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Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection [2 Blu-rays]

 

Calling Dr. Death (1943)     Weird Woman (1944)     Dead Man's Eyes (1944)


The Frozen Ghost (1945)     Strange Confession (1945)     Pillow of Death (1945)

 

Death, dementia, dark arts ... it's just another day in the forbidding and fascinating world of the Inner Sanctum!
Get ready for unlimited thrills and chills as all six classic Inner Sanctum Mysteries come to Blu-ray for the first time ever. Based on the popular radio shows of the 1940's, this collectible set is a must-own for every classic mystery and horror fan.

You'll have a hauntingly good time with horror icon Lon Chaney, Jr., as he gives timeless performances in these spooky feature-length films.

Calling Dr. Death 1943 - A doctor is not sure if he murdered his wife and has his nurse try to find the truth by hypnotizing him.
Weird Woman 1944 While on a trip, a professor falls in love with an exotic native woman who turns out to be a supernatural being.
Dead Man's Eyes 1944 - When an artist is blinded, an operation to restore his sight depends on another person willing to donate their eyes.
The Frozen Ghost 1945 A stage mentalist and a discredited plastic surgeon are involved in mysterious goings-on in an eerie wax museum.
Strange Confession 1945 Flashbacks reveal the events leading up to a man's revenge on the racketeer who took advantage of his wife.
Pillow of Death 1945 - A lawyer in love with his secretary is suspected of suffocating his wife, among others.

***

Lon Chaney, Jr. starred in these six horror yarns made for Universal and based on the popular "Inner Sanctum" suspense radio program. Chaney plays a respected neurologist who can't remember if he's responsible for his unfaithful wife's murder, in "Calling Dr. Death" (1943). Next, based on Fritz Leiber's "Conjure Wife," "Weird Woman" (1944) stars Anne Gwynne as the island-raised new wife of professor Chaney, who comes to believe his bride is using voodoo to get rid of his enemies. Blinded by acid thrown by jealous model Acquanetta, artist Chaney's only chance at seeing again is a transplant...but does he resort to murder to gain "Dead Man's Eyes" (1944)? A stage hypnotist (Chaney) is accused of killing an audience member and takes a job in a wax museum, in "The Frozen Ghost" (1945). Chemist Chaney returns from South America looking for revenge on boss J. Carrol Naish, in "Strange Confession" (1945). And, Chaney is a murder suspect again, accused of smothering his victims with the "Pillow of Death" (1945).

Excerpt from Movies Unlimited HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1943 - 1945

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Mill Creek (2-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Eureka (UK) (2-disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

  

Bonus Captures:

 

 

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Eureka (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtimes (Respectively) 1:02:42 + 1:03:04 + 1:03:56 + 1:01:06 + 1:06:16 + 1:01:46       
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.18 + 5.57 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One: 49,487,882,300 bytes

Disc Two: 48,848,972,092 bytes

Average Film size: 15,975,143,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One: 48,937,179,415 bytes

Disc Two: 48,848,972,092 bytes

Average Film size: 12,667,227,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.78 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate DVD sample:

Bitrate Mill Creek Blu-ray sample:

Bitrate Eureka Blu-ray sample:

Audio English (original) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1560 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Commentaries:

LPCM Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English (Hoh), French, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: September 19th, 2006

Case: Bookcase style - 2 disc (2-tiered digipack inside cardboard box)

Release Information:
Studio:
Mill Creek

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One: 49,487,882,300 bytes

Disc Two: 48,848,972,092 bytes

Average Film size: 15,975,143,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

THIS IS THE INNER SANCTUM: MAKING A UNIVERSAL MYSTERY SERIES produced by Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures (31:47)
THE CREAKING DOOR: ENTERING THE INNER SANCTUM - History of the Radio Series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr. (17:37)
MIND OVER MATTER: AN ARCHIVAL INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR MARTIN KOSLECK (The Frozen Ghost) - Never Before Viewed by the Human Eye! (11:00)

3 FEATURE LENGTH COMMENTARIES:

CALLING DR. DEATH (1943) Featuring commentary from screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina LeBorg (daughter of director Reginald LeBorg)
WEIRD WOMAN (1944) Featuring commentary from author Justin Humphreys (The Dr. Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies Horror)
STRANGE CONFESSION (1944) Featuring commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III, & IV) and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner
DIGITAL BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE:
DIGITAL BONUS (Standard Definition Streaming)
Lady of Burlesque (1943) - 91 minutes
Inner Sanctum (1948) - 62 minutes
Inner Sanctum Mysteries (Radio Episodes 3 x 26 minutes)
"The Tell-Tale Heart" featuring Boris Karloff
"The Black Sea Gull" featuring Peter Lorre
"Melody of Death" featuring Mary Astor


