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May's DVD Selection


Creeping_horror_murders_in_the_zooCreeping Horror - (Eureka Entertainment, Blu-ray)

Universal was the last word in horror movies back in the Thirties and Forties, setting the template for decades to come with its Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy and Wolf Man films. This two-disc set features four lesser known, but no less effective, tales of terror from the studio’s vaults, starring such luminaries of the genre as Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill.

A hunger of wild animals uses his charges to dispose of rivals and enemies in Murders at the Zoo (1933), Lugosi stars in Night Monster (1942), the story of a murderer who masters the art of mind over matter, a treasure-making scheme goes badly wrong for a group of people stuck in a haunted castle, in Horror Island (1941), and in House of Horrors (1946) Rondo Hatton plays a giant used by a mad sculptor for nefarious purposes.

Repulsion DVD

Repulsion (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray)

This chilling, British-made psychological thriller is regarded by many as Roman Polanski’s best film and remains as effective today as on its first release in 1965. Filmed in black and white, which adds to the film’s aura of menace, it tells the story of a young woman, Carol, played by Catherine Deneuve, who, alone in her sister’s flat, slowly goes insane, tormented by nightmares and the unwelcome attentions of predatory men. This special edition includes A British Horror Film, an excellent documentary on the making of Repulsion, and a 1964 documentary filmed on the set of the film showing Polanski and Deneuve at work.


Bertie_Carvel_is_Dalgliesh DVDDalgliesh Series Two - (Acorn Media International)

Several actors have played PD James’ cerebral detective Adam Dalgliesh, including Roy Marsden, Martin Shaw and Robin Ellis, but Bertie Cavell has made the role his own in this latest iteration of the character, set in the mid-Seventies. It’s yet another success story for Channel 5, which has made a habit of reviving popular shows that other channels, in days gone by, would have snapped up. The second series, which, like the first features three two-part stories, finds Adam investigating the murder of a biologist in his lab, the suspicious death of a prominent defence barrister and the grisly case of a doctor burned alive. The first and second series are also available as a box set.


The_Three_Musketeers DVDThe Three Musketeers - The Four Musketeers (Studiocanal, Blu-ray and DVD)

Following the success of The Beatles’ mid-Sixties films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, it was proposed that Richard Lester, who had directed both movies, work with the group again on a comedy version of the novel The Three Musketeers. For various reasons that did not happen, but Lester revived the project in the early Seventies, recruiting an all-star cast that included Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway and Raquel Welch.

Originally intended to be one epic-length film, Lester was instead prevailed upon by the producers to split the movie in two, hence The Four Musketeers sequel. Many of the actors involved did not know about this decision until the film’s premiere, resulting in much controversy and a change in the wording in all future film contracts to prevent it happening again without the actors’ knowledge.

Very much of their time, both films combine genuinely funny moments with swashbuckling action sequences, including one of the most memorable sword fights ever committed to celluloid.

Both films are available separately in newly restored 50th anniversary editions, with some excellent bonus features, including a two-part Saga of the Musketeers documentary,

 Also available…

Public_Eye_DVDAlfred Burke stars as down-at-heel enquiry agent Frank Marker in Public Eye: The Collection (Network, DVD), which features every surviving episode from the Sixties and Seventies TV series, and Featuring The Baron (Network, Blu-ray) comprises two film length features compiled from four episodes of the popular mid-Sixties ITV secret agent series…

Further-Out-of-Town-Vol.2 DVDJack Hargreaves continues his exploration of the British countryside in Further Out of Town Volume 2 (Network, DVD and Blu-ray), six episodes featuring footage from the original Out of Town series salvaged by Jack himself…

The_Nutcracker_and_the_magic_flute DVDYoungsters will love The Nutcracker and The Magic Flute (Dazzler, Blu-ray and DVD), a musical animation that combines the Tchaikovsky ballet and Mozart opera in the story of a magical journey to the Land of Flowers, and Puss_in_Boots_the_last_wish DVDPuss In Boots: The Last Wish (Universal, Blu-ray and DVD),) sees the return of the much-loved Shrek character in an all-new animated short with oodles of bonus content…

A new edition to the BFI’s Flipside series is Full_Circle_the_haunting_of_julia DVDFull Circle (also known as The Haunting of Julia), a long-lost 1978 thriller that stars Mia Farrow as a bereaved young mother who starts seeing ghostly apparitions. It’s available in Blu-ray. And Enys Men (BFI, Blu-ray and DVD) is a mind-bending folk horror film set in 1973…

Play Dead DVDIn the grisly but effective Play Dead (Icon, DVD) a heist goes wrong and a criminology student fakes her own death in an attempt to steal evidence and protect her brother, and Peter Weir’s mesmerising 1975 film Picnic At Hanging Rock is now available on Blu-ray through Second Sight with a multitude of extras…

New from Dazzler Media on Blu-ray and DVD are series one and two of space drama For All Mankind, as well as series one and two of Sister Boniface Mysteries, featuring the eponymous Vesper-riding crime-solving nun.

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