cushing, Lee, Vincent Price or the director. 

Gary Tooze

August 25th, 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 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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