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Thriller: Complete Series [DVD] [1962] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Format: Box set, Black & White, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 14
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Aug 2010
  • Run Time: 3354 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003NOGNQU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,376 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A proverbial mixed bag 15 July 2012
By Alan James "Maebuschfan" TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The cliched term "Mixed Bag" could almost have been invented to describe this bumper 67 episode collection of anthology tales, which were originally broadcast in the early 1960's. Presented by horror legend, Boris Karloff, and featuring a stellar collection of guest stars, the themes include the likes of crime, suspense, and horror/the supernatural. The quality of the stories varies from very good to pretty mediocre & occasionally dull. Most of my DVD collection is made up of pre-70's film & TV, I enjoy vintage anthology TV shows such as "The Twilight Zone", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" as well as "One Step Beyond" so I eagerly snapped up "Thriller" a few weeks ago. At it's best "Thriller" is classic vintage TV, (mostly expressed through the horror/supernatural themed storylines) with some first class scripts, good performances & evocative incidental music which helps to create a number of atmospheric moments. In it's weaker moments "Thriller" is unfortunately let down by some below-par production values & performances, along with some disappointing scripts. The incidental music is occasionally drab and intrusive & in such instances does nothing to enhance the atmosphere of the particular story.

After an unspectacular start, the series eventually takes flight with "The Purple Room" in which an arrogant heir (played by Rip Torn) must spend the night in an haunted mansion (the Bates home from "Psycho") in order to meet the requirements of a will. Other highlights for me include "The Hungry Glass" which is an effective 'Haunted House' chiller starring William Shatner. IMO disc eight contains two of the best stories - "Pigeons From Hell"...a creepy haunted mansion tale set in Louisiana, along with "The Grim Reaper" which is a tale about a cursed portrait (again starring William Shatner).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boris Karloff's THRILLER on DVD...Finally! 29 Dec 2011
Format:DVD
Many horror fans have been waiting a long time for THRILLER (a.k.a. Boris Karloff's THRILLER) to get an official DVD release--even if it is currently only available on Region 1 discs--and with good reason! Indeed, in his non-fiction book on horror, DANSE MACABRE, Stephen King calls the program "the best horror series ever put on TV" (p. 224, 1983 edition). THRILLER is an hour-long TV Horror anthology series that originally aired in the U.S. on NBC from 1960 to 1962, and at the beginning of each episode, the master of the macabre himself, Boris Karloff, sets the tone and primes viewers for frightful and chilling dramatizations based on the works of some of the greatest writers in the horror genre--writers like Robert E. Howard, Cornell Woolrich, Richard Matheson, and Robert Bloch. Each episode--many of which feature famous guest stars such as William Shatner, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leslie Nielsen, John Carradine, Tom Poston, Edward Andrews, Boris Karloff himself, and many others--is shot in eerie black and white and offers at least one story, with a few episodes dividing the hour between two or three shorter plays.

As with any Horror program, of course, there are a few clunker episodes that do not quite measure up to the rest, and horror fans who are purists will probably be annoyed by the handful of episodes that are crime-based "thrillers"--most of which were produced and broadcast at the beginning of the series' original run--rather than stories of the ghastly or macabre. When compared with today's graphically gory product, THRILLER might seem a little tame and slow-paced to modern audiences. But overall, the show has stood the test of time and can still inspire chills and goose bumps. Serious genre fans will definitely want this set of DVDs in their collections!
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the enthusiasts only 17 Dec 2010
By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A collection for enthusiasts only. This set will provide considerable interest for lovers of the genre (ie early tv horror and suspense programs). However, for a modern audience, the series, produced between 1960 and 1962, will not deliver the pace or originality they will expect. If this was a collection of 10 episodes - well okay, it might just about amuse contemporary viewers. However this set consists of 67 "hour" long episodes (49mts actually) and at just over 90 this is a lot to invest in such specialist material. That said Boris Karloff is a great host and a few of the episodes are classic such as "The Hungry Glass", "Pigeons from Hell" and "The Incredible Doktor Markeson" and still deliver the goods... well almost. The strongest content is present in the supernatural episodes, while the crime and murder episodes in Series One particularly, have not aged well. Considering how old this series is, the video transfers are generally excellent and the extras - some audio commentaries and promo material - are fair, if not inspired. So if this is the sort of thing you like - you'll have a ball... but for the general viewer, wait for a highlights disk if one is ever produced...
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  179 reviews
311 of 324 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris Karloff's THRILLER, The Greatest Horror Television Series! 2 Jun 2010
By Tante Maren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am THRILLED that THRILLER is being released on August 31, 2010 this summer! Image Entertainment has put the entire series, which is two seasons, on 14 discs in this dvd set. All 67 one hour long chilling and some really frightening episodes will be seen in the original fantastic black and white film in all it's scary shadows and creepiness.

