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Classic Horror: Five/The Mad Magician/The Man Who Turned to Stone/The Terror of the Tongs [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Five
One of the most pretentious "apocalypse" films ever made, Five is set in a lavish Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house--owned by Arch Oboler, the film's writer/producer/director. The "five" of the title are the only survivors of a nuclear disaster, all of whom have rather illogically converged in this house. William Phipps, the hero, was left untouched by the explosion because he'd been alone in an Empire State Building elevator! He is the first to arrive at the house, and is joined in quick succession by a pregnant woman (Susan Douglas), a fascistic soldier of fortune (James Anderson), an African American doorman (Charles Lampkin) and a shell-shocked bank clerk (Earl Lee). The clerk mercifully dies of radiation early on, leaving the remaining four to converse at great and boring length on all things philosophical. At long, long last, only the hero and the woman are left alive to do the "Adam and Eve" bit. Though Arch Oboler was one of the greatest radio writers of all time, Five proves that he was in over his head as a filmmaker; the dialogue evokes laughter rather than profound thought, and the plotline has logic holes big enough to drive trucks through. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Terror of the Tongs
Terror of the Tongs is a gory, garishly colored melodrama written by Jimmy Sangster in the tradition of the Fu Manchu films. The villain is "Fu" himself, Christopher Lee, here eminently hissable as the leader of a vicious Chinese Tong operating in 1910 Hong Kong. Proper London merchant Geoffrey Toone is drawn into this netherworld when his daughter is murdered by Lee's minions. Conducting a one-man war against the Tongs, Toone eventually flushes out every member of the faction...leaving only Lee to vanquish at fade-out time. Though the crimson-dominated color photography of Terror of the Tongs is the film's prime asset, the picture was originally released theatrically in black and white. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Mad Magician
Vincent Price turns on his usual terrifying charm in the role of a homicidal magician in The Mad Magician, a satisfying thriller that was originally shown in 3-D. The actor best known for the luster he brought to many horror films stars as Gallico the Great, an inventor of magic acts who yearns to be the star of his own show. On the night of his first performance, he is shut down by his cruel manager Ormond (Donald Randolph) -- who wants to use Gallico's ingenious buzzsaw act for the famed magician Rinaldi (John Emery). Added to the knowledge that the wealthy Ormond had already stolen his wife Claire (Eva Gabor), Gallico goes mad and decapitates his tormentor with the buzzsaw. After a great sequence in which Ormond's head takes a mistaken trip with Gallico's assistant Karen (Mary Murphy) and her detective boyfriend Bruce (Patrick O'Neal), Gallico disguises himself as Ormond and rents an apartment with a mystery author (Lenita Lane). He manages to dispose of the body in another amusing scene, but he must kill again when Claire confronts him in his Ormond disguise. The author identifies Ormond as her killer and Gallico appears to be off the hook -- until Rinaldi appears with designs on stealing Gallico's latest trick: a crematorium illusion. Naturally, the illusion becomes reality and Rinaldi is burned to a crisp. Disguising himself as Rinaldi and taking over the magician's successful show, Gallico continues to fool the law until Bruce matches fingerprints from Rinaldi (who is really Gallico) to those of Ormond. Meanwhile, the author, realizing that the Ormond who stayed in her house was really Gallico, gathers Karen and the detective for a fiery confrontation. ~ Patrick Legare, Rovi

The Man Who Turned to Stone
The secret to immortality is thus: to rejuvenate tired bones and muscles and retain that youthful feeling forever, simply place nubile young women in a vat filled with chemicals, attach wires to their heads and suck out their life forces Warning: If after the first dosage subsequent treatments are not promptly administered, irreversible petrification will occur in all cases. These side-effects create the dilemma faced by the scientists who invented the process and this sci-fi horror movie tells how they solved their problem. Fortunately for the women involved, a hero shows up, saves them, and leaves the evil professors stoned for life. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • William Phipps
    William Phipps - Michael
  • Image coming soon
    Susan Douglas - Roseanne
  • James Anderson
    James Anderson - Eric
  • Image coming soon
    Charles Lampkin - Charles
  • Image coming soon
    Earl Lee - Barnstaple
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.