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Product Reviews

10 (100% helpful)

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  1.  Subtle excellence


    Do not let the trailers or advertising be your guide to this movie. They both suggest an action packed big Hollywood melodrama. While there is some action, this is not what the movie is about.
    This is a tale of the first settlers in America and the tale of the famous Pocahontas, the tribal Indian Princess who fell in love with Captain John Smith (and made into a famous Disney movie).
    Terrence Malick's film meanders greatly and intentionally - we, the audience actually have time to SEE the new world, we have time to see the slow but assured growing love of the Princess and Smith, we have time to experience the relationship with the Indians and the English invaders. The uncut version is just a little short of 3 hours. This is a slow-burn movie.
    It is exquisite in its array of beautiful images as nature dominates many scenes where nothing 'happens' as such, but you are there to experience this magical natural world. The love story is delicate and relies on glances, light touches rather than in-your-face passion.
    The contarast of the new world with the old world (the English Court) is dramatic and there are wonderfully incongruous images such as Wes Studi, in Indian attrire, wandering around a neat and formal English Park, or Pochahuntas herself dressed in courtly style at the court, yet outside acting more in the tradition of her upbringing with playfulness, joy and informality.
    Key parts are well acted by all, again often in a subtle and understated way; Q'orianka Kilcher, as Pochahuntas is a revelation; she was 14 at the time if making the movie and had to transform from carefree daughter amid nature's beauty to Court personality formally bound by new expectations, as well as have a child of her own - she achieves this wonderfully and the ending is most moving.
    So - not what the advertising suggests, but if you can sit through a slowly developing movie which concentrates on its characters, contrasting ways of life and natural beauty with a gentle yet powerful love story you are in for a treat.

  2.  Hammer psychological horror


    In the wake of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO, Hammer Films ventured into the world of the psycho horror. In this Jimmy Sangster scripted movie we have a tale of plot twists and surprises. Production values, as was usual for Hammer, belie a small budget and an excellent cast help the story along. It is Oliver Reed who dominates this movie as he moves between superficial silkiness to psychotic outbursts - a strong performance from this much missed actor. Janette Scott is also on top form as the (perhaps) insane sister of the returned brother (ably played by Alexander Davion). The supporting cast is very strong.
    As a horror movie there are some thrills but this is an early 1960's movie so out-and-out gore hounds would be better to avoid this. Those with a likeing for psychological mysteries will find much to savour.
    The blu-ray, like many older movies, has grain, but through the grain the detail is probably the best this movie has ever seen on a disc and the sound (mono) is also good considering the age of this Hammer film.
    Overall, a very good, entertaining horror film with strong performances, some good surprises, effective atmosphere and very enjoyable.



    I purchased this blu-ray based on viewer reactions and was thoroughly absorbed in it. I'm not sure of the criticism that there is too much talk in it, for it moves along at a good pace, but does take time for some character development. The action sequences are excellent as are the fantasy creatures operating in this film. Essentially a story of redemption the lead actor james Purefoy is superb in the role of the troubled eponymous hero and he is ably supported by other fine performances such as those by Pete Postlethwaite and Alice Krige.
    For those likeing action there is plenty of it; for those liking fantasy they should not be disappointed; for those liking an intelligent script they should find some substance here, especially in the realm of religious conflict, self preservation, redemption, loyalty and other such 'old-fashioned' themes. If it's just a modern action-blast then probably look elsewhere.
    As a novice to blu-ray I was impressed by the detail and even in darker scenes the lighting was good and did not obscure what one needed to see. On my 5.1 sound system some scenes thundered out, especially the opening war sequence and the fire-demon sequence.
    It is great to find a British movie that has such class and is so satisfying a film to experience. For me a top recommendation.



    This is the second of Hammer's two 'Cornish' movies (Plague of the Zombies being the other). An excellent Jacqueline Pearce portrays the doomed reptilian of the title and infuses the part with real sympathetic understanding. Noel Willman gives a strong performance, as one would expect and the movie proceeds at a fine pace. Roy Ashton's make-up is good and the actual title creature is not overused. A fine John Laurie performance is well worth watching and the reptile attacks still work well. Noel Willman was used by Hammer on a few movies (a great vampire in KISS OF THE VAMPIRE but wasted in the second SHE movie THE VENGEANCE OF SHE). Here Willman plays with his usual authority, yet is also a sympathetic character. Not top Hammer, but still far better than most of its contemporaries and certainly worth adding to your collection.

