Note: This review refers to another DVD edition of 3 Vincent Price films entitled "Vincent Price 3 feature films(House on Haunted Hill, The Bat, The Last Man On Earth)--Special Collector's Edition" released by Platinum Disc. This is not the Collector's edition with the CD of scary sounds on side 2.
I recently picked up this three-feature DVD at The Bargain! Shop. Since there are three separate movies to review, I'll take them one by one.
House On Haunted Hill (1958)
This first movie concerns a millionaire, Frederick Loren,(Vincent Price) who invites 6 people (played by Richard Long, Alan Marshall, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr., Julia Mitchum, Leona Anderson and Howard Hoffman) to a "party" at a haunted house, hosted by himself and his wife(Carol Ohmart)promising to pay them $10,000 each if they can survive the night. Strange and unexplainable events occur and the viewer is left wondering: who will survive? The twist ending is a masterpiece!
Upon watching this film I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the picture and sound quality were excellent, with virtually no grain and just a few spider lines, nothing really to complain about. Not only that, but this version is in Widescreen! (I own a previous version of this film on DVD, also distributed by Platinum Disc, but it's in full screen) One thing I found slightly annoying about this DVD was the appearance of Platinum Disc's logo at the lower right-hand side of the screen (it shows up in all three films). My other version doesn't have this.
The Bat (1959)
The Bat, made before as: The Bat Whispers (1930) and The Bat (1926), was equally entertaining. In "The Bat" the mysterious killer of the title is stalking victims around a creepy mansion where a famous mystery writer Cornelia Van Gorder(Agnes Moorehead, Endora of "Bewitched") is staying, along with her maid. One of the ploys he uses to stalk his victims is letting a bat loose to bite it's victim. Soon "The Bat" a mysterious figure dressed in a black fedora with a black mask with gloves fitted with razor sharp claws begins terrorizing Cornelia and her maid. The scenes which show his clawed hand opening the door of the mansion are very creepy, as are the scenes of his hand as he slashes his victim's throat. After "The Bat" first murders the son of the man who embezzled a million dollars in Bonds and Certificates,(which are buried somewhere in the mansion),the Police are called in, and a detective, Lt. Andy Anderson begins investigating. He first suspect Dr. Malcolm Welles, (played wonderfully by Vincent Price)as he always seems to be at the scene of the crime shortly after it happens and then Warner, the Chauffer (John Sutton) is suspected, as he never seems to be around when the murders are committed. When another person is killed by The Bat. a Police guard is posted in the house to keep watch but The Bat is nowhere to be found. Who is The Bat? Will he ever be caught? You'll never guess until the end!
The picture quality of this film, while not as good as "The House On Haunted Hill" is very watchable. There are some instances of grain and spider lines, but it doesn't distract much. As well, during the film, I noticed a small black bar appearing briefly at the top of the screen which seemed to push to picture down, but this went away quickly. The sound quality of this film was good and I had no problem hearing the dialogue. I was slightly annoyed by the fact that it wasn't in Widescreen, but in 1:33 full screen ratio. There was no closed captioning nor English subtitles either, which would have been nice. Despite this, I still managed to enjoy the film.
The Last Man On Earth (1964)
This film is based on the novel "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson and concerns Scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price, in another great performance) as the last survivor of a great plague. Apparently, a sinister virus has overtaken mankind: It's killed his daughter and his wife, and eventually killed his colleagues. He keeps himself busy and sane by killing any Vampires he comes across and burning them in a pit. Zombies that were once his friends haunt his house, banging on his door, calling out his name. It's a nightly terror for him and there seems no way out, except to try and find a cure, but he needs a survivor as a test subject. When he finds a female survivor. Can he cure her? Will he ever destroy the zombies? that's for you to watch and find out!
The picture quality of this film, compared to the other two is a different story. The picture, made in 1964, looks like it was poorly taken care of. It was grainy, with spider lines and film speckles which I found somewhat distracting, to the point that I bought a digitally remastered Widescreen version of the film (distributed by Madacy Entertainment Group Inc.) at the same store. I'll write a separate review of that film when I watch it. Needless to say, there's no closed captioning nor English subtitles on this film, which is a shame, as some dialogue is difficult to hear.
Unfortunately, I can only recommend buying this DVD for the first two films. If you want the third film, I think you'll do better by purchasing the Madacy Widescreen version.