This is a rather nice package, putting together a cross-section of Hammer films, good and not so good, released between 1964 ("She") and 1976 ("To the Devil a Daughter" Hammer's final horror film). Housed in a black cardboard box, the discs are mounted in 3x5 and 1x6 black cardboard booklets with transparent trays and brief details of each film. You get an informative booklet with some 4 pages of text about Hammer, plus some nice colour and black and white photographs, half a page about each film, including one photograph, and six post cards with reproduction colour advertising posters for selected films. Was the poster advertising really so cheap and corny in the 60s? Unfortunately it was as I remember some of the posters.
It's vastly over-priced at the suggested retail price of 150 GBP (at least 3 places are currently trying to sell it for 170 GBP for goodness sake) for which you would expect at least a substantial wooden or metal box and more fully-loaded discs with specially sourced "new" material instead of just relatively meagre extras from previous issues. In fact too many films feature trailers only whilst one or two feature no extras whatsoever. It's nevertheless a steal at the prices it's being currently offered at (from 35 GBP). This is especially so when you see the poor value of other Hammer "sets" available - i.e. 3 - 6 discs selling for 30 - 50 GBP. Any discerning Hammer fan will already have several of the films here. Luckily I only had 5 or 6. Nevertheless 21 films including some new transfers at just over 1-50 GBP each isn't bad and they're all in various widescreen aspects.
Other films in the box include "Scars of Dracula", "Dracula Prince of Darkness", "The Devil Rides Out", "To the Devil a Daughter",, "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb", Straight On Till Morning", "Fear in the Night", "She", "1,000,000 Years BC", "Rasputin the Mad Monk", "The Nanny", "Quatermass and the Pit", "The Witches", "Frankenstein Created Woman", "The Plague of the Zombies" and "Demons of the Mind". All best watched at night with the lights out (as are all films but these in particular).
All films were X-rated on their original UK release, except "One Million Years BC", "The Viking Queen", "She" and "The Vengeance of She" (all rated "A"). I haven't finished watching them all but from those I've seen, some new transfers are apparent as the colours and quality are pretty good, especially when compared to earlier issues. On most there's clear Dolby Digital 2.0 monaural sound, no picture damage and only a few sparklies.
One exception is "Dracula Prince of Darkness" (1966). Whilst most of the picture quality is excellent, outdoor scenes at Dracula's castle look like they've been salvaged from the cutting room floor or an old VHS tape and inserted unrestored; they're full of sparklies with flat, dull grey-green tinged colour - absolutely appalling, especially as scenes cut from good to bad quality several times. How anyone could leave it like this without an excuse or apology is beyond belief. Oh and no attempt is made to even simulate darkness in the outside shots, bar the absence of birds in the soundtrack. What - night time without birds in the mid-1960s? Now that must have been just far out and utterly boring, man.
Another exception is "The Reptile", one of two set in Cornwall. The picture quality is a disgrace, especially at the start where a yellow cast affects most of the screen. The image is soft and blurry with some damage evident, whilst the colours are weak. "Colour by Deluxe" it says - what a good joke. Initial titles have side-bars whereas the film doesn't. Sparklies abound throughout. I can't understand this as "Plague of the Zombies" shot with it is near-perfect.