Thriller was originally shown on Tuesday nights in it's first 1960-1961 season on NBC from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.. Because of parents complaints that the show was too scary for school age children, making them unable to sleep on a school night, NBC moved the show in it's second 1961 to 1962 season to Monday nights at a later time from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m.. The show began with it's host, the great Boris Karloff preparing it's audience for the great horrors and terrors that you were about to see and hear. Boris Karloff not only hosted the one hour long show, but starred in several episodes as well, adding his wonderfully brilliant performances to these extremely well written horror stories. The black and white film is perfect for the super eerie atmosphere of the scary stories and it really does add to the visual terror.

Stephen King calls Thriller the best horror series ever put on television. I call Thriller the only television series that gave me horrendous and terrifying, unable to sleep, nightmares as a child and I don't mean a few of the shows, but most of them! Most of the episodes feature the most disturbing stories of the macabre, twisted murders, terror and a few crime based episodes. The crime based episodes, though very excellent, full of twists and suspense, are not my favorites, as they are not as scary as the supernatural and macabre ones.

Image Entertainment said they have digitally restored the original black and white film and used Dolby digital sound on the recording. I remember getting goose bumps hearing the creepiest sounds and screams in some of the episodes, as if the film wasn't creepy enough with things hiding in every shadow and close ups of glaring dead eyes! In it's first season, Thriller was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement In The Field Of Music For Television. It wasn't just the sounds and screams that were terrifying, but also the music! The next season, American Cinema Editors nominated Thriller for Best Edited Television Program, for the episode, A Third For Pinochle.

Thriller featured many well known actors and actresses in their episodes, some being: Boris Karloff, Leslie Nielson, silent film star Mary Astor, Rip Torn, Richard Chamberlain, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Corby, Victor Buono, Mary Tyler Moore, Jack Carson, Warren Oates, Werner Klemperer, Mort Saul, William Shatner, Donna Douglas, Susan Oliver, Ronald Howard, Robert Vaughn, Marlo Thomas, Jeanette Nolan, Tommy Nolan, Edward Andrews, Marion Ross, Brandon DeWilde, Natalie Schafer, Alejandro Rey, John Carradine, Tom Posten, Elizabeth Montgomery, Estelle Winwood, Jo Van Fleet, Bruce Dern, Richard Long, Ursula Andress, Denver Pyle, Sue Ann Langdon, Dick York, Reta Shaw, William Windom and George Kennedy.

I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU TO IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT for putting the time and effort into digitally restoring and releasing the greatest horror television series of all time! They are also including bonus materials of Audio Commentaries, Episodes Promos, Series Promos and Still Galleries. I am so looking forward to getting goose bumps and being terrified all over again with those dreaded nightmares that kept me and all my school friends awake all night and hiding deep under our covers, so afraid of the dark! This being my second time around to see these terrifying Thrillers, I have learned to never watch the supernatural or macabre episodes alone. If I have no choice and have to watch them alone, I will make sure to keep a light on, and most importantly, I'll make sure that there are no reflecting windows, glass or mirrors visible when watching THE HUNGRY GLASS! Even after 50 years, I can still remember the terrified photographer and his wife when they decided to ignore everyone telling them not to move into the haunted seaside house, but moved in anyway to live with the terrors reflected within!

