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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

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

 

(Seth Holt, 1961)

 

   

   

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Studios

Video: Madman (Australia)

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:21:25.046

Disc Size: 16,335,396,104 bytes

Feature Size: 16,271,081,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 14th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

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 - BOTTOM

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

 

1) Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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. The mono is authentically flat but has no depth. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Nothing and only one menu screen.

 

 

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. 

Gary Tooze

September 8th, 2017

   

   

 

 


 




 

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