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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Horror of Frankenstein [Blu-ray]

 

(Jimmy Sangster, 1970)

 

 

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: 1:35:39.734

Disc Size: 30,737,321,491 bytes

Feature Size: 26,432,339,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.01 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Slim Blu-ray case

Release date: January 29th, 2018 / 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 1430 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1430 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1432 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1432 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
 

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), German, none

 

Extras:

New Featurette - Gallows Humour: Inside The Horror of Frankenstein (18:16)
Trailer for a 'Weinberg' (1:59)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Teenage prodigy Victor Frankenstein tells his father of his ambition to go to university in Vienna. The Baron objects, so Victor coldly sabotages his shooting rifle. The gun explodes in the Baron’s face, killing him. Victor uses his inheritance to decamp to Vienna. Six years pass, and Victor leaves after getting the Dean’s daughter pregnant; returning home with fellow student Wilhelm, he rescues his friend Elizabeth and her father, an eminent professor, from two highwaymen. He kills one, and covertly beheads him. Hidden away from housekeeper and bedwarmer Alys, he and Wilhelm set about researches into the revival of dead tissue. The grisly career of the notorious Victor Frankenstein has begun. This bold experiment in horror comedy was directed by Jimmy Sangster in 1970, and is one of the most unusual of all the Hammer horrors. Ralph Bates stars as the young Victor Frankenstein and Dave Prowse (later to embody Darth Vader in Star Wars) plays his monster.

 

 

The Film:

The screenplay, credited to Jeremy Burnham and Jimmy Sangster, the director, is as bright as can be. And the wry, pointed dialogue is nicely clipped off by a game cast, including Graham James, Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson. And lo and behold, there is Dennis Price, who bumped off eight Alec Guinnesses in "Kind Hearts and Coronets."

One scene, when young Baron Victor Frankenstein casually eyes a brain prospect over the dinner table, is funny enough to have come from the earlier film. So far, so good—neat, tasteful, with a steely edge of incoming horror and no gore to the fore.

Then the infamous monster materializes, a lumbering giant, casting a pall over the remainder of the movie, much as if the rabbit had appeared in "Harvey."

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Hammer, perhaps in response to The Fearless Vampire Killers (Roman Polanski's spoof of their bloodsucker flicks), sends itself up in this black comedy remake of Curse of Frankenstein. They replace Peter Cushing with the then up-and-coming horror star Ralph Bates and inject the tale with more sex, more violent death, and a wicked sense of irreverence.

After knocking up the headmaster's daughter, the Baron leaves the University with his friend Wilhelm (an empty-headed clone of Curse's Paul Krempe). The two are working on the secrets of life and death, but when Frankenstein suggests moving from reanimating dead turtles to creating human life, Wilhelm threatens to shut him down!

Excerpt from ClassicHorror located HERE

The film opens with Victor Frankenstein, bored with his school lessons, drawing saucy pictures of young ladies in his textbook. The film starts as it means to go on, by getting a bunch of 30-year-olds to dress up as schoolkids for these opening scenes. The idea of a 30-year-old Ralph Bates (complete with five o'clock shadow) and an extremely chesty Veronica Carlson (luckily without same) still being at school is not just absurd, it looks stupid. If they'd just gone for it and stuck Veronica in a Britney Spears-style badly fitting uniform, it might have worked. But they didn't. What's more, on getting home. "young" Victor finds his dad cavorting in the sheets with housemaid Alys (Kate O'Mara), who's supposed to be 16(!)

Excerpt from BritishHorror  located HERE

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

The Horror of Frankenstein gets an 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, tight colors. The 1080P supports solid contrast and pleasing detail in the original 1.66:1 frame.  It's very clean showcasing occasional depth - there are really no flaws with the image. This Blu-ray of The Horror of Frankenstein looks quite impressive. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The Blu-ray of The Horror of Frankenstein offers a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1430 kbps (24-bit.). There are aggressive effects and they have depth. The score is by Malcolm Williamson (Brides of Dracula) and its subtle but suitable to Hammer efforts. 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 18-minute featurette; Gallows Humour: Inside The Horror of Frankenstein that has Jonathan Rigby (author of English Gothic), Kevin Lyons (Documentation Editor at the BFI), John J. Johnston etc. talking about the film's history, humor, Sangster and production details. There is also a trailer for 'Weinberg'.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Horror of Frankenstein is not premium Hammer. I was attentive although it meandered a bit. It absolutely held the studio's charm - decent atmosphere and no shortage of Hammer-esque cleavage - plus the humor.  The Studio Canal Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation - love the sweet grain - with another educational featurette supplement. Hammer fans will see the value in the German boxset - a shade over 7 Euros a film. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

November 29th, 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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