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on 12 April 2017
Good early werewolf movie, science rather than supernatural.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 September 2013
Potentially this collection has great nostalgic value for those who remember them, like the middle-aged onwards, though maybe less so for the younger generation in general, many of whom I suspect will probably shrug their shoulders while wondering what all the fuss is about. Okay, they certainly ain't classics, but generally these are pretty decent B-movies from Sam Katzman. This 4-movie schlockfest is directed at a good pace with a sprinkling of cheesy dialogue.

If you're fearing crummy picture quality with poor sound, then you will be pleasantly surprised, as the "remastered in high definition" black & white prints are very good with clear sound while presented in either 1.85:1 or 1.33:1 aspect ratio respectively, along with English subtitles. As for the extras, we have the movie trailers for each of the films plus trailers for other sci-fi classics. Mr. Katzman was certainly a prolific producer of movie & TV, and the second episode of his TV series "Mysterious Island" is also included, along with the rare comedy short "Midnight Blunders" and a Mr. Magoo animation "Terror Faces Magoo".

Excuse me while I wipe away a nostalgic tear from my face, but THE GIANT CLAW (1957, 74-minutes) always manages to bring back some happy childhood memories going back some 40-odd years or so. On the face of it, this is the weakest film of the collection but I have a soft spot for it!... It may be a "it's so bad it's great" movie, but there's still fun to be had for the young at heart... A terrifying threat to humanity "The Giant Claw" is a humungous vulture/turkey lookalike from outer space. The wobbly feathered fiend chews up Jet Fighters and swoops down on train sets with impunity, apparently immune to all the heavy artillery fire launched at it, which leaves the panic-stricken authorities and military facing a desperate race against time to find the rubbery rogue's Achilles heel.

Written by Curt Siodmak, CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955, 69-minutes) is a 'spine-breaking' tale about a mobster attempting to reanimate his dead gang members with the help of a former Nazi scientist. The bad news for the gangster is that the process involved causes radioactive poisoning which leaves the dastardly plot under threat of detection by the authorities, thanks to the likes of Geiger counters.

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (aka THE DEAD THAT WALK)(1957, 69-minutes) tells the story of a sunken ship with a cargo of diamonds, which unfortunately for prospective treasure hunters out to salvage the booty, remains closely guarded by the ship's former (now zombie) crew. The performances are generally OK, and the odd scene occasionally manages to conjure up a degree of spookiness, while us blokes also have the opportunity to drool over the hot & voluptuous charms of Allison Hayes (Attack of the 50ft Woman).

THE WEREWOLF (1956, 79-minutes) presents an alternative slant on the traditional lycanthrope genre, with the victim here being the recipient of a serum which leaves him at the mercy of spontaneous transformations... No full moon required while also not impervious to bullets - silver or otherwise. As the titular character, movie debutant Steven Ritch is sympathetic in his portrayal of the hirsute fugitive being pursued through the scenic backdrop of California's Big Bear Lake area, thanks to some welcome location shooting.

For little more than a tenner, I'd say this collection represents good value for money. Enjoy!
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on 3 August 2014
While the glorious 80s had werewolf films dominating for the first half, switching over to vampires to see out the decade, this one was different, appearing in 1987 and not 1983 like I thought, even though it looks more like, and suits that year. But then 1983 also displayed limp and pretentious MTV attempt at vampirism in 'The Hunger', so that balanced out, but as vampire films were easier to make, it's not surprising they would always end up ahead, but quantity, we all know, is no substitute for efficient or imaginative brilliance. Don't let the less than creative title make you turn away, for this becomes the sixth and last must-have werewolf film of that great decade, only this actually was never meant to be a film.

'Werewolf' was actually a 1987 TV series made for Fox by American writer and director Frank Lupo, which was broadcast between July 1987 and ran until its cancellation date just over a year later, whereupon it had clocked up 28 episodes, including the a two hour introductory pilot show which, generally spliced together, though with a few changes sufficing to clock it in at just an hour and twenty three minutes, is what we are presented with for this Entertainment in Video VHS copy. It exists very well without the rest of the series, it does stand alone, but there are nonetheless hints and allusions to a story that was supposed to go on. At the moment, only those there at the time to catch it can tell if this truly was worth a series (I say how can it not be?), and to date, only American cable and satellite TV channel Chiller subscribers have been lucky enough to catch when much of the show, if not its entirety, was shown between 2007-2009, and 2009 was supposed to be the year that Shout! Factory released the whole show on DVD, which, in particular, would have been a lovely Halloween move for me, what with enjoying this pilot-as-film so much, and was salivating even more to know that, while an early October date of that year had been typically pushed back, that was only to include a fat of special features, a completely justifiable excuse, but completely and utterly without merit, all plans to release it were cancelled, and there's nothing to suggest these plans will be reversed before the next ten thousand full moons.

