The Amicus Collection Review

DVD Times has now reviewed all five of the films in Anchor Bay’s Amicus Collection. Follow the links to read the individual reviews.

Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors
The House That Dripped Blood
Asylum
And Now The Screaming Starts
The Beast Must Die

You will no doubt be aware of the continuing controversy over the packaging of the boxset. Anchor Bay took the decision to release this collection as a limited edition of 5,000 units, packaged in a coffin type box.

Upon first examination, the set looks wonderful. The striking monochrome artwork with Amicus picked out in red is very impressive and it looks lovely on the shelf. However, for some the problems started before they even received the package. Because each disc is held inside the box on a flimsy piece of cardboard, it’s easy for them to fall out and rattle around. This has led to some people receiving discs which were badly scratched. The disappointment over this has led to a great deal of trouble for Anchor Bay, whose initial delay in responding means that something akin to a witch hunt began. However, they have now responded with a positive step for anyone whose discs were damaged. The following announcement has been made on their website:

To any ABUK fans that have purchased the Amicus box set and have encountered damaged discs inside:

On behalf of ABUK we would like to express our bitter disappointment for this packaging fault, which was out of our hands. In the event that you have any damaged discs in your box please email info@anchorbay.co.uk with your name, address and in turn we will then ask you to send the faulty discs back to ABUK. We will exchange them free of charge and reimburse you for any postage. "PLEASE DO NOT THROW AWAY OR DESTROY THE BOX"

We would like to apologise for any inconvenience

The PO box address is as follows:

Anchor Bay Entertainment UK Ltd
PO BOX 4425
London
W1A 7QT

Please send your faulty discs (via normal post - recorded and registered items cannot be signed for) with your name and address to the above address and ABUK will exchange them and refund you for your postage and packing.


Apart from the above problem, the box is a nice gimmick which isn’t entirely practical to use. The discs are arranged in a concertina formation which is bulky and awkward to open up. I’m not someone who is usually inclined to moan about packaging – I actually quite liked snapper cases – but I think that this set could have been presented in a form which is easier to use.

However, my main complaint with this packaging is that it doesn’t contain any details about the discs. There are no chapter listings, running times, screen formats or lists of extras. As a reviewer, these things may be more useful for me than for a casual viewer but I think they should be included as standard on all discs. The increasing trend to omit a chapter listing is becoming tiresome, especially if you want to jump to a particular part of the film without consulting the scene selection menus.

The booklet which has been included with the set is, to be frank, a bit of a mess. Allan Bryce is an enthusiastic fan of horror films and his magazine “The Dark Side” is usually a good read. But this booklet doesn’t show many of his virtues. The prose style is journalistic but acceptable and he packs in quite a lot of detail. But his critical judgements tend to be thrown off in a brief statement and some of the information is hopelessly inaccurate. Apparently, the werewolf hunter in The Beast Must Die is called Calvin Beck and that film, according to Bryce, stars David Warner. Smaller mistakes abound – I don’t want to sound too pedantic but the pieces of Sylvia Syms’ body don’t chase Richard Todd around the house, they chase Barbara Parkins. Links between paragraphs are hazy and sometimes information runs on from one film to another with in a manner which approaches incoherence. It doesn’t help that the booklet has been put together in the wrong order, with the first two pages coming after the middle pages. Some sentences are also repeated, so that in the middle of the section on Asylum comes a sentence about Ingrid Pitt in The House That Dripped Blood. All of this makes the finished product look like something which a fan has thrown together rather than the commemorative booklet which was promised.

However, I don’t want to close on a negative note. The set is, in terms of the discs, a triumph and it’s so good to have well restored versions of the films that any irritations with the packaging can soon be set aside. Anchor Bay should be congratulated for spending so much tender loving care on a project which has a relatively limited appeal and the set is certainly well worth buying – especially as three of the films are not available separately in these versions.

Film
8 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
9 out of 10
Overall

8

out of 10

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