Here’s a great competition for all you classic horror fans out there! If you love Lugosi, can’t get enough of Karloff, and are a purveyor of all things Price, this really is a competition you’re going to want to enter!
To celebrate Altitude Films release on the 27th of May 2013 of a whole plethora of classic horror from on DVD, we’re giving away 7 of the films to 1 lucky horror fan! He’re a run down of the movies you’ll get:
The Black Cat
The first pairing of horror greats Lugosi and Karloff, The Black Cat is a dark and macabre film.
A young couple, Peter (David Manners) and Joan Allison (Julie Bishop) are honeymooning in Hungary. Traveling by train they share a compartment with Dr Werdegast (Lugosi), a freed POW who seeks news of his wife and daughter and vengeance on Hjalmar Poelzig (Karloff), the man whose betrayal lead to his imprisonment.
When the trio’s bus from the station gets into an accident, the young couple accompany Werdegast to Poelzig’s futuristic mansion, built on top of an old graveyard.
Poelzig’s attention to Joan, and her uncharacteristic behaviour, compels the couple to pack their bags until they learn they are being held captive. With Werdegast swearing revenge and out for retribution, the honeymooners soon find themselves trapped in the two men’s horrifying battle of wits.
Following the success of ‘The Black Cat’ Karloff and Lugosi teamed up again for another classic slice of horror. Lugosi gives one of his finest performances as the brilliant but deranged surgeon who becomes obsessed with a beautiful dancer after saving her life.
He must have her but first must deal with her fiancé and father and plans to take care of them in his chamber of Edgar Allen Poe-inspired torture devices. To do the dirty work he enlists the aid of a wanted criminal (Karloff) whom he disfigures with the promise of restoring his features when the job is done.
The Legend of Hell House
It sits there, shrouded in mist and mystery, a nesting place for living evil and terror from the dead. It’s Hell House. Roddy McDowall heads up the cast of this exciting chiller about four psychic investigators and the dark, brooding mansion they themselves call “the Mount Everest of haunted houses.” It’s already destroyed one team of researchers.
Now this brave quartet ventures in for another try at unravelling its secrets. But before they succeed, they must suffer through madness, murder and everything else the spirits that dwell here have in store for them. Yet learning the truth just might drive them all insane. An ingeniously-devised ghost story, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE will thrill and delight veteran horror fans from the first creaking door to the very last slithering shadow.
Mild-mannered College professor George Kingsley (Stanley Ridges) is caught in a bloody gangster shoot out and is gravely injured. Kingsley’s close friend Dr. Ernest Sovac (Boris Karloff) preforms an emergency operation replacing the damaged section of Kingsley’s brain with that of injured gangster Red Cannon (Bela Lugosi). But while the operation is a success, Kingsley experiences disastrous ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ side effects, occasionally taking on the more brutal aspects of Cannon’s personality.
While under one of his ‘spells’, Kingsley reveals the existence of a stash of stolen money. Struggling to control his greed, Sovac hypnotizes Kingsley bringing out his alter ego, hoping to get information on the location of the money. But hypnosis brings Kingsley closer to madness, with his personalities alternating between docile professor and brutal gangster, out for revenge.
Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis) is drowning his sorrows after yet another fight with his wife. At a local bar, he meets a woman and they strike up a conversation. Sensing the woman is also feeling down and not wishing to be alone, he invites her to the theatre. She agrees under one condition; she does not wish to divulge her name, preferring to remain anonymous.
When Henderson returns home he finds police officers waiting for him. His wife has been murdered, strangled with one of his neckties, and he is the main suspect. Maintaining his innocence he suggests they go back and speak with someone who might provide an alibi. But no one seems to remember the mysterious lady.
Charged with the murder of his wife, it seems Scott Henderson will face the electric chair if he cannot prove his innocence. His only hope just might be his loyal secretary Carol “Kansas” Richman (Ella Raines). Can she find the phantom lady before it’s too late?
Paul Toombes (Vincent Price), veteran Hollywood horror film star, is making a comeback in a new TV series based on the old “Dr. Death” movies which first made him world famous.
The trouble with Paul is his past. A beautiful young actress to whom he was engaged to be married was found murdered in strange circumstances. Although acquitted after standing trial for the killing, Paul’s career was shattered and the breakdown he suffered left him an unbalanced wreck.