Here Are All 67 Macabre, Horrifying And Terror Filled Episodes:
SEASON 1:
(09-13-1960) THE TWISTED IMAGE- Psycopath mail clerk.(Leslie Nielson)
(09-20-1960) CHILD'S PLAY- Deadly imagination.
(09-27-1960) WORSE THAN MURDER- Strange diary.
(10-04-1960) THE MARK OF THE HAND- Child with a gun.
(10-11-1960) ROSE'S LAST SUMMER- Old movie actress.(Mary Astor)
(10-18-1960) THE GUILTY MEN- Crime boss wants out.
(10-25-1960) THE PURPLE ROOM- Haunted mansion.(Rip Torn)
(11-01-1960) THE WATCHER- Psychotic killer.(Richard Chamberlain)
(11-15-1960) GIRL WITH A SECRET- Spys.(Cloris Leachman, Ellen Corby and Victor Buono)
(11-22-1960) THE PREDICTION- Magician's predictions.(Boris Karloff)
(11-29-1960) THE FATAL IMPULSE- Bomb planted in purse.(Mary Tyler Moore)
(12-06-1960) THE BIG BLACKOUT- Lost memory of murder.(Jack Carson)
(12-13-1960) KNOCK THREE-ONE-TWO- Arranged murder.(Warren Oates)
(12-20-1960) MAN IN THE MIDDLE- Overhearing murder plan.(Werner Klemperer and Mort Sahl)
(12-27-1960) THE CHEATERS- Strange Eyeglasses.
(01-03-1961) THE HUNGRY GLASS- Haunted seaside home.(William Shatner and Donna Douglas)
(01-10-1961) THE POISONER- Easy money by killing.
(01-17-1961) MAN IN THE CAGE- Intrigue in Morocco.
(01-24-1961) CHOOSE A VICTIM- Beach bum fall guy.(Susan Oliver)
(02-07-1961) HAY-FORK AND BILL-HOOK- Witchcraft.
(02-14-1961) THE MERRIWEATHER FILE- Murder mystery.
(02-21-1961) THE FINGERS OF FEAR- Child murderer.
(02-28-1961) WELL OF DOOM- Sorcerer.(Ronald Howard)
(03-07-1961) THE ORDEAL OF DR. CORDELL- Murderous rage.(Robert Vaughn and Marlo Thomas)
(03-14-1961) TRIO FOR TERROR- Occult; Odd bed; Museum hideout.
(03-21-1961) PAPA BENJAMIN- Voodoo melody.
(04-04-1961) LATE DATE- Murder confession.
(04-11-1961) YOURS TRULY, JACK THE RIPPER- Jack is back.
(04-18-1961) THE DEVIL'S TICKET- Artist and pawn shop ticket.
(04-25-1961) PARASITE MANSION- Dark mansion secrets.(Jeanette Nolan and Tommy Nolan)
(05-02-1961) A GOOD IMAGINATION- Cheating wife.(Edward Andrews)
(05-09-1961) MR. GEORGE- Invisible child protector.
(05-16-1961) TERROR IN TEAKWOOD- Severed hands play piano.
(05-23-1961) THE PRISONER IN THE MIRROR- Evil sorcerer.(Marion Ross)
(05-30-1961) DARK LEGACY- Book of spells.
(06-06-1961) PIGEONS FROM HELL- Terrifying manor house.(Brandon DeWilde)
(06-13-1961) THE GRIM REAPER- Cursed painting.(William Shatner and Natalie Schafer)

