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Queen of Blood [Blu-ray]
(Curtis Harrington, 1966)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,010,946,434 bytes
Feature Size: 19,098,224,640 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 1st, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1796 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1796 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• Interview with Film Historian Robert Stotak (21:34)
Description:Cult icons John Saxon, Dennis Hopper and the legendary Basil Rathbone star in this sci-fi cult classic! In the distant future, scientists receive a distress call from an alien spaceship that has crash-landed on Mars. Dr. Farraday (Rathbone, Tales of Terror) decides to send a team of astronauts, including Allan Brenner (Saxon, Enter the Dragon) and Paul Grant (Hopper, Easy Rider), on a rescue mission. On the planet, they discover a sole survivor: a green-skinned female alien (Florence Marly, Dr. Death Seeker Of Souls). The seductive alien is brought aboard their ship, but soon the horror begins after one man is attacked and dies, drained of his blood. The Queen of Blood is thirsty for more human victims, and as the astronauts try to find their way back to Earth and safety, the Queen s bloodlust has just begun.
Shot on a miniscule $50,000 budget, and including footage from a 1959 Russian film that was later purchased by Roger Corman, this science fiction feature finds a tiny planet slowly dying. With the inhabitants in danger of perishing, some kind-hearted astronauts bring a green-blooded female alien back to Earth. The extraterrestrial shows her gratitude by going wild for human blood in the fashion of a blood-sucking vampire. John Saxon, Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper are some of the actors sentenced by their vindictive agents to appear in this 1966 film.
"Queen of Blood," which also opened at the Lyric, has a much more
lively plot. A sickly greenish Martian woman (Florence Marly), who is
rescued from a space crash by earth astronauts (John Saxon, Judi
Mederith, Dennis Hopper), turns out to thrive on blood, lay eggs in
aspic and be a hemophiliac in chlorophyll.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, I should state that I loved every minute of this (similarly as I felt about Curtis Harrington's Night Tide). The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Queen of Blood has a high bitrate and looks very authentic. The effect scenes are dark and blurry because that is how they were disguised by the meager budget. There is some pleasing texture and consistent thickness to the visuals. Close-ups look quite tight and pastel colors have some richness. Vilis Lapenieks' cinematography shows some inventiveness. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable presentation in 1080P.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1796 kbps (24-bit) in the original English language. There are obviously plenty of sound effects in the film - launching and landing rockets etc. Although not mentioned on IMDb (at the writing of this review) the score is credited to Leonard Morand (aka Ronald Stein) an AIP regular who has done more than his share of exploitive 'B', Drive-In flics (She Creature, It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth, Dementai 13, Spider Baby etc.) and it added somewhat to the presentation and unusual space backgrounds - sounding decent via the uncompressed. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
I greatly appreciated the 22-minute interview with Film Historian Robert Stotak (also an Award wining Visual Effects Artist) and he showed some admiration for Harrington's abilities working on such a small budget and his genuine feeling that a lot of detail was put into the production despite being a 'cheapy'. There is also a shorter interview with producer Roger Corman who describes how he recalls the idea of the female being vampire-like (sucking blood) among other details of the production. There is also an original theatrical trailer.
November 24th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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