Now twenty years on, his old actor-friend Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing) welcomes him back to the role. But the curse of Dr. Death strikes again as a series of gruesome murders drag Paul into his past and he begins to wonder if he is in the grip of impulses totally beyond his control
Scream and Scream Again
Police are called in to investigate a series of brutal murders. At first they believe the deaths are unrelated, until pathologist David Sorel (Christopher Matthews) performs a post-mortem revealing that each body has been sucked dry of blood, giving the appearance of the work of vampires.
Ordered by a government official to destroy the evidence, the police drop the case. But Sorel refuses to stop looking into the mystery. In an attempt to capture the crazed killer he is led to the mysterious mansion of Dr. Browning (Vincent Price), where he finds a secret operating theatre; a workshop for the creation of super humans out of limbs and organs from living bodies.
But in a sadistic twist, the mastermind behind Browning’s evil deeds pushes him into a vat of acid, putting a grisly end to his diabolical plans.
How to enter to win these 7 Classic Horror Movies on DVD!
We have 1 set of all 7 movies to give away, and as usual, all you have to do to win, is one (or both!) of the following:
1. Retweet the following:
Retweet to win 7 classic horror DVD’s inc. Lugosi, Karloff & Price! @Geektown http://wp.me/p10pHL-330
2. Leave a comment on this post saying you want to win!
You can just say you want to win, or be a bit more creative with your answer, and tell me why I should pick you.
The competition closes on 27th May 2013 and is open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
There will be 1 winner picked from entries on geektown.co.uk or Twitter.
By entering you are agreeing to the rules of this competition. Full rules can be read here.
I was sitting on a bench in the sun, reading a novel and passing the time until the next screening. Suddenly a small green insect landed on my arm. Normally, I’d flick it off, or try to transfer it to the nearest plant. Instead I sat and watched it pick its way down towards my hand. A small brown fluffy seed drifted down from the tree above me onto my lap. I stared at it in wonder. The world was infused with mystery, and I was finding beauty in the simplest of places.
Nope, I hadn’t scoffed the wrong batch of brownies. I’d just been to see Epic, the latest movie from the creators of Ice Age, and it had left me with a Wonderland feeling: everything was alive, everything was infinitely interesting.
The storyline is sweet: Mary Katherine, a teenager who has just lost her mother, is sent to live with her absent-minded academic father in the middle of nowhere. His life’s work takes place in the forest alongside his house, where he is convinced that a tiny race of advanced people live and thrive. Is he right, or is he crazy?
It’s an animated kids’ movie, of course he’s right. And naturally, there’s a battle between good and evil. Tara, the beautiful Flower Queen, played by none other than Beyoncé herself (yes, I spent the entire movie thinking “I recognise that voice… I know I do…”) must choose her successor in a ceremony that comes around only once every 100 years: the coincidence of the summer solstice and the full moon.
But there is evil afoot. Mandrake, villanous ruler of the Boggans, sets out to kill the Queen and turn the kingdom of the forest to darkness. Ronan, head of the Leafmen and Queen Tara’s most valiant supporter, leads the battle against him, supported by Nod, rogueish wannabe rebel who gradually learns why his place in the fold is so important. Meanwhile, Mary Katherine has decided that she can’t deal with her father’s ridiculous theories and lack of attention, so sets out on her own. But a mysterious sequence of events catapult her into the world of the tiny forest people, and only she can save the day… if she can work out why she’s there, and how to go about doing it.
Honestly, it’s not the most earth-shattering of stories. It’s not hilarious, like Shrek or Ice Age 1. It’s not immensely moving in the style of Toy Story, or amusingly relatable like Finding Nemo. But it is beautiful. An Avatar for kids, this film will pull you into another world, giving you a breathtaking view of both real and imaginary landscapes that will stick with you long after you leave the cinema. For that alone, it’s worth the trip.
7/10 – A pretty average story, beautifully executed
I do not define myself as a feminist. Sure, I care about people being able to do what fulfils them, and having the opportunity to pursue their dreams, etc. etc., but I don’t stand firmly in the current feminist camp.
