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This is a bit off-beat. Itfeels like buying the "we also have..." from the Hammer production catalogue. Technically and artistically, there is nothing wrong with these "classics", but you cannot strike gold time.
You get 2 movies which are more SPOOKY FILM NOIR than horror. "...fear" is the best in the package. Full of twists and turns, it keeps you riveted to your seat. "...Hyde" is a stylish Film Moir which is more entertaining than interesting, as it gives a whole new twist to te Jekyll/Hyde story (Silver is fine !!!!)
Then comes "The Gorgon". It benefits from the Lee/Cushing duo, but goes nowhere. It just did not grab me. "...Mummy" is pointless. In an era where dashing special effects were not the norm, there was only so much you could do with a Mummy. In bothe cases, it seems that Hammerv production was trying to launch new franchises. They lack the depth of Dracula and Frankenstien and ended up being OK generic 60s monster stuff.
At 29$, it is a bit pricey for the casual H-fans. Collectors and Veteran horror fans will want this one.. even if it is the best of the rest.
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Hammer Horror turned out a lot of now-classic movies, particularly their adaptations of the Dracula and Frankenstein stories (and their varying sequels). But "Icons of Horror Collection: Hammer Films" focuses instead of some of their less well-known movies -- tales of gorgons, mummies, murders and the legendary Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
"The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" kicks in when a mummy is uncovered in Egypt by Sir Giles Dalrymple, Annette Dubois, and John Bray. But after it is co-opted by the greedy showbizzer Alexander King, it vanishes without a trace. Then King and Giles are found strangled -- and the mummy seems intent on killing anyone who violated its tomb.
And in "Scream of Fear," wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby (Susan Strasberg) travels to her father's Riviera estate -- and that night, she is shocked to see his dead body propped up in a storehouse. His body keeps appearing, but it always vanishes before she can show it to someone. Is Penny losing her mind, or has her genial stepmother Jane (Ann Todd) murdered him?
The weakest entry has to be "The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll," in which Dr. Henry Jekyll is trying to find a way to access humanity's "dark" and "light" side... and fails to notice that his wife is having an affair with his buddy Paul (Christopher Lee). Jekyll ends up accessing his own dark side -- called "Edward Hyde" -- and soon discovers that Hyde is quickly overwhelming him.
Finally, "The Gorgon" is loose in a small German town in the early 1900s, but for some reason no one will acknowledge that people are being turned to stone. After his brother and father are killed, the incredibly annoying Paul Heitz (Richard Pasco) is determined to find the creature that did it, with the help of his mentor (Christopher Lee).Read more ›
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Scream of Fear (= Taste of Fear in Britain) is a remarkably good murder/suspense yarn. Christopher Lee thought it was the best movie Hammer ever made. It's not a horror film in the normal sense (though it has a few horrifying moments), but it is probably the best film in the collection. Unfortunately it is only in black and white, but that's how it was made.
The Gorgon is a reasonably good reworking of the ancient Greek myth, with Lee and Cushing (Cushing with the larger role). The spirit of Medusa (called "Megaera" in the film, in a confusion of the Gorgons with the Furies that could easily have been avoided) is still alive in an unnamed country in "MittelEurope."
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is a polished, educated reworking of the Jekyll/Hyde story. Interesting for its variations on the standard version.
Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is a solid, middle-of-the-road Mummy's curse movie. Good sets, acting, etc. It's hard to make these stories really interesting because the basic theme was exhausted back in the 1930s and 1940s by Universal and by the Hammer remake of the late 1950s. Still, this one is a decent job.
Most of these films rank about a 7 to 7.8 out of 10; Scream of Fear deserves an 8 out of 10.
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ok this is another release of columbia icon of horror and has far has it goes i bought this only for the gorgon, but i found the 2 faces of dr jekyll to be lots of fun, not the best film i have seen in the jekyll and hyde stories but i did dig it and it's an ok film nothing special, maybe because i'm a big fan of lee i don't know!has for the curse of the mummy's tomb it's pretty slow and boring film i don't know i'm not just a fan of mummy's film they are pretty slow most of the times but has i said before i'm not just a mummy movies fans aside from the 1st mummy that hammer did with chirstopher lee and peter cushing it's the only one i love!scream of fear is a psycho B&W film ok film but truly nothing special and it also starring christopher lee, i think in my opinion the best B&W film in the 2 boxset of icon of horror i have seen is paranoiac with oliver reed i was pretty amaze by this one.
