Quick and cheap...the way you like 'em!
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 12/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a mildly entertaining collection of four poverty-row films from the 1930's. "Dead Men Walk" was the only film I'd heard of before watching this disc. And it's easily the best of the bunch. George Zucco has a dual role as twin brothers, one of whom is resurrected as a vampire. It also marks the final film appearance of genre favorite Dwight Frye. "The Intruder" is a ghost story set aboard a ship. There's some nice atmosphere and some dated comic relief, but it's not a bad little picture. "Tangled Destinies" is a melodrama in which survivors of a plane crash are caught up in ghostly goings-on. "The Phantom" is a typical 30's crime thriller, with a death row inmate targeting a crime-fighting duo.
As for the quality of the disc, it varies from film to film. Retromedia is quite adept at finding odd, cult (and yes, forgotten) films. But unlike competitors such as Roan or Image, they don't appear to spend too much effort on restoration. The night scenes in Tangled Destinies are pretty murky, while The Intruder suffers from a "washed out" look in the daytime scenes. Again, Dead Men Walk is the real winner here. There are plenty of scratches, but at least the contrast is. . .well, not exactly right, but much better than the other films. In any event, it's probably the best that any of these films will ever look on DVD.
At around an hour each, none of these "forgotten" films will try your patience much. They're certainly slow-moving by today's standards. But if like your old movies with atmosphere and don't mind the obvious low budgets, you could do a lot worse.
Interesting Early Horror/Mystery films,sorry transfers.
James Simpson | USA | 01/07/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Retromedia has made an interesting compilation of early horror films that are genereally forgotten today,only familiar to readers of George Turner and Michael Price's "Forgotten Horrors" book series.
The choices are adequate,but uneven...especially in quality.
The films themselves are decent,but the prints are not remastered in the least and are rather muddy and murky and/or too pale.
This makes the 20.00 price tag particularly hard to swallow,especially since the titles are now available elsewhere at much cheaper prices(ex.The Phantom(1931) is now part of one of those MillCreek box sets,same quality,with 49(!) other movies for the same price!
I had purchased this at a Borders when it first came out,and enjoyed it enough to reccomend it to the Classic film buff and curious horror fan.
Here's the films:
The Phantom(1931)-Old dark house thriller with a maniac loose in a house and his accomplice called "The Thing".
Somewhat slow moving,but laced with humor and atmosphere,this ends up being one of the more peculiar of the Old Dark House thrilers of the decade.
The Intruder(1931)-BIZARRE early 30s film about people that get in a shipwreck end up on an island and have to fight for survival,what with a criminal(Harry Cording) and a totally over the top Mischa Auer,who hangs out with a Gorilla and keeps skeletons in his cave/home,which he likes to stab frequently.
He even brings one with him to rest on the sundeck of the rescue ship that rescues the survivors at the end!
Totally insane and alot of fun,this is a reason to purchase the set.
Tangled Destinies(1932)-Not very horrorific,but very entertaining film about a group of people who get lost in a storm and have to land an airplane on the outskirts of Los Angeles,where they take refuge in an old(completely furnished!) farmhouse.
Low budget shows through,with only a few sets,but the film has good acting and characters and enough twists to sustain interest for it's brief hour long length.
Alot of fun and another gem on this set.
Dead Men Walk(1943)-Totally out of place on this set,this film is made a whole decade later than any of the others,and is not even in the same theme!
Where the others were of the "old dark house" school,this one is a vampire film with recognizeable horror figures!
Hardly forgotten,this widely available title has George Zucco in dual roles as kindly scientist and evil Vampire brother,as well as a hunchbacked assistant played by(who else?)Dwight Frye.
One of the better prints of this Poverty Row favorite,but it would have been more fitting to include something like The Ghost Walks(1932) or One Frightened Night(1935) instead.
Decent set,but not really worth it's high price,better to get at under ten dollars,and all films are for the true student of cinema and/or fans of Mystery like myself.