Perhaps if I’d lived in the 50s and 60s it would have been different. In fact, I’m pretty certain I would have been a wildly outspoken women’s libber in a time when females were genuinely expected to “make house” and do little else. But it’s not something I give much thought to in day to day life. Like many youngish women in the 2000-somethings, I sort of take for granted that I can make a living, have a job, live alone, and still be respected as much as any guy. Because… well, why would it be any different?
That’s what makes this film important. And the other thing that stands out about it is its sense of humour. It’s not a boring soul-sucker of a political statement. Nor is it solely about sport. It’s actually a really important statement about the history of feminism, and how it got us to where we are now.
The movie centres around the great tennis match of 1973, between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. I’m into sports, but not exactly a tennis aficionado: I’ll watch it if it’s on, but I know very little about the mechanics of it. My own brief foray into the game involved discovering that I had a nonexistent backhand and a far too enthusiastic forehand, meaning that I was constantly either completely unable to hit the ball at all, or racing across the road to retrieve it from the other side of the school. Eventually I gave up and decided to focus on reading, an altogether more sedate sport and one that rarely caused any physical injury larger than a paper cut.
So really, I shouldn’t have found this film hugely compelling. But as someone interested in sociology, I did enjoy watching it. Not just due to the content of the movie, but also because of the reaction of the audience.
It opened with clips of advertisements from the 1970s: ads portraying women, completely openly, as “the weaker sex”, talking about how “she is at home in the kitchen… if she’s ambitious, she may have a part-time job…” and so on. Cue amused titters from the audience. Throughout the movie, flashbacks were shown of popular opinion around the time when King and the Original Nine were launching their own revolution: images that showed men talking about being “male chauvinists” as if it were not only free of shame, but something to be proud of. Sitting in our nice comfy seats in the Wired offices, men and women next to each other, all with probably similar concerns about getting home to the partner, grabbing dinner on the way back, that big meeting with the editor tomorrow, we were able to laugh at the obvious ridiculousness of the views being put forward on the screen. But as the film wore on, it became more and more evident that there had been a battle to get to this point, and that it had been hard-won.
Billy Riggs, 55-year-old tennis retiree, self-professed “male chauvinist” and “sugar daddy” (as proclaimed by his sports jacket), challenged two women to take him on in a match to end all matches: a Battle of the Sexes, in which he would prove that male reigned supreme. Challenge #1: Margaret Court, not a women’s libber but a quiet, religious lady who accepted the way the world worked and lived in it in her own unassuming way, courtseying to Riggs when he gave her a bouquet of flowers at the beginning of their match and being altogether very cordial and… well, just nice.
Cue Billlie Jean King, antagonist extraordinaire and a formidable opponent for Riggs. Not that he seemed to notice: his attitude to the whole situation was blasé to the extreme, and he was so certain he would win that he bet $15,000 on it at the bookies’ before he entered the court.
Who won? If you don’t know already, watch the movie. I’ve never been so into a game of tennis in my life. Especially not a pre-recorded one.
It was history being made, and Billie Jean wasn’t afraid to make it. Her sheer tenacity in the face of crazy odds – especially the setting up of the Original Nine, which would later become the Women’s Tennis Association, despite the threat of never being able to play a Wimbledon or US Open match again – made her a genuine heroine. And one with a sense of humour: that all-important quality that seems to be lacking in so many people who feel strongly about things.
It’s a really interesting film, and an important one if you have any feelings about feminism, positive or negative. For me, it was interesting to see the historic movement which got me to a place where I can be a “career woman” and no one thinks it’s strange. For modern-day feminists, it’ll be a fantastic journey into the life of one of their predecessors. And for everyone else… well, it’s an excellent game, and it might just get you interested in tennis. Or feminism, who knows?
7/10 – An interesting and important film about a seminal time in history
In 1965, British children had a new obsession: Daleks! Having first appeared in 1964 as part of the BBC’s new Saturday drama series, ‘Dr. Who’, the ‘pepper pots’ had proved an instant hit.
Unsurprisingly, ‘Dalek mania’ was deemed ripe for commercial exploitation and the 1960s would see two feature films, countless toys, books, comics, and numerous appearances on television all featuring Terry Nation’s most famous creation.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dr. Who and the Daleks’ and ‘Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.’ marks the films’ debut HD transfer, and both pictures have never looked so good! The films have, however, been released many times in the past, including a prior DVD release, a variety of VHS compilations and have been available for the domestic home market since as far back as 1977 when they were released on Super 8mm.