Has for the gorgon this is a wonderfull hammer films highly reccomended i only bought this boxset for the gorgon i will love to see bluray specials editions of this movie someday, has for the movies transfer they are verry good nothing to complain about wonderfull transfer, the packaging is verry poor you don't have any cover for none of the movies it's done pretty cheap !do i think it's worth it for the price? no not just for the gorgon but these are lesser known hammer films and if you consider yourself has a fan of the gorgon or a diehard hammer film fans fan buy it! if not pffff wait for a lower bargain cheaper price.
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69 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Who Is The Real Monster? (Superb Collection of Monster Movies From Hammer Film Productions)Oct. 20 2008
J. B. Hoyos
- Published on Amazon.com
First, allow me to discuss the DVD presentation. The only extra features are: theatrical trailers and English subtitles for all four movies. We who are hearing impaired thank Sony for the subtitles. Commentaries would've been nice, especially for those who have a favorite film in this collection. The restoration is superb and the audio is strong and clear for all four features. "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll" and "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" are presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1; "The Gorgon" and "Scream of Fear" are presented in 1.66:1. Except for "Scream of Fear," all features are in beautiful color. The black and white print is clear and sharp for "Scream of Fear." Too bad it wasn't in color. Overall, the DVD presentation is very good. Now for the review:
Hammer Film Productions was famous for their gothic horror films. This is a superb collection and introduction for anyone unfamiliar with Hammer. Horror icon Christopher Lee (most famous for his role as Dracula) is in three of the films. Other horror legends include Peter Cushing, Barbara Shelly, Susan Strasberg, and Oliver Reed. All four movies involve monsters, primarily humans who have become monsters, whether physically or intellectually. Also, in these films, the viewer doesn't know who the real monster is. (The films are rife with betrayal.) A monster can be anyone. Sometimes they are normal in appearance. I promise you no plot spoilers as I briefly describe the monster scenario in each of these highly rated classic gems.
"The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll" - Aging Dr. Jekyll drinks his potion and becomes a younger, more handsome man who wishes to be free of all responsibility for his amoral actions. (Don't we all wish we could live like that? Isn't there a monster in all of us?) Masquerading as Dr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll learns that his gorgeous wife and best friend (Lee) are traitorous monsters.
"The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb." - Ra, the Egyptian Prince, has been resurrected by an evil person who possesses an amulet. Who are they and why are they seeking to destroy everyone around them? The real monster is the one who is controlling the unfortunate mummy.
"The Gorgon." Both Lee and Cushing star as a doctor and a professor, respectively, who are seeking to destroy the monster who turns innocent villagers into stone with their gaze. Unfortunately, the monster may actually be a respected member of the community.
"Scream of Fear." This "Hitchcock"-like thriller stars Susan Strasberg as a crippled young woman; for the first time in ten years, she is visiting her wealthy father who lives on the French Riviera. Someone in the household is a monster who is trying to drive her insane. Quite a good mystery with many surprises.
In fact, all four films are mysterious, gloomy, creepy, and shocking. I'm surprised these haven't already been released on DVD in America. They are truly excellent horror classics. I can't tell you which one is my favorite. For having been made in the 1960s, these films contain violence that is surprisingly graphic and shocking. Also, certain scenes in "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll" had language and sexual innuendoes that were hilarious.
This collection is a must have for fans of gothic horror from Hammer Film Productions. I'm very glad I bought it. Try to take it away from me and I'll turn into a monster.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Good Set, Lousy PackagingOct. 19 2008
Brian J Hay
- Published on Amazon.com
The packaging on this set is atrocious. The cover shot looks as if somebody ran wild with (Adobe) Illustrator and Photoshop. It looked like the work of one of those labels whose 'best available source material' was a badly worn VHS tape. There are no special features except for the original theatrical trailers. If it hadn't been for the "Columbia" and "Sony" logos on the rear jacket this one would have stayed on the shelf.
But, that's where the bad news ends. The films have been re-mastered in high definition. The images are pristine. The colour is vibrant. The audio tracks have been re-mastered to stereo. Even the trailers have been cleaned up. The menus are easy to navigate. The set features two gems and a pair of enjoyable films. The price works out to about six bucks per film.
This is a good set and a good value.
