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HAMMER DVD AND BLU-RAY NEWS

20th February 2011

I've spent some considerable time updating the Hammer DVD Guide, to adding several new DVD (and now Blu-ray) releases. I've also added a couple of new music CDs featuring Hammer material.

I've decided not to include - at least, not yet -  movies from the production company that has assumed Hammer's name, and is releasing new films in theatres (including the excellent Let Me In (a creditable re-make of the excellent 2008 Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In).


16th June 2008

After a very quiet period, June has seen a couple of important releases, most notably the Icons of Adventure set, which contains three films never-before released on DVD (The Stranglers of Bombay, The Pirates of Blood River and The Terror of the Tongs), and one previously unavailable in the US (The Devil-Ship Pirates). It's a lovely set, even if it does have some of the worst sleeve art I've ever seen!

Next month will see the release of another previously-unreleased Hammer film: The Man Who Could Cheat Death, from US indie label Legend Films (one of a number of cult films they've licensed from Paramount). Sadly, this is going to be sold exclusively by US retailer Best Buy, which will make it  difficult for UK fans to obtain.

News from the UK isn't so rosy. It now looks like the deal between Sony Pictures and DD Home Entertainment has fallen through, after financial problems for DD's parent company. The rights to the films have now apparently reverted to Sony.

The next issue of the Hammer magazine Little Shoppe of Horrors is imminent! Issue twenty features an "uncensored history" of Hammer rival Amicus. More details here.


21st May 2007

American label VCI has formally announced the titles that will be featured on volumes six and seven of their Hammer Film Noir Double Feature collection. Both discs will be released on June the 26th.

Vol 6 will feature Terence Fisher's The Black Glove (aka Face The Music) and Daniel Birt's The Deadly Game (aka Third Party Risk). The Deadly Game will be presented in "widescreen" format.

Vol 7 will feature two Terence Fisher films: The Unholy Four (aka The Stranger Came Home) and A Race For Life (aka Mask of Dust).

Both discs will feature Bios, trailers, trivia and photo's. Vol 7 will feature an interview with producer Richard Gordon and genre expert Tom Weaver. Each disc has an SRP of $14.99.


April 30th 2007

The official Hammer Films website is reporting that DD Home Entertainment has signed a deal with Sony Pictures that will allow them to release thirteen of the studio's movies that were distributed by Columbia Pictures.

The films in question are The Camp On Blood Island (1958, Val Guest), Cash on Demand (1961, Quentin Lawrence), Creatures the World Forgot (1971, Don Chaffey), The Damned (1963, Joseph Losey), Donít Panic Chaps! (1959, George Pollack), The Gorgon (1964, Terence Fisher), Maniac (1963, Michael Carreras), Never Take Sweets From a Stranger (1960, Cyril Frankel), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960, Terence Fisher), Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960, Terence Fisher), Taste of Fear (1961, Seth Holt), The Terror of the Tongs (1961, Anthony Bushell) and Watch It, Sailor! (1961, Wolf Rilla).

Hammer fans will be familiar with most of these titles, if not the films themselves (I doubt that anybody has seen Don't Panic Chaps! or Watch It, Sailor! in the last twenty years!)

The deal is wonderful news for Hammer fans because it plugs some significant gaps in their collections. Many fans speculated that some of the less politically correct films that Hammer made (The Stranglers of Bombay, The Terror of the Tongs and The Camp on Blood Island, specifically) were unlikely to be released by the studio that now owns them, Sony Pictures. This deal allows their release without drawing attention to the company's involvement.

DD Home Entertainment has already released numerous titles from the Hammer library (including Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell and Captain Kronos). They've generally been excellent releases, with solid bonus features, including very nice collector's booklets. However, several of their releases have been plagued by nagging technical problems (incorrect anamorphic flagging, and non-anamorphic transfers), which betray their relative inexperience with releasing widescreen movies.


October 12th 2006

VCI Entertainment has announced the release of two more discs in their Hammer Film Noir Double Feature collection.

The two discs, due on November the 28th, are Vol 4 (featuring Terror Street (1953) and Wings of Danger (1952)) and Vol 5 (featuring The Glass Tomb (1955) and Paid To Kill (1954)).

Terror Street and Wings of Danger are 4:3 transfers; The Glass Tomb and Paid To Kill are in 1.66:1 format. Both discs are Region 0, NTSC, DVD-9s.

Bonus features on Vol 4 include Terror Street commentary; Dan Duryea commentary; and Steve Fisher commentary (all by Alan K. Rode). Vol 5 includes The Glass Tomb commentary (by Richard M. Roberts). Both discs have bios, an advertising gallery and film noir theatrical trailers.

Provisional sleeve artwork...

 

September 27th 2006

Optimum's Ultimate Hammer Box Set will now not include The Devil-Ship Pirates. Its place in the set has been taken by The Viking Queen.


September 25th 2006

Optimum's new versions of The Nanny and One Millon Years B.C. both have new 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers. The Nanny has a commentary track by Jimmy Sangster!

You can see a comparison between the old and new version of One Million Years B.C. here.

You can see a comparison between the old and new version of The Nanny here.


September 18th 2006

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb in the UK on October the 23rd.

Network will release a Special Edition of Hands of the Ripper and a regular edition of Twins of Evil on October the 9th. Their Special Edition version of Countess Dracula is now available.

Click on the Incoming links, above, or see the individual Guide pages for more details on these titles.


