Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Blu-Ray Review of The Terror and The Little Shop of Horrors


Recently received in the mail from Film Masters  A Blue-Ray copy of The Terror staring Boris Karloff, and Jack Nicholson & the original The Little Shop of Horrors starring Jonathan Hunt and Jackie Joseph (and featuring Jack Nicholson).  We are a big supporters of physical media here at Cinema Recall and I wanted to give you my thoughts on this new release.

Buy your Copy in link below


The Terror 1963

This film directed by Roger Corman with assistance from others including Francis Ford Coppola(One From The Heart and The Godfather) and Jack Hill(Switchblade Sisters and Coffy) was inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe.  It’s about a French soldier played by Jack Nicholson who meets up with a beautiful woman named Helene(Sandra Knight) who leads him to a castle that is owned by Boris Karloff’s character, The Baron.  While there the soldier starts to discover that Helene is being possessed by the ghost of Ilsa.  Who was killed by her husband, (The Baron) after he found her in the arms of another man.  I got a vibe of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo while watching this.  It was like that movie if it was set in a Gothic Castle.  There are some great horrorific moments that would shock people when this film was first released.  I just found the overall story not very interesting.  It’s great to watch Jack Nicholson in an earlier role and you can see from even early on how he can become a great leading man. 

The BluRay features a commentary track from C. Courtney  and Dr Steve Halberman.  As well as a visual essay by Howard S. Burger and Kevin Marr.  The look of the actual film itself is not impressive.  It’s a shame the same restoration treatmentI have seen get done to other older films could not be done to The Terror.  This really should have a professional colorist and cinematographer to do the restoration because it looks like it was just ripped from a VHS copy onto DVD in some scenes.



The Little Shop of Horrors  

If you are only familiar with the 1986 musical version.  You should watch the original that inspired it.  Made with a very low budget of $28,000 and filmed in just one week(The interior scenes took only two days). The Little Shop of Horrors became a modest success for Roger Corman and became a much beloved Cult Classic.

 A flower shop in skid row gets a boost of sales when one of it’s employees discovers a new exciting plant.  The only catch is that this one relies on the taste of blood in order to grow.  I was expecting the same kind of story minus musical numbers but Corman’s version differs in many ways.  In this version we get to meet Seymour’s mother, a customer who likes to eat flowers and although there is a dentist that is a sadist. Audrey(the object of Seymour’s affection) is not romantically involved with him. The owner of the flower shop knows about the plant and blackmails Seymour to stop from squealing to the cops.  There is also the inclusion of a detective and we hear his narration throughout.  I did find out that Jackie Joseph who plays Audrey and Dick Miller who plays the guy who likes to eat flowers would later reunite to play The Futtermans, the bicking old couple in Joe Dante’s Gremlins series.

The picture in this new Blu-Ray transfer looks good and better than The Terror.  I don’t like that they changed its aspect ratio and in certain scenes the actors don’t look like they were framed properly.  The disc features a great insightful commentary track by Justin Humphreys and lead actor Jonathan Haze.  At only 80 minutes, The Little Shop of Horrors is a fun movie to watch if your curious at what inspired the 1986 musical comedy.

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