Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Chamber of Horrors/Brides of Fu Manchu|
Actors: Christopher Lee, Douglas Wilmer, Heinz Drache, Marie Versini, Howard Marion-Crawford
Directors: Don Sharp, Hy Averback
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 12/09/2008 Rating: Nr
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Another Oddball Horror Combo From WB.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 12/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just a little over a year ago Warner Brothers, trying to compete with MGM/Fox's MIDNITE MOVIE series, began releasing a number of DVDs of Sci-Fi/Horror/Cult films from the 1950s and 60s. The Sci-Fi and the Cult Camp Classic series are still with us but the Horror Double Features consisting of only two releases has already been discontinued. The presentations are bare bones (not even chapters are included although there are subtitles) but the films are in good shape. I guess the sales must have been really abysmal to pull the plug so early but then whoever came up with the pairings for these discs should have put a little more effort into it. While IT! and THE SHUTTERED ROOM (the other release) at least share the connection that they are both British films, there is absolutely nothing linking CHAMBER OF HORRORS and BRIDES OF FU MANCHU other than the fact they were made in 1966.
CHAMBER was intended to be the pilot for a proposed TV series featuring Cesare Danova and Wilfred Hyde-White as Wax Museum owners who also solve bizarre crimes but the show never materialized. This accounts not only for the dramatic lack of on-screen violence throughout but the unusual ending where a girl is found murdered. Shown in theaters instead, the WB marketing department came up with the "Horror Horn" and the "Fear Flasher" as gimmicks to hook people in which it did as the film was successful at the box office but no sequels followed. Taken on its own merits as an unofficial remake of HOUSE OF WAX (it even uses the same sets), CHAMBER OF HORRORS is pretty good with atmospheric old style cinematography and a delightful turn from Patrick O'Neal as the demented killer building a corpse from parts of the people who sent him to prison. Scary?, hardly, but quite enjoyable nonetheless.
In contrast THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU is a direct sequel to 1965's FACE OF FU MANCHU utilizing once again the talents of the dependable but underrated director Don Sharp and horrormeister Christopher Lee. This time though producer Harry Allan Towers cut the budget (Fullscreen instead of Widescreen and Eastmancolor instead of Technicolor) and it shows. Also gone is Nigel Green as Nayland Smith although Douglas Wilmer does an admirable job filling in. The story (written by Towers under his pseudonym of Peter Welbeck) has Fu Manchu kidnapping the daughters of famous scientists in order to coerce them into helping him build a death ray. It's really more of a thriller than a horror film but director Sharp does manage a few interesting set pieces and Lee does his best with the material. Not as good as CHAMBER but still entertaining, BRIDES really doesn't belong here and I wish WB had coupled it with the first FU film and found something else to put with CHAMBER."
1960's Horror Double Feature
The Movie Man | Maywood, New Jersey USA | 12/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Chamber of Horrors" (1966) is reminiscent of the gimmick flicks of William Castle. Directed by Hy Averback (a TV director more at home helming such shows as "The Real McCoys" and "Burke's Law"), "Chamber of Horrors" features the in-film devices called the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn to cue viewers to the terror to come. Despite these tricks, the film is an atmospheric thriller, lushly photographed in color. A condemned man (Patrick O'Neal) chops off his manacled hand to escape, then affixes assorted devices to his stump to chop, rip, and impale, and goes on a death spree. O'Neal makes a pretty good psychopathic killer.
"The Brides of Fu Manchu" (1966) stars Christopher Lee as the Asian villain who kidnaps the daughters of the world's leading scientists. The ransom he demands is that they build for him a death ray, a weapon he will use to achieve his goal of world domination. Lee joins the ranks of the many non-Asian actors who have portrayed Asians on screen, as diverse a group as Boris Karloff, Fred Astaire, Cedric Hardwicke, Peter Lorre, and Warner Oland. Douglas Wilmer as Sir Dennis Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu's nemesis, doesn't make much of an impression with Lee's deadpan delivery and aura of evil taking center stage."
Long awaited arrival
Paul J. Moade | Jacksonville, FL United States | 12/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After years of waiting, this cult favorite is finally (semi) available. Too bad it's not on DVD yet, but I'm hoping. *** 2008 Update. This film is now available on DVD ***
In brief the movie is about a man sentenced to hang for the murder of his fiancee`. After the murder, he marries the corpse holding the clergyman at gunpoint.
Demented? I'll say. After the trial, he is being transported by train to the prison. The guard handcuffs him to a brakewheel while he goes back for luggage. During this time the convict loosens the bolt holding the brakewheel, takes a fireax and jumps the train into the river ... where he escapes by cutting off his own hand with the ax. From there, the story centers around his revenge on those who sent him to prison vs the amatuer detective who tries to find out who is behind the latest seriel killings.
This is a semi-gothic horror show and is well done in spite of the melodrama. Some of the most interesting footage is of the wax museam, the chamber of horrors, at which Anthony Draco (the amatuer detective) works. It's a true mystery, although we as the audience know who the killer is. The sidelights of famous murderers of the past is as interesting as the psycotic man they are currently after. All in all a well done film themed in turn of the century Baltimore.
One of the unique features of this flick are the "horror horn" and the "fear flasher", which display and sound each time a grusome killing is about to take place. They are really superflueous though as no gore and little blood is shown in the picture. The most frightening thing about it is the soft-spoken killer who seems to strike out of nowhere and keeps eluding the police.
This film may not keep you glued to your seat in suspense, though I'll wager that you'll find it very entertaining and worth watching at least once.
Suitable for viewers age 8 and up (yes, I suppose a 7-year-old would be ok), this is a good cult classic which has been unavailable for much too long. Hopefully it will be on DVD soon.
Dual Dose Of Diabolical Death And Doom...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 09/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CHAMBER OF HORRORS has Patrick O'Neal (Silent Night Bloody Night) as a psychotic murderer, equipped w/ a hook-hand. He has several lethal attachments for his deadly stump, including a spike and cleaver! COH is wonderfully demented for its time, w/ many colorful characters (watch for the super short Tony Curtis cameo!). BRIDES OF FU MANCHU- The eeevil Fu has returned, this time kidnapping the beautiful daughters of world-famous scientists in order to force them to create a radio-controlled doomsday device. Horror god, Christopher Lee (Horror Hotel, The Wicker Man) plays the maniacal Fu w/ his usual elegant ease. This double bill is well worth owning..."