Thursday, September 15, 2016

HAMMER FILMS DOUBLE FEATURE - THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (1960) / THE GORGON (1964)

HAMMER FILMS DOUBLE FEATURE:
THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (1960) / THE GORGON (1964) 


Label: Mill Creek Entertainment
Region Code: A
Duration: 89 Minutes I 84 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)I1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Terence Fisher
Cast: Paul Massie, Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee, David Kossoff, Norma Marla, Francis De Wolff I Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Richard Pasco, Barbara Shelley, Michael Goodliffe, Patrick Troughton

THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL (1960) 
Hammer's take on Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous novel stars Paul Massie in a dual-role as both the bearded Dr. Jekyll and the more debaucherous Mr. Hyde, it also stars Sir Christopher Lee as Jekyll's money-borrowing slime ball friend Paul Allen, who happens to be sleeping with Jekyll's wife Kitty, who has become bored by her reclusive and science-obsessed husband who would much rather keep himself locked away in his laboratory than make an appearance at social parties. However, when the boring doc injects himself with a potion he becomes the dapper and morally reprehensible playboy Mr Hyde, who somehow fails to seduce his own wife, but instead hooks up with a steamy snake-dancer Maria (Norma Marla). This Hammer entry has some surprising moments of deviancy that might surprise a few people, it certainly did me. Directed by Hammer alum Terrence Fisher (The Devil Rides Out) the movie has some pacing issues but it an interesting variation of the time weathered story, draped in gorgeous Victorian sets and fashions, this one might be a bit slow at first but it has some juice to it that makes for a nice watch.

THE GORGON (1964) 
Back into the realm of Gothic Hammer horror we have The Gorgon (1964) again directed by Hammer vet Terence Fisher. Set in the German village of Vandorf in 1910 we have a series of unsolved murders in the village, each occurring on the night of a full moon. Paul Heitz (Richard Pasco) arrives in the village after his younger brother is found dead. his body strangely turned to stone. Meanwhile Dr. Namaroff (horror great Peter Cushing) is falsifying the death certificates to obscure the truth behind the strange deaths. Heitz calls in friend Professor Karl Meister (the other horror great Christopher Lee) to help him get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile Heitz begins to form a romantic relationship with nurse Carla (Barbara Hershey) and discovers that the spirit of a fabled snake-haired Gorgon sister may be haunting the nearby castle ruins. The Gorgon is laced with vintage Gothic fashion and set dressing, dripping with atmosphere and creepiness, but all is nearly undone when the final scene reveals the snake-haired Megaera. which to be nice I will say is a bit on the cheap side, but thankfully it doesn't undo the movie, this is good stuff and worth a watch! 

Both films have previously been issued by Mill Creek Entertainment on a 2-disc DVD multi-pack Hammer Films Collection (2015) alongside three other Hammer movies, a pair of which have also been upgraded to double-feature Blu-ray. The 1080p upgrade looks better than the DVD as expected, the HD masters provided by Sony offers vibrant color saturation, decently deep black levels, and the image is crisper and offers more resolved fine detail, which is very nice. Unfortunately Mill Creek have not upgraded the audio, we still have the lossy English Dolby Digital option, but it does the job well enough. More Hammer Horror on Blu-ray is a good thing, and this is a very budget-minded double-feature, though there is an unfortunate misspelling on the spine of the release which reads "The Gorgan" which hopefully Mill Creek corrects on future pressings. 

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