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Hammer Film Double Feature

 

   The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)                       The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) 

 

Though perhaps not as iconic as their Dracula and Frankenstein pictures, this Double Feature from England's Hammer Films deliver enough Saturday afternoon creature feature thrills to please devotees of the legendary studio's output and vintage horror fans alike. Jimmy Sangster's screenplay makes a clear break with the pattern of the Universal Frankenstein series of the 1930s and 1940s, which focused on the monster created by Victor Frankenstein and revived by a series of Victor's relatives. Hammer logically set their focus on Frankenstein himself, and Peter Cushing became the linking thread through the series, although the Baron's approach and state of mind would vary from film to film, from obsessively evil to detached but decent. His mode in The Revenge of Frankenstein is self-obsessed but hardly murderous, and that sets the tone for the film as a whole. He has no hesitation in mutilating the patients under his care in the poor clinic, but he also seems to genuinely desire to provide a sound body for the twisted Karl. The Revenge of Frankenstein is also notable for featuring perhaps the least monstrous "monster" of any Frankenstein film. Actor Michael Gwynn elicits enormous sympathy as Karl's new body begins to betray him, and in a party-crashing confrontation with his creator, the creature is more pathetic than terrifying. Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, with Hammer exec Michael Carreras (son of company founder James Carreras) behind the camera for a featherweight monster romp that doesn't hold a candle to Terence Fisher's Mummy in 1959.

 


Titles

 


 

The Revenge of Frankenstein
Death has never stopped anyone from crafting a sequel to a successful film, but Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster rather ingeniously twist the climactic execution of The Curse of Frankenstein into the opening of The Revenge of Frankenstein. With a cold-blooded flourish that would become his trademark, Frankenstein plots his escape and sends an innocent (a priest, no less) to take his place on the guillotine, leaving himself free to continue his experiments. As the new head of a hospital for the poor, he builds a body for his crippled assistant from parts amputated from his patients, but body battles mind for supremacy and turns the newly ambulatory man into a bloodthirsty cannibal. Once again Fisher makes the most of a constricted budget, turning his poorhouse hospital into a cramped, dank hole and splurging on another colorful laboratory of buzzing devices and a centerpiece tank for his suspended creature. There are few innocents in the Frankenstein films and this is no different: high-society dandies are hypocrites, poorhouse patients thieves and opportunists, and of course the driven doctor is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to achieve his goal. The clever conclusion, which lays the groundwork for the next sequel, was curiously ignored when the third installment finally arrived six years later in The Evil of Frankenstein.

--Sean Axmaker from Amazon
 

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
Greedy American Alexander King (Fred Clark) makes an excursion to Egypt, where he hopes that archaeologist Sir Giles Dalrymple (Jack Gwillim) and young assistant John Bray (Ronald Howard) can help him unearth ancient treasures. But they eventually run into Adam Beauchamp (Terence Morgan), an accursed man with a long family history of hauntings. Adam's mere presence is enough to awaken mummy Ra-Antef (Dickie Owen), putting the entire expedition in grave danger.

 

 

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1958 - 1964

DVD Reviews

Comparison:

 

Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Mill Creek Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

  

 

  

  

 

Distribution Sony - Region 1 - NTSC Mill Creek Entertainment - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
  1.35;1 / 1.78 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.14 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,146,896,627 bytes

Revenge Feature: 11,634,223,104 bytes

Curse Feature: 10,380,029,952 bytes 

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 16.00 Mbps

Time: 1:20:06 1:29:56.015   /  1:20:15.185

Bitrate:

DVD of The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

Blu-ray of The Curse of the Mummy Tomb
Bitrate:

Blu-ray of  The Revenge of Frankenstein

Audio English (original mono) Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 2:35:1 for The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) + The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)
1:66:1 for The Gorgon (1964) + Scream of Fear (1961)

Edition Details:
trailers


DVD Release Date: October 14th, 2008

One Keep Case
Chapters: 12 X 4

Release Information:
Studio: Mill Creek
 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,146,896,627 bytes

Revenge Feature: 11,634,223,104 bytes

Curse Feature: 10,380,029,952 bytes 

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 16.00 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

 None

Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 4 + 4

 

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray September 16': Like Hammer Film Double Feature - The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll & The Gorgon (compared HERE), Mill Creek's 2016 Blu-ray transfer is also technically underwhelming - the two features share a single-layered Blu-ray disc supporting a modest bitrate (16 Mbps) and only lossy audio (no improvement). There are no extras and no optional subtitles. To be fair The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb does, visually, look better than the old DVD. We lose the orangey-ness of the SD flesh tones and film textures, on both titles, look sweet.

We only compared The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, part of the old Sony DVD set - reviewed HERE, to this Blu-ray. We are anxious to obtain and review Universal's 2016 Hammer Horror 8-Film Blu-ray Collection.

Big bonus here, though, is the price. Fans should probably nab it - for me the inclusion of Revenge of Frankenstein in 1080P was appreciated as I really like this particular Hammer film. Fans should nab this at the low price.

***

ON THE DVD Boxset: Much in the vein of Sony's Icons of Horror - Boris Karloff or Sam Katzman collections, the four feature films of this boxset are shared, two each on two dual-layered, progressive DVDs with all 4 widescreen features being anamorphically enhanced. All have original aspect ratios - 2:35:1 for The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) + The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964), 1:66:1 for The Gorgon (1964) + Scream of Fear (1961). Each disc is coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. They have original mono audio (or 2.0 channel stereo) and the dialogue is supported by optional English subtitles. The 2 DVDs are housed in one keep cases and they are not sold separately at this time. I believe these particular NTSC editions can only be obtained in Sony's Icons of Horror - Hammer Films collection at present.

Image quality: The three color features look quite strong and fairly consistent. Scream of Fear seems the weak link with a strange softness at times that may very well be part of the original presentation. But the prevalent noise I'm sure is nt and contrast can be a bit muddy. I have no adamantly strong complaints with the way these, essentially single-layered, transfers look as my expectations were not astronomic.  There is some minor digital noise throughout but, except for Scream of Fear, nothing distracting. There are no overt damage marks - just some minor light speckles here and there. I think the captures below give a fair representation of how the DVD package looks. They are certainly very watchable.

Audio was acceptable if unremarkable. It was consistent and clear enough and the dialogue is supported with optional English subtitles.

 

Unfortunately there are no extras save some trailers which are both intense and amusing!

 

I love sinking into these genre efforts - no matter the 'cheese factor' - Hammer always had a slight edge in quality over a lot of similar, more exploitation based, horror films. This package is fun but I'd recommend Universal's The Hammer Horror Collection over it by a mile (8 super Hammer Horrors in one package for about $2 each). Still for new fodder, I immersed myself in this one and admit to enjoyment. Fans have an idea what they are in for - and this package shouldn't disappoint despite the lack of supplements. The Gorgon was especially pretty cool!

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Disc 2

 

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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

 

 

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)

 

Subtitle Sample - Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC (no subtitles offered on the Blu-ray)

 

Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

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