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Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

directed by Freddie Francis
UK 1965

Dr. Terror (Peter Cushing) is a mysterious fortune teller who boards a train and offers to tell fellow passengers (Christopher Lee, Roy Castle, Donald Sutherland) their fortune with tarot cards. Five possible futures unfold: an architect returns to his ancestral home to find a werewolf out for revenge; a huge flesh-eating vine takes over a house; a musician gets involved with voodoo; an art critic is pursued by a disembodied hand and a doctor discovers his new wife is a vampire. But they all end in the same result…..DEATH. A fascinating and fast paced example of portmanteau film-making with a deadly twist in the tale.

***

Not to be confused with David Hewitt's abominable Dr. Terror's Gallery of Horrors (AKA The Blood Suckers), this clever horror omnibus is one of the better early anthologies from Amicus Productions, thanks to Freddie Francis' stylish direction and a tongue-in-cheek approach from writer Milton Subotsky (who would later apply the same sardonic treatment to the EC Comics-based productions Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror). The framing story is set in a train car, where five passengers have their fortunes told by the all-seeing Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing), who refers to his ominous tarot deck as his "House of Horrors." Their respective stories involve all manner of occult happenings: a jazz musician's involvement with a voodoo curse; an estate haunted by a werewolf; a doctor (Donald Sutherland) who suspects that his wife has become a vampire; a cottage besieged by a monster kudzu vine; and the most entertaining segment, in which arrogant art critic Christopher Lee is avidly pursued by a snubbed artist's severed hand. In the end, it doesn't take a jaded horror buff to deduce Schreck's true identity or the ultimate destination of the train passengers, but it's a fun ride nonetheless. Not all of the stories work (the vampire story's "twist" ending is rather silly, the voodoo tale painfully dated), and the effects are generally sub-par, but Francis keeps the pace snappy throughout, giving the entire film a throwaway, Halloween spook-house feel. Hammer horror fans will certainly find this a keeper on the strength of Cushing and Lee's performances.

 

  Posters

Theatrical Release:  February 23rd, 1965

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Comparison:

Odeon Entertainment (Limited Edition Steelbook) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Non-steelbook coming June 2016:

    

Distribution Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:37:40.000 1:37:56.912 1:37:56.912
Video

Disc Size: 37,558,522,486 bytes

Feature Size: 18,054,414,336 bytes

Total Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size: 23,698,044,560 bytes

Feature Size: 23,522,162,688 bytes

Total Bitrate: 28.59 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size: 48,858,014,452 bytes

Feature Size:22,089,778,560 bytes

Total Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate: Odeon Blu-ray

Bitrate: Olive Blu-ray

Bitrate: Wicked-Vision Media (DE) Blu-ray

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

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1779 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1779 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1563 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1563 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1758 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1758 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1816 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1816 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1599 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1599 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles English, None None German, English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Odeon Entertainment

 

Disc Size: 37,558,522,486 bytes

Feature Size: 18,054,414,336 bytes

Total Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Freddie Francis and Jonathan Sothcott

• Making of Dr Terror documentary by Nucleus Films (57:44)

  Appreciation of the life and career of the late Sir Christopher Lee (47:00)

•  Gallery of images (7:07)

• Trailer (1:01)

Liner notes - 12 page appreciation booklet by horror writer, Johnny Mains.



Blu-ray Release Date: November 9th, 2015
Standard (UK thicker) Blu-ray case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

 

Disc Size: 23,698,044,560 bytes

Feature Size: 23,522,162,688 bytes

Total Bitrate: 28.59 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
None
 

Blu-ray Release Date: October 26th, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio:
Wicked-Vision Media (DE)

 

Disc Size: 48,858,014,452 bytes

Feature Size:22,089,778,560 bytes

Total Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
Audio commentary by director Freddie Francis (English),
Audio commentary by Dr. Rolf Giesen and Uwe Sommerlad (German)
Introduction by Dr. Rolf Giesen (5:28)
"House of Cards": brand new documentary by director Jake West (57:46)
German 35mm theatrical version (only Blu-ray - 1:37:26),
German title and end sequence (1:27 + 1:55),
German Trailer (2:38)
Original trailer (1:17), recut trailer (2015 - 0:59)
Italian trailer (2:48)
Italian title and end sequence  (1:21 + 1:56)
Dutch VHS bias (1:42)
Image galleries (over 200 posters, press photos, lobby cards, etc.)
Rare advertising, script, program and press kits
Amicus' filmography

Trailers - The Brood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Scanners (3), Horrorland
 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 30th, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray January 16':Just to throw a monkey-wrench into the proceedings, we've added the German Blu-ray - and it's a good one. The color scheme matches up with the Odeon and we presume its from the same source. It a shade darker than the UK - similar, but lesser, bitrate and it looks excellent in-motion. It is also cited as being a 'brand-new 4K scan from 35mm negative'. There is similar lossless audio (16-bit) for Elisabeth Lutyens' score with both original English and German DUB(s) and offers optional subtitles in both those languages. It goes beyond both other Blu-rays by being Region FREE - and, like the Odeon it has extensive extras. We should note that the case is actually black not standard blue like the Amazon photo.

