Icons of Horror Collection - Sam Katzman

Discussion in 'Classic' started by KR~!, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. KR~!

    KR~! The Apocalyptic Kid

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,466
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    In Hel's Womb
    anyone here have this?

    here is a mini review:

    The four Sam Katzman films included in his Icons of Horror Collection stand as testaments to the American atomic age, reflecting public terror and awe towards 1950s technology and the accomplishments made in science and medicine. Sam Katzman, an incredibly prolific B-movie producer whose expertise in horror and sci-fi resulted in collaborations with Ray Harryhausen (Jason and The Argonauts), originally masterminded several wonderful thrillers, classic archetypal examples for later films on similar topics. In this DVD set, two of the four films are painfully slow paced, but contain horror scenes that vibrantly combine horror, sci-fi and film noir. Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) catalogues a researching team's attempts to confiscate a diamond stash lodged on an abandoned ship in a harbor guarded by the living dead. Some foggy shots of zombified sailors, eternally guarding the gems as a curse for stealing them, provide chills if even for a few moments. The Giant Claw (1957) introduces the viewer to the age of alien invasions and military paranoia. Opening with a great shot of an Earth diorama orbiting in space, the film chronicles Mitchell MacAfee (Jeff Morrow), an electronics engineer who reports from his aircraft shadows of a large bird dive-bombing his plane. Sally Caldwell (Mara Corday) stands by at home base, continually ready for action. When one does manage to see this elusive shadow, the viewer can almost make out the giant avian claw that looks like a chicken foot. The two films that really make the collection are Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) and The Werewolf (1956), which reinvent the Frankenstein story to chronicle humans-turned-monster in the name of science. In Creature, Dr. Steigg (Gregory Gaye) has reanimated dead men with atomic energy by injecting their brains with radioactive material that exponentially increases their strength to kill normal humans. Great sequences show Dr. Chet Walker (Richard Denning), the heroic scientist hired by police, using a Geiger counter at crime scenes. Live-dead men with stitched up heads wandering stiffly around as a monster mafia, giving hearty doses of humor to this fantastic film. Likewise, The Werewolf features awesome footage of star, Duncan Marsh (Steven Ritch), turning into a wolf while managing to keep his well-tailored suit clean as he runs through the forest. During most of the film, Marsh is fleeing a well-intentioned Sheriff Haines (Don Megowan), and two villains, Dr. Emery Forrest (S. John Launer) and Dr. Morgan Chambers (George Lynn), who accidentally turn him into a wolf when experimenting with radioactive injections that would protect humans from radiation. All four films have the look and feel of the epic Universal movies like The Wolf Man, and The Mummy, and give historical context to buffs researching 1950s monster films. —Trinie Dalton
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    16,580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Crashed
    Oh yeah, I have it. Brilliant stuff. I bought it mainly for Giant Claw, pure cheese classic. Worth every penny, imo.
     
  3. x666x

    x666x Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    133
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    I think I have seen his name before, but nothing else. Sounds like at least a rental. Thanks for the heads up!
     
  4. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    8,290
    Likes Received:
    1,897
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Overlooked this on my Deep Discount order. Oh well, there's always the 20% off sale in November.
     
  5. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,954
    Likes Received:
    690
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    Nothing I'd read about The Giant Claw prepared me for actually seeing it. While most of the movie is competent enough and Jeff Morrow is always entertaining the SFX are some of the worst I've ever seen not only because they're so blatantly dopey but they're used so extensively. Usually the film makers have enough sense to use such effects sparingly, but instead we're treated to even recycling what footage there is to pad the SFX scenes.

    But that's what makes it so much fun, it's a film I think that really separates the men from the boys. "I will never consider it anything less than the greatest bad movie experience the world has to offer. By all means, see it - in fact, I demand it." WTFFilm

    The Werewolf has some nice moments, using off screen action very well for the violent scenes. The makeup is very good and I almost wonder if it's the forerunner to Paul Naschy's version as they're very similar. Still it seemed to lack the fun of even the original Wolf Man which is one of my least favorite Universal classics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  6. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Messages:
    16,580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Crashed
    I echo the sentiment. I'm surprised more of you didn't snap this set up, it's been out for quite some time. The Giant Claw is awesome.
     
  7. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,954
    Likes Received:
    690
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    Watched Zombies of Mora Tau last night and had a great time with it. The opening is a grand idea and the rest of the film is played just as smartly. It's one of the more solid b-movies out there. The only thing that's disappointing is the ending, they couldn't even give us a skeleton!

    Watching the trailer I noticed that the underwater scenes looked very good on the grainy old film while in the full movie transfer it looks obviously staged. Makes me think they applied heavy DNR to the movie. The full movie has a very digital polished look. I'm not sharp enough to notice the call signs of DNR but the movie is rather unfilm like.
     
  8. hellraiser40

    hellraiser40 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Messages:
    920
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Helchteren, Belgium
    this is a great set, sadly no interviews or extra's like that, but still highly appreciated!
     
  9. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,954
    Likes Received:
    690
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    Well damn, I was reading the review over on DVD Savant and he praised Werewolf and trashed Mora Tau! What the hell? While I like some of his facts, he seems to try too hard to justify mediocre films as arty and fun films as "trashy." He's also always apologizing for these films being un-PC, as if viewers should expect better.

    While I can place some digs, all I can say is that he probably wasn't paying much attention to Mora Tau because if he had he'd notice that the "underwater" bubbles weren't superimposed as he claimed, they were clearly regular old bubble blowers strapped to the diver suits.
     
  10. cazzasguy

    cazzasguy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Didn't know this existed until I read your post, then I simply HAD to get it. Just found it for a tenner on amazon.co.uk and immediately ordered via the excellent Caiman USA.

    Many thanks for the heads up.

    Now counting down the days until Icons of Horror: Hammer Films... oh to see The Gorgon again!
     

Share This Page