SEASON 2:
(09-18-1961) WHAT BECKONING GHOST?- Funeral dreams.
(09-26-1961) GUILLOTINE- Executioner.(Alejandro Rey)
(10-02-1961) THE PREMATURE BURIAL- Buried alive.(Boris Karloff)
(10-16-1961) THE WEIRD TAYLOR- Special suit for the dead.
(10-23-1961) GOD GRANTE THAT SHE LYE STILLE- Witch haunting.(Ronald Howard and Victor Buono)
(10-30-1961) MASQUERADE- Vampires.(John Carradine, Tom Posten and Elizabeth Montgomery)
(11-06-1961) THE LAST OF THE SOMMERVILLES- Scheming couple.(Boris Karloff)
(11-13-1961) LETTER TO A LOVER- Intrigue.
(11-20-1961) A THIRD FOR PINOCHLE- Nosy spinsters.(Edward Andrews)
(11-27-1961) THE CLOSED CABINET- Ancient curse.
(12-04-1961) DIALOGUES WITH DEATH- Conversing with the dead; Colonel's revenge.(Boris Karloff and Estelle Winwood)
(12-11-1961) THE RETURN OF ANDREW BENTLEY- Fear of evil sorcerer.
(12-18-1961) THE REMARKABLE MRS. HAWKS- Prize pigs.(John Carradine, Jo Van Fleet and Bruce Dern)
(12-25-1961) PORTRAIT WITHOUT A FACE- Dead artist's painting.
(01-01-1962) AN ATTRACTIVE FAMILY- Murder plans.(Richard Long)
(01-08-1962) WAXWORKS- Frightening figures.
(01-15-1962) LA STREGA- Witchcraft.(Ursula Andress, Jeanette Nolan and Alejandro Rey)
(01-22-1962) THE STORM- Alone with a murderer.
(01-29-1962) A WIG FOR MISS DeVORE- Mysterious wig.
(02-12-1962) THE HOLLOW WATCHER- Town scarecrow.(Warren Oates and Denver Pyle)
(02-19-1962) COUSIN TUNDIFIER- Murdering in the past.(Edward Andrews and Sue Ann Langdon)
(02-26-1962) THE INCREDIBLE DR. MARKESAN- Uncle's scary mansion.(Boris Karloff and Dick York)
(03-05-1962) FLOWERS OF EVIL- Screaming skeleton.
(03-12-1962) TIL DEATH DO US PART- Burying your wife.(Reta Shaw)
(03-19-1962) THE BRIDE WHO DIED TWICE- Desire and death.
(03-26-1962) KILL MY LOVE- Mistress murder.
(04-02-1962) MAN OF MYSTERY- Intrigue.(Mary Tyler Moore and William Windom)
(04-09-1962) THE INNOCENT BYSTANDERS- Body snatchers.(George Kennedy)
(04-16-1962) THE LETHAL LADIES- Couple fights to death; Clever librarian.
(04-30-1962) THE SPECIALISTS- Jewel thieves.(Ronald Howard)
112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little background 18 Aug 2010
By Donald J. Wurzelbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
There are many people who have probably heard about this series "Thriller" but have never seen it before. Many people likely do not know anything about the history of the show. I wanted to give a quick background of this groundbreaking series.
Executive producer Hubbel Robinson was quoted as saying "the show simply did not have enough time to find its identity". This was true on many levels. Originally slated for the 1960-61 season it was intended to be a successful mystery-suspense anthology series. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations immediately. The first problem was that it was rushed into production based on Robinson's earlier successes of "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One". Robinson, along with producer Fletcher Markle and story editor James Cavanagh simply could not agree on what makes a "thriller" thrilling. The title itself was much too vague. The stories were a combination of both crime and horror, which just didn't mix well with its audience.
When the show aired its first episode in 1960 "Twisted Image", it was slammed by critics as being a repulsive story. The next show was even dubbed by critics as being "Worse than Murder". Worse yet, the audience was not tuning in. During the span of the first 8 episodes Robinson saw what he thought would be his masterpiece crumbling at its base. the critics were relentless, the ratings were low, and the sponsors were mad as a hatter.
Robinson had to make a change and FAST. After the 8th installment, new producers Maxwell Shane and William Frye were called in. Shane took over the crime shows and Frye worked on the horror stories. The new episodes, under new direction, were a combination of bone-chilling horror with supernatural overtones and violent crime dramas.
The new stories were definitely an improvement. Frye wanted classic-style horror set in gothic mansions complete with lots of cobwebs and ghouls. Shane wanted nail-biting suspenseful crime stories.
With new stories that differed considerably from the first eight installments, new music by Morton Stevens and Jerry Goldsmith, and a new approach that had a narrower interpretation of the word "Thriller", Robinson felt that the show was finally on track. And to have the great Boris Karloff on hand as a host as well as starring in several stories, it looked like the show would finally win over both critics and audiences. Unfortunately, it may have been the old cliche "Too little, too late".
Even with some great stories such as "The Purple Room", "The Cheaters", "Pigeons from Hell", "Prisoner in the Mirror", "Well of Doom"(One episode even starred the PSYCHO house!) as well as fine guest star appearances such as Elizabeth Montgomery, William Shatner, Leslie Nielson, John Carradine, Marlo Thomas, and others, the show didn't make it past two seasons. This does not make it a poor quality show. Actually, many of the stories were true nail biting horror. Personally, I don't believe the red bloody gore that audiences are so aquainted with today is true horror at all. The black and white photography of this series adds to the creepy atmosphere without the blood and gore. It is a delightful show and I applaud that it's finally being released on DVD. I urge anyone who enjoys true suspense and horror tales to purchase the series and see for yourself why the show is called "Thriller". Stephen King was quoted as saying that it was the finest horror series ever aired on television. I suppose there's only one way to find out. Turn out the lights, snuggle up in your blanket, and prepared to be scared to death by entering the world of "THRILLER"!
104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the dvd "event" of the season 27 Jun 2010
By D. Guenzel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It will be interesting for me to see how this exceptional, beautifully made and quite subtle gothic horror tv series will be accepted by modern audiences, soaked as they are by the outlandish, over-the-top, ludicrously violent horror films that have been gracing our screens of late. Will they be so jaded by what has been flung at them these past thirty years that they will no longer be able to even recognize quality? I hope not, for if they approach this show on its own simple terms they should be more than admirably entertained.

