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El Terror [Blu-ray]
|Precio recomendado:||EUR 15,32|
|Ahorras:||EUR 9,82 (64%)|
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En la Europa del siglo XIX, un joven oficial francés del ejército de Napoleón es salvado de la muerte por una bella mujer que, a continuación, desaparece. El teniente, obsesionado con la muchacha, sigue sus huellas hasta llegar al aislado castillo del Barón Von Leppe, un lugar que esconde un terrible misterio.
En la Europa del siglo XIX, un joven oficial francés del ejército de Napoleón es salvado de la muerte por una bella mujer que, a continuación, desaparece. El teniente, obsesionado con la muchacha, sigue sus huellas hasta llegar al aislado castilllo del Barón Von Leppe (Boris Karloff), un lugar que esconde un terrible misterio.
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Be advised that while this is not an official MGM release like the other AIP Poe pictures, it is certainly the best copy of the film out there. I cannot speak about the quality of the Blu-Ray disc as I don't have a Blu-Ray player but in order to get the DVD I had to buy the combo pack. I can say that the DVD looks great on my flat screen and sounds great too. In addition to the dialogue, Ronald Stein's memorable score also comes through loud and clear. The packaging also restores the original poster art which clearly states that THE TERROR is a Boris Karloff vehicle not a Jack Nicholson one although that's how it used to be marketed in previous incarnations. In addition it's a rare opportunity to see Jack's then wife Sandra Knight in what is her best known role.
The aspect ratio fills a 16:9 screen and its sound is in 5.1 surround. I thought it sounded terrific!
Also for the first time, I was able to watch the movie all the way through. Because other transfers' images were always so blurry and the sound so muffled, it was almost like watching snow on the screen. I'd lose interest halfway through and fall asleep.
This time, though, the movie grabbed my attention. How could it not? The image and sound were both clear. Happily, I changed my mind from judging the film mediocre to just as intriguing as Roger Corman's other masterpieces, like "The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)," "The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)," "Tales of Terror (1962)," "Tower of London (1962)," "The Haunted Palace (1963)," "The Raven (1963)," "Masque of the Red Death (1964)," and "The Tomb of Ligeia (1965)." It would be awesome to have these MGM features transferred to Blu-ray!
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Fall of the House of Usher /The Pit and the Pendulum
Tales of Terror (Edgar Allan Poe's)
Tales of Terror/Twice Told Tales (Midnite Movies Double Feature)
The Haunted Palace / The Tower of London
Double Feature: The Comedy of Terrors & The Raven
The Masque of the Red Death / The Premature Burial
The Tomb of Ligeia / An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe
The story behind the film is well known. Corman had finished shooting The Raven ahead of schedule and still had Karloff on contract for four days. Not one to waste money, Corman whipped up a second movie starring the actor. Part of the myth regarding this film is that it was made in its entirety in 48 hrs. Actually, Karloff's scenes were shot in three to four days. Corman utilized the castle set from the first film, later scenes were added, and the entire movie was produced over a nine month period, which is something like an epic for Corman. Corman, of course, masterfully sculpts his own mythology, but filming commenced without a finished script, and that is probably why it took so long to pull something halfway salable out of it. It's not really an advisable filmmaking method.
The Terror has finally been released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and has rightfully received accolades for the remastering on the Blu-ray. Unfortunately,the DVD part of the combo has had a high number of reported defects. Regardless, the film looks beautiful in the Blu-ray transfer, rich with 1960s colors. It finally looks nearly as good here as the excerpts we see of it in the Corman produced Targets (1968-dir. Peter Bogdanovich). The transfer made me long to see The Terror on a drive-in cinema screen.
Seeing this film in a watchable print does reveal some merits. Besides the vibrant Gothic milieu, the film has an energetic score by Ronald Stein. Jack Nicholson, while not the actor he would become, is better as an arrogant soldier than he was as the whiny son of the equally whiny Vincent Price in The Raven. Another high point here is the very good performance by Boris Karloff. It is unfortunate that Corman did not get to work with Karloff more than he did, because the actor might have been better suited to this director than was Price. In the Poe-cycle Corman films, Price often projects a grating self-pity. While Karloff was also a screen personality that audiences sympathized with, he was able to convey pathos in a less hand-wringing way.
As far as the script, it is surprisingly somewhat coherent for something that was slapped together. Nicholson is Lt. Andre Duvalier, a soldier in Napoleon's army. Inexplicably, he gets separated from his regiment. He sees a mysterious, beautiful woman (Sandra Knight). He is told her name is Helene, and he attempts to follows her into the sea. Duvalier believes that she has committed suicide. He is attacked by a large bird and wakes up in the home of the old witch Katrina (Dorothy Neumann) and her mute henchman Gustaf ( Jonathan Haze). Duvalier's search for Helene leads him to the castle of Baron Victor Von Leppe (Karloff) who lives alone there with his servant Stefan (Dick Miller). The Baron has a painting of Ilsa, his wife, dead now twenty years. Shockingly (?), Ilsa looks exactly like Helene. The nobleman has a black secret and a predictable revelation is in store, along with an unpredictable twist.
The opening sequence of Karloff descending down the castle stairs in the night is stylistically shot. He opens a door and a skeleton pops out. Animated birds of dread soar through the credits, enhancing the flavor. Nicely done; except for those who prefer a coherent narrative, because there is no hidden skeleton in the film. In this, The Terror is a bit like the pulp comic book covers which show a potentially exciting scene that never actually occurs in the story. Not being religiously attached to linear yarn spinning, I liked the sequence. Sandra Knight (Nicholson's wife at the time) as the ghost of Ilsa, is beautiful, obviously pregnant in several scenes, and a distractingly bad actress. Neumann and Haze have contagious fun with their roles.
A so-called spoiler alert (although it's a bit nonsensical to have a spoiler alert for a fifty year old film, but in that in that I am keeping with the nonsensical spirit of The Terror): twenty years ago the Baron murdered Ilsa when he caught her bedding down the peasant Eric. That's a big no surprise. Stefan disposed of Eric. The ghost of Ilsa is exacting revenge via Katrina, who is Eric's mother. Stefan unloads the one genuine twist: actually, he killed the Baron and Eric has taken the nobleman's place for the last twenty years. That narrative bit will doubtfully sit well with the unimaginative reality-check geeks who will be quick to point out that Karloff's Eric is at least thirty years older than his "mother," portrayed by Neumann.
Karloff excels in the confrontation finale. Ilsa is coercing Eric into suicide (so they can be joined together in the abode of the damned). Eric resists, fearing eternal damnation, but finally consents with thinly veiled resignation masking glee. Karloff does the scene justice. Earlier, he is as good at menacingly evading Duvalier's inquiries.
The finale is everything you would expect in this kind of product: a flooded castle (with a really bad double for Karloff) and a corpse which melts after a kiss (Sandra Knight, after Jack plants one on his wife's lips). The special effects add up to what looks like a gallon of butterscotch syrup poured onto her face.
Still, the legend behind this film is just plain fun, even if it's more myth than fact, even it's more product than art, even if it's more entrepreneur Corman than craftsman Corman. And, hell there is Karloff! So, if anyone within close vicinity has one of those massive TV screens and a disc of drive-in snack bar commercials, then I have got The Terror and the pizza, and we'll imagine it's 1963 all over again.