Psycho Circus (The Creeping Flesh/Brotherhood of Satan/Torture Garden) (Blu-Ray Review)
Rated: Various/Region A/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Mill Creek Entertainment
Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
Directed By: Bernard McEveety
Starring: Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman
A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town’s children to worship Satan.
This is a very creepy and at times psychedelic horror film from the first part of the 70s. We get a mix of kids, cults, and even with the PG rating, we have blood and very horrific events. If you like dark and brooding this is one for you. Kids can be very creepy in horror films and they are used very well being tossed into the world of red hood wearing devil enthusiasts. If you like creepy this is a film that certainly fits the bill. In with the dark overlord chants and the better than average performances all-around are such things as beheadings! Mill Creek also delivers the goods again having a film look great that shares a disc with two another film. I’ve seen many cult themed films, but this one might be one of the better ones. It has never really been my type of film, yet here we have one that does deliver the horror goods overall. For anyone wanting to know, yes, this is a new transfer or at least a re-worked one from the other double bill this was on. The audio has been downgraded but it still looks very good.
Quality of Transfer: 93%
Torture Garden (1967)
Directed By: Freddie Francis
Starring: Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing
Anthology film from Amicus adapted from four short stories by Robert Bloch strung together about a fairground sideshow run by the sinister Dr. Diabolo and the shears of the female deity Atropos. Stories include “Terror Over Hollywood”, “Mr. Steinway”, “Enoch” and “The Man Who Collected Poe”…
Right up front, I’ll point out that Torture Garden seems to be the one movie that is really effected by the fact we have three movies sharing the same disc. It doesn’t look awful, but we have a clear case of it being soft here on our hands. Going by what else we get and the price, I don’t think it’ll be that big of an issue, but with most people you never know and I figured I better at least bring it up. As for the film, it is a perfectly watchable anthology that packs a creepy and old school feel to it. It is very much a Tales from the Crypy type of movie but I don’t think I’d dare say it ever really reaches THAT level. Some moments are better than others but having Peter Cushing and Jack Palance here doesn’t hurt things one bit for anything they are involved in. Truth be told, this may be the weakest of the films on this disc but it still isn’t awful either.
Quality of Transfer: 77%
The Creeping Flesh (1973)
Directed By: Freddie Francis
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron
Can an evil human being be cured? Emmanuel Hildern (Peter Cushing), a 19th-century scientist, believes it can, and develops a serum from the blood of evil men. While his half-brother James (Christopher Lee), who runs a mental institution, envies Emmanuel’s accomplishments, his daughter Penelope (Lorna Heilbron) does not. Born of an insane mother, the girl is injected with her father’s serum, slashes a sailor and kills an escaped madman. Sadly, she must then be committed to her uncle’s asylum. Undaunted, Emmanuel continues his experiments on a primitive skeleton, inadvertently creating an evil monster when the skeleton comes to life. The trauma of the events that follow drives Emmanuel insane and frees the creature to spread its reign of terror…
The Creeping flesh has a bit of a creeping plot but with such as cast as Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, it is hard to still complain about anything on the screen. We know people are doing experiments and we just know sooner rather than later that something bad is going to happen and that is just what does happen. But it does take a bit for us to get to that point in the film. The plot here is all sorts of crazy and I can’t say if this is or isn’t a Hammer film but due to the look and the cast, it certainly does feel like one as you watch. If you can get passed the slow spots you end up with a movie that would be great for some midnight viewing on a rainy night. It isn’t perfect but it has that creepy look and feel and I can totally get behind that. The movie looks really good as well. You figure quality would take a hit with this many movies on one disc, but unlike Torture Garden, this one doesn’t seem to show any effects of that.
Quality of Transfer: 91%