Walking Dead Collection [2 Discs] [Tin Case] [DVD]

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Synopsis

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

The House by the Cemetery
This cult horror film from director Lucio Fulci lurches along with a certain amount of disjunction due to cutting, perhaps, if not to an innate Fulci disposition. When the Boyle family temporarily moves into a mansion near Boston so the father can do some research, the son Bob (Giovanni Frezza) starts seeing the ghost of a young girl motioning to him, and eventually he discovers the basement's terrible secret. A certain Dr. Freudstein (Giovanni de Nari) has been hanging out there since 1879 when he was banned from the medical profession, and he has kept himself alive although in miserable physical shape, by murdering the various inhabitants of the house and using their cells to keep his body going. An oversize bat attacks the father, floors come apart and crush unsuspecting victims, and at one point little Bob's blond head is held to the basement door by the evil doctor while the father is wildly swinging his axe through the door to save his son. Scenes like these and others are the real objective of the movie -- the strange and irresolute ending, and leaps and gaps in the plot, are indications that all else is dispensible pretext - gore is the goal and it is delivered in sickening doses. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Fangs of the Living Dead
This low-budget Spanish-Italian co-production was the handiwork of cult filmmaker Amando De Ossorio, best known for his series of Knights Templar zombie films which began with La Noche del Terror Ciego (1971). Faded '50s bombshell Anita Ekberg stars as Silvia, a young woman who travels to the family castle which she will soon inherit. When she arrives, she meets her uncle (Julian Ugarte), who gives her some rather disheartening news. Many years before, a nun named Malenka was burned as a witch in the town square and swore to return for revenge. Silvia looks just like Malenka, and the villagers are terrified that the witch's spirit has been reincarnated in her. Soon, villagers start dying, and Silvia is so sure that she is possessed that she breaks off her engagement, convinced that she is destined to kill her beloved (Gianni Medici). Naturally, as the title already gives away, the blood-drinking attacks are part of a plot by Ugarte to drive Silvia mad and steal her inheritance. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

Grave of the Vampire
This dark, violent British production stars Michael Pataki as a brutish vampire apparently lacking in Dracula's powers of seduction, since he finds it necessary to brutally rape a young woman (Kitty Vallacher) in order to sire a child. The product of this unholy mating is a half-human, half-vampire baby boy, bottle-fed on the blood of his now-insane mother (a truly sickening sight) until her eventual death from anemia. Later as a young man, the son (William Smith) is able to spend short periods in daylight, and his bloodlust is considerably lesser than that of his father. Tormented nevertheless by his evil condition, he curses his bloodline and defies his vampire heritage, tracking his father down to the university where he teaches occult sciences. Aside from Pataki's coarse but imposing performance, this low-budget film is a fairly routine genre entry, but the climactic, bloody duel between father and son vampires is quite gripping. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Devil's Nightmare
This seedy but effective little supernatural thriller involves a group of seven travelers -- each of whom represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins -- who take shelter in a mysterious baron's haunted castle, where they are visited in turn by a seductive, lingerie-clad succubus (Erika Blanc), who metes out suitable punishment in accordance with their evil deeds. It is revealed that their enigmatic host is a former Nazi general whose family's Satanic legacy includes the birth of a malevolent she-demon into each generation. Only the token priest of the group manages to stand up to the evil forces. A Belgian/Italian co-production; also released as The Succubus, The Devil's Longest Night, Castle of Death and The Devil Walks at Midnight. ~ Cavett Binion, 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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