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 22nd, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 5 X 6

Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One: 48,937,179,415 bytes

Disc Two: 48,848,972,092 bytes

Average Film size: 12,667,227,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.78 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Calling Dr. Death Audio commentary from screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina Le Borg (daughter of director Reginald Le Borg)
Weird Woman Audio commentary from author Justin Humphreys (The Dr. Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre)
Strange Confession Audio commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III, & IV) and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner
Kim Newman on The Inner Sanctum Mysteries New interview with journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman (26:57)
This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series (31:47)
The Creaking Door: Entering The Inner Sanctum History of the Radio Series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr. (17:37)
Mind Over Matter  Archival interview with actor Martin Kosleck (The Frozen Ghost) (10:58)
Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Radio Episodes A selection of episodes from the original radio series (25:16 / 28:46 / 29:42 / 29:44 / 29:22 / 25:08)
 

PLUS: A collector's booklet featuring new writing on the series by Craig Ian Mann


Blu-ray Release Date:
January 18th, 2021
Custom Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 6 X 6

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Eureka Blu-ray (January 2021): Eureka have, likewise, transferred the six Inner Sanctum Mysteries movies to Blu-ray. They looks basically the same as the Mill Creek renderings except for Pillow of Death which was taken from an inferior or compromised source.

Eureka have improved this weakness of the Pillow of Death image on the Mill Creek (see comments below) - the final 'Mystery' - with either another source (the damage marks appear the same though) or have digitally tried to correct the flaw by brightening the image slightly. It does look significantly better and brings out more of the grain and detail. We have compared a few captures below. This is a notable upgrade over the US 1080P set although not reaching the stellar quality of the first 5 mysteries. The Eureka also is housed on two dual-layered Blu-rays. Three hour+ 'mysteries', with extras, on each disc. 

As for the audio - Eureka go with liner PCM (24-bit) and might support the higher end to a better degree. There isn't s strong difference to my ears. They also offer optional English subtitles and their Blu-ray discs are Region 'B'-locked.

Extras seem to be a shared deal - same wonderful commentaries and same three featurettes; The Creaking Door: Inside the Inner Sanctum, This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series and the Mind Over Matter archival interview. Eureka add a 1/2 hour with the inestimable Kim Newman. Where Mill Creek added the 'Standard Definition Streaming' supplements - Eureka added on the discs six (3 per disc) Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Radio Episodes - a selection of episodes from the original radio series plus a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the series by Craig Ian Mann.

Well, the Eureka is the Blu-ray set to own. The Pillow of Death upgrade is notable and Kim Newman, the booklet and on-disc radio programs. No question.

***

ADDITION: Mill Creek Blu-ray (November 2020): Mill Creek have transferred the six Inner Sanctum Mysteries movies to Blu-ray. Except for the final film, Pillow of Death (see comments below), the 1080P 1.37:1 image looks excellent for the first five films at almost 6X the bitrate of the 15-year old DVD transfers. There are still surface scratches but the contrast and detail rise dramatically and the bitrates are high. It's quite a remarkable upgrade that also shows more information in the frames - on all four edges. I'm very pleased with the new HD appearance housed on two dual-layered Blu-rays. Three hour+ 'mysteries', with extras, on each. 

Now, Pillow of Death has a severe problem. It looks exceptionally weak - unnaturally dark and dirty - as if it came from a lower grade source. HERE is an example. This has not come from the same sources as the other 5 films. Beware. We will, hopefully, compare to the upcoming Eureka, but I fear it will be the same. I have added some comparison captures to the DVD below.     

NOTE: We have added 78 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Mill Creek use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. There are effects that end up usually being modest relying for the score by Paul Sawtell (Lost City of the Jungle, 5 Steps to Danger, A Game of  Death, InfernoSilver CityThe FlyDenver and Rio GrandeVoyage to the Bottom of the Sea etc.) with the final two being composed by Frank Skinner (The Sleeping City The World in His Arms, Arabian Nights, The Lady Gambles, The Appaloosa, Madame X, Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, Thunder Bay, and The Naked City.) They do a good job of heightening tension. Mill Creek offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-rays.