The release of Karloff's THRILLER is, without question,THE dvd event of the season, and it was an agonizingly long time coming. But Image Entertainment has done the right thing by obtaining the show and giving it a quality release. For that they should be congratulated and supported. I have already ordered the set and those who fondly remember the show from their youth are champing at the bit for August 31st to arrive.

The audio interviews promised are not terribly intersting to me personally; I really don't require people like Stephen King or someone called Ernest Dickerson (who's he??) to tell me how good the show is. I know how good it is. Image might have profitably avoided spending money on these panygerics. But that is a minor quibble and the fact that they have lavished care on the visual and audio presentation is good enough for me. For those interested, by the way: when one has the original 35mm negatives to work with, as Image apparently did here, it is not necessary to "clean up" or "restore" the picture; 35mm will blow out of the water any digital media in the world. All that is required is that the limited digital capturing get as much out of the 35mm original as possible.

It is true that some tv shows fondly remembered from youth don't hold up when one viewed as an adult. Not this one. Having recently seen some episodes on cable I can attest that it is as creepy and horror-filled as I remembered it from 50 years ago. It is true that the first handful of episodes were more mystery thrillers than straight horror, but they are entertaining and well done and should not be lightly dismissed. But if you're the impatient type, pick one of the famous horror ones to see first, turn down the lights and watch it alone.

Many good directors worked on the show, and one writer rightly praised the fine work done by Miss Ida Lupino (Mrs Howard Duff). She was as fine a director as she was an actress. It is charming, too, to contemplate that one of my very favorite episodes, "Pigeons from Hell" was directed by that debonair and highly silled actor/director John Newland, of ONE STEP BEYOND fame (every episode of which was directed by him). Newland's superior pictorial sense is well on display there.

The brilliant black and white photography of THRILLER makes it clear that had the show been filmed in color it would have lost 60 per cent of its effectiveness. Here is black and white cinematography done by cameramen who know how to use black and white (as, frankly, they all did in those days). The mood that was created was dark, and damp and dreadful.

Obviously this is a show that I can highly recommend to all. It was an excellent show in the early 1960s and it is an excellent show today. And the price tag? Yes, it is a high one, but like a favorite book that one returns to year after year THRILLER is a show that you will want to return to more than once.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 50-Year TRIBUTE!! 28 Aug 2010
By Lawrence Rapchak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
On Tuesday, April 18th, 1961, my brother and I first stumbled across "Thriller" via the network premiere of the first-rate episode "The Devil's Ticket"; after that, we never missed a show. ("The Devil's Ticket" remains of the 3 or 4 absolute best of the series--superb, deft scripting by Robert Bloch, plus flawless direction, scoring and acting...and remember as you watch...these guys had to crank out a complete, hour-long episode EVERY WEEK!)

MY BROTHER AND I WERE THERE on those 2 consecutive Tuesdays in June of '61 to witness the premieres of "Pigeons from Hell" and "The Grim Reaper", followed a week later by the re-run of "The Purple Room"; LORD, what a time it was--the Golden Age of TV at its horrific height!!! The "Untouchables" had largely managed to evade the censors in terms of its dark, brooding, violent content, and thus NBC and Hubbell Robinson, after weathering the initial chaotic identity crisis of the show, hit their stride as "Thriller" (running concurrently with "Twilight Zone", "Hitchcock Presents", Roald Dahl's "Way Out" and NBC's "Great Ghost Tales") began to earn its reputation as TV's All-Time Greatest Horror Show!

