Thursday, November 03, 2011

More Blu Ray Fun!

Those cunning Brits have released a couple of MV faves on blu-ray, and through the miracle of... well, the mail... I have sampled them!

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (American title, FIVE MILLIONS YEARS TO EARTH) is probably my favorite Hammer film, and it still holds up as a remarkable piece of science fiction. Andrew Keir plays Quatermass, a scientist called in when an alien ship is discovered in an abandoned subway in London. When the darn military persists in poking and prodding the ship, it unleashes a primal alien force that creates much havoc. There's an overload of cool ideas in this movie but it's also a powerful thriller and pretty scary, too. A few moments betray the budget and/or period (late 60's), but overall this is one of the best science fiction movies of the era (and maybe ever). Happily, the blu-ray is really impressive, sharp detail, vivid color, really nice. Well worth seeking out if you have an all-region player.

WITCHFINDER GENERAL (American title, THE CONQUEROR WORM) is another exceptional British horror film, directed by Michael Reeves and starring Vincent Price in one of his best and darkest roles. Witchfinder is an uncompromising examination of witch hunts from the 1600's and it never lets up, right down to the amazingly bleak yet action packed finale. It looks like the source material has taken a bit of a beating, since this blu-ray edition has a lot of speckles, but the daylight scenes are sharp and bright and I suspect this is about as good as this is going to look until someone does a wholesale restoration. Great stuff!

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