Before we talk about the release itself, it’s important to look back at the origins of these films and to understand how they fit into the Dr. Who ‘franchise’. Since 1963, 11 actors have occupied the role of ‘The Doctor’ in the BBC show, however Peter Cushing’s fine performance is not considered ‘canon’, nor are the films accepted by Dr. Who fans as being compatible with the television series of the same name – despite Cushing appearing for double the screen time of the series’ eighth incumbent Paul McGann. However, much like the strange relative that all families refuse to fully acknowledge, but reluctantly accept as part of their own, most Dr. Who fans have a grudging respect for the films, and almost all will already own a copy.
With BBC regular William Hartnell committed to making the television series, the use of Peter Cushing, a stalwart of British Cinema (with white hair and being of a similar age to Hartnell) is understandable. What’s altogether more questionable was the decision to re-invent the series’ back story and replace the concept of an alien traveller with that of a domestic ‘mad professor’ who has seemingly stumbled upon the key to time travel from the comfort of his back garden. The eponymous character’s personality and temperament is also markedly different between Hartnell and Cushing’s portrayal and the broody, melancholic Doctor is portrayed here as a carefree spirit with an almost childlike thirst for adventure. In the years before viewers had come to witness the Doctor ‘regenerate’ from actor to actor, reconciling this figure with their favourite television hero must have been a tall task indeed.
Beyond these differences, the plots to both films produced by Amicus Productions, and directed by Gordon Flemyng, follow their television counterparts reasonably faithfully and the slight reduction in screen time on film helps move the story along. The huge budget difference between television and film is also self evident as the Doctor’s adventures, and indeed his fearful foes, are presented on a scale never seen on the BBC.
If you already own the films on DVD, and don’t have a high-definition setup, it’s arguable as to whether it’s worth ‘upgrading’ to this package. However, if you’re a lover of Blu-ray and all things HD, the films are a worthy addition to any self-respecting Dr. Who fan’s collection. Despite 2013 marking the series’ 50th anniversary, precious little footage from the original series exists in a high-definition format with the programme originally recorded on 405 line, two inch quad studio videotape, and ending on 625 line, one inch quad videotape by the end of the classic series run in 1989. Indeed, it took until the David Tennant ‘specials’ in 2009 for the series to permanently adopt HD as its format of choice. So, with only one serial from the first 46 years of the show prime for Blu-ray (Jon Pertwee’s debut adventure ‘Spearhead from Space’ – recorded on location on 16mm due to a studio strike), Dr. Who fans really can’t be fussy when it comes to HD content!
In reviewing this latest release it’s clear from the off that both films look luxurious in their original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and prove that, in the 1960s, British cinema could hold its own on the world stage. The HD transfer is an incredibly sympathetic one and the balance between film grain and over-the-top noise reduction is achieved almost to perfection. The grading is brilliant and allows both films (which are incredibly colourful and vibrant in of themselves) to have impact, without becoming over saturated. There’s the odd scratch and dirt visible from time to time, but it’s not enough to distract and serves to add some patina to the transfers. The sound to both films has also enjoyed a high level of restoration, and listening to some old clips online from prior transfers highlights the immediate difference. Both films are presented as LPCM 2.0 tracks and the distinctive and effective music scores that underpin the films have never sounded so good.
The extras package available for both films is strong, though the jewel in the crown – the brilliant DalekMania documentary has been around for nearly twenty years. A nice commentary by Roberta Tovey and Jennie Linden is welcome though and there’s a nice little restoration feature, which is always good to see when a film has been lovingly restored. Film trailers and galleries have also been included along with a couple of other interesting novelties to bring added value. The films are presented with pleasing cover artwork, and are available individually or together as part of a package.
Watching both films, it’s a shame that the planned, but ultimately abandoned, third movie – an adaptation of the television serial ‘The Chase’ – was never made. Ultimately, although ‘Dr. Who and the Daleks’ and ‘Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.’ will never be ‘our’ Dr. Who, they are a great oddity which allows us to see the Daleks, at the height of their power and popularity, given their rightful ‘big budget’ outing on the big screen and I’m sure many future fans may have come to the series through seeing these films. As long as the television series remains, these films will continue popping up every few years for new generations to enjoy, but this HD restoration probably marks the pinnacle of their presentation…well, at least until 4k becomes the norm!
