Hammer on Blu-ray from Indicator, part two

Tallulah Bankhead as Mrs. Trefoile, a religious fanatic obsessed with her son's purity in Silvio Narizzano's Fanatic (1965)

Indicator’s first box set of Hammer films on Blu-ray is an uneven selection of the studio’s mid-’60s output, including two of their best along with two of their weakest releases. Alongside Michael Carreras’ mediocre Maniac (1963) and The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), we get The Gorgon (1964), on of Terence Fisher’s finest Gothic horrors along with Silvio Narizzano’s debut feature, Fanatic (1965, aka Die! Die! My Darling!), the best of Hammer’s psychological horrors, all sporting excellent transfers and informative special features.

A mixed bag from Screen Archives

Bone-crunching action in Robert Kaylor's documentary Derby (1971)

The discovery of a previously unknown documentary, Robert Kaylor’s Derby (1971), plus a Blu-ray edition of Stephanie Rothman’s Terminal Island (1973), a rough-and-ready exploitation B-movie, are of much greater interest than Jack Cardiff’s Holiday in Spain (1960), a bloated mainstream Cinerama showcase which dresses its travelogue in a tissue-thin “mystery” plot.

Oh, the horror!

Recent viewing runs the horror gamut from the low-budget exploitation of David Cronenberg’s debut, Shivers, to George Romero’s bid for studio respectability with a pair of adaptations in the late ’80s and early ’90s, to a really creepy Australian first feature, Jennifer Kent’s remarkably assured The Babadook.

Genre Viewing 2

Genre, of course, is not limited to the fantastic — science fiction, fantasy, horror. Contemporary and historical dramas can also fall within genre boundaries. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve) Denis Villeneuve’s thriller was much-praised by critics and audiences alike, and yet it struck me as a genre movie desperate to convince its viewers that it was actually […] Read More