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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Demons of the Mind [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Sykes, 1972)

 

 

NOTE: After comparing the Studio Canal UK and DE Blu-rays of Fear in the Night HERE. They are determined to be, essentially, the exact same discs. Same running time to the 1/1000th a second, same bitrate, same image, same audio (with the of a inclusion of a German DUB and optional German subtitles) and same extras - minus the second disc DVD but the 7-Blu-ray Hammer Film Edition has all the other films (The Horror of Frankenstein, Scars of Dracula, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, Demons of the Mind, Straight on Till Morning, Fear in the Night, and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde).

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hammer Studios

Video: Studio Canal (DE)

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:29:37.705 

Disc Size: 30,112,870,185 bytes

Feature Size: 26,709,409,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Slim Blu-ray case

Release date: October 30th, 2017 / November 23rd, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1275 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1275 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1508 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1508 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
 

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), German, none

 

Extras:

New Featurette - Blood Will Have Blood: Inside Demons of the Mind (15:39)
Trailer for Demons of the Mind (3:09)

Trailer for Blair Witch Project (2:01)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) believes his son Emil (Shane Briant) and daughter Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) are suffering from a madness they inherited from their late mother. He keeps his children locked up, but at night Emil is released and murders women in the local village. Discredited psychologist Falkenberg (Patrick Magee - Dementia 13, The Masque of the Red Death) analyses the family and it transpires that the children witnessed their mother cut her own throat. The villagers, driven on by a manic priest (Michael Hordern) identify Zorn as the 'demon' responsible for killing their daughters. The deranged Emil escapes with Elizabeth, but the murderous Zorn pursues them. Blood, he vows, will have blood. One of the most ambitious and unusual horror films produced by Hammer, Demons of the Mind was directed by Peter Sykes (Venom, To the Devil a Daughter) and released in 1972. The distinguished cast includes Shane Briant, who would go on to appear in three further films for Hammer.

 

 

The Film:

In the best tradition of the Gothic, the plot is overwhelmed by the themes, and the finer points of the acting frequently lost beneath exuberant displays of emotion. Sometimes it descends into ham - Shane Briant, in particular, seems to have been encouraged to go to extremes and, being fairly new to acting, lacks the confidence to step back - but he and Gillian Hills still manage to be sympathetic as the two teenagers kept under close supervision in the confines of a remote stately home. These teenagers have a father who fancies himself as heir to the House of Usher, his wife having committed suicide, and who prevails upon a doctor of dubious reputation to try and save them from hereditary madness. Enter a series of elaborate mechanical and magnetic devices - a definite case of style over substance, but wonderfully so.

Excerpt from the EyeForFilm located HERE

For all its daring themes of incest, inherited madness and psychological opportunism, Demons of the Mind follows essentially the same plot as all those old Hammer Frankenstein movies. However, because we don’t get the shambling monster of old, stumbling towards screaming maidens with its stitched-on arms outstretched, we’re subjected to verbose theorising on the nature of the monster within, which, quite frankly, doesn’t really get the adrenaline pumping. It’s as if Hammer are trying to inject an intellectual sheen to its established format while maintaining such genre staples as the opening shot of the carriage barrelling through a forest at dusk, and the closing scenes of a mob of torch-bearing villagers marching on the villainous Baron’s abode. It doesn’t work, and while the frequent nudity is pleasantly diverting, it’s not enough to distract an audience from the film’s overall shortcomings.

Excerpt from 2020-film-reviews located HERE

Demons Of The Mind is a right load of old cobblers, which mixes costume drama with cod psychology and ends with a particularly gruelling amount of hand loppings, shootings, stabbings, and burning-crucifix-impalings. What makes it worth seeking out are the performances - Hordern's nutty priest is a sight to see, Hardy is his usual hammy self and Magee is... well, Magee. There's also a serious amount of gore on show: "Blood will have blood, they say..." Hardy quotes at one point. "Well, there must be no more blood on our souls." But there's plenty on the floor, cascading down breasts and shooting out of assorted necks, stumps and arses (yes, arses - thanks to a rather nasty piece of medical instrumentation used on Elizabeth's pert behind at one point).

Excerpt from BritishHorror located HERE

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

Demons of the Mind gets another impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal.  It's in dual-layered territory and has a high bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. It is very textured, with rich, colors and some minor gloss. The 1080P is consistent in the original 1.66:1 frame with no flaws with the image. This Blu-ray presents Demons of the Mind in a highly pleasing HD video transfer. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The Blu-ray of Demons of the Mind offers a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1275 kbps (24-bit.). There are a few aggressive effects and and loud screams. The audio is clean and clear with some depth also notable in the score by Harry Robertson (Hammer go-to composer for such titles as The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula and Twins of Evil plus Jane and the Lost City, The Oblong Box.) There is an optional German DUB and optional English (see sample) or German subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Studio Canal add a 16-minute featurette; Blood Will Have Blood: Inside Demons of the Mind that has Jonathan Rigby (author of English Gothic), Kevin Lyons (Documentation Editor at the BFI), Alan Barnes (author of The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films) etc. talking about the film's history and production details. There is also a trailer for Demons of the Mind.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Demons of the Mind isn't top-shelf Hammer but is has much of what we love from the studio; a Gothic period atmosphere, supernatural, Satanism, murder and the ever-present sexy gals.  The Studio Canal Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with a worthy featurette supplement. Hammer fans will see the value in the German boxset - a shade over 7 Euros a film. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

December 1st, 2017

 

NOTE: After comparing the Studio Canal UK and DE Blu-rays of Fear in the Night HERE. They are determined to be, essentially, the exact same discs. Same running time to the 1/1000th a second, same bitrate, same image, same audio (with the of a inclusion of a German DUB and optional German subtitles) and same extras - minus the second disc DVD but the 7-Blu-ray Hammer Film Edition has all the other films (The Horror of Frankenstein, Scars of Dracula, Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, Demons of the Mind, Straight on Till Morning, Fear in the Night, and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde).

 


 




 

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