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Torture Garden segments - Enoch, Mr. Steinway, Terror Over Hollywood and The Man Who Collected Poe [Blu-ray]
(Freddie Francis, 1967)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: Extended TV version: 1:40:19.471 / Original Theatrical Version: 1:33:12
Disc Size: 47,286,971,342 bytes
Feature Size: 26,501,186,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 30th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1061 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1061 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• The Guardian interview with Freddie Francis (77-minutes)
• Ramsey Campbell on Robert Bloch (2017, 16:37)
• Production Supervisor Ted Wallis on Torture Garden (4:15)
• Interview with Fiona Subotsky (2017, 8:19)
• Kim Newman on Torture Garden (2017, 24:53)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:37)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
Description:From Hammer-rival Amicus Productions comes this horror anthology penned by Robert Bloch (author of Psycho) and directed by the great British cinematographer Freddie Francis. Genre legend Peter Cushing stars alongside Jack Palance and Burgess Meredith in an omnibus of chilling and gruesome stories, inspired by E.C. Comics' Tales from the Crypt comic-book series of the 1950s.
During the '60s and '70s, when Britain's Hammer Studios was at the global forefront of horror cinema, there was an independent concern slicing a sanguine niche out of the market right in Hammer's own backyard. The Shepperton-based Amicus Productions was actually the brainchild of a pair of Yanks--producers Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg. A trained eye was required to distinguish their output from Hammer's, given the overlap of talent employed on both sides of the camera, and Amicus' ability to deliver shock fare on a par with the industry leader. An earmark of the Amicus style was a preference for the anthology format, and none of their films may be more exemplary than the cult-favorite fright flick Torture Garden (1967).
Although Freddie Francis, the British movie director, is no Carl Dreyer or Louis Feuillade, he has become (by default) one of the best and most prolific directors ("Paranoiac," "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors," etc.) in the horror-movie genre. His "Torture Garden," based on a script by Robert Bloch ("Psycho"), is a simple-minded forthright horror movie, made without condescension.
The melodrama, starring Jack Palance and Burgess Meredith, opened yesterday at the 42d Street New Amsterdam Theater, and other neighborhood houses, with all of the ritual required on such occasions—and that I find irresistible. Among other things, the newspaper ads promised patrons free packages of "Fright-Seeds for your own Torture Garden."
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Torture Garden arrives on Blu-ray from Indicator out of the UK. It offers both the 1:33:12 original theatrical version and the 7-minute longer 'extended' TV version. It is seamlessly-branched (same quality for both) and the extra footage can be found at 02:45 and 45:02. The extended version was also released on Millcreek's MPEG2 Blu-ray HERE. The image quality is authentically dark but rich with warmth and partial saturation. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows lush, heavy visuals that are consistent throughout. It looks gorgeous in-motion. I would guess the 1.85:1 image is extremely accurate. It looks very clean and film-like. This Blu-ray offers a rewarding and suitably mysterious presentation in 1080P.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM authentically mono at 1061 kbps (24-bit). There is modest depth in the circus-related occasional effects. The film's music is notable for the score contributed by both Don Banks (The Evil of Frankenstein, Rasputin The Mad Monk, The Mummy's Shroud, The Reptile) and India-born James Bernard (The Plague of the Zombies, Dracula Prince of Darkness, These Are the Damned, Across the Bridge, The Curse of Frankenstein). It supports the film's ominous and shifting moods - both flat but carrying some buoyancy to add chills. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable world-wide.
Indicator add plenty of new extras starting with 77-minute Guardian interview with Freddie Francis interviewed by Alan Jones at the National Film Theatre in the summer of 1995. He talks about starting in the 1930's, how he learned and much more. From there we get a 1/4 hour of horror writer Ramsey Campbell talking about Robert Bloch - quite fascinating. We get a short piece of production supervisor Ted Wallis on Torture Garden running less than 5-minutes, an 8-minute interview with Dr. Fiona Subotsky wife of writer/producer/Amicus-founder Milton Subotsky (The City of the Dead) and a delightful 25-minutes with the always enjoyable Kim Newman discussing Torture Garden. There is an original theatrical trailer, an image gallery: on-set and promotional photography and the package comes with a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Laura Mayne, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film. This edition is limited to 3,000 copies.
October 24th, 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 3500 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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