Even after all of the gruesome, demented stuff that has graced movie and TV screens during the past 5o years, "Thriller" still manages to rise above it. There's something that's very hard to put your finger on here...something that's somehow scarier, more disturbing than most anything you will encounter. Maybe it's the claustrophobic, "chamber-drama" atmosphere of he show, the ominous, b&w cinematography and the profoundly unsettling effect of its musical scores (note that Hermmann's strings-only "Psycho" score had created a sensation at this time, and most of Morton Steven's and Jerry Goldsmith's "Thriller" scores emulated this sound with amazing effectiveness; in fact, I would cite Goldsmith's score for "The Grim Reaper" as the single greatest episodic TV score of all time. But the lesser-known Morton Stevens could deliver music that was equally effective, as you will see/hear in "Pigeons from Hell". The "Eula Lee" music--the eerie, seductive female wailing, accompanied by delicate, glistening violin harmonics, not to mention a flock of cooing pigeons...is enough to make one wet their pants in terms of the sheer terror it evokes).

THIRLLER was also a showcase for ACTORS! It was produced during the hey-day of that great school of performers of the late '50's-early '60's, who had come from the legitimate STAGE, and whose phenomenal work is now preserved for future generations to treasure.

Here's some Highlights:

HENRY JONES--who usually played meek henchmen or hum-drum officials, delivers an Emmy-quality performance as the title chracter Eric Borg in "THE WEIRD TAILOR".

WALTER BURKE---the fabulous and underrated little guy usually relegated to minor roles shines in the final scenes of "MAN OF MYSTERY" (with Mary Tyler Moore, no less!), a script written by Robert Bloch with Burke specifically in mind.

OSCAR HOMOLKA, the great Austrian expatriat, brings down the house in the magnificently morbid "WAXWORKS." Watch this guy sit and twirl a cigarette during the somber, low-key interrogation scene with Booth Coleman to witness a true PRO at work! (credit also to Revue staff director Herschel Daugherty, one of "Thriller's"
unsung heroes).

GUY ROLFE - the superbly villanous Brit dominates every scene in the morbid "Terror in Teakwood", the oppressive atmosphere (and fine performances by Charles Aidman, Reggie Nalder and Jerry Goldsmith's score) of which is unfortunately undermined a bit by the very final shot.

CRAHAN DENTON -- again, a minor role kind of guy, delivers a superbly realistic and understated performance in the unbelievably creepy "PIGEONS FROM HELL" (fabulously directed by "One Step Beyond"'s John Newland).

JOHN EMERY --- another uniquely suave and distinctive villain portrays a most restrained, sometimes whimsical and only-occasionally malevolent Prince of Darkness in "THE DEVIL'S TICKET".

ROBERT MIDDLETON -- the big, burly character actor, cast in a sympathetic and ultimately tragic pivotal role in "GUILLOTINE."

MURRAY MATHESON --- first-rate actor (who will be remembered, if at all, for his role as the caustic clown in TZ's "5 Characters in Search of an Exit"), in a stand-out performance as the title character in "THE POISONER".

DICK YORK--- Quite a solid "legit" actor prior to being pegged for the role of Darin in "Bewitched"; you may gain a new sense of respect for his dramatic abilities in "DR MARKESAN."

HENRY DANIELL!!! --- my nominee for all-time greatest film villain, appears in FIVE Thriller episodes. Fans of great acting are indeed lucky that the "Thirller" guys called on one of the classic actors from Hollywood's Golden Age in his final years to add class to their series. Check "WELL OF DOOM" --- a stunning, virtuostic performance by Mr. Daniell, perhaps the series' standout! (sorry, Boris...I had to say it). Two of his other appearances are brief prologue roles, but "GOD GRANTE THAT SHE LYE STILLE" features Henry in a substantial role as the neighborhood parson/vicar; still a tad sinister, but a rare "good guy" part for him, much like his lead role in 1944's "The Body Snatchers". Here, he is reunited in a TV series with his old pal and compatriot....

BORIS KARLOFF!!! ---What an ongoing honor to have Mr. K. on screen throughout this great series. It's OK to watch him as the kindly, urbane host in the early episodes, but once "Thriller" found itself dramatically, the crew unleashed a weekly orgy of Karloff on the unsuspecting world--- whether in his beautifully rendered introductions or his occasional dramatic roles, "Thriller" documents some of the King of Hollywood Horror's greatest work.

There is simply too much to praise in this historic series. True, most of the crime dramas are not very interesting (and one of them "Mark of the Hand" is so bad that I wanted to kick out the TV screen while watching it recently), but the horror shows are truly of classic quality, the sort of thing we will never see again. They're impossible to duplicate, since "THRILLER" was a product of it's own time, and this dvd release...50 years after the series' initial debut, is the ultimate way to honor its superb achievement----by preserving it for generations of viewers to come.

