|Fred C. Dobbs
Joined: 11 Mar 2004
Location: New York
|Posted: 05.06.2004 11:52 pm Post subject: Horror classics from Warner including "Freaks"
Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of five horror classics for 10th August 2004. Retailing at $19.97 each are the forbidden and once banned masterpiece Freaks, along with four other classic horror favourites including The Bad Seed, Dead Ringer and Village of the Damned with its sequel Children of the Damned on a double-feature disc.
Freaks (1932) - This classic from horror master Tod Browning (Dracula) was first released in 1932, but subsequently banned in England for more than 30 years because of its controversial casting and portrayal of real people with grotesque physical deformities. In the 1960s Freaks developed a huge cult following at midnight shows. Even today, it retains its power to transfix an audience. Freaks features the "living torso" Prince Radian, Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, half-bodied Johnny Eck, "pinheads" Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow and others. Plot involves an exquisite looking but cold-hearted high-wire artist (Olga Baclanova) who marries a wealthy circus performer (little person Harry Earles), and then schemes with her bodybuilder lover (Henry Victor) to poison her husband in order to inherit his wealth. The group of "freaks" seeks revenge and gets even with the high-wire artist.
On DVD, Freaks has been remastered from rare nitrate film elements to improve image and audio quality. Bonus materials will include:
Three alternate endings
All-new documentary, Freaks: Sideshow Cinema
Commentary by David J. Skal, author of "Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre"
Special message prologue added for the theatrical reissue
The Bad Seed (1956) - Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack star in this tale of suspense based on the Maxwell Anderson Broadway play about a woman who appears to have it all: a wonderful home, a husband who adores her and a seemingly ideal daughter -- who turns out to have an "inherited evil" which results in the deaths of several people.
Bonus material will include:
Commentary by Patty McCormack and actor/playwright Charles Busch
New making-of documentary, Enfant Terrible: A Conversation with Patty McCormack
Dead Ringer (1964) - Bette Davis plays twin sisters for 'double trouble.' Edith Phillips (Davis), because of a longtime grudge over a man, kills and then takes on the identity of her wealthy twin sister Margaret (Davis again). Karl Malden, Peter Lawford co-star in the movie which was directed by Davis's 1940s leading man, Paul Henreid.
Bonus material will include:
Commentary by actor/playwright Charles Busch and "Bette Davis Speaks" author, Boze Hadleigh
All-new documentary, Double Take: Bette vs. Bette
Vintage Featurette, Behind-the-Scenes at the Doheny Mansion
Village of the Damned (1960) - In Midwich, a small English village, every citizen falls into a deep, strange sleep in the middle of the day. Months later all the young women are pregnant and their resulting children show little emotion and have strange penetrating eyes that seem to make people do things against their will. George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynne and Laurence Naismith star in the movie directed by Wolf Rilla.
Children of the Damned (1963) - Sequel to Village of the Damned is about scientists who discover five children, each with an inordinate amount of intelligence. The children are flown to London to be studied, but they escape and wreak havoc.
The Village of the Damned and Children of the Damned double-feature DVD will include the following bonus materials:
Village of the Damned commentary by "Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams" author Steve Haberman
Children of the Damned commentary by screenwriter John Briley
It may be well known by now that Freaks (1932) is my all-time favorite film, and the joy that I am feeling right now that this has been officially announced (with extras, no less!) is indescribable. Hopefully, there is restored footage (the film was originally 90-minutes long) and at the very least, a remastered transfer. I'm sure all of you know how painful it was/ is to not have your favorite film on DVD, so you know the joy that one feels when it is announced to arrive on DVD. This press release made my day.
I can't wait to listen to the commentary by David J. Skal. He is one of my favorite authors, and I own both Dark Carnival (I remember finding this at Tower a few months after I saw Freaks for the first time, and reading it from cover-to-cover; not fully understanding everything, I was only 9 years old at the time!) and The Monster Show (Which I am currently reading at the time, great book!) and I loved Skal's commentary for Dracula (1931); this is just great news. Hopefully one of these days I'll be able to meet Skal (He was actually at a Chiller Theatre Show I attended, but I must have missed him! ) and talk about horror films with him. The man really is a wealth of knowlege. I also hope the documentary is over 30-minutes. I have Image's Sideshow: Life on the Inside documentary, one of my favorites ever since it aired on TLC 8 years ago. 3 ALTERNATE ENDINGS??!?!?!?!?!?! Holy sh*t!!! THAT is drool-worthy news. Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. And look at that cover art. Beautiful. And in a keepcase, no less!
"Pino, fuck you, fuck your fuckin' pizza, and fuck Frank Sinatra."