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Horror Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Special Features

  • Interactive menus
  • Original graphics
  • Film information
  • Chapters - direct scene access (go straight to your favorite scenes)
  • Biography
  • Facts & trivia
  • Special collector's photo gallery

Synopsis

A Bucket of Blood
A fine example -- perhaps the best available -- of "B"-movie overlord Roger Corman's "Weekend Wonders" from the producer/director's early career (see also the original Little Shop of Horrors), this horror-comedy was also the first of beloved actor Dick Miller's dozen-odd portrayals of the character Walter Paisley. A geeky waiter and busboy at a happening Beatnik café, Walter is intensely jealous of the swinging social lives of the artistic types who hang there. A bizarre twist of fate changes everything; when Paisley accidentally kills his landlady's cat, his frantic attempts to hide the body lead him to encase it in a layer of clay, creating a morbid sculpture -- which is eventually discovered and hailed as an artistic triumph by the unwitting Bohemian art crowd. (When asked what he's named the piece, the befuddled Walter stammers, "Uhh... Dead Cat?") Beset by numerous requests for similar "truthful" works, the moronic Paisley is forced to find inspiration -- a matter which is readily solved when a nosy undercover cop tries to slap a heroin-possession charge on him and finds himself on the business end of a cast-iron skillet. Before long, the creative urge prods Walter to narrow the competition by whacking his peers with various blunt or sharp implements, and the demand for more sculptures just keeps growing. Miller's tour-de-force performance, writer Charles B. Griffith's hilarious "Daddy-O" dialogue, and Corman's emphasis on the story's more lurid aspects raise this bargain-basement production (ultra-cheap even by Corman's standards) to classic status. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Dementia 13
A young Francis Coppola was given the job of directing this moody low-budget chiller after begging producer Roger Corman for the opportunity to reuse the sets for another film which Corman was shooting in Ireland. The story centers on the dysfunctional Haloran family, who live in a state of perpetual sorrow in a spooky Irish castle. Still mourning the death of her young daughter Kathleen -- who drowned in the lake seven years ago -- Lady Haloran (Ethne Dunn) tortures herself regularly by visiting the girl's grave (when she's not shrieking and collapsing in anguish every five minutes). When daughter-in-law Louise Haloran (Luana Anders) loses her husband to a heart attack, she manages to conceal the body for fear of being cut out of Lady Haloran's will. To further complicate matters, a mysterious interloper begins prowling the grounds with an axe to grind... a very big axe. This enjoyable, quirky psycho-thriller is enlivened by Coppola's inventive camera setups, atmospheric locations and Patrick Magee's over-the-top performance as the leering family doctor. Despite some ragged editing (probably not Coppola's doing), this has relatively high production values for a spare-change Corman project. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Shock!
In this thriller, psychiatrist Dr. Cross (Vincent Price) kills his wife and expects to get away with murder, until he discovers that the slaying was observed by a next-door neighbor, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw). As Janet attempts to convince her husband (Frank Latimore) of the doctor's dastardly deed, Cross shows up to advise him that Janet is in dire need of some in-depth counseling. ~ Iotis Erlewine, 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 Bat
This fourth film version of the Mary Roberts Rinehart-Avery Hopwood stage chestnut The Bat is so old-fashioned in its execution that one might suspect it was intended as "camp" (though that phrase wasn't in common usage in 1959). Agnes Moorehead plays mystery novelist Cornelia Van Gorder, whose remote mansion is the scene for all sorts of diabolical goings-on. The "maguffin" is a million dollars' worth of securities, hidden away somewhere in the huge and foreboding estate. Vincent Price is seen committing a murder early on-but he's not the film's principal villain. Others in the cast include Gavin Gordon as an overly diligent detective, and former Our Gang star Darla Hood as a murder victim. The Bat was adapted for the screen by its director Crane Wilbur, himself a prolific "old dark house" scenarist and playright. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Name for Evil
A mid-life crisis takes a strange turn in this horror movie. The terror begins when a city couple decide to escape the hub-bub and crime and start new lives in the husband's great-grandfather's mansion located in the isolated North Woods. They are not there long before the wife finds herself tempted by a dashing ghost. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Last Woman on Earth
This weak sci-fi, post-disaster drama is about three people left alive after everyone else has been killed on earth. The trio is comprised of Harold (Antony Carbone), Martin (Edward Wain), and Evelyn (Betsy Jones-Moreland) who were underwater scuba diving when a mysterious glitch in the atmosphere depleted all available oxygen for a short period of time -- enough to kill off earth's population. The ambiance is at first eerie and increasingly ominous as the divers surface and slowly discover that no one is alive out there. Then the interaction of the two men with each other and with Evelyn (Eve?), takes over and the story veers into an odd romance drama as the two machos each try to seduce the last woman left on earth. The story was a first effort by scripter Robert Towne, whose muse was dozing at the moment, but was definitely back in form on later efforts (Chinatown, The Last Detail). Towne also co-starred here as Martin, using the pseudonym of Edward Wain. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Carnival of Souls
A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

