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(aka "Ercole al centro della Terra" or "Hercules at the Center of the Earth" or "Hercules in the Haunted World" or "Hercules vs. the Vampires" or "With Hercules to the Center of the Earth)

 

Directed by Mario Bava
Italy / West Germany
1961

 

Upon his return from battle in the previous film, the great warrior Hercules learns that his lover, Daianara, has lost her senses. Acording of the oracle Medea, Dianara's only hope is the Stone of Forgetfulness which lies deep in the realm of Hades. Hercules, with two companions, Theseus and Telemachus, embarks on a dangerous quest for the stone, while he is unaware that Dianara's guardian, King Lico, is the one responsible for her condition and plots to have the girl for himself as his bride upon her revival.

***

When his beloved Princess Deianira (Leonora Ruffo) goes mad, strong man Hercules (Reg Park) turns to the oracle Medea for advice. Medea tells him to travel to the underworld and find the Stone of Forgetfulness, a mysterious crystal that will cure Deianira's ills. Along with his friend Theseus, Hercules ventures into the dark and foggy depths of Hades to find the stone. Meanwhile, Deianira's power-hungry uncle, Lico (Christopher Lee), plots to steal the throne that is her birthright.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 16th, 1961

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Review: Koch (3-disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

    

Distribution Koch - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:54.482 
Video

Disc Size: 32,145,148,169 bytes

Feature Size: 29,604,990,336 bytes

Average Bitrate: 36.86 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video  

Bitrate:
Audio

LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bitt

Subtitles English (for non-English in the English DUB - see below), German, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Koch

 

Disc Size: 32,145,148,169 bytes

Feature Size: 29,604,990,336 bytes

Average Bitrate: 36.86 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video  

 

Edition Details:
• 
Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas

• German Trailer (3:08)
• USA Trailer (1:31)
• UK Trailer (2:58)
• Italian credits (2:58)
• English credits (0:58)
• English credits2 (3:26)

 

Extras DVD

• Her Favorite Husband (1:18:52 - English with German subtitles)
• Theseus Am Mittelpunkt Der Erde (25:55 - Italian with German subtitles)
• Interview with Lamberto Bava (49:42 - Italian with German subtitles)
Trailer From Hell
• Die Stunde, Wenn Dracula Kommt (2:05 English with German subtitles)
• Die Drei Gesichter Der Furcht (2:32 English with German subtitles)
• Lisa und der Teufel (2:32 English with German subtitles)


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 8th, 2018
Custom Media-pack
Blu-ray Case with belly-band slipcase

Chapters 17

 

 

Comments:

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

 

Koch's Blu-ray transfer is from a 2K-restoration and is housed on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. It has some inconsistency but generally looks soft. There are a handful of tighter sequences and colors are fairly rich. The higher resolution actually exposes some of the meagerness of the production because of the improved clarity over SD. It does look a bit heavy in-motion but the enjoyment of the film is not hindered at all. I suspect this is the best this version (German titles and credits) will look and it is quite clean without excessive speckles or damage of any kind.

 

The Koch Blu-ray uses a linear PCM 2.0 channel audio tracks (16-bit) in the English, Italian or German DUBs. There are effects - but not an abundance - and they are supported with some minor depth in the uncompressed. Impacting on the HD presentation is the score by Armando Trovajoli (Two Women, The Valachi Papers, A Special Day, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style, La Vista) adding tension, mystery and atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles (for only the English-language version's non-English dialogue which is only at the beginning with Christopher Lee's DUBBED speech - although even his English is DUBBED throughout) and German subtitles offered on Koch's Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

On the
Blu-ray disc there is an excellent commentary by Tim Lucas (author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark). he discusses a lot of about the production effects including the lighting as well as details on Reg Park, Bava and much more. It is very rewarding listening. On this disc there are also German, USA and UK trailers as well as Italian credits sequences and two English credits openings including the longer 3.5 minute one.

 

The package includes a DVD of the feature and a second DVD of extras that offer Her Favorite Husband aka The Taming of Dorothy (1950) (in English with German subtitles) a comedy crime-caper directed by Mario Soldati. It stars Jean Kent, Robert Beatty, Gordon Harker, Margaret Rutherford and runs 1 1/4 hours. I'm still trying to find out why it was included. There is also Theseus Am Mittelpunkt Der Erde (25:55 - Italian with German subtitles) a 50-minute interview with Lamberto Bava (Italian with German subtitles) and three episodes of Trailers From Hell (in English with German subtitles.) There is also a liner notes booklet in German text with photos,

 

This has one of the most appealing titles (Hercules vs. the Vampires) although as Tim Lucas mentions in the commentary - it is not entirely accurate, regardless of Christopher Lee in the cast and Hercules in the Haunted World may be more appropriate. It's fun with plenty of camp value - kind of a sword-and-sandal meets horror - and Bava's creative style within the constrains of the limited budget (Lucas talks about only have 4 pillars that required frequent shifting to be in alternate scnes.)  The Koch Blu-ray offers a lot for fans who want to see the film and listen to the impressive commentary.   

Gary Tooze

 

 

Menus/extras Koch - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Included Extras DVD

 

 


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

 

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Box Cover

    

Distribution Koch - Region 'B' - Blu-ray



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