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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Scream of Fear aka "Taste of Fear" [Blu-ray]
(Seth Holt, 1961)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Studios
Video: Madman (Australia) / Indicator (UK) parts of theHammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear
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
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1/ 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
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)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
September 8th, 2017
November 1st, 2019