Monday, 30 September 2013

Blu-ray release | The Monster Club (1980) | Catch the ghouls, vampires, shadmocks and Vincent Price in HD



Out today (30 September) from Scorpion Releasing comes the 1980 horror anthology, The Monster Club, on Blu-ray for the very first time.


WELCOME TO THE MONSTER CLUB
This attempt by Milton Subotsky at resuscitating the horror anthology formula that he started back in 1965 with Dr Terrors House of Horrors, but in a semi-comic vein, proved a disappointment on its release and was the final film from his Amicus outfit. But the film has since attracted a cult following.

The first story deals with a shadmock, the professor of a lethal whistle (James Laurenson), and the woman (Barbara Kellerman) who tries to steal from him. The second story is a comical autobiographical film by producer Lintom Bustosky (Anthony Steel) involving his father vampire (Richard Johnson) and the cop (Donald Pleasance) on whom he turns the tables. The final episode, which is the most effective of the three, concerns a film producer (Stuart Whitman) whose ideal horror movie location proves to be populated by real ghouls.



Vincent Price appears in the framing device as a vampire who inducts John Carradine’s horror writer into a club for monsters, and it’s these scenes where the film is at its weakest - mainly due to the cheap make-up effects used for the club’s denizens and an embarrassing final dance scene (check out my monster mash-up on YouTube here). But there are some stand-out moments, namely Kellerman’s grisly demise, the fog-shrouded town that Whitman tries to escape from, and Price’s big speech in which he declares that man is the biggest monster of them all.

The stories are all based on the work of Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes and is directed by Hammer/Amicus veteran Roy Ward Baker. The music, which ranges from the dub sounds of UB40 and the rock of The Pretty Things (who celebrated 50 years on the road this year), was also released on record - now quite collectable, fetching up to US$400 on e-Bay. The film also appeared in comic form (pictured below) in Issue 25 of Dez Skinn's legendary UK Hammer horror fanzine Halls of Horror, which was drawn by John Bolton and David Lloyd (thanks Baron F from correcting me on that).


THE RELEASE
The Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray features a brand new HD transfer, a 62-minute interview with Vincent Price conducted in 1987 by film historian David Del Valle, a 40-minute audio interview between Del Valle and Price, on camera interview with Del Valle, Original Trailer, and isolated ME track.

THE VERDICT
I haven't had the chance to see this Blu-ray version - I have to wait until the UK version becomes available from Networking Distributing on 18 August (2014). But if you have, then do let me know what you think.



2 comments:

geekzapoppin said...

The picture quality is pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but certainly miles ahead of the previous DVD. The audio mix is a mixed bag. The music is very loud in the mix, which can be distracting when it's supposed to be background behind dialogue. The interviews with Price are both really nice, although I haven't made my way through both in their entirety. There is the option to watch the film with Elvira-like host segments, but I didn't find them very interesting. All-in-all, it's a solid release for a film that hasn't gotten a lot of love over the years.

Baron Frankenstein said...

Yes Dez Skin is a legend but as an editor not an artist. The Monster Club was drawn by John Blton and David Llyod.