10 Film Classic Horror Collection [2 Discs] [DVD]

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The Ape
This painfully-bad Monogram feature wastes the talents of two of horrordom's finest -- star Boris Karloff and co-writer Curt Siodmak (who would write the horror classic The Wolf Man for Universal the same year). The goofy plot involves the efforts of one Dr. Adrian (Karloff) to procure human spinal fluid for his polio-vaccine research by donning the pelt of a slain circus ape and slaughtering innocent people. The fact that he's snapping spines in the interest of medicine doesn't really help to clear the moral waters (he never does find a cure, anyway). Filmed during a particularly grueling year for Karloff, this marks the end of his lengthy stir with Monogram (after a tedious string of Mr. Wong potboilers). Without Karloff to kick around, the studio concentrated their humiliating efforts on Bela Lugosi, who appeared in a virtual remake, The Ape Man, three years later. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The She-Beast
In this spooky Italian-Yugoslavian horror movie, a lovely English bride is possessed by the vengeful spirit of an 18th-century Transylvanian witch on her wedding night and creates all sorts of bloody mayhem for her hapless husband and others. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Lady Frankenstein
This lurid but entertaining Italian/Spanish twist on the Frankenstein legend begins with Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotten) being assisted in his research by his sultry daughter Tania (Sara Bay). The doctor's first attempt at a stitched-together creation results in a lumpy, pop-eyed monstrosity with little of the expected respect for its creator. In fact, the monster begins its rampage by murdering the Baron and escaping into the surrounding village. The younger Frankenstein returns from medical school with newly-acquired surgical expertise and a desire to follow in her late father's footsteps. She soon begins work on a creation of her own by transplanting the brain of her brilliant but deformed assistant Charles (Paul Müller) into the body of a brawny handyman. The result is a handsome and powerful male creature not only capable of destroying the original monster, but virile enough to satisfy his creator's overwhelming sexual appetites. Tania is apparently quite eager to test the latter, and she does quite frequently, as indicated in the film's numerous softcore sex scenes. This lengthy romantic interlude is cut short when the first monster returns to finish what he started. Directed by Mel Welles (who B-movie fans will remember as Gravis Mushnik from Roger Corman's cult classic Little Shop of Horrors), this film plays like a sexually-obsessed version of an early Hammer production. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride
The final installment in Hammer Studios' Dracula series is also the least interesting of the lot. A fairly direct follow-up to Dracula A.D. 1972, this sequel finds the Count (Christopher Lee) developing a potent strain of bubonic plague which he and his devil-worshipping disciples plan to release from 1970's London to wipe out nearly all life on earth. His efforts are challenged once again by the dedicated Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), leading to a rather uninvolving climax. Despite the always-welcome presence of Lee and Cushing, this installment plays too flagrantly with the time-honored Hammer Gothic formula, giving Dracula actual dialogue and surrounding the leads with a dull, amateurish supporting cast -- with the possible exception of Joanna Lumley (later of BBC-TV's Absolutely Fabulous). This also marked Lee's final performance as the Count and signaled the beginning of the end for Hammer's horror heyday. Also known as Satanic Rites of Dracula and Dracula is Dead and Well and Living in London. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Silent Night, Bloody Night
The secrets of a small New England town are violently exposed on Christmas Eve in this proto-slasher shocker. The owner of the long-abandoned Butler estate is desperate to sell, and dispatches his lawyer from New York to negotiate its purchase by the town council. Meanwhile, an inmate from a nearby insane asylum breaks loose and makes his way to the old mansion to take bloody revenge for a crime kept hidden for 35 years. The maniac makes mysterious phone calls to various prominent citizens, telling them that "Marianne" has returned, and lures each to the Butler house to meet their doom. The mayor's daughter, Diane, receives a visit from a man who claims to be Jeremy Butler, the mansion's owner, in town to investigate his lawyer's disappearance. Together they attempt to unravel the sinister mystery of the Butler house, which turns out to be a harrowing tale of incest, insanity and mass murder. Cult favorites Mary Woronov and John Carradine are featured in the cast of this eerie thriller, which also includes cameos from Warhol Factory legends Candy Darling and Ondine. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

The Terror
In this horror chiller, an intriguing, beautiful woman (Sandra Knight) keeps re-appearing to early 19th-century Lt. Duvalier (Jack Nicholson), and he is led to a castle where he finds an imposter of Baron Von Leppe (Boris Karloff). He becomes trapped in the ancient castle and tries to make sense of the eerie situation. Director Roger Corman (with the help of a few other directors, including Francis Ford Coppola) shot most of this within a few days after finishing The Raven--utilizing the same set. ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory
A school for wayward girls is plagued by mysterious attacks by a strange beast. This low budget, melodramatic horror film has several shadowy characters who are suspected of being werewolves. The girls really are wayward as they wander off into the nearby forest every time the moon is full. A wolf, a girl, and three men meet their demise at the claws of the unknown throat ripper. Terror grips the campus as the search continues for the murderous monster. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

The Killer Shrews
Ken Curtis, former singing cowboy and Gunsmoke's Festus, joined right-wing radio's Gordon McLendon in producing this hilariously bad monster movie about a horde of outsized rodents run amok on an isolated island. The creation of mad scientist Baruch Lumet (father of acclaimed director Sidney Lumet), the monster shrews (portrayed by collies in goofy rubber masks!) escape the lab during a hurricane and devour nearly every other animal on the island before seeking human prey -- including star James Best and girlfriend Ingrid Goude (1957's Miss Universe), who are stranded on the island by the same storm. The survivors manage to escape to safety thanks to some goofy contraptions constructed from trash cans. This one is best remembered by bad-film buffs for its tail-wagging canine stars and a multitude of famous names on both sides of the camera. Curtis and McLendon's companion film The Giant Gila Monster is slightly less ridiculous. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Dead Men Walk
This painfully cheap but wildly entertaining PRC production stars a hammy George Zucco in a dual role as the Clayton Twins -- both doctors, one good, one evil. Elwyn Clayton, a practitioner of the black arts, is murdered by his brother Lloyd and returns from the dead as a vampire to seek revenge with the aid of his leering, hunchbacked assistant (Dwight Frye -- who else?). He exacts his vengeance by brutally murdering Elwyn's associates, with all evidence pointing to the only living twin. Jungle Siren director Sam Newfield makes the most of the paltry budget, helped greatly by Zucco's typically flamboyant performance -- which threatens to out-camp even that of legendary eye-roller Frye (who would die of a heart attack some months after this film's completion). ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Wasp Woman
This goofy but entertaining horror cheapie from producer-director Roger Corman and company involves the efforts of a questionable scientist working for cosmetics magnate Susan Cabot, who is developing a new rejuvenating beauty cream derived from an enzyme secreted by wasps, intended to make women look eternally youthful. A vain woman obsessed with restoring her lost beauty, Cabot insists on being the first test subject. The solution proves remarkably effective at first, transforming her into a sultry raven-haired vixen...until she begins to take on the predatory traits of a giant female wasp, setting out on a nocturnal killing spree. Originally double-billed with The Beast from Haunted Cave, this cheesy monster mash inspired the less-amusing Leech Woman and was later remade for 1980s audiences (i.e., with a higher sex-and-gore quotient) as Evil Spawn. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

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