Hammer Studios is known for its particular brand of horror films, but in the early sixties they also ventured into the realm of adventure. Four of those titles are included here. PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER is a swashbuckling potboiler, with Christopher Lee as a one-eyed pirate, and Sinbad's Kerwin Matthews as the persecuted hero who saves the town that rejected him from treasure seeking mauraders.
DEVIL-SHIPS PIRATES has a clever premise, a Spanish privateer that sailed with the Armada runs ashore near a small and remote British town and terrorizes the populace, tricking the hapless villagers into believing (at least for a while) that the Armada defeated the British navy and the rest of England is now occupied by the victorious Spaniards. This clever IT HAPPENED HERE touch from screenwriter Jimmy Sangster makes DEVIL-SHIP special, as does Christopher Lee's performance as the absolute nastiest villian he's ever played in his long and distinguished career.
Two dark masterpieces are on the second disk. THE TERROR OF THE TONGS, with Christopher Lee as the evil head of the Red Dragon Tongs, is set in nineteenth century Hong Kong. When the Red Dragons murder a British sea captain's teenaged daughter, they unleash a reckoning they never imagined.
The second film on disk two is STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY, the "true" story of the Kali Cult in India. This film is the only black and white entry in this set and it stars no major Hammer actors, yet you'll be rivited by a suspenseful story that really draws you in. Though this was made decades ago, be warned, STRANGLERS is not for the faint of heart. This story was "remade" in the 1980s with James Ivory behind the camera and Pierce Brosnan in front of it, titled THE DECEIVERS.
Jimmy Sangster, Hammer's premier screenwriter, offers commentary, along with a Hammer film historian. Trailers are included, along with some wacky supplemental material. The widescreen transfers are excellent on all four films. Kuddos to Sony Home Video for this release. Now, guys, when are you going to release THE GORGON on DVD?