Thursday, 19 December 2019


FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of their SELL OUT releases of Limited Edition Blu-rays, of the classic Amicus horrors films, 'ASYLUM' and 'THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD' SECOND SIGHT FILMS are delighted to announce that BOTH films are set to arrive as Standard Edition Blu-rays, complete with a slew of special features and new reversible sleeve artwork created by Graham Humphreys on 6 January 2020. Below is our PCASUK REVIEW and Gallery FEATURE on the STANDARD RELEASES. BOTH can be PRE ORDERED NOW HERE AND HERE. You can also read our review of the STANDARD RELEASE of 'ASYLUM' in this PCASUK REVIEW FEATURE HERE!

A FAIR FEW YEARS AGO, and more than I care to remember, my four children all then in their early teens  . . it's a long story... requested to have a peep at the kind of films, that their Dad prattled endlessly on the phone about, and why they were off limits to the likes of their sensitive nervous systems, and 'for a time when you are older'. Well, they announced, 'That time has surely come??' They had a point. More than once, during chill-time after family dinner, I sat and watched their tv choices, made up of various teen dramas, music shows and videos and was stunned to see what was considered to be 'children's television'! Is it OK to now say KNICKERS before the nine o'clock water-shed now?? They informed me it was . .  and that there was worse! It had all been checked by Mum, so I was sadly . . behind 'with the times'. 

EITHER WAY, I did take time to think on what should I let them view from the 'Collection of Peter Cushing Hammer and Amicus Horrors' VHS tapes. 'At The Earth's Core'? No, a little too soft. 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed'? No, Baron FAR too angry. The 1958 'Dracula'? Nope, the ending would give them nightmares, for weeks 'The Vampire Lovers? . . . you are kidding me? Cruising the VHS spines, eventually brought me to Amicus films 1971, 'The House That Dripped Blood' starring both Peter Cushing AND Christopher Lee. It has tension, some black comedy, a bit of a fakie Cushing head on a plate, but no boobs, wobbly bits, romping and funny enough, not a drop of blood and consisted in true Amicus fashion  a framework of FOUR stories. So, they shouldn't get bored! Perfect! Problem was this film was one of the very first I proudly captured on VHS during a TV broadcast, one my fav Amicus films.. and so, was well worn and grainy from obsessive playing and pausing, funny enough on the Ingrid Pitt scenes! 😊😉 

IT WOULD HAVE TO DO, they were happy to watch pop videos that looked like they were shot during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, with a cameraman tied to a Full Power Gymo Hip Vibrating  Machine, while being deliberately dazzled by light-house strength flood lights, compared to THAT viewing this would be dream like. The result? They LOVED it, but would have liked to have watched it, without the GRAIN, 'A bit like those old newspaper photographs we see in history classes' and . .  during the quiet, tense, and suspenseful scenes, it was slightly spoiled by, 'what sounded like Mum frying eggs in the background' ... sound hiss! Again, they had a point. But even though there was, hiss, grain, buzzing and. . Denholm Elloitt being a dead ringer for their maths teacher, Cushing being quite dishy and the unsettling fact that the character Dominck looked like our 'creep-guy' neighbour . . . it was a great shared experience and their first glimpse into the world of fantasy cinema and Peter Cushing. ...  

SO FAST FORWARD, to this week, 14th December 2019 and the arrival of another copy of 'The House That Dripped Blood' is ready for viewing  . .  supplied by Second Sight Films on BLU RAY and one of a few copies generously donated for inclusion as prizes in our annual PCAS CHRISTMAS COMPETITION . . . and collectively, the children, now sat together as adults, snacks on hand, drinks at the ready . .  watching the opening credits and what should be an interesting viewing ...  to be continued below . . .

Here's a little detail, we should get into focus and something I haven't mentioned before. ALL the reviews I write and post here are based on my experience of watching them. I have little expert technical knowledge on the process f how these little gems get onto that disc, but as a paying viewer, I base my review on was the copy of good quality, worth the pennies and how it compares to other versions or releases I have of that particular. Discs are often donated as prizes for our PCAS Competitions, they come free, with no contract or deal, other than PCAS will post a feature about it's quality, content and where it can be purchased. That's it. PCAS covers the postage to competition winners, via loose change that is found in my suit at the end of the day! I am not bound to express any opinions on the release, except what I think, and my family who will at some point, watch the film with me! It's as simple, as that. I see it like recommending a PLUMBER to family or friends! 😃 If it's a good job done, I will have no problem recommending, if not .. and minus parting with hard earned cash, I feel like the DRIP... I will also tell you so 😉 

