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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Blood of Fu Manchu / The Castle of Fu Manchu [Blu-ray]

 

(Jesús Franco, 1968 - 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Balcázar Producciones Cinematográficas

Video: Blue Underground

 

Disc:

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

The Blood of Fu Manchu Runtime: 1:33:41.032 

The Castle of Fu Manchu Runtime: 1:31:59.347

Disc Size: 46,261,845,720 bytes

The Blood of Fu Manchu Feature Size: 20,581,054,464 bytes

The Castle of Fu Manchu Feature Size: 18,877,304,832 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.91 Mbps / 23.79 Mbps

Chapters: 25 / 23

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 30th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1569 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1569 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1874 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1874 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

The Blood of Fu Manchu
The Rise of Fu Manchu - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and stars Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin, & Shirley Eaton (15:03)
Theatrical Trailers (international - 3:00, U.S. - 1:41)
Poster & Still Gallery (2:11)
 

The Castle of Fu Manchu
The Fall of Fu Manchu - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Christopher Lee & Tsai Chin (14:00)
Theatrical Trailer (2:26)
Poster & Still Gallery (2:03)

 

Bitrate:

The Blood of Fu Manchu

 

 

The Castle of Fu Manchu

 

 

 

Description: The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968): From his secret lair deep within the South American jungle, international super-villain Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee of COUNT DRACULA) and his sadistic daughter Lin Tang (Tsai Chin of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) reveal their latest diabolical plot for world domination: ten beautiful women are infected with an ancient poison so deadly that one kiss from their lips will bring instant death and lead to a global plague. Now the Asian madman's nemesis, Nayland Smith (Richard Greene of TALES FROM THE CRYPT), must desperately hunt an antidote in a savage land where violence and torture reign and the ultimate evil lies in THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU.

Maria Rohm (VENUS IN FURS) and Shirley Eaton (GOLDFINGER) co-star in this wild Fu Manchu feature written and produced by Harry Alan Towers (EUGENIE) and directed by the one and only Jess Franco (VAMPYROS LESBOS). Also known as KISS AND KILL, AGAINST ALL ODDS, and KISS OF DEATH, Blue Underground presents THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU in High Definition, complete with additional scenes of violence!

***

The Castle of Fu Manchu: Christopher Lee (THE LORD OF THE RINGS) returns as the diabolical super-villain who, along with his sadistic daughter Lin Tang (Tsai Chin of CASINO ROYALE), creates a fiendish new chemical weapon that will turn the seas into a giant block of ice. But when his archenemy Nayland Smith (Richard Greene of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD) tracks the madman's trail of kidnapping, murder and massive global destruction, he himself becomes trapped in Fu Manchu's impenetrable lair of cruelty. Can any of the world's top secret agents (including a wild performance by Jess Franco) stop the cold-blooded terror that lives in THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU?

Maria Perschy (THE GHOST GALLEON) and Rosalba Neri (99 WOMEN) co-star in this notorious sequel directed by Jess Franco (THE BLOODY JUDGE) that marked Christopher Lee's final performance as the infamous Chinese madman. Now Blue Underground presents THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU in High Definition, packed with Extras for a disc full of Fu Manchu mayhem!

 

 

 

The Blood of Fu Manchu:

The first of several collaborations between cult director Jesus Franco and British producer Harry Alan Towers, this horror-tinged adventure is full of jungle action, creative murders, and violent sexual sadism. Christopher Lee portrays the mysterious Asian madman Fu Manchu, plotting world domination from his secret headquarters underneath the Amazon rainforest. Fu has discovered a rare poison which affects only men, and uses it as lipstick for ten beautiful women, who are to deliver a kiss of death to each of 10 public officials. Carl Jansen (Gotz George) and Sir Denis Nayland Smith (Richard Greene), a pair of Scotland Yard detectives, track Fu Manchu to his underground hideout and -- with the aid of Dr. Ronald Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford) -- search for the antidote to the deadly poison. Lee's wooden performance is alleviated by an amusing turn by Ricardo Palacios as a revolutionary, and a beautiful female cast. Vicente Roca and Marcelo Arroita Jauregui also appear in this entertaining, if extremely sexist, fourth entry in the Fu Manchu series. Nude torture scenes and snake attacks are featured in some of the numerous prints, running 91, 88, 82, and 61 minutes

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The Castle of Fu Manchu

Not only is The Castle of Fu Manchu Christopher Lee’s worst movie, it also happens to be Jess Franco’s worst too, which is REALLY saying something. Okay, so maybe it’s not as bad as Revenge in the House of Usher, but it’s still really, really bad. Really. The Castle of Fu Manchu also has the dubious distinction of being the worst nationally syndicated episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. You know a movie is bad if Joel and the ‘bots can’t even make it funny.

Lee’s fifth and final performance as the fiendish Fu Manchu finds him plotting to freeze the world’s oceans. From there on, the plot gets kinda murky… and a lot boring. Seriously, if The Castle of Fu Manchu isn’t Jess Franco’s worst movie, it’s definitely his dullest.

Excerpt from TheVideoVacuum located HERE

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

Blue Underground offers up two modest Blu-ray images - labeling the package as a 'double feature'. These are both 1080P and reside on one dual-layered disc. The image quality is quite poor with digitization issues in both features. There is softness but I'd be more concerned about the thin visuals which show edge-enhancement and look very poor in-motion. They are both in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio but I suspect the sources are compromised and the resulting image in HD is fraught with smearing and artifacts. The Blu-ray transfer is probably less to blame than the elements. Unfortunate for fans.

 

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

 

The Blood of Fu Manchu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Castle of Fu Manchu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Blue Underground use 24-bit DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel tracks for both films. Plenty of screams and shrieks plus some less intensive effects. The score on The Blood of Fu Manchu is credited to veteran Daniel White (Zombie Lake, The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, The Man with the Severed Head) and for The Castle of Fu Manchu, has a less-remarkable score, by Charles Camilleri (House of 1,000 Dolls) and Malcomb Shelby (his only film composition credit.)  Both films have optional English (SDH) subtitles, in a large, bright yellow font, and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Both films have supplements - on The Blood of Fu Manchu we get a 1/4 hour piece entitled The Rise of Fu Manchu and it has interview snippets with Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers, and stars Christopher Lee, Tsai Chin, & Shirley Eaton. On The Castle of Fu Manchu there is a similar piece with the same participants (minus Eaton) entitled The Fall of Fu Manchu. There are theatrical trailers and poster and still galleries for both films.

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I've read a few Fu Manchu books in my youth and I enjoy the serial villain concept. The Blood of Fu Manchu does a significantly better job exporting the dark charisma and evil of the characters. Castle is a mess with very little of Christopher Lee. I was hoping for decent transfers to make for a reasonable 'B'-level double feature night. But both image quality and, the second film, underwhelm. The Blue Underground Blu-ray has marginal value but is priced accordingly. I'd have to say pass unless you have a strong desire to see these film and don't have them in another medium. 

Gary Tooze

May 27th, 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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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