Search - The Val Lewton Horror Collection with Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton Documentary (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victi on DVD
No description available for this title. — Item Type: DVD Movie — Item Rating: NR — Street Date: 01/29/08 — Wide Screen: yes — Director Cut: no — Special Edition: no — Language: ENGLISH — Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no — Dubbed: no
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"This new set from Warner Home Video will contain the exact same titles as the currently sold Val Lewton Collection except there will be a documentary - "Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton Man in the Shadows". The documentary will be available separately for just under twenty dollars for people who already own the other five discs as part of original Val Lewton Collection.
Val Lewton is not a well known name in the horror genre for most people. Everyone knows about Universal's reputation in horror during the 1930's and 1940's even though, today, most of those early monster films have dated rather badly, though they still retain an atmosphere that makes them worth watching. Lewton came to RKO in the 1940's and had a very brief output of high quality films. He was pretty much given ready-made titles and his job was to turn a profit for the studio, not make art. Strangely enough, though, he managed to do both and came up with a series of films that retain an interesting psychological aspect even today. Thus he is often remembered as the producer of "the thinking person's horror films".
If you haven't already bought the Val Lewton Horror Collection, wait and get this expanded one. If you have, you can either pick up the documenary separately, or you can just watch the documentary when it premieres on Turner Classic Movies on January 14th at 8PM (EST). From the Warner Press Release: "Scorsese and writer/director Kent Jones take the viewer on a journey into the life and psyche of the man who left his mark in film history through the creation of such timeless thrillers as I Walked with a Zombie, Cat People and The Body Snatcher, to name but a few. The new documentary features insightful analysis, on-screen interviews with Lewton collaborators, and, best of all, an abundance of classic Lewton film clips.""
Excellent set -- but save the documentary for last!
Atlanta Guy | East Coast, USA | 01/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of the films in this set are excellent, for reasons described in numerous other reviews on Amazon. The new documentary hosted by Martin Scorsese also provides a nice, atmospheric recap of Lewton's life and career.
But be forewarned -- the documentary contains a LOT of very serious spoilers for almost all of the best films in this set! So, enjoy the documentary by all means, but do so *after* you watch all the films. Happy viewing!"
Zero hours spent restoring print quality
Jason | the West Coast | 03/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The poor quality of the prints mares what could have been a stellar collection. (Some parts of Island of the Dead and I Walk with a Zombie look as if they were from Alpha Video - a company that produces cheaply priced public domain dvds.) Shame on TCM for not digitally restoring these gems to the same flawless quality of the 20th Century Fox Charlie Chan box sets."
Great collection of Lewton films
William R. Ray | Arden, NC USA | 07/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This collection of films will NOT: 1. make you sick at the sight of all the gore (there really isn't any) 2. make you laugh at silly monster costumes (there aren't any) 3. make you pull the DVD out of the machine. 4. make you blush at teenage girls with skimpy costumes.
This collection will: 1. Generate some real suspense and mystery 2. Demonstrate how to make a really good movie without millions spent on special effects. 3. Appeal to your adult imagination and experience 4. Surprise you at just how good the movies are without the hype given other films contemporary to these. 5. Leave you satisfied that you haven't thrown your money away.
While 40's suspense films aren't for everybody, those who do appreciate a subtle but relentless aproach to building real mystery will thoroughly enjoy the Val Lewton collection.
For years, I thought I rememberd Simone Simone changing into a cat in "Cat People." Upon rewatching, she did but it was never necessary to show that transformation on the screen. Instead, "Cat People" generates even more suspense by not telling the viewer everything. This is perhaps the best example of how to make a simple horror film without making it rediculous. I would give this one film 5 stars if it were out of the set.
The other films are also rewarding. They build suspense without a lot blood or graphic violence. "The 7th Victim" is a very scary film about a devil worshipping cult, once again, without a lot of blood or violence. "I Walked with a Zombie" presents perhaps the strangest film in the group. A woman has been mesmerized by the zombie cult on her island and it seems nothing can free her from her trans-like state. Night walks and strange folks keep the atmosphere perfect for knowledgable film fan. "Bedlam" is one of Boris Karloff's best films AND it's a woman's picture (Anna Lee). The same can be said for Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, The 7th Victim, and I Walked with a Zombie. The only real letdown might have been "The Ghost Ship" but it's still a nice 3-star mystery. As for the other films, they hit the mark too.
Recommended for: serious suspense fans, Simone Simone fans, 1940's B&W film fans, not too horrific horror fans."
Frightening without the supernatural
Sarasotan | Florida | 12/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A film in which "entertainment" at a party is provided by inmates from the local insane asylum, so the nobility at the party can laugh at them and ridicule their, of course, pathetic performances, and then a beautiful, perfectly sane woman is sent to the asylum for punitive reasons by the nobility - I found that more frightening than a story about an invasion of vampires or battles between werewolves and zombies, etc. The insane asylum story is the plot in "Bedlam", set in 18th century Britain, and one of the 9 Val Lewton films in this set.
Maybe the only one that really has a strong supernatural aspect is "Cat People", but even in that the supernatural element is very low key. In these movies, the "horror" is primarily based on the eerie things that some people do and the strangeness that can lurk within the human mind. The scariness lies in the weird subject matter and Val's outstanding knowledge of the tricks of cinema for producing fear.
Another way these are different than your standard horror films is the extent of the character development. Lewton always works to present these people as real and to go to lengths to show their real lives, jobs, and such.
The lack of relation of the title of some of these films to their actual story is hilarious. The titles were imposed on Lewton by the studio, and he would be told to make a movie to fit the title, but he stretched it to the max. The studio went along because they were getting good box office. They were very profitable, so the studio gave him leeway.
"The Curse of the Cat People" was the sequel to "Cat People", but has nothing to do with either a curse or cat people. It's about a little girl who sees a picture of her father's deceased wife (who was the cat woman in "Cat People") and develops her as an imaginary friend. It's a psychological study of imaginary friends and has been used in college psychology classes.
"I Walked With A Zombie". Yes there a couple of zombies, but they are not your traditional sorts of zombies. They weren't brought back from the dead, but were voodoo-created from living people. The strength of the story is in the witty script and the character development, not some outrageous science fiction about zombies.
"The Body Snatcher", "Isle Of The Dead", and "Bedlam" all star Boris Karloff, who gives surprisingly good performances. You can see he was really a very good actor. "Body snatcher" is a story of a doctor who relies on the Karloff character to dig up bodies from graves so his medical students can have cadavers to dissect. This is arguably Karloff's best performance ever. He is outstanding in "Bedlam" as well. "Island of the Dead" involves a group quarrantined on a little island because they have been exposed to the plague. Superstitious beliefs by some aggravate the tensions, but in the end that's all they are - superstitions, with no basis I reality.
"The 7th Victim" is about a young woman who gets caught up in a group of devil worshippers in Greenwich Village. You have to laugh when you see these devil worshippers - strictly high class, middle aged, well-dressed folks who look like the cream of society. Not at all the way devil worshippers are portrayed today.
"Leopard Man" is not about a man who changes into a leopard. It's about a small town living in fear of an escaped leopard. A few people have been killed, apparently by the cat, but was it in fact the cat that did it?
"The Ghost Ship" is not about ghosts in any way. It's about a mad ship captain who has strange ideas about leading.
In addition to the 9 movies, the set contains two documentaries about Val Lewton and these movies. These are: "Shadows In The Dark" and "Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton, The Man In The Shadows". The latter is on a separate disc and contains good commentary from Scorsese, but in fact it was written and directed by Kent Jones.
I'll want to watch these many times, so for me it's a great set to own."