Friday, 7 October 2016


Released by: Anolis Entertainment
Released on: September 9th, 2016.
Director: Terence Fisher
Cast: Peter Cushing, Shane Briant, Madeline Smith, David Prowse, Bernard Lee
Year: 1974

Video: Having owned FATMFH on both VHS and DVD, I was very satisfied of the increase in detail and resolution of the blu-ray. Fine details like in the (rather cheap) monster suit are even more pronounced, for better or for worse. Many of the close-ups, like on Shane Briant, for instance, allow us to see the skin pores and sweat on the actor. Some other details like the dummy of Prof. Durendel during the brain transplant sequence are even more noticeable with the improved resolution, although the brain transplant itself, as well as all other gore, are very well done. There are some softer shots which are inherent to the film, such as Peter Cushing's entrance - always a bit soft on other releases.

I didn't notice any edge enhancement or DNR. I also didn't notice any blemishes or marks on the print, but I also don't recall there being any from prior transfers. I did notice a few examples of shimmer or artifacts on some surfaces but they were fleeting and didn't distract me too much. While other recent Hammer releases have been rushed and done on the cheap, FATMFH seems to have been much better treated.


I always found the older releases to be somewhat dark and hard to see, hiding some of the details. Many of the shadows and blacks were quite crushed, for example. It almost seems like someone turned on a light in the movie for this release. Nothing is too bright (it IS an asylum after all), but I have a feeling this is just how Terence Fisher wanted it to be seen. It should be noted that this DOES include the famous artery clamping scene where Cushing holds an artery with his teeth. This was cut for most of the other releases and I was happy to finally get a chance to see it.

Audio: If there has to be a downside to the release, it has to be the audio. While dialogue is generally good and audible, I found the music to be a tad muffled and restrained, although this might have something to do with the technical limitations of how it was recorded or the time period. I thought the music, dialogue, and sound effects were somewhat constricted in the space and would've liked a bit more clarity. Still, it was adequate for the movie.


Extras start off with an audio commentary with Dr. Rolf Giesen and Uwe Sommerlad that is in German only without any subtitle. However, the menu does give you the option to choose ‘English’ and when you do that, rather than a traditional commentary you get a thirty-nine minute featurettes with Gisen and Sommerlad speaking in English about the history of the film. They cover the details of the set, the involvement of various players including the film’s producers, the state of Hammer in the early seventies, how they’d been grooming Briant in hopes of making more Frankenstein pictures with him and of course, Peter Cushing (describing him as Edwardian rather than Victorian) and the actor’s very specific ideals and old fashioned beliefs.

Carried over from the Australian and UK discs, however, is and English language commentary with Madeline Smith and Shane Briant moderated by Hammer historian Marcus Hearn. This is quite a good track, with Smith and Briant participants in good spirits and seemingly quite keen on talking up their work on the picture. They both look back on Cushing quite fondly but also talk about their experiences working under Fisher, some of their thoughts on the picture and more. When they aren’t talking, Hearn does a fine job of offering the listener his expertise in terms of who did what, the locations and sets, the costumes, the music, the film’s censorship issues and loads more. This is a pretty interesting track, one definitely worth taking the time to listen to.

I enjoyed seeing the surviving cast members talk about the film and, of course, about Cushing. I had assumed the monster's suit was more of a foam rubber material but Shane Briant commented on how plastic it felt. Interesting. The documentary on Terence Fisher was a bit brief but I appreciate that they included it at all.

*** out of **** stars. A solid Hammer release.



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