A pair of colourful Robin Hood adventures from Hammer Films and an atypical home-invasion thriller from action specialist Enzo G. Castellari are showcased in two recent releases from Indicator.
Three books which I read last year connect with my love of genre film, particularly horror: Tony Dalton’s hefty biography Terence Fisher: Master of Gothic Cinema from FAB Press; Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin, edited by Samm Deighan and now available as an e-book from Spectacular Optical; and – somewhat more esoteric – Powers of Darkness, an alternate version of Dracula first published in a Swedish newspaper from 1899 to 1900 and recently unearthed and translated back into English, published in an impressive limited edition by Centipede Press.
Indicator unearth an obscure corner of ’70s British cinema with a box set of the three movies made by recent filmschool graduates who formed a production company called The Pemini Organisation. Despite extremely low budgets, director Peter Crane and writer Michael Sloan benefited from skilled technicians and high-profile casts who give the films professional polish; but the vagaries of commercial distribution made them disappear until this revival on disk fifty years later.
Indicator’s sixth box set of Hammer movies, Night Shadows, is a bit of a mixed bag, with a silly but entertaining Old Dark House throwback in John Gilling’s The Shadow of the Cat (1961), an overwrought psycho thriller in Freddie Francis’ Nightmare (1964), a historical adventure in Peter Graham Scott’s Captain Clegg (1962), and a pseudo-Gothic horror in Terence Fisher’s The Phantom of the Opera (1962).
With Hammer Vol. 4: Faces of Fear, Indicator continue to prove themselves one of the finest companies producing exceptional Blu-ray editions of a wide variety of genres. This new set includes three of the studio’s finest features, each very different from the others, plus an interesting misfire. As always, there’s an almost overwhelming quantity of supplementary material to provide background and critical assessments for each film.
Indicator lavish attention on four less well-known, non-Gothic Hammer Films productions in their second box set devoted to the company: Criminal Intent focuses on a range of bad behaviour from murder to bank robbery and child molestation in four films which, while not all entirely successful, illuminate the studio’s versatility.