September 10th 2006

Optimum Releasing will release an Ultimate Hammer Box Set containing twenty-one Hammer titles, which Studio Canal own thanks to their acquisition of the Thorn / EMI library. The set, due on October the 23rd, contains: Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, Demons of the Mind, The Devil Rides Out, Devil-Ship Pirates, Dracula:  Prince of Darkness, Fear In The Night, Frankenstein Created Women, The Horror of Frankenstein, The Nanny, One Million Years BC, Plague of the Zombies, Quatermass And The Pit, Rasputin: The Mad Monk, The Reptile, The Scars of Dracula, She, Slave Girls, Straight On Till Morning, To The Devil... A Daughter, The Vengeance of She and The Witches.

Several discs will feature bonus materials (previously available on Anchor Bay's Region 1 discs, but not previously available in the UK):

One Million Years BC - Interviews with Raquel Welch and Ray Harryhausen (as per existing UK DVD)

Scars of Dracula - Commentary with Roy Ward Baker and Christopher Lee

The Horror of Frankenstein - Commentary with Jimmy Sangster; Interview with Veronica Carlson

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb - Interviews with Valerie Leon and Christopher Wicking
Demons of the Mind - Commentary with Peter Sykes, Christopher Wicking and Virginia Wetherell

To the Devil... a Daughter - To the DevilÖthe Death of Hammer feature

Some titles will also have trailers and photo' galleries. It is not yet known if any of the titles will have new transfers (some, like Dracula: Prince of Darkness and She were previously available in non-anamorphic transfers).

The set has an RRP of £149.99. Some of the titles are already scheduled for individual release, in October (The Devil Rides Out, Horror of Frankenstein, Rasputin: The Mad Monk and Dracula: Prince of Darkness) and November (One Million Years BC, Quatermass and the Pit and She). The others will presumably follow next year.


May 11th 2006

American label VCI Entertainment has formally announced July the 25th as the date they'll release their first six Exclusive / Hammer noir films (see the news report for February the 18th, in the Archived Hammer DVD News page).

There will be three Hammer Film Noir Double Feature discs, each containing two films. These will also be available in a three-disc Hammer Film Noir Double Feature Collector's Set.

The discs are: Volume One - Bad Blonde and Man Bait; Volume Two - A Stolen Face and Blackout; and Volume Three - Gambler and the Lady and Heat Wave.

Each pair of films will be on a DVD-9, with bios, trailers, and a bonus called The World of Hammer Noir. All six films will be presented in  4:3 format. The RRP for each disc is $14.99. The box set has an RRP of $29.99. All the discs apparently have the same sleeve design (the same as the box set, left).


April 10th 2006

Today I've added a new section to the Hammer DVD Guide: the Hammer Top Ten Lists. Here you'll find lists created by genre luminaries and noted Hammer enthusiasts, who have chosen their top ten Hammer movies, and explain what makes them special. My sincere thanks to all the contributors.

Naxos' recent re-recording of Benjamin Frankel's score for The Curse of the Werewolf is scheduled for release on May the 1st. Amazon are listing it here. The track-listing and downloadable samples can be found here.


March 5th 2006

Anchor Bay announced at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention that they would be (re-)releasing a collection of re-mastered Hammer films, with new special features, during 2007.   (Source: Fangoria.com)


February 18th 2006

Anchor Bay's has announced the release date for their Region 1 edition of The Anniversary. It will be released on April the 4th. The disc will have a restored 16:9 transfer, and will feature a commentary track by director Roy Ward Baker, producer Jimmy Sangster and DVD producer Perry Martin; a theatrical trailer; a TV spot; talent bios; and a poster and stills gallery.

Source: Anchor Bay website

American label VCI Entertainment is releasing a series of early Exclusive / Hammer films, licensed from the Kit Parker library. These were films that were distributed in the US by Lippert Pictures Inc.

These will be sold as Hammer Noir double-bills, at a budget price. No date has been announced yet. The films are:

Bad Blonde (aka The Flanagan Boy) / The Glass Tomb (aka The Glass Cage)

The Black Glove (aka Face The Music) / The Big Deadly Game (aka Third Party Risk)

Heat Wave (aka The House Across The Lake) / Paid To Kill (aka Five Days)

Man Bait (aka The Last Page) / The Gambler and the Lady

A Stolen Face / Blackout  (aka Murder By Proxy)

Terror Street  (aka 36 Hours)  / Wings of Danger

They will also release a Hammer film as part of a separate series of Forgotten Noir discs: Scotland Yard Inspector (aka Lady in the Fog) will be paired with Treasure of Monte Carlo.

Source: In The Balcony

With thanks to JamesM and Chris Workman

These DVD releases have been added to the relevant section of the Hammer DVD Guide.


February 2nd 2006

Fanatic, under its American title, Die Die My Darling, will be released in the UK on DVD by Sony on March the 20th. 1.78:1 transfer, no bonus features (probably identical to the US edition)


December 2nd 2005

I've added a lot of information about foreign releases in the latest update. None seem particularly attractive to UK or US collectors who simply want a half-decent version of the movies, but as some titles are now out of print on one side of the Atlantic or the other (or both!), these may become increasingly viable as alternatives.

It looks like all the UK Hammer titles from Studio Canal (marketed and distributed by Warner Home Video) have been deleted. This may simply signal a switch to another sales and distribution partner (and some re-packaging), or they may disappear for indefinite period. I've heard rumours that the catalogue will end up with Universal, but it's perhaps more likely that it will end up at 2 Entertain's Cinema Club label (they've licensed a number of Studio Canal titles recently). Now might be a good time to pick up any titles you're missing. That's if you can find them - they're disappearing fast!

I recently spoke to Gary Wilson, owner of record label GDI, which released a string of Hammer soundtrack CDs. These were recently listed as "new releases" by several online retailers. What's happened is that GDI have switched distributors, so the e-tailers were simply updating their listings. Although GDI has several new Hammer CDs in production - including one for Captain Kronos - it's unlikely that any new titles will be released in the foreseeable future.

With thanks to Richard Gregory.

 

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