Horror classics from Warner including "Freaks"

Warner Home Video have announced the Region 1 DVD release of five horror classics for 10th August 2004. Retailing at $19.97 each are the forbidden and once banned masterpiece Freaks, along with four other classic horror favourites including The Bad Seed, Dead Ringer and Village of the Damned with its sequel Children of the Damned on a double-feature disc.

Freaks (1932) - This classic from horror master Tod Browning (Dracula) was first released in 1932, but subsequently banned in England for more than 30 years because of its controversial casting and portrayal of real people with grotesque physical deformities. In the 1960s Freaks developed a huge cult following at midnight shows. Even today, it retains its power to transfix an audience. Freaks features the "living torso" Prince Radian, Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, half-bodied Johnny Eck, "pinheads" Elvira and Jenny Lee Snow and others. Plot involves an exquisite looking but cold-hearted high-wire artist (Olga Baclanova) who marries a wealthy circus performer (little person Harry Earles), and then schemes with her bodybuilder lover (Henry Victor) to poison her husband in order to inherit his wealth. The group of "freaks" seeks revenge and gets even with the high-wire artist.

On DVD, Freaks has been remastered from rare nitrate film elements to improve image and audio quality. Bonus materials will include:

  • Three alternate endings
  • All-new documentary, Freaks: Sideshow Cinema
  • Commentary by David J. Skal, author of "Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, Hollywood's Master of the Macabre"
  • Special message prologue added for the theatrical reissue
The Bad Seed (1956) - Nancy Kelly and Patty McCormack star in this tale of suspense based on the Maxwell Anderson Broadway play about a woman who appears to have it all: a wonderful home, a husband who adores her and a seemingly ideal daughter -- who turns out to have an "inherited evil" which results in the deaths of several people.

Bonus material will include:
  • Commentary by Patty McCormack and actor/playwright Charles Busch
  • New making-of documentary, Enfant Terrible: A Conversation with Patty McCormack
  • Theatrical trailer
Dead Ringer (1964) - Bette Davis plays twin sisters for 'double trouble.' Edith Phillips (Davis), because of a longtime grudge over a man, kills and then takes on the identity of her wealthy twin sister Margaret (Davis again). Karl Malden, Peter Lawford co-star in the movie which was directed by Davis's 1940s leading man, Paul Henreid.

Bonus material will include:
  • Commentary by actor/playwright Charles Busch and "Bette Davis Speaks" author, Boze Hadleigh
  • All-new documentary, Double Take: Bette vs. Bette
  • Vintage Featurette, Behind-the-Scenes at the Doheny Mansion
  • Theatrical trailer
Village of the Damned (1960) - In Midwich, a small English village, every citizen falls into a deep, strange sleep in the middle of the day. Months later all the young women are pregnant and their resulting children show little emotion and have strange penetrating eyes that seem to make people do things against their will. George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynne and Laurence Naismith star in the movie directed by Wolf Rilla.

Children of the Damned (1963) - Sequel to Village of the Damned is about scientists who discover five children, each with an inordinate amount of intelligence. The children are flown to London to be studied, but they escape and wreak havoc.

The Village of the Damned and Children of the Damned double-feature DVD will include the following bonus materials:
  • Village of the Damned commentary by "Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams" author Steve Haberman
  • Children of the Damned commentary by screenwriter John Briley
  • Theatrical trailers

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