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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake [Blu-ray]
(Edward L. Cahn, 1959)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: United Artists Corporation
Video: Shout! Factory
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,248,788,871 bytes
Feature Size: 19,647,363,072 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.94 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 27th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1578 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1578 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• Trailer (1:42)
Description: He was the custodian of the icebox that kept the skulls crisp and fresh! The sins of the fathers rest heavily on the heads of the sons (literally) in this fun-filled fright-fest that’ll keep you "awake and screaming through many a traumatic night", (Variety)! Faced with an age-old family curse that beheaded their forefathers, two brothers attempt to unravel the family plot...even as sinister forces attempt to put them into it.
Anthropologist Jonathan Drake (Eduard Franz) believes that the men of his family have been cursed for generations by the native South American tribe he studies. Shortly after his brother, Kenneth (Paul Cavanagh), discovers one of the tribe's shrunken heads in his house, he's found murdered and his head goes missing. In pursuit of the tribesman Zutai (Paul Wexler) and a rival scientist (Henry Daniell) who has become a part of the tribe, Drake attempts to end the curse once and for all.
An angry head-shrinker (not a psychiatrist) puts a curse upon a family of white traders in this well-wrought low-budget horror film. It must have been a doozy for 200 years later it is still going strong. The story opens as the eldest male descendant of the cursed Drake family finds himself on the brink of losing his head at the hands of a strange witch doctor and his spooky-looking servant. Fortunately his daughter and a detective show up in time to save his noggin from a fate too horrible to disclose here.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
The film is meant to be a moral horror. It begins with a quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The evil that men do lives after them." It then goes into a yarn about Professor Jonathan Drake, a voodoo scholar. A long time ago, an ancestor of his massacred an African tribe, one that, unfortunately for the line of Drakes, were adept practicers of voodoo. The professor believes that there is a curse on his family, as all of the males since then have died suddenly and mysteriously, though they have been written off by the doctor as heart failure each time, a hereditary problem.Excerpt from Classic-Horror.com located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake looks very good on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory. This is single-layered with a max'ed bitrate. Contrast is well-layered and there is frequent depth. It's clean in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There are no flaws - the video is consistent and produces a very pleasing 1080P visual presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1578 kbps (24-bit). It handles the film's surprising effects with ease - adding some depth. We get an original score by Paul Dunlap (Shock Corridor, Shack Out on 101, Cry Vengeance, Portland Expose, Big House U.S.A., Target Earth, Park Row) which supports the film reasonably well with some aggressive drama and suspenseful atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles (see sample above) on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.
A trailer is the only supplement. Some form of commentary discussing this and similar films of the era would have been appreciated.
NOTE: At the writing of this review the Pre-order price is at a 41% discount at Amazon.
June 20th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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