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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Chamber of Horrors aka "The Door with Seven Locks" [Blu-ray]

 

(Norman Lee, 1940)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Rialto Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:25:16.653

Disc Size: 18,942,463,898 bytes

Feature Size: 18,053,431,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.81 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 21st, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

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

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary by Film Historian David Del Valle and Filmmaker Kenneth J. Hall
Trailers - White Zombie - 2:46, Black Sleep - 1:36, The Undying Monster - 1:05, and Donovan's Brain - 2:02

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newly Mastered in HD! Chamber of Horrors was based on the classic novel, The Door with Seven Locks by Edgar Wallace (King Kong, The Terror) - it was the second Wallace adaptation brought to the States by Monogram Pictures. Dr. Manetta (Leslie Banks, The Most Dangerous Game) holds one of the seven keys that will open the crypt of Lord Selford, who was entombed with a fortune in jewels. Before long, the other six key holders start turning up dead... is the doctor the killer or just the next victim? Chamber of Horrors drips with atmosphere, adding all the classic The Old Dark House trappings fog, chambers, corridors, rats, coffins and more. Norman Lee (The Monkey's Paw) directed this old-fashioned murder mystery co-starring the beautiful Lilli Palmer (The House That Screamed).

 

 

The Film:

This very British film is based on the novel "The Door With Seven Locks" by Edgar Wallace, and despite its title, it is more mystery than horror.


An eccentric lord dies and leaves everything to his young son. The family fortune is locked in the tomb with him, behind a door with seven locks. The keys are entrusted to the lawyer Havelock (David Horne), but if anything happens to the lord's son, pretty relation June (Lilli Palmer) inherits everything.

Ten years later, June is summoned by a dying man, and given one of the keys. The man is murdered, and June goes to the police. She meets the just retired detective Martin (Romilly Lunge) and his partner Sneed (Richard Bird), and they discover Havelock's office has been infiltrated and the keys are missing. The group, along with June's comic relief Aunt Glenda (a sometimes funny Gina Malo) go to the old mansion, where the weird Dr. Manetta (Leslie Banks) is now residing. Soon, clues start piling up, more murders occur, and Martin is hot on the case, and hot for June.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE

 

A blood-and-thunder horror yarn from the pen of Edgar Wallace, The Door With Seven Locks stars Leslie Banks as a mass murderer with a penchant for puzzles. He lures several heirs to a fortune to their deaths in his mazelike mansion, which is festooned with cryptic clues leading to the location of a valuable treasure. Banks goes too far when he abducts the lovely Lilli Palmer, whose handsome boyfriend invades the mystery house, rescues the girl, and puts an end to Banks' perfidy. Door with Seven Locks was released in the US as Chamber of Horrors.

Excerpt from B+N 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 Chamber of Horrors has fluctuating contrast 1080P. The very thin image may also have moiring issues. I've provided the most noticeable example of the inconsistency - near the beginning of the film - as the last 2 screen captures. To be fair it does settle as the film runs along and it wasn't fatally distracting - you tend to accept it as a factor of the film's age. The grain can look blotchy almost like artifacts but it looks better in-motion than in the static screen grabs. The image is flat with a few, light, vertical scratches. Certainly not premium but super to SD, I'll wager.  This Blu-ray gave me, only, a watchable, viewing in regards to the picture quality. Certainly not reaching the heights of the format.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frame-to-frame Contrast anomalies

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps in the original English language. There are few effects in the film - and the tension and atmosphere are exported from the score by Guy Jones. There seems to be a few inconsistencies with the audio as well - again, more imperfect because of the source and production. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kino include a good audio commentary by film historian David Del Valle and filmmaker Kenneth J. Hall who discuss writer Edgar Wallace, and his appeal, and actors Leslie Banks, Lilli Palmer - their careers and others as well as similar films of the era. It has quite a bit to offer and is a bone-fide reason to indulge in the Blu-ray, imo. There are also trailers for White Zombie, Black Sleep, The Undying Monster, and Donovan's Brain.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I had never seen Chamber of Horrors band I enjoyed the 'Brit horror' aspects as well as the 'old country estate' factor and beautiful Lilli Palmer. Certainly it's more prototypical mystery than a horror. It's vintage with some good characterizations. Really, not a bad effort if you give over to it. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray has the indifferent image in 1080P - but I'm more accepting of that as a condition of the print than a transfer flaw. The commentary definitely pushes it into the category of recommendation - and it's reasonable pre-order price. Recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 37% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 14th, 2017

 

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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