Scream of Fear ****
This film evokes images of Hitchcock's better work. Jimmy Sangster's story has plenty of twists and turns. The acting from the principle players is superb. Susan Strasberg delivers a riveting performance. Ann Todd's performance is wonderfully subtle. Christopher Lee shows the range that made him an icon of the genre. Ronald Lewis is both chilling and charming as the man sympathetic to Strasberg's plight.
The technical side of the picture is strong also. Director Seth Holt kept Sangster's narrative moving at a brisk pace. The cinematography and lighting are excellent. The black and white photography is stunning. The score, by Clifton Parker enhances the mood of the film extremely well.
This is an excellent piece of work.
The Gorgon ****
The Gorgon is a wonderfully crafted motion picture. Director Terrence Fisher regarded it as his finest or one of his finest works and he was probably right. It's true that the snakes on the Gorgon's makeup look bad but the blame (likely) lies with the amount of money the crew had to work with. The rubber snakes aside, this film breathtakingly beautiful to watch. The cinematography of Michael Reed is excellent. The design of the production by Bernard Robinson is gorgeous. The lighting (which is uncredited) casts one stunning highlight after another. The colour (by Technicolor) is glorious. J. Llewellyn Devine's story, and John Gilling's adaptation of it, gave the crew plenty to work with.
(Terrence) Fisher's directing knits this web together perfectly. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee both give fine performances. Barbara Shelley delivers an engaging turn as Cushing's assistant. Michael Goodliffe and Richard Pasco deliver strong characterizations. Even the Village Police Inspector played by Patrick Troughton avoids being a completely one-dimensional figure. There are a few backdrops that aren't convincing and the aforementioned snakes' heads look a little silly but those are small complaints.
This is an example of the genre at its most poetic. It's not to be missed.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll **
The take that writer Wolf Mankowitz gave to (Robert Louis) Stevenson's classic is intriguing enough but the narrative never lives up to its original promise. The story bogs down periodically and the characters are often weak. Jekyll' is overwrought and self-righteous. Hyde is an intellectual version of pure evil who can be really stupid. Jekyll's wife is an unsympathetic character. Hyde's lover seems bent on her own destruction. They're all one-dimensional.
Terrence Fisher and the actors around him do what they can but that's limited. Paul Masse does well with the roles of Jekyll and Hyde but he couldn't do the impossible. 'Hyde' is intriguing enough but 'Jekyll' is flat. He spends most of his screen time acting as if he'd be a lot of fun at funerals. Dawn Addams never evokes any sympathy over being caught in a loveless marriage. Norma Marla does pretty well in the role of the women who falls in love with Hyde but she was limited by the script. The only character that's fleshed out thoroughly is the one played by Christopher Lee. He plays the part of an unprincipled leech brilliantly. It's a credit to his talent that he could do so much with limited material.
This isn't a bad film. The story-line is thought provoking and there are some good moments. But, it's inconsistent. And when it's dull, it's dull.
The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb **
This film has plenty of faults. The makeup job on the Mummy is awful. Its head looks like it's made of soggy cardboard. The best parts of the script were borrowed from their first version of the story. The characters are all stock. There's an intrepid academic who bores his girlfriend. There's a bored girlfriend who falls for the charming intellectual. Of course there's a charming intellectual. There's the obligatory Egyptian who warns about the dangers of 'defiling the dead' (who in Egypt always have curse ready for people who do that). And, naturally, there's a huckster in there. How could there not be?
But this crew does a decent job with it. Ronald Howard is wonderfully dull as the academic who'd rather woo women with hieroglyphics than moonlight. Jeanne Roland is a perfect Doe-eyed ingénue. Her character isn't the brightest bulb on the screen but she bats her bonny browns deliciously. Terrence Morgan is slippery, suave, charming and happy to show her the poetry of life. And Fred Clark is delightfully dollar-happy as the promoter looking to put the Mummy under lights. Director and Writer Michael Carreras had the sense to throw in a few surprises. And he did it in ways that don't seem contrived.
When the cardboard-headed Mummy finally does run loose there are some chilling moments. The pace set by Carreras is brisk one. His story, though not particularly original, seldom drags. The cinematography and production design by Otto Heller and Bernard Robinson are good. The action scenes are convincing.