NOTE: The Euro (Pinewood) editions miss out on the 'grim reaper' shot at the very end of the film. The Olive release contains it.

There are two audio commentaries; the one also found on the Oeeon with director Freddie Francis and (in English with optional German subtitles) as well as another with Dr. Rolf Giesen and Uwe Sommerlad (in German - no subtitles). There is also the same, almost hour long, "House of Cards": documentary by director Jake West. Wicked-Vision Media add a 6-minute introduction by Dr. Rolf Giesen (in German with optional English subtitles) as well as the 1.5 hour German 35mm theatrical version (looking fairly damaged), taking up 10 Gig with a 12 Mbps bitrate. It is only in German with no subs or DUBs. Then there are plenty of minor extras including the German and Italian title and end sequence, a German, Italian and Dutch VHS trailer, original English trailer and the 2015 recut trailer plus extensive image galleries (over 200 total - posters, press photos, lobby cards, etc.) There are some rare advertising, script, program and press kits graphics and an Amicus' filmography.

This certainly deserves some merit as it is such a stacked package and that it is region FREE. I think that it's great to have the option for those that prefer one look over another and want the specific supplements over one of the other Blu-rays. The choice is yours!   

***

ADDITION: Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray October 15': NOTE: The Odeon is "Scanned at 4k by Pinewood Post Production and with newly commissioned Steel Book art by the renowned Graham Humphreys, this collector's version is limited to 4,000 individually numbered Steel Books." The Odeon starts with this:

There are some surprising differences between the two Blu-ray releases. There is a minor disparity in framing but the most notable differences are the colors, brightness and contrast. The Odeon, restored at Pinewood, can tend to look a bit yellow but this may be an accurate appearance for the film - I don't know. The title color disparity reminds me of the restoration of The Day the Earth Caught Fire - which also had a decidedly more burnt-yellow title card - even in the 'Censor's Certification' screen - (but we know that was an intentional filter effect). The more I look at both Dr. Terror's House of Horrors transfers - the more I lean to the Odeon. But I keep bouncing back and forth between the two. The brighter look and cooler skin tones seem more pleasing. The Olive release is actually more technically robust and may show advanced texture. But I'll go with the Odeon as the more correct in terms of replicating the original 'look' but, as with everything, it can come down to your personal preference. They both look very strong in-motion, but there again I might lean to the UK release.

Olive go 24-bit with a DTS-HD Master for the audio while Odeon use a 16-bit linear PCM.  Both sound clean and tight with notable depth in the effects (train noises) and screams.  Elisabeth Lutyens' (The Skull, The Terrornauts, Paranoiac, Never Take Sweets from a Stranger) score certainly benefits from the lossless sounding creepy and atmospheric. Odeon include optional English (SDH) subtitles, while Olive do not, and the Blu-ray discs are region coded 'B' + 'A' respectively.

The other huge difference are the supplements. Olive go their usual bare-bones route, but Odeon stack their limited edition steelcase - with a worthwhile commentary with director/cinematographer Freddie Francis and Jonathan Sothcott and almost two hours of featurettes in the form of a an excellent Making of Dr Terror documentary by Nucleus Films and an appreciation of the life and career of the late Sir Christopher Lee. There is a gallery of images, a trailer and the package contains liner notes - a 12 page appreciation booklet by horror writer, Johnny Mains.

I loved the film's segments - 'Werewolf', 'Creeping Vine' (reminiscent of The Day of the Triffids), 'Voodoo', 'Disembodied Hand' (With Christopher Lee), 'Vampire' (with Donald Sutherland) and the Epilogue. Amicus Productions can rank right up there with some of the most charismatic of Hammer Studios' efforts. This is a winner and worthy of the LE and steelcase that Odeon are releasing. Strongly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze




Menus

 

Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

 Subtitle Sample

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Box Covers

 

Non-steelbook coming June 2016:

    

Distribution Odeon Entertainment - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Wicked-Vision Media (DE) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Amicus was another British film production company. They were based out of Shepperton Studios, and produced films from the early 60's  to 1977. They specialized in Horror movies, in a similar vein to Hammer Studios (Peter Cushing often starring) but also made portmanteau films in that genre. They were revived in 2007 with Stuart Gordon's Stuck, Here are a few of their titles available on digital:

The City of the Dead (1960)

The Deadly Bees (1965)

Dr. Terrors House of Horrors (1965)

The Skull (1965)

The Amicus Collection

Torture Garden (1967)

Madhouse (1974)

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

At the Earth's Core (1976)

The People That Time Forgot (1977)

Tales From The Crypt / Vault Of Horror)




 

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Gary Tooze

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