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Horror Cinema: 12 Movie Pack [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

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

Black Dragons
After an opening scene at a Washington DC cocktail party where it is demonstrated that "loose lips sink ships", the plot proper gets under way, wherein a group of six men conspire to undermine America's war effort. What is the connection between these six men, all of them outwardly respectable members of Washingtonian society? Hero Don (Clayton Moore) and heroine Alice (Joan Barclay) suspect that the answer lies with the mysterious, wryly philosophical Dr. Melcher (Bela Lugosi), a world-famous plastic surgeon. It turns out that Melcher is part of an elaborate espionage scheme hatched by the dreaded Black Dragon Society of Japan. ~ Hal Erickson, 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

King of the Zombies
Set in the Caribbean shortly before the U.S. was drawn into WWII, this zombie chiller tells the tale of an American special agent who, along with his butler and a pilot, is sent out to find a missing American Admiral, whose plane crashed on one of the islands. Unfortunately, the hero's plane also crashes. Fortunately, a suave but sinister German doctor with a very strange wife is there to help them. The doctor explains that his spouse is in a strange trance and he is trying to find a cure. The butler soon discovers that she is not the only one; the island is teeming with zombies. When the butler tries to tell his employer, the employer refuses to believe in "voodoo hocus pocus." The butler and the pilot find themselves entranced. Fortunately, the agent is still around to solve the mystery of the zombies and to confront the culprit, an enemy spy. ~ 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

She Demons
Irish McCalla, the statuesque heroine of TV's Sheena Queen of the Jungle, heads the cast of She Demons. Shipwrecked on a volcanic island, spoiled heiress Jerrie Turner (McCalla) and explorers Fred (Tod Griffin) and Sammy (Victor Sen Yung) fall into the clutches of unreconstructed Nazi scientist Osler (Rudolph Anders). Experimenting exclusively on beautiful, busty women, Osler hopes to create a race of super-persons, infusing his subjects with a powerful element known only as Character X. Fred and Sammy race against time to save Jerrie from becoming another of Osler's hideously mutated victims. She Demons is another triumph from director Richard Cunha, whose science-fiction quickies of the 1950s are among the worst films ever made. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Devil's Partner
In this occult obscurity, an old hillbilly named Pete Jensen (Ed Nelson) makes a pact with the Devil and returns to the town of Furnace Flats, NM, as a much younger man. Claiming to be his own nephew, Nick Richards, he romances pretty Nell Lucas (Jean Allison). Her fiancée David (Richard Crane) is mauled by his own dog, leaving him scarred and bitter. Doc Lucas (Edgar Buchanan) and Sheriff Fuller (Spencer Carlisle) figure it out and shoot Richards down after he turns into a snake and a horse. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Sisters of Death
When five sorority sisters gather together for a reunion, they discover that the deadly secret they share has come back to haunt them. ~ Erin Demers, Rovi

The Sound of Horror
In this low-budget horror movie, Greek treasure hunters discover a nest of prehistoric eggs. They break an egg and accidentally release a deadly, invisible force that begins noisily shredding all humans in its path. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Atomic Brain
This weird, morbid little sci-fi thriller stars Marjorie Eaton as a filthy-rich but decrepit old widow who has devoted much of her wealth to funding the dubious (to say the least) scientific research of Frank Gerstle, who has constructed a mad lab in the widow's basement in order to perfect a technique in which an infusion of atomic energy (or something) will enable him to transfer the widow's brain into a young and sexy physique. To this end, three subjects are solicited through a want ad (under the pretense of employing a housekeeper). The three young women, all of different nationalities (represented by horrendous accents), are subjected to the old woman's scrutiny, until she selects the prime candidate... as the others become fodder for the doctor's pet projects. Needless to say, things don't turn out quite as planned: people are burned, torn apart by man-beasts, and get their eyes ripped out -- one poor lass even winds up with the brain of a cat. This has a certain perverse charm and is competently directed (excepting some boring stretches) by Joseph V. Mascelli -- who, in spite of his work on this film and Ray Dennis Steckler's The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies, would later publish a well-known book on cinematography. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Night of the Blood Beast
The familiar rocks and rills of LA's Bronson Caverns are seen to good advantage in Night of the Blood Beast. The story begins when a manned space rocket develops trouble and plummets back to earth, apparently killing its occupant, Major John Corcoran (Michael Emmet). Unfortunately, Corcoran's body has become a breeding ground of extraterrestrial embryos, picked up while the rocket was in outer space. The tiny monsters grow and multiply, and before long Corcoran revives from the dead, literally impregnated by the alien beasts. After this promising and decidedly unorthodox buildup, the film goes downhill, settling for standard eek-eek shocks and a most unconvincing "blood beast", whose costume wouldn't have even passed muster at a Halloween party. Still, Night of the Blood Beast is at least half of a good, well-constructed horror flick. ~ Hal Erickson, 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

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