9/10 - If you love Dr.Who and can accept this re-imagining, you’ll be rewarded with colourful Daleks galore on a truly epic scale!
Writing a spoiler free review of Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t easy, as there are so many lovely little bits and pieces throughout the movie, I really don’t want to let any cats out of any proverbial bags, so i’m going to try and skirt around the main story, and focus on my feelings of the film as a whole.
Once again, JJ Abrams is back in the directors chair, with all the same cast as the previous movie. The trinity of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and Bones (Karl Urban) still holds together brilliantly well, with the 3 bouncing off each other as wonderfully as they did in the first film. Kirk is still a maverick. Spock is still logical, but battling his human side, and Bones is still grumpy about, well, pretty much everything! I still think Urban is somehow channeling the spirit of DeForest Kelley, and plays it brilliantly. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is still in the relationship with Spock that was set up in the first movie, although the strain is beginning to show…
The opening scenes rather feel like you walked in towards the end of an epic episode of the tv show, so the movie hits the ground running and never really slows it’s pace. Writers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Hawaii Five-0), are joined by Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) this time around, and the 3 excel at pulling a sometimes touching, sometimes comic, and always action filled script together. A lot of that comic relief falls into the ever capable hands of Simon Pegg’s Scotty, along with Anton Yelchin’s Chekhov, but it’s still the interactions between the Kirk/Spock/Bones trinity that make me smile the most.
The threat this time around comes from Benedict Cumberbatch’s mysterious John Harrison, played with a wonderful subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) level of menace you’d expect from the Sherlock actor. I’d love to say more, but I really don’t way to give anything away!
I’ve read a number of reviews from some of the broadsheets in particular that have been rather snotty about the film, but I really don’t agree with their issues with it. If you’re a dedicated trekkie or trekker, I think you’ll be extremely happy. There are plenty of clever nods and winks to the historic show to keep you going, and it’s a movie I’m sure Gene Roddenberry would have been very happy with. If you’re not especially a Star Trek fan, but like good action-filled movie fair, you’re still going to love it!
9/10 – Entertaining, action-filled brilliance!
I hate Twilight. I don’t like pathetic, simpering women, and I’m not a huge fan of fantasy movies, although from time to time I’ll like one if it’s good.
I was also double-booked last night, for two screenings, which I only realised about half an hour before I was due to leave for both of them. I skimmed the synopses and re-read the invitations, and honestly, the reason I chose to go and see Byzantium was because the email promised free wine and canapés.
The Soho Hotel delivered on the food and wine. It was excellent. But the film was even better.
The playwright, an immensely likeable Moira Buffini, stood up beforehand and spoke for a few minutes about the concept behind the script. It was originally written for theatre, and then adapted for film by Stephen Woolley. Buffini explained that she’d tried to write the play she’d have wanted to be in as a sixteen-year-old, and that she had two questions in mind for the script to answer:
1. What would it be like to spend 200 years with your mother? (collective shudders from the audience)
2. How do people deal with their damage?
Interesting questions. And they’re answered beautifully in the film.
Eleanor Webb (Saoirse Ronan) is a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl who spends her life hiding her biggest secret. Nothing strange about that. But her secret is that she’s been sixteen for two hundred years, having been made into a vampire by her mother, Clara (Gemma Arterton). The story follows the two women through their life in the modern age, and shows how it’s changed and how it’s remained the same since the 1800s.
Naturally, they meet some men along the way. Noel (Daniel Mays), a forty-something loser who’s inherited money from his deceased mother, provides the home they need – the Byzantium, an ex-B&B which Clara promptly turns into a brothel. Eleanor’s love interest comes in the shape of a young schoolboy, Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), and a classic young love story unfolds between them.
It’s a surprisingly touching film considering the level of gore (the lady next to me did not look OK); the question of how people deal with damage was shown as a stark contrast between Clara, taking the hard route, the only one she knew; and Eleanor, upholding truth and believing in her teenage way that love conquers all. Perhaps it does. You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
I didn’t like it because it’s a vampire movie. I liked it because it’s about a girl who has a story, who writes it down over and over again in every place she moves to with her mother, and then throws it to the wind because she knows that truth is fatal.
It’s lovely. Go see it. But if you’re squeamish you might want to cover your eyes from time to time.