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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scream and Scream Again [Blu-ray]

 

(Gordon Hessler, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:34:32.583 

Disc Size: 32,715,327,189 bytes

Feature Size: 25,820,399,616 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 24

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1080 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1080 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1177 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1177 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2016 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2016 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan
Gentleman Gothic: Gordon Hessler at AIP (23:22)
An Interview with Uta Levka (8:43)
Isolated Score Track
Still Gallery
Radio Spot (1:01)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

Limited to 3,000 Copies!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Kind of a horror movie, kind of an espionage film, and in some sense a piece of science fiction, Scream and Scream Again (1970) features turns by three icons of the horror genre: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing. All are involved in a wild “plot” connecting Great Britain to some unnamed totalitarian state where torture, murder, and out-of-control “experiments” are the order of the day. Directed by Gordon Hessler from a screenplay by Christopher Wicking, with cinematography by the worthy John Coquillon.

 

 

The Film:

Strange and terrible things are afoot and the police are helpless to stop them in this taut, complicated thriller. First a heart attack victim goes to the hospital and awakens to find limbs missing, and later, the body of a rape victim is found with two strange puncture wounds upon her wrist. Meanwhile in Europe, a military officer is murdered by someone with inordinate strength. After another girl is murdered, Inspector Bellaver gets on the case. The trail of clues has many twists and turns and before he is led to the mysterious estate of Dr. Browning, another dies. There he discovers that the insane scientist has engineered a master race of emotionless, mindless beings as part of an international conspiracy. Now Bellaver and his cohorts must somehow stop the doctor and his friends from taking over the world. This marks one of only two features to include all three great horror actors Christopher Lee (as the head of British Intelligence), Peter Cushing (the leader of a fascist government) and Vincent Price (mad Dr. Browning) in the cast. (The second was 1983's House of Long Shadows). Interestingly, except for one brief moment at the end with Lee and Price, the actors never appear in the same scene together here

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

An impressive if somewhat fragmented horror film in which mad scientist Price uses surgery and organ transplants to create a super race of emotionless creatures, one of which (Gothard) attracts the attentions of the police by going berserk and committing a number of grisly vampiric murders. The underlying narrative thread about the creatures taking over positions of authority is not sufficiently well developed to have any real impact, but individual scenes are conceived to gory and striking effect.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

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

Scream and Scream Again comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in another of their dual-layered, 1080P transfers with a very high bitrate. The film source has some less-frequent scenes of minimal marks, and speckles - mostly frame-specific. It has an inherent softness with a very thick, textured, image.  Colors are modest, possibly faded a bit. Contrast has some decent layering and colors look true and fairly tight in the HD transfer. It looks, at times, like it could use a good cleaning, but the inconsistent visuals carry the film's charm. Detail is actually quite good in the film's many close-ups. I see no evidence of manipulation or noise. This Blu-ray gives a decent, but - due to the source condition - far from stellar, presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio - likely as good as it will get for this unusual horror-sci-fi-espionage with a political undertone.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel track at 1080 kbps (24-bit) sounds clean with minimal audio effects but a hint of depth in the score by David Whittaker (Vampire Circus) and it seems competent and reasonably clean via the uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Twilight Time add a new, information-filled, audio commentary with film historians David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan who enthusiastically cover so much of the production including the plots gaps, effects, performers, Hessler and more. As well as how Fritz Lang enjoyed the film and how it is revered in Germany. These guys know their sh*t. There is also a new featurette; Gentleman Gothic: Gordon Hessler at AIP running almost 25-minute - and this is also educational. I enjoyed it. There is a 2000 interview with Uta Levka running just under 9-minutes talking about her career and involvement in Scream and Scream Again. Twilight Time add their usual isolated score track as well as a stills gallery with posters etc., a radio spot and an original theatrical trailer. The package has an 8-page leaflet of liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I found the commentary huge in advancing appreciation for Scream and Scream Again. It remains a confusing, modestly budgeted, horror-cum-political Drive-In flic. The limitations of the top performers (Cushing) are actually budget constraints. The story and concept have some appeal and I expect that Hessler did the best with what he had. It amounts to a real trash gem with plenty of gore. The Twilight Time Blu-ray does it's usual top-level job (sans a restoration) in reproducing the film in 1080P. The supplements add essential value and this is a film I will re-watch with all its scattered charm. Vampires, aliens, even Frankenstein representations. Love the cover, too! Recommended to those curious and open-minded about this odd-ball, fragmented, film. 

Gary Tooze

October 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 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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