SO, IS SECOND SIGHT FILMS blu ray of 'THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD' worthy of recommendation? I am very happy to say, YES! Since from the beginnings of Home Cinema, 'The House That Dripped Blood' has had many releases on VHS, DVD and now Blu Ray around the world! Why did I never replace my tatty VHS copy of the film over the year, if it had all those releases?? Because, THIS one is the first that I have watched that makes the grade I was looking for! The fits thing that impressed me on just watching the opening titles was the DETAIL. It's very sharp. That TITLE TEXT presented in that, often causes issues on DVD's and Blu Rays RED, looks amazing. Sharp against a contrast that in the past has always looked fuzzy. At last, not here. Throughout the film, the 1.85:1 1080p image has a texture that is common in nearly ALL Amicus films. 

I AM GUESSING producers Milton and Max, shot the Amicus releases on a grade of film that was common for somewhat lower budget productions. The same can be said of certain Hammer film productions too, 'The Vampire Lovers' and 'Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter' come to mind. Maybe it was a trend at the time as it's evident in a vast quantity of British films made in the late 1960's and up until the mid 1970's. Ray Parslow cinematography looks great through-out with Tony Curtis's set design and colours, never looking better. 'The House' manages to look subtly different in each story, changes of lighting can be spotted as the contrast, as expected looks balanced . . . dark corners LOOK DARK not a washy faded grey.

LOOK OUT for those weird looking colours and areas of mist and fog during Peter Cushing's very hallucinogenic and off-kilter nightmare scene in 'Waxworks'!😊😉 Now, we can see the effort and trouble Parslow applied, at every short notice in that 'Nightmare' scene. A scene that was improvised and suggested by director Peter Duffell, on the day of the shoot! Second Sight Films Blu Ray, at last presents the film, at last.. as it was intended to be SEEN and enjoyed . .

JUST LIKE in SECOND SIGHT FILMS Blu Ray 'twinning' release of Amicus films 'ASYLUM'Second Sight have chosen to transfer the film's audio using its original mono via an uncompressed 24-bit 1.0 channel linear PCM . A crisp mono score by Michael Dress, also brings us Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden'. .. String Quartet Number 14 in D minor! It provides a moody and unsettling soundtrack to Peter Cushing's 'Waxworks' story . . and sounds quite brilliant! Clear and balanced, played through my Sony headphones and Sony home cinema speakers..without distortion, with volume turned up quite loud! I have very good and understanding neighbours 😊😉 Kritzerland's excellent CD release of the Michael Dress score to 'The House That Dripped Blood' last year is superb, but THIS recording, is how I remember it. . . with the scenes noises and atmos! So, a BIG thumbs up on the film's audio. 

NOW THE EXTRAS and their AUDIO. We are treated to TWIN optional commentaries one by Director Peter Duffell and author Jonathan Rigby. Very good, informative with several little nuggets of little known info. Rigby keeps it bouncy and asks plenty of questions, we would all like to ask, if we had the opportunity. The second is by author Troy Howarth, who many will known from the reviews and features he contributed to the PCASUK website over the years. An enjoyable informative commentary! Michael Higgins second director, speaks in a ten minute interview, then a 17 minute vintage featurette called ' A Rated Horror Film', which features again Duffell, but supported by Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt and Chloe Franks. This isn't a new feature for some, as it was produced by Anchor Bay for their 2003 dvd release. There's a nice selection of trailers, then a SKIP LOAD of vintage stills, radio spots and ads, making a five minute gallery on a loop with other promo material that plays for 17 minutes! The difference between this STANDARD RELEASE compared to the LIMITED EDITION is you are minus the 40 page booklet and the sleeve artwork, but with such crammed discs, and reduced price tag, no one should be complaining.....

AND SO, IN RAPPING UP it's a very good release . . . not just my opinion, but my 'kids' too. Now in their 20's and 30's, my sons certainly appreciated the huge difference in visual quality, some elements of the stories now made sense with clear visuals and dialogue they could HEAR! My daughters . . one gave in on the extras, as the babysitter was soon leaving BUT really enjoyed the Cushing 'Waxworks' tale and Christopher Lee 'Sweets to the Sweets' story, the other and youngest, loved Ingrid Pitt's hair and certainly creeped out during 'Method For Murder' . . so the Blu Ray made all the difference. What I found most rewarding was they, all four expressed an interest and appreciation in the production values and the huge difference Second Sight's remastering and attention to detail has made to the film and it's presentation. So, well done, Second Sight Films you have produced a winner all round and have also made me, not so behind the times, after all! 😉😃

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