As aggravating as this is, acerbated by the horrible possibility that, if this were more well-known, it would get a horrific and completely uninvited and unwanted MTV remake with any amount of the barbie-boy clots of today in it, I still have the VHS, and copied it to disc thankfully, when I briefly had a machine capable of doing that. The story of a boy attacked by his own friend, whom himself had been trying, until recently, to halt the curse, and find the instigator of it, before adapting to like his new double life, is as good as anything previous werewolf films, and future ones have come up with. And this actually predates the clever, stylish, and also rudely cancelled before its time vampire series of some twenty years later 'Moonlight' by having a protagonist, who whilst being infected with a curse he didn't ask for nor can truly control, goes out of his way to only make villainous types and scumbags his prey (this is hinted at in this film, but would become a feature of the show), before he fears he may lose control.

There's also good effects to segue nicely into all the other 80s werewolf films, with a brilliant standout feature being a pentagram branded on the sufferer's palm which then bleeds and pulses like a Cronenberg type insect under the skin. John J York is the student innocent playing the vulnerable but fundamentally decent system who insists on his girlfriend locking him up when "the change" is upon him. He gets across well the desperation he will be living under, with a sweet sense of humour, all without giving in to any blameworthy rages. His girlfriend is winningly played by Michelle Johnson, who herself would star in an utterly anemic and horror-free bore to reshape vampire lore in 1991 called 'Blood Ties'-far more successful was her vampire strand in 1988 horror film 'Waxwork'-there was also a werewolf strand in there too, but it featured one of her friends, but at least she can say she's bitten and howled with both and with quality (excusing 'Blood Ties'). Acting legend Chuck Connors, best-known for his late 50s ABC show 'The Rifleman' is the truly frightening monstrous being who seems to be the blame for Eric Cord's (John J. York's characters's condition)-and that's even before he begins to metamorphosis. Most deliciously of all it equals 'The Company Of Wolves' when it comes to a subtle cameo from a groundbreaking source, 'Company' featured Brain Glover, any werewolf fan will remember as the most irate villager from 'An American Werewolf In London', but this goes one better, and with a glance at the rising full moon as she mops up slops at the bar of a student pub, there stands Elisabeth Brooks, werewolf queen from 'The Howling', and it's an even bigger kick, because she last saw her back in '81 on the other side of it, procuring her next victim.

This is hell to unearth, being very like 'Bad Moon' in that aspect, though 'Bad Moon' does at least appear on DVD, but if you can prowl and hunt it down, you may find it fills in that howling gap in your werewolf collection as snugly as a fur coat on a cold night.
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Great quality picture and ok films,did these things really scare people?
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on 18 October 2016
A man lost and confused stumbles onto a small town before turning into a werewolf. The locals and sheriff go looking for him in the woods as he's killed someone and a sheep! Good decent natured B movie from the mind of producer Sam Katzman this is definitely one of his better efforts. Had major flaws of course and the acting especially from our leads is oh so wooden. But there is decent fun to be had with some decent witty dialogue to boot. Werewolf just wants to be cured and there's even an emotional aspect drawing in the fact that he has a wife and small son. Make up is iffy though the first change with werewolf complete with saliva hanging from his mouth is well done. Werewolf change is the same for the period so expect a time lapse.

Watch out for the scene where the doctor/scientist drops the cats food whilst feeding him and the cat is searching like crazy to find!
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on 22 April 2009
I'm glad someone is remembering these forgotten old movies and putting them on to DVD. I mean, when did you last see any of these on TV? I love thse old sci fi films. I had extracts of, "The Werewolf" and, "The Giant Claw" on 8mm film when I was a kid and they are the "best" two on this set. I say best but I really mean they are so bad they are good.
"The Werewolf," that's him on the front cover, is a different take on the old Lon Chaney pictures. This one is brought into the modern age by introducing a serum which causes him to change. Not a bad movie really.

Hey, but let me tell you about "The Giant Claw." There's this air force pilot right? He sees this blurred shape streak past his plane, heh heh. Well, it turns out it's this giant bird, ha ha, from space. Wait...HA HA, wait till you see the bird HA HA HA. It looks like a chi...HA HA, big chick...HA HA... CHICKEN... With bulging eyes, HAW HAW HAW. And...and...YOU CAN SEE THE STRINGS, WAH HA HA HAAAA!!!

Oh, dear me, just a minute, let me wipe my eyes! seriously though, the picture quality is great, a nice presentation. I wonder why they region encoded them for region one? I mean, there's hardly going to be a stampede for this set. But for us who love this sort of hokum these four films are a treat. Great stuff. You gotta buy it, if only for "The Giant Claw." Heh heh heh - oh that bird!
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on 22 May 2013
These are not classic horror films - in fact some are really bad - so bad they are a joy to watch. Buy and enjoy!!
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