Hammer Horror classics: ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell’ get Limited Edition Releases from Second Sight Films Available Now ( @Secondsightfilm )

Two ultimate Hammer Horror classics, The Mummy and Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell, starring British acting royalty, the legendary Peter Cushing in both films and other greats including Christopher Lee and Patrick Troughton have received special Limited Edition treatment, courtesy of Second Sight Films and are wonderful. I have seen such a small number of Hammer films and whilst yes they were on TV when I was a kid for when I was a kid, I was more a spaceships and cops type of film fan, Now that I’m not a kid anymore, there are so many films that I have missed that I want to catch up on, and that definitely includes most of the Hammer films so these two are a great place to start.

First up is Terrance Fisher’s The Mummy (released in 1959).  In 1890s Egypt, a team of British archaeologists, John Banning (played by Peter Cushing), his father Stephen Banning (played by Felix Aylmer), and  Uncle Joseph Whemple (played by Raymond Huntley) discover the untouched tomb of Princess Ananka (played by Yvonne Furneaux). Inside the tomb, John discovers The Scroll of Life and, when he reads it aloud, he unknowingly brings the mummified body of the high priest Kharis (played by the legendary Christopher Lee) back to life…

Flip to three years later and the group have returned to England, unawares of the consequences of their actions.  A follower off the same Egyptian religion unleashes The Mummy to exact grisly revenge on the despoilers of the sacred past. As it edges nearer to exact its revenge, can anything save them from its relentlessly vicious and vengeful mission?  There have been so many films about ‘The Mummy’ and what I do love about most of them is that they all bring their own thing to it. We had the 1999 Stephen Sommers film ‘The Mummy’ which brought a more action packed Indiana Jones type feel to it, we got the 2017 Tom Cruise starring film ‘The Mummy’ which brought, you know…Tom Cruise and his action chops into the film and of course the classic 1932 Boris Karloff starring film (also called ‘The Mummy’) which was part of that glorious Universal Monsters series.  I do love a good Mummy film and this Hammer Films classic has now earned a place on that list with its great Saturday afternoon, put your feet up and enjoy the theatrics type style to it. (even though I watched it on a Monday, you get my point) 

With its technical points, the bluray print looks great and sounds great with the score from Franz Reizenstein belting out through my speakers and adding another level of ‘creepy’ to the film. There are also a couple of viewing choices with it comes to the ratio you can watch the film in (I opted for the 1.66:1)

Special Features

Main feature presented in original UK theatrical aspect ratio 1.66:1 and alternative full frame1.37:1
New audio commentary by film academic Kelly Robinson
Archive audio commentary by Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby
An Appreciation of The Mummy by David Huckvale (10 mins)
The Music of The Mummy (10 mins)
Unwrapping The Mummy (30 mins)
The House of Horror: Memories of Bray ( 49 mins)
The Hammer Rep Company (15 mins)
Original Promo Reel
Still Gallery
Limited Edition Contents

Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Graham Humphreys
Soft cover book with new essays by Kat Ellinger, Lindsay Hallam and Kevin Lyons plus production stills
5 collectors’ art cards

Next up comes the final Hammer horror from director Terrence Fisher, and the last in the series of eight Frankenstein films for the company, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell was originally released in 1974 (but made in 1972).

Peter Cushing is back as the Baron in his seventh outing in this series of Frankenstein films, alongside Patrick Troughton ahead of his incarnation as the second Doctor Who, as well as a host of stellar British acting talent including the mighty Dave Prowse (Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange) as Frankenstein’s creation, who also happens to be the only man who played this role twice for Hammer, in two very different manifestations (the other being in 1970s The Horror Of Frankenstein) . Also in the cast is the wonderful Madeline Smith ( Live and Let Die, The Vampire Lovers) as Sarah and Norman Mitchell (who appeared in one of my favourite childhood shows Worzel Gummidge as PC Parsons) 

In Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, A young doctor, Simon Helder (played by Shane Briant – Time Traveller) is arrested and then committed to an insane asylum for five years, where he meets the rumoured dead (but clearly not dead) legendary Baron Frankenstein and is taken under the wing by the mad scientist. Simon quickly realises that Frankenstein is  continuing his macabre experiments and joins the Baron to help fuel each others madness in their pursuit for new creations.  This grisly, gothic Hammer production is a gem and with this restoration of this classic, this is easily the best version of the film to watch. Whilst anyone who has seen Hammer films, you will be familiar with their style and its never looked more impressive than it does in this blu ray set.

For the film itself you are given the option of viewing the film in either 1:66 or 1:37 ratio (black bars down the sides)  and the disc also comes loaded with a slew of special features (I’m working my way through those at the moment ) which includes two full length commentaries (one by film academic Kat Ellinger and the other by cast members Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and Hammer films expert Marcus Hearn) , There is also nearly an hour worth of featurettes on the disc and you’ll learn a ton of information about the film including the story that real human blood was used in the film. Blood that could no longer be used for blood transfusions was ‘sourced’ from the blood bank and used in Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell, including in the scene where Baron Frankenstein uses his teeth to clamp down on a severed artery of the monster. Yikes.. no thanks! . 

The movie and story is captivating, even more so whenever Peter Cushing is on screen, he’s glorious to listen to and watch and the story is a pretty thought-provoking end chapter to the Hammer Frankenstein anthology ( and I do plan on checking out the other instalments in the series when I can) , So dim the lights, lock the doors, and venture into this 1974 classic on your 21st century technology. Hammer films are wonderfully theatrical and whilst some modern horror fans might find them somewhat ‘tame’ in compression to some films of the 21st century, i think if you do look at them and the year they were created and unleashed, then some of these Hammer films are super grisly for their time. Nowadays though and having just completed a double bill of the films. I think they would make a great ‘gateway to horror’ for younger films fans who want to dip their toes into the horror genre.  Of course, that’s just my opinion.  

Special Features

Main feature presented in original UK Theatrical aspect ratio 1.66:1 and alternative full frame1.37:1
New audio commentary by film academic Kat Ellinger
Archive audio commentary by Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and Marcus Hearn
An Appreciation of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell by David Huckvale (8 minutes)  
The Music of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (11 minutes)
Taking Over the Asylum (25 minutes) 
Charming Evil: Terence Fisher at Hammer (13 minutes)
Stills Gallery

Limited Edition Contents

Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Graham Humphreys

Soft cover book with new essays by Kevin Lyons, Kelly Robinson and Emma Westwood plus production stills

5 collectors’ art cards 

So whilst these two films are sold separately, they do make for a wonderful double bill if you want to teat yourself. The films themselves are a great fun watch and great to watch if you want to visit (or revisit) some of the classic British actors doing their talented thing on screen, the special features for both films give a great comprehensive insight not into just the films themselves but also the world of Hammer Films and as for the art cards, well don’t they look amazing! 

Both films are available now, yep right now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.