Icons of Suspense Collection: Hammer Films [3 Discs] [DVD]

Most movie buffs associate Hammer Studios with straight-up horror, but in this six-film collection we discover the celebrated British studio was just as good as keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as it was scaring the daylights out of them. Includes Stop Me Before I Kill!, Cash on Demand, The Snorkel, Maniac, Never Take Candy from a Stranger, and These are the Damned.
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Overview

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Special Features

  • Original theatrical trailer for all films

Synopsis

The Snorkel
Paul Decker (Peter Van Eyck) arranges what seems to be the perfect murder of his wife, while at her home in Italy. Lightly drugging her into unconsciousness, he seals the room she is in and turns on the gas, and then dons a diving snorkel with hoses drawing air from the outside -- he remains hidden in the room beneath the floorboards even as the police investigate the crime scene. As far as they know, he was just over the border in France when Mrs. Decker committed what appears to be suicide -- and there is no reason to investigate further, beyond a routine inquest. But he doesn't bargain on Candy (Mandy Miller), his wife's daughter by her previous marriage -- she has long believed that Paul killed her own father, and is positive that he was responsible for her mother's death. Try as those around her -- including her guardian (Betts St. John) -- do to convince her otherwise, she won't let go of this idea. And when Paul kills Candy's dog Toto, she tells him he will have to kill her, because otherwise she will kill him. From that moment on, they are on a collision course, as Paul tries at once to protect himself, covering tracks that he never thought anyone would trace -- not having bargained on the obsessive girl -- and to discredit her in preparation for possibly having to kill her. Meanwhile, Candy waits, watches, and asks question after question, hoping for one clue or slip that will allow all of her suspicions to fall into place. And finally, after several rounds of cat-and-mouse, and a near-fatal encounter, they meet face-to-face at the scene of the crime. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Stop Me Before I Kill!
In this heavy drama, a race car driver suffers a head injury on his wedding day and becomes a mental case. The couple puts off their honeymoon while he is treated by a psychiatrist. Later when they make love, he tries to strangle her. This behavior becomes a habit, for every time they are romantic he becomes insanely angry with her. He thinks he has really gone 'round the bend until he sees his new bride and the shrink together. He goes to the doctor and confronts him. In turn, the shrink tries to make the man believe that he is hallucinating. A chase ensues between the men. The frightened doctor tries to flee in a cable car and ends up having a fatal fall. The married couple then continues their honeymoon. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Never Take Candy From A Stranger
In a small Canadian town, an elderly and well-respected man is accused of making sexual advances toward a very young girl. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

These Are the Damned
Joseph Losey directed this unusual science fiction effort, which has won a small but fervent cult following. Simon Wells (MacDonald Carey) is an American visiting England, where he meets a woman named Joan (Shirley Ann Field). Simon is immediately attracted to Joan, but there's a considerable obstacle in their budding romance: Joan's brother King (Oliver Reed), the leader of a violent pack of motorcycle rockers. King has a barely concealed incestuous attachment to his sister, and he sometimes uses her to lure victims into his gang's clutches. King and his cronies attack Simon, take his money, and leave him stranded, where he's eventually found by a pair of military security men. Simon is brought to the home of Bernard (Alexander Knox), a scientist working on a secret project for the government, and his girlfriend Freya (Viveca Lindfors), a sculptor. Joan eventually tracks Simon down in hopes of winning his forgiveness, but another run-in with King causes Simon and Joan to discover a cave that holds a terrible secret: a group of strange, cold-blooded children who were the products of one of Bernard's experiments gone wrong. The children were genetically engineered to survive a nuclear war, and, as a result, they are radioactive enough to kill anyone who comes in close contact with them. Controversial in its day, The Damned was produced in England in 1961 but was not released until 1963, when Hammer Films booked it as the second-half of a double bill with Maniac. It did not reach American screens until 1965, when it was shown under the title These Are the Damned. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cash on Demand
A ruthless crook abducts the wife and child of a bank manager and then masquerades as an insurance company detective while scheming to rob the institution in this crime drama. Unfortunately, some of the manager's employees learn about the plot and the terrified manager must beg them to remain silent. Fortunately, the cops have been on the case all along. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Maniac
An American artist travels to rural France for a relaxing vacation and ends up falling for a lovely young woman, whose father is the owner of a cafe. Unfortunately, her father is not in town, as he is locked up in the local looney bin for immolating the man who raped his daughter. The trouble begins when the girl's stepmother seduces the artist and then convinces him to help her free her murderous husband, a man who cannot bear the thought of a man touching his beloved daughter. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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