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Vincent Price and Christopher Lee Horror Collection [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

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

Horror Express
This horror science-fiction thriller, a cult favorite, takes place in 1907. Professor Caxton (Christopher Lee), a fossil-hunter has discovered some sort of pre-human creature frozen in ancient Manchurian ice. He is traveling to London with his find on the Trans-Siberian Railway and is horrified to discover that his frozen man is missing, and corpses and zombies are appearing all over the train. It turns out that the frozen specimen is an alien with some unusual powers. The combined forces of Professor Caxton, his rival Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing), and a Cossack captain (Telly Savalas) are needed to save the world from this monstrous being. Skillfully told, with a good dose of humor, this film also features the train which appeared a year before in Nicholas and Alexandra . ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

Circus of Fear
Based on an Edgar Wallace murder mystery this chiller centers on a Scotland Yard investigation of a series of puzzling deaths plaguing a traveling circus and the hunt for loot stolen from an armored car robbery. Suspects include the mask-wearing and disfigured lion tamer, a vengeful ringmaster, an insanely jealous knife-thrower, and a blackmailing dwarf called "Mr. Big." The film is also known as Circus of Fear. A German version was shot simultaneously with Psycho-Circus but used a different director. Though available in color in Great Britain, most of the American copies of the film are in black-and-white. ~ Sandra Brennan, 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

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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