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Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman [2 Discs] [DVD]

SKU:8531421
Release Date:10/16/2007
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Description

Columbia-TriStar, which had been known for maintaining ridiculously high prices on the DVDs of its vintage films, seems to have reversed course radically with this double-DVD set, containing four low-budget (but surprisingly rewarding) horror films produced by low-budget producer Sam Katzman. A B-movie specialist who sought quality but often couldn't afford it, Katzman's record was an uneven one except in one respect -- none of the pictures that he made ever lost money, and some of them, such as the four represented here, were, dollar-for-dollar, in terms of cost versus box office, among the most successful of his entire output. And one of them, The Werewolf, is among the best films ever made in its particular horror sub-genre. Creature With The Atom Brain, The Werewolf, Zombies of Mora Tau, and The Giant Claw have entertained horror audiences on television for decades, but none was ever regarded highly enough to make it to laserdisc. Now all four are together in Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection, which is a nicely produced collection with some reasonably enjoyable supplementary features. Creature With The Atom Brain (1955) has been transferred full-screen (1.33-to-1), while the other three movies are presented in the non-anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85-to-1. Zombies of Mora Tau has been given a dozen chapters, while each of the others get 16 chapters The transfers on three of the titles are uniformly excellent -- Katzman may have been known for his low budgets, but these movies have been extremely well-preserved and, in at least three of these cases, transferred even better. The sound is consistent as well, for once, and fairly loud, too. The exception is Zombies of Mora Tau, which has been transferred too dark -- it's possible to adjust for part of the problem, but even after raising the brightness on one's monitor, so that one can at least see something in the underwater and night sequences (which was never a problem in television showings of this title), the picture is still too dark for the movie to be appreciated properly. It's the one disappointment in this collection. Otherwise, each of the two DVDs comes with trailers from each movie plus a handful of other pictures in the same genre -- disc one also contains an episode of the Katzman-produced serial Mysterious Island, which seems to be here for its sheer silliness (but it is fun in its strange way); disc two is appended with a thematically relevant Mr. Magoo cartoon and Midnight Blunders, a terrible 1936 short featuring Tom Kennedy and Monte Collins -- produced by many of the same people who worked on the Three Stooges work, it makes the Stooges' work look witty and sophisticated, by comparison. These special features are all accessible through an easy-to-use menu on each disc.

Features

Sinister Savages: Chaoter 2 of Sam's 1951 serial version of Mysterious Island

Hilarious Mr. Magoo cartoon Terror Faces Magoo

Ultra-rare comedy short Midnight Blunders (never before on video or tv)

Original trailers for all four features

Bonus trailers for other sci-fi classics