This isn't a great film (or even a particularly good one) but it has one thing going for it: it's fun.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For the love of "Gorgon"Sept. 24 2009
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I got this set because I love "The Gorgon", truly a classic horror movie. Since it's my favorite in this set, I shall review "The Gorgon" first. The movie is filled with tension and suspense, and is highly atmospheric (an element I love in these classic horror movies). The movie is also quite unique as it has Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee playing reversed roles than what one would expect them to portray, i.e. Lee is the good guy and Cushing is the misguided baddie. The story in brief - a small town in Germany circa early 20th century is plagued by gruesome and mysterious deaths which the local authorities hush up. The bodies have all been turned to stone, and Peter Cushing who plays Dr Namaroff, the director of the local asylum, is complicit in this hush-up as well. Amidst this setting, a young man named Paul Heitz arrives to investigate his brother and father's mysterious deaths. He learns from a letter left by his father that there may be an evil force lurking in the small town, a Gorgon whose stare is fatal to all who see it, turning them into stone.
As Paul investigates, he meets an attractive lady who also happens to be Namaroff's assistant, Carla (Barbara Shelley). When things get more dangerous, he pleads with his old professor to come and assist him (Christopher Lee). There is much suspense in this movie, and I thought the production qualities were above average. The acting is excellent, especially by Cushing, Lee and, Shelley, and the quality of the DVD is clear.
Now for the other three films: "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" - revolves around the resurrection of the mummy Ra, who goes on to carry out despicable acts under the control of an evil person who possesses a powerful amulet. This is a weak horror movie, ridden with cliches, and truly underwhelming. The actors are ho-hum, with an especially atrocious dubbing job on the actress who err, gets unwelcome attention from the mummy. There is an interesting twist in the movie though which kept it mildly interesting. Not one I'd care to see again.
"The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll" - directed by Terence Fisher,this 1960 Hammer production stars Paul Massie as Dr. Jekyll, and also co-stars Christopher Lee, David Kossoff, and Dawn Addams. What was interesting about this movie is the way the two personas are conceived - Dr. Jekyll is portrayed as a tepid character whereas Dr. Hyde is portrayed as charismatic and good-looking.
"Scream of Fear" - Susan Strasberg plays a crippled young woman at the mercy of an evil person/s bent on driving her insane. This movie is more of a psychological thriller, and is quite a well-done suspense movie.
Final verdict - a great set for classic horror fans!
37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Seldom-seen gems from Hammer StudiosJuly 22 2008
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With so many acknowledged classics from Hammer Studios already available on DVD, I was beginning to wonder if lesser-known efforts like these would ever be released. In case you may have missed them, here's a bit about the films themselves:
TWO FACES OF DR. JECKYLL is the real gem of the set. Christopher Lee is perfectly cast as the hedonistic friend to Paul Massie's Dr. Jeckyll. Hammer favorite Terence Fisher directs this very adult (for its time) story.
CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB is neither the worst (The Mummy's Shroud) nor best (Blood From the Mummy's Tomb) of Hammer's follow-ups to the 1959 original Mummy. In the worst tradition of Mummy movies, however, it's a pretty dull offering.
THE GORGON is a fine pairing of icons Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and is among Hammer's most expensive-looking productions. The title creature reminds one of the work done by the great Ray Harryhausen.
SCREAM OF FEAR is another seldom-seen thriller, much in the vein of Psycho (Collector's Edition). It's certainly the most realistic of the films in this collection.
While no single film here (with the possible exception of TWO FACES...) really compares to Hammer's best films, there's still plenty of b-grade thrills for fans of films of this type.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Nice collection of Hammer Horror available in English captionsOct. 18 2008
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This is truly a nice gift for the Halloween season. Hammer films of England has been a great purveyor of gothic horror movies during the 1950s and 1960s. This collection is fairly representative of Hammer's work from 1959 through 1964. The presentation of the films in this DVD package was very clear and crisp. The colors were simply sumptuous! I first saw the Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll in a VHS tape. The colors and the look were very faded and muddy. In this DVD, we saw the film as if we were at the movie theater back in 1959. The other three films also look great. Kudos goes to Sony Pictures for the great work done in making these four films available for our viewing pleasure! Finally, it should be noted that all four films are available with closed captions and also have English subtitles for those who are hearing impaired. I only wished the folks at Universal who produced that horrendous DVD package of The Hammer Horror Series (Brides of Dracula, Curse of the Werewolf, etc.), with its flawed and mostly unviewable disks, used the same care which Sony did with this DVD collection. The only problem with this Sony collection is that only trailers are available as special features. But, hey, it is great to have these Hammer films finally in DVD. I look forward to seeing more Hammer classics coming out in the future.