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Amazon Customer "John in Gateshead" (Tyne and Wear, UK)

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Hammer Films: The Elstree Studios Years
Hammer Films: The Elstree Studios Years
by Wayne Kinsey
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but sloppily edited, 26 Feb 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A nice book to dip into, with some photos I hadn't seen before and more detail than anyone could hope for on the making of these films. Sadly, Mr Kinsey's authority is undermined by an apparent lack of proofreading. Almost every page seems to contain one or more grammatical, spelling or even factual errors. Just a few random examples:

On page 95 we have references to both "pteradactyls" and "pterodactyls". Even my spell checker in Microsoft Word spotted this. On page 179 a work named Jonocek's Gregolithic Mass is mentioned: this is presumably Janácek's Glagolitic Mass. (I do know how to spell this composer's name, by the way, and even with Amazon removing accented characters from my text, I've got closer than Mr Kinsey!) On page 310 we have Yvonne Fearneux (instead of Furneaux). There are many more proofing errors, but I think I've made the point.

Unfortunately spelling and grammar don't seem to be the only problems. On page 170 the book discusses the making of "The Vampire Lovers" in 1969. There is a reference to "the shapely figure of 25 year old Ingrid Pitt". As this would mean she was born around 1944, it is clearly incorrect. Much has been made of Ms Pitt's experiences during World War II, including childhood in a concentration camp. On-line sources give her year of birth as 1937. Even if she was being economical with the truth as to her age then, the reader is entitled to expect that Mr Kinsey would spot this kind of thing and at least mention that there's some uncertainty over her age. The obviousness of this kind of mistake to a fan makes me question the accuracy of much of the book.

In a professional publication, there really shouldn't be so many glaring errors. I'm not sorry I bought it, but hope that one day there'll be a second edition with these problems fixed.


The One Step Beyond Collection [1959] [DVD] [2002]
The One Step Beyond Collection [1959] [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ John Newland

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally entertaining, but a bit of a museum piece, 12 Jan 2008
In the mould of the more ghostly episodes of the original "Twilight Zone", some of these stories are nicely creepy. This is a good collection to dip into for the odd hour or so, as long as you bear its age in mind. The storylines, clothing and attitudes have all dated, which gives the series a charm of its own, but many of the stories come across as slow-paced even at twenty-five minutes. The host (John Newland) is also the director for almost all of the episodes. While he is perfectly competent, this means that the viewer sees no variety of styles. The incidental music is also recycled from one episode to another and this becomes slightly tedious after watching several episodes in a session.

I was able to borrow the collection from a library and, frankly, I was glad I hadn't bought it. Firstly, the presentation is very poor. No attempt has been made to restore the episodes. The sound is sometimes indistinct and the picture often resembles a poor copy of a 1920s or 1930s film, with lines, scratches and "breaks" in the action where the film has apparently been joined. The DVD menu (the same on each disc) has a rather irritating soundtrack - much louder than the episodes themselves - with a delay before an episode can be chosen. This comes across as poorly thought out and amateurish.

The second major black mark for me was that the publishers of the set have deliberately REDUCED the watchability of the discs by sticking a logo with the words "The One Step Beyond Collection" on the right hand side - NOT at the edge of the picture. This ham-fisted gesture towards preserving copyright is extremely annoying at times.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2012 7:39 AM BST


Kolchak - The Night Stalker: Complete Series [DVD]
Kolchak - The Night Stalker: Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Darren McGavin
Price: 10.00

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that exciting or scary, 12 Jan 2008
While it's nice to have these episodes available again, sadly, watching a few of them in one session shows - in my opinion - that they just weren't as good as we remember. The best (e.g. Horror in the Heights) have inventive scripts but pedestrian direction and often amateurish-looking "monsters". The worst come across as rather boring, despite good performances from McGavin and the rest of the cast, and a refreshing sense of humour.

The episodes are well presented, with clean, steady images and clear sound, but there is no "added value". It would have been nice to have the odd extra like commentaries or interviews with surviving cast or crew. Jimmy Sangster (one of the better writers) is still living and apparently healthy as I write this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2013 11:09 AM BST


Beasts - The Complete Series [DVD] [1976]
Beasts - The Complete Series [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Pamela Moiseiwitsch
Price: 10.00

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has two outstanding episodes, 9 Sep 2007
As other reviewers have pointed out, not all the episodes on this DVD set are of the same high quality. However, I feel that two of them - BABY and DURING BARTY'S PARTY - are brilliant. Both rely on suggestion rather than special effects, using the viewer's imagination (if he/she has one) to conjure up terrors far more effective than cheap shocks shown on screen. BABY echoes Kneale's theme in QUATERMASS AND THE PIT to some extent, with a dead and buried artefact exerting a malign influence. BARTY is done almost like a radio play, using sound particularly effectively.

None of the other episodes comes close to these in "scariness". However, SPECIAL OFFER is also effective for an excellent performance from Pauline Quirke and its parallels with CARRIE in exploring the mind of a teenage misfit. Some others have enjoyed BUDDYBOY, WHAT BIG EYES and THE DUMMY but, for me, these episodes don't really come off. MURRAIN (a one-off play included in the set but not part of the BEASTS series) is undoubtedly clever and I plan to watch this again when I'm in a more receptive mood.

I reckon that the discs (which aren't expensive) are worthwhile even if only for the two episodes mentioned at the start. I would definitely recommend them.


English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema
English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema
by Jonathan Rigby
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and Fascinating, 20 May 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's hard to find anything to say about this book that the other reviewers haven't already said. I enjoy it both as a good (and generally very accurate) reference book, and as a volume to browse and dip into. I enjoy Rigby's writing style and particularly like the way that he quotes two contrasting comments on each of the "featured" films. I think any enthusiast of British cinema would find it worthwhile to read, and fans of slightly old-fashioned horror (like me) will love it.


The Twilight Zone (1980s) - Series 1 [DVD]
The Twilight Zone (1980s) - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Willis

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content, awful presentation, 5 Aug 2006
A very entertaining series, but the producers of this DVD set really needed to try harder. The fuzzy video quality is just about acceptable - the awful sound (much worse than the black and white episodes from the 60s, and easily the worst I've heard on DVD) is not. Even with bad originals, I'm sure something could have been done to clarify the dialogue by tweaking the frequency ranges in the soundtracks. In the sleeve notes, carelessness is also evident. Titles are printed in black on a dark blue background: unreadable!

As I say, the quality of the stories and performance is generally great: it's just a pity the producers didn't take more care producing the DVDs.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2011 7:32 PM BST


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