  5.  Shakesperian Horrors


    A wonderful movie based on an actor's dream - what if you can get your own back on lampooning critics? Vincent Price is magnificently cast as Edward Lionheart a thespian with little acting talent but a limitless self confidence in his ability to portray Shakespeare. The murders of the critics are highly inventive and link beautifully to various Shakespeare plays - multiple stabbings, decapitation, a heart removed and so on. A superior cast of great British acting talent beautifullly support Price in his murderous rampage. Diana Rigg as price's daughter is especially good and seems to be totally enjoying herself.
    A great film: dramatic, some grisly deaths, ripe acting, good pace and an inventive story - a great horror movie and one of Vinny's favourite roles.

  6.  Horror in Cornwall


    This mid 1960's movie was double-billed as the second feature to Dracula - Prince of Darkness - remember older Play viewers when you got TWO movies in one programme?
    This is a satisfying movie and now famous for the graveyerd scene where the undead emerge from their graves, a much imitated scene in later movies.
    John Carson is a great foil for the wonderful Andre Morell in his only starring Hammer movie. As in the other Cornish movie (The Reptile) Jacqueline Pearce gives a strong performance and her sudden reappearance, once dead, is still is a great Hammer shock moment. A fine cast and good monster make-up (though some masks were clearly used in the finale) this is another satisfying horror movie from Hammer and well worth adding to your collection.

  7.  Beware the hand!


    This Amicus movie has good stars and the plot is fine, yet the proceedings can be a little slow and ponderous in the telling. How many times can a crawing hand really shock the audience?

  8.  Hairy Horror


    In the wake of the classic giant insect movie THEM came a slurry of other, lesser offerings. Amongst them was TARANTULA which was one of the better efforts. The desert locations add a superb sense of mystery and eeriness to the proceedings. The malformed scientists add a frisson to the proceedings while the tarantula itself is certainly one of the largest creatures ever to appear on the silver screen. The effects are good, though in the odd scene one of the arachnid's eight legs does not display properly as it was not matted in too well to the live location. That said, the effects are still pretty good and the pace of the movie builds well. Keen-eyed watchers will see a very young Clint Eastwood as a jet pilot, near the end of the movie, attacking the spider from hell. Good fun for the 50's giant monster aficionado.

  9.  Seminal horror movie


    This, the first colour Frankenstein movie, was a ground-breaking film. It was in colour, it changed the emphasis from monster to the character of Baron Frankenstein and it broke the mould from nice, refined British movies to ones of (for its time) graphic violence and visceral horror.
    Peter Cushing was a great prize for Hammer, for he was virtually Mr TV in the 1950s and was well known - as well as being an exceptional actor of range and giving credibility to strange roles. His steely, fanatical Baron dominates the film - he will stop at nothing in order to achieve his ends and nobody is safe. The film introduced the team of Cushing and Lee, a team that was to dominate horror movies for the next two decades. Christopher Lee's 'road accident' monster (created by Phil Leakey) is a stumbling, yet pathetic being treated more as an animal than a human being.
    The film's pace is good with plenty of events to follow as Cushing persues his relentless way and there is a kind of crude and raw power to the movie - you can see why audiences in the late 1950s flocked to see it. Well worth seeing and appreciating how it influenced British cinema, as well as being a solid step up for Hammer Films and encouraging them to mine further areas of classic Gothic horror.

  10.  Brides of Dracula


    Top class Hammer movie. Peter Cushing's second outing as Van Helsing and David Peel's only vampire role. One of the most beautifully photographed movies ever - Jack Asher at his best and director Terence Fisher in top form. If the bat is a little clunky by modern effects standards, no worry for there is plenty to enjoy here. Great performances from Cushing and Peel, as mentioned, but also watch out for the acting duel between vetrans Freda Jackson and Martita Hunt; each gives a ripe performance and both are highly memorable.
    Other performances to look out for are from scene- stealing Miles Malleson as the hypochondriac Dr Tobler and Andree Melly who gave one of the 60's classic vampire images to the screen. Michael Ripper is also there for fans, this time as the scared coach driver.
    Cushing's authoratative Van Helsing carries the movie and David Peel's Baron Meinster is an excellent vampire foe - clipped Oxford English, red eyes and hissing vampire attacks. The burning windmill finale was lifted to conclude Tim Burton's SLEEPY HOLLOW which was a tribute to Hammer Films.
    Pure escapism - enjoy!