Sad to report that the "Pigeons from Hell" print suffers a bit from a graininess problem, but in general, the prints look great--MUCH more atmospheric than the 90's video/Laser Disc group, which were processed with a much-too-high brightness level. Thanks for the bonus features, including commentary tracks by Richard Anderson ("Purple Room"), Patricia Barry ("Wig for Miss Devore"), and other notable contemporary horror-folk, including the irrepressible and expert author David J. Schow, the knowledgeable and eloquent producer Steve Mitchell, and Gary Gerani, the distunguished author of everybody's favorite reference book "Fantastic Television." You can't go wrong with this group of guys--they actually make learning FUN!

LR
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Produced, Hugely Entertaining 3 Oct 2010
By C. C. Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Once upon a time, best beloved children, a distinguished, loveable English gentleman named Uncle Boris visited our homes every week. Most weeks he introduced a story that scared the living bejeebers out of us. Some weeks, with a twinkle in his eye that belied Jack Barron's gruesome makeup, he played a part in those stories. The storybook was called "Thriller."

By now anyone reading these reviews has learned, or is reminded, that this short-lived anthology (2 years, 67 episodes) suffered a split personality that could never come to rest in a consistent genre. Well, all right. The most memorable installments--the ones that made this DVD set happen--were perhaps the purest expressions of gothic horror ever produced by an American network (NBC). Watching some of them today--the famous "Pigeons from Hell," "The Incredible Dr. Markesan"--you wonder how on earth they ever got past 60s censors and sponsors. But here's the surprise: The lesser known episodes, even the hard-boiled crime stories and the forgotten black comedies with nary a ghoul in sight--are full of delightful surprises and are never less than entertaining. Excepting one or two dogs that any season of any series will suffer, "Thriller" was a beautifully produced and well written show, featuring a Who's Who of Hollywood (Ann Todd, Macdonald Carey, Everett Sloane, John Carradine, Karloff himself), wonderful character actors of the 50s stage and screen (Jeannette Nolan, Harry Townes, Edward Andrews, the incomparable Henry Daniell), and youngsters like William Shatner, Ursula Andress, Robert Duvall, Elizabeth Montgomery, Rip Torn, and Mary Tyler Moore. In addition to the actors and scripts (notably by Donald Sanford and Robert Bloch), the series was consistently elevated by its production design, which drew from Universal's marvelous sets and backlot (Hitchcock's "Psycho" house guest stars in several episodes); by its gifted directors (John Brahm, Ida Lupino, and Herschel Daughtery, among others); and by its magnificent music, mostly composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Morton Stevens.

The series was produced by Revue/Universal, and we can thank August Derleth's dark divinities that Universal did not produce this set: Otherwise, it would have cheaped us out as shamelessly as with all its other titles. No, "Thriller" is a product of Image Enetrtainment, and they have done up this project to a fare-thee-well. There are more original trailers, promos, audio commentaries, and isolated soundtracks than you can shake a cadaver at. While some of the audio commentaries are subpar ("Here's a list of this actor's 30 other genre films"; "Look at those cobwebs!"), most are intelligent; a few are brilliant and even heartwarming. Deserving special mention are a reproduced interview with the late Doug Benton, the series' associate producer, whose lines are read by his son; two interviews with TV musicologist Jon Burlingame, who helps us appreciate what Goldsmith and Stevens brought to the party; and warm, informative interviews with several of the few actors still with us, such as Richard Anderson ("The Purple Room"), Patricia Barry ("A Wig for Miss Davore"), and Beverly Washburn ("Parasite Mansion"). For a series made fifty years ago, the transfers and sound are astonishingly sharp and clear. Given the picture that rabbit-eared TV sets gave you in 1961 and the subsequently dismal prints in syndication, until now no one has ever seen "Thriller" look and sound this good.

Finally, there is William Henry Pratt, better known as Boris Karloff. Every soul on every commentary agrees that he was universally admired for his professionalism and adored as a human being. According to Benton, he radiated goodness. Even when playing the heavy or the monster, that goodness shines through. We shall never see his like again.

Despite Amazon's discount, this set costs a pretty penny. It's worth it. These episodes are as addictive as chocolates. This is a set I'll enjoy for years to come.
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