Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman - Limited Edition

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Customer Reviews

Overall Rating : 4.67 / 5 (3 Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews

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Four from Jungle Sam

An excellent Blu-Ray Region B release of four Katzman/Columbia pictures. Discs contain a host of extras and each individual movie case has some nice lobby card mini-reprints enclosed. Additional bonus of two illustrated booklets full of information. Transfers are crisp. Sound good. Correct ratios. Hard to find fault with anything about this box set. Best of the bunch, The Werewolf, was the top half of the original UK double-feature paired with Creature with the Atom Brain released in London in October 1956. The Giant Claw and Zombies of Mora Tau (UK title: The Dead that Walk) were released on a variable 50/50 billing in 1957. Columbia decided not to release these two. Distribution rights were picked up by Eros Films. All four films were off-circuit releases, playing at selected theatres in targeted areas. Great nostalgia value for those of us who remember seeing this sort of stuff in the local flea-pit way back.

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Cold War Creatures

Sam Katzman is one of the greatest unknown gems I discovered from Arrow. A Director with beautiful horror and jumpy movies. Dhr K. Brander.

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Great collection of fun 1950s b-movies

Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman These four films produced by Sam Katzman during the 1950s offer fun and campy hours of entertainment. The four films included are each entertaining in their own way, even if none of them reach any dimensions of "high art." Creature With the Atom Brain is directed by Edward L. Cahn and features zombies, brought to life by strange sciences of a German doctor. He is discovered by an ex-gangster boss who was betrayed by his underlings. In doctor's experiments he sees a chance to exact his vengeance upon those who wronged him. The police begin to look into the wonderous quality of the murders, leading them on a collision course with the murderous duo. Creature is a brief but entertaining romp with likable main characters and there are even some pretty high and possibly emotional stakes. You could say that the "bombardment" does not stop for a moment, but there is still the scene explaining the ludicrous science that brought the corpses back to life. The plot is pretty simple, but the typical cold war paranoia and the non-sense technobabble make it a bit more fun. A mix of crime, sci-fi and horror, the film is pretty interesting but in the end the film leans heavily on the police work. Actors are generally fine, delivering an acceptable performance that adds to the entertainment value. Nothing worth of master class, but sufficient. The Werewolf directed by Fred F. Sears is a scientific spin on a werewolf tale. Main character, Duncan, is changed into a werewolf in a ludicrous plot by two doctors who aim to survive the nuclear holocaust by injecting the select few with their irradiated wolf serum. Lycanthropy is of course an unfortunate side effect of this concoction. Duncan, without memory of what happened, wanders into a town of Mountaincrest where he struggles and fails to keep his wolf at bay. All the sheriff's men begin a hunt for the murdering beast, with the two doctors and even Duncan's wife and son thrown in the mix. The Werewolf is highly entertaining, containing genuine emotional storytelling. The sheriff, Jack Haines, is torn between his duty to protect the town's people and his desire to do the right thing by trying to help Duncan. Arrival of Duncan's wife and child raise the stakes with Duncan's final fate hitting that much harder in the end. The werewolf makeup isn't quite the level of Wolf-Man but works fine. Zombies of Mora Tau is possibly the weakest film in the set. A team of divers arrive in Africa in order to find a diamond treasure that sunk with a ship over 60 years earlier. Unbeknownst to them, the diamonds are protected by the zombified members of the crew. As remarked in the introduction by Kim Newman, the noticable thing in the film is the cause of the zombies. Gone is the pseudo-scientific explanation offered in The Creature with The Atom Brain: voodoo curses are back in business. Other than that the film offers very little. Marjorie Eaton is a standout performance of the film, eclipsing almost all the other actors in personality, wit and delivery. The Giant Claw is the most famous film in the set, thanks to the look of the giant bird. The look of the monster alone almost makes the film worth watching. There is no doubt that the special effects are the most interesting thing the film offers. Other than that the film doesn't offer much. It is a pretty standard b-movie stuff, with some likable characters. Scientific explanation for the bird is pretty funny. B-movie and science fiction fans will find that there is enough here to warrant a watch, maybe couple watches. All in all, the offering is pretty good. Some movies clearly come ahead of the others, but that is to be expected. You know what you are buying if you make a decision to get this set. Genre fans have a lot to enjoy here, along with some nice extras and additional books with writing, art and posters.

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