Monday, September 25, 2006

Back in town, and new DVDs...

Came back to work this morning, where I have my packages sent. Two new DVD sets had arrived.


One was the first of two Boris Karloff collections coming out for Halloween this year. The Boris Karloff Collection features runs for about $20, and features five movies. Night Key is a suspense/mystery movie rather than a horror film, and pretty obscure. The Climax features Karloff in his first color movie, with Boris as a fashionably dressed killer. The Strange Door, a period piece, also features Charles Laughton as a baddie nobleman--ensuring a lot of scenery chewing--and Karloff as his frightened but basically good guy servent. I haven't seen that one, but it sounds a lot like another film featured here, The Black Castle, which is a pretty good suspense yarn about another evil nobleman and with Karloff as a doctor under his sway. The prize of the set is the first version of Tower of London, with Karloff as a bald executioner in Merry Olde England. Basil Rathbone stars as another murderous nobleman, and a young Vincent Price makes an appearance. Price would play the Rathbone part in a remake years later.

The packaging is pretty neat, with the discs seated in a slipcase. This features a small illustration of a nattily dressed Karloff from The Climax, while his large 'shadow' is a die cut, under which we see his visages from the other movies featured here. The interior disc box is nicely illustrated, and the films are on three discs. One of the discs is seated over a second one, however, leading to worries about scratching. Still, Cool stuff.


The second set is the (currently) Best Buy exclusive Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection. That's a bit much, but the collection is very nice. The Mole People is the one marginal title, but hey, mole people monsters. Monster on the Campus is a fun man-into-caveman movie with laughable 'science' galore, and a terrifically amusing scene with a mock-up giant dragonfly. The Monolith Monsters is an extremely neat little sci-fier about growing rocks that threaten mankind. Really, it's a pretty good movie. Tarantula is the most well-known big bug movie after Them!. Finally, there's an authentic classic, The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Best Buy is selling this for only $20, so you can't beat the prize, although some are still grumbling about the lack of extras. ISM, certainly, is worthy of a deluxe re-issue with commentaries, etc., someday down the line. The three discs are in a folder like the one for the Karloff set, again with one disc seated atop another. The plastic semi-transparent slipcover is pretty neat, but the cover art, featuring a generic screaming woman, is quite lame. There are some really good movies here with recognizable titles, and they would have been better served to spotlight the original poster art to differentiate this from all the zillions of public domain schlock sci-fi sets out there.

6 Comments:

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Man, do I love Frankenstein and Dracula .. the only problem with them finally getting the proper treatment on DVD is that some hack will be "inspired" to try and remake them yet again

 
At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Ericb said...

Monolith Monsters is great. I haven't seen it in decades so I hope netflix picks it up. What's up with stuff you can only get at Best Buy? Won't that cut in on the maker's profits if you can't get their product at on Amazon or at Virgin or HMV or whatever?

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

I assume Best Buy guarantees to buy a large number of sets, assuring a profit for Universal. Presumably BB will get an exclusive period, and then the set will be sold by other retailers, ala their special edition King Kong tin.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Not to nitpick with you, Ken (although I am), but I'm fairly certain THEM! would be considered the most famous big bug movie of them all. TARANTULA's only a close second though.

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Scott, you're not nitpicking at all. That's a complete brain fart. In fact, Them! is so far ahead that, as you note, its superiority is pretty self-evident.

Still, guess I'll change that. Thanks.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Damn, I gotta get that Best Buy set. Like, NOW. I wonder if I keel over, I can get the rest of the day off....

 

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