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Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman (R1) