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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Scream of Fear aka "Taste of Fear" [Blu-ray]

 

(Seth Holt, 1961)

 

 

Part of Indicator's Hammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear with THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL, TASTE OF FEAR, THE DAMNED:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Studios

Video: Madman (Australia) / Indicator (UK) parts of the Hammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (both) (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:21:25.046 / 1:21:37.225

Disc Size: 16,335,396,104 bytes / 41,656,940,557 bytes

Feature Size: 16,271,081,472 bytes / 20,418,764,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps / 29.92 Mbps

Chapters: 8 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom (see below)

Release date: October 14th, 2016 / November 25th, 2019

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1076 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1076 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Interviews:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

None

 

Two presentations of the film: Taste of Fear, with the rarely seen original UK title sequence (1:21:37), and Scream of Fear, with the alternative US titles (1:21:38)
New audio commentary with Kevin Lyons, editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television
Body Horror: Inside ‘Taste of Fear’ (2019, 22:17): new and exclusive documentary, featuring Alan Barnes, Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby, exploring aspects of the film’s production
Hammer’s Women: Ann Todd (2019, 11:35): profile of the Taste of Fear actor by Melanie Williams, author of Female Stars of British Cinema: The Women in Question
The BFI Southbank Interview with Jimmy Sangster (2008, 68 mins): archival audio recording of the celebrated filmmaker and screenwriter in conversation with Marcus Hearn at London’s BFI Southbank
The BEHP Video Interview with Jimmy Sangster (2008, 1:56:57): archival video recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring Sangster in conversation with Jonathan Rigby
The BEHP Interview with Douglas Slocombe, Part Two: From Hammer to Spielberg (1988, 82 mins): archival audio recording featuring the renowned cinematographer in conversation with Sidney Cole
Fear Makers (2019, 8:37): camera operator Desmond Davis and assistant sound editor John Crome recall the making of the film
Anxiety and Terror (2019, 24:51): appreciation of Clifton Parker’s score by David Huckvale, author of Hammer Films’ Psychological Thrillers, 1950–1972
Super 8 version of Scream of Fear (19:55): original cut-down home cinema presentation
Original US Scream of Fear theatrical trailer (1:09)
Sam Hamm trailer commentary (2013, 1:37): short critical appreciation
Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials
Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with an essay by Marcus Hearn, Jimmy Sangster on Taste of Fear, an archival on-set report, a selection of promotional materials, an overview of contemporary reviews, and film credits
UK premiere on Blu-ray

 

 

 

Bitrates:

1) Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Penny (Susan Strasberg, Picnic) is a wheelchair-bound girl set to visit her father in France for the first time in ten years. When she arrives, she learns that he is away on business. She is left with her stepmother, Jane (Ann Todd, The Paradine Case), and Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings series), a friend of Penny's father who has come to visit. But when Penny continues to see her father's corpse around the house, she enlists the help of the family chauffeur, Robert (Ronald Lewis, Mr. Sardonicus), to help solve the mystery.

***

Penny Appleby (Susan Strasberg) is a paralyzed young woman confined to a wheelchair. For the first time in ten years, she has returned to her father's home -- only to be told that he is away. Penny is suspicious of her stepmother's (Ann Todd) odd behavior, and is convinced that something is amiss. While searching around the house, Penny discovers her father's body, only to have it vanish before anyone else can see it. Is Penny's father really dead, or is she losing her mind.

 

 

The Film:

An above-par Hammer thriller, scripted by Jimmy Sangster and brazenly plagiarising Clouzot's Les Diaboliques as wheelchair-bound Strasberg arrives to visit her father on the Riviera, believes she sees his corpse (more than once), but is told that he's away on a trip. The plotting is very contrived indeed, but thanks partly to Douglas Slocombe's camerawork and to taut, shock-cut editing, Holt manages a tour de force of brooding, genuinely unsettling atmosphere.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

 

Scream of Fear had genuine secrets to protect-multiple twists that defied logic but delivered emotional satisfaction and riveting drama.

For many commentators, this was Hammer's Psycho, which had been marketed the previous year with a similar warning to audiences to come early and keep their traps shut when they left. Psycho's success prompted a host of imitators, and Hammer cranked out Psycho copycats with the best of them, but the real inspiration here was the film that hid behind Hitchcock as Psycho's inspiration, the French classic that started it all:
Les Diaboliques (1955). Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1955 masterpiece so moved Hitch he poached its writers - Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac - for Vertigo (1958), and set out to make Psycho in the same Spartan black and white B-movie aesthetic.