The Mill Creek Blu-rays include three new commentaries with C. Courtney Joyner and Regina LeBorg (daughter of director Reginald LeBorg) on Calling Dr. Death and he observes a comparison with The Whistler (Richard Dix) series at Columbia, appreciated montages concocted by her father and having a generally pleasant conversation with Regina - both identify him as an extremely underrated director. Weird Woman has a commentary by Justin Humphreys (author of The Dr. Phibes Companion: The Morbidly Romantic History of the Classic Vincent Price Horror Film Series) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies Horror). They bring up some interesting production and performer details. I enjoyed it. On Strange Confession (not Dead Man's Eyes, as advertised) we get a commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III, & IV) and, the overworked, C. Courtney Joyner. Joyner, a veritable film encyclopedia, thankfully takes the lead as Atkins has a poor audio connection - presumably a function of the lockdown. I enjoyed it very much as they approach the hour-long film from different angles and there is plenty to discuss. There are three featurettes; This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series is produced by Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and runs over 1/2 hour (not 55-minutes as advertised) and discusses the anthology radio program bought by Universal - only retaining the logo. Himan Brown who produced an outrageous number of radio shows is discussed and the entire program focuses on the shift from radio to the big screen with C. Courtney Joyner (again), Mark Jordan Legan and Richard Heft. The Creaking Door: Inside the Inner Sanctum runs 17-minutes and shows the history of the Radio Series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr. looking deeply into the history of the series. Lastly, is Mind Over Matter: an archival interview with actor Martin Kosleck who was prominent in The Frozen Ghost as 'Rudi Polden' who oddly speaks to the mannequin exhibits - running 11-minutes and reflecting on his recollections and his career. The package is advertised as having a digital bonus (Standard Definition Streaming) listed at the back of a 28-page booklet offering Lady of Burlesque (1943) - 91 minutes, Inner Sanctum (1948) - 62 minutes, Inner Sanctum Mysteries (Radio Episodes 3 x 26 minutes), "The Tell-Tale Heart" featuring Boris Karloff, "The Black Sea Gull" featuring Peter Lorre and "Melody of Death" featuring Mary Astor. The booklet has descriptions of each film and photos.

My enthusiasm for these Inner Sanctum Mysteries hasn't decreased one iota. The vast improvement in a/v only adds further to the incredible nostalgic appeal, regardless of Pillow of Death's compromised source. Climb right into these gems and totally forget the evil 2020. The overflowing historically-based extras with the three new commentaries and equal number of new featurettes (the DVD set was totally bare bones) are icing on the cake. Very sweet. I'm so pleased to own these on Mill Creek Blu-ray (who have escalated a full notch in my estimation) so much that I may get their Hammer Films - Ultimate Blu-ray Collection yet. 20 films, a half-dozen commentaries...

Gary Tooze

ON THE DVD (2006): I watched these DVDs ravenously. I was just in a perfect mindset to enjoy these pulpy, sometimes cheesy, horror yarns starring Lon Chaney Jr. .

This DVD package is about what you might expect from owning previous multi-disc efforts from Universal.  A bare bones collection of 6 films adeptly transferred to digital with no supplements. It's nice to see that Universal heard peoples complaints about the double-sided DVDs and the 2 discs in the Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection are single-sided (Disc 1 contains - Calling Dr. Death / Dead Man's Eyes / Weird Woman , Disc 2 - Pillow of Death / Strange Confession / The Frozen Ghost).

The 6 films look quite good - hardly any damage and fair to excellent shadow detail. All are progressively transferred.  Expectantly - flickering contrast is prevalent to a small degree. Very good sharpness. Original audio and well done optional, hard-of-hearing English subtitles (and French).

Each film is introduced by a talking head inside a crystal ball (how great can you get?). Director Reginald Le Borg (Bad Blonde), had a real knack for these limited and usually very short productions. He was no Tourneur, but he was very good at what he did for Universal and he directed all the films on the first disc. When LeBorg left for other studio work, he was replaced for the final three Inner Sanctum movies by Harold Young. Another adept, if less stylistic director. 

I was thrilled about my viewing experience of this flawed, but heavily encrusted with nostalgia, film efforts - as they are previously unreleased titles that many crave and we strongly recommend! Tons of fun and you can't beat the price!

 


Menus / Extras

 

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray 2


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

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

3) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

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Pillow of Death

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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1) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

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1) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Eureka - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

 

  

Bonus Captures:

 

 

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Mill Creek - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Eureka (UK) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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