I Bury the Living
Unjustly ignored by many books on the horror film, I Bury the Living is a bone-chilling little mood piece, almost completed dominated by Richard Boone. Expertly avoiding the obvious throughout the film, Boone gives a thoroughly credible performance of a troubled man who labors under the misapprehension that he is God. Boone plays the new chairman of a large cemetery; in his office is a map of the grounds, with black pins representing the occupied plots, and white pins representing plots that have been purchased but not yet filled. When Boone inadvertently mixes up the black and white pins, several of the plot owners suffer untimely deaths. Inevitably, Boone becomes convinced that he has the power of life and death--a conviction that doesn't completely dissipate once the secret behind the sudden deaths is revealed. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Horror Hotel
George Baxt scripted this extraordinarily good chiller from a story by Milton Subotsky, who also co-produced. A college student (Venetia Stevenson) with an interest in witchcraft goes to the Massachusetts town of Whitewood. It's a foggy, spooky town which gets even scarier when Stevenson discovers that the owner of the Raven's Inn, Mrs. Newlis (Patricia Jessel) is in fact a 268-year old witch. Jessel sold her soul to the Devil to regain her life after being burned at the stake. The whole town is her coven, including Stevenson's kindly history professor (Christopher Lee). Stevenson's boyfriend and brother arrive to look for her and discover human sacrifices and all sorts of evil goings-on. One of the few horror films of the period which still has the power to frighten, Horror Hotel is required viewing for genre fans. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

House on Haunted Hill
A perennial favorite of the "Shock Theatre" TV circuit, House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as sinister gent (you're surprised?) Frederick Loren, who resides in a sinister mansion on a sinister hill, where seven murders have occurred. He makes a proposal to several strangers, offtering $10,000 to anyone who can last the entire night. Loren festively gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. The picture hinges on its surprise ending, which packs in several by-now-familiar twists. When originally released to theaters, House on Haunted Hill was accompanied by one of those gimmicks so beloved of producer/director William Castle: the gimmick was "Emergo," and it involved a prop skeleton that "emerged" from the side of the screen at a crucial moment to frighten the audience. Like most of Castle's best films, House didn't really need the gimmick, but its presence added to the fun -- especially when second- and third-time viewers responded to "Emergo" by bombarding the skeleton with popcorn and empty soda bottles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Night of the Living Dead
When unexpected radiation raises the dead, a microcosm of Average America has to battle flesh-eating zombies in George A. Romero's landmark cheapie horror film. Siblings Johnny (Russ Streiner) and Barbara (Judith O'Dea) whine and pout their way through a graveside visit in a small Pennsylvania town, but it all takes a turn for the worse when a zombie kills Johnny. Barbara flees to an isolated farmhouse where a group of people are already holed up. Bickering and panic ensue as the group tries to figure out how best to escape, while hoards of undead converge on the house; news reports reveal that fire wards them off, while a local sheriff-led posse discovers that if you "kill the brain, you kill the ghoul." After a night of immolation and parricide, one survivor is left in the house.... Romero's grainy black-and-white cinematography and casting of locals emphasize the terror lurking in ordinary life; as in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Romero's victims are not attacked because they did anything wrong, and the randomness makes the attacks all the more horrifying. Nothing holds the key to salvation, either, whether it's family, love, or law. Topping off the existential dread is Romero's then-extreme use of gore, as zombies nibble on limbs and viscera. Initially distributed by a Manhattan theater chain owner, Night, made for about 100,000 dollars, was dismissed as exploitation, but after a 1969 re-release, it began to attract favorable attention for scarily tapping into Vietnam-era uncertainty and nihilistic anxiety. By 1979, it had grossed over 12 million, inspired a cycle of apocalyptic splatter films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and set the standard for finding horror in the mundane. However cheesy the film may look, few horror movies reach a conclusion as desolately unsettling. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Scared to Death
When a DNA experiment screws up, a mutant is created which turns into a people-devouring menace. It kills people by sucking spinal fluid from their spinal columns. A genetics student and an ex-cop team up to locate the awful creature. ~ Phillip Erlewine, 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

The Last Man on Earth
In a post-epidemic nightmare world, scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only man immune to the plague which has transformed the entire population of the Earth into vampire-like creatures. He becomes the monster slayer that vampire-society fears. Curing one of them, Ruth (Franca Bettoja), with a transfusion of his blood gives him hope for the future. It is a short future, however, since the other vampires quickly find and kill him. This dark tale, based on Richard Matheson's even darker novel "I Am Legend," was later remade as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston in the Vincent Price role. ~ Lucinda Ramsey, Rovi

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