Excerpt fromTCM located HERE

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

This was released on DVD in Sony's Icons of Horror- Hammer Films 4-film boxset, reviewed HERE. The Madman Blu-ray transfer is nothing dynamic, although it is a notch above the SD.  It's a bit brighter, shows more depth and texture - the source is clean and contrast serviceable. Transferred in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It's 1080P, no compression or noise and the presentation in-motion is without major viewing errors.

 

Firstly, Indicator offer two presentations of the film: Taste of Fear, with the rarely seen original UK title sequence (1:21:37), and Scream of Fear, with the alternative US titles (1:21:38) seamlessly-branched on the dual-layered Blu-ray disc. Both are in the accurate 1.66:1 aspect ratio where the Aussie BD was in a pan-and-scan 1.78:1 losing much information. The indicator carries better texture and looks far more film-like in-motion. Nolo contendere. 

 

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

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Lost opportunity with lossy, Dolby audio instead of an uncompressed audio transfer. Few effects - some potent screams (as the title suggests) but nothing remarkable in the manner it is exported through on the Blu-ray. The mono is authentically flat but has no depth. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Indicator use a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track. Obviously this handily advances over the lossy Dolby track of the Madman release.  The score was by Clifton Parker (Tourneur's Curse of the Demon - US version, The Teckman Mystery etc.) and adds some mystery while augmenting the atmosphere. It carries more depth. Indicator add optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray release.      

 

Extras :

Nothing and only one menu screen.

 

I feel it would be easier for me to list the things Indicator have not included in this release; here - "            ". Indicator make this a thoroughly stacked release starting with a new audio commentary with Kevin Lyons, editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television. He greatly appreciated the film and it's nice to hear his thoughts. You can also watch the film with an archival audio recording The BFI Southbank Interview with Jimmy Sangster from 2008 that has the celebrated filmmaker and screenwriter in conversation with Marcus Hearn at London’s BFI Southbank or, a third option, running 82-minutes; a BEHP Interview with Douglas Slocombe, Part Two: From Hammer to Spielberg featuring the renowned cinematographer in conversation with Sidney Cole. Body Horror: Inside ‘Taste of Fear’ runs 22-minutes and is a new (2019) documentary, featuring Alan Barnes, Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby, exploring aspects of the film’s production. We get another segment of Hammer’s Women: this one is an Ann Todd profile of the Taste of Fear actor by Melanie Williams, author of Female Stars of British Cinema: The Women in Question running a dozen minutes. Very revealing was a video interview - BEHP with Jimmy Sangster from 2008 - running just shy of 2 hours. It is an archival video recording, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring Sangster in conversation with Jonathan Rigby. Fear Makers is a new interview with camera operator Desmond Davis and assistant sound editor John Crome recall the making of the film for almost 9-minutes. Anxiety and Terror is new and is a 25-minute appreciation of Clifton Parker’s score by David Huckvale, author of Hammer Films’ Psychological Thrillers, 1950–1972. Indicator include a Super 8 version of Scream of Fear - an original cut-down (20-minutes) home cinema presentation. It's in rough shape. We get the original US Scream of Fear theatrical trailer plus a TFH Sam Hamm trailer commentary as a short critical appreciation. Lastly, is an extensive image gallery of promotional and publicity materials and the package includes a limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with an essay by Marcus Hearn, Jimmy Sangster on Taste of Fear, an archival on-set report, a selection of promotional materials, an overview of contemporary reviews, and film credits.    

 

Madman - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Nicely realized Jimmy Sangster story, and Susan Strasberg an Ronald Lewis are excellent. This is a good film but the Madman Blu-ray is another cheapie - lossy audio, no subs, no extras.  Fit only for Hammer BD completists or those who have not yet seen this fine thriller.

 

Obviously, this fine thriller gets the extensive Blu-ray release that it deserves. Indicator are the best BD production company in the world - and, while I suspected it - this Hammer release has me 100% convinced. A huge congratulations to these guys -  what an accomplishment. This IS the version to own for Hammer fans and won't be beat unless this, somehow, makes it to UHD. Don't wait. 

Gary Tooze

September 8th, 2017

November 1st, 2019

 

 

Part of Indicator's Hammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear with THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL, TASTE OF FEAR, THE DAMNED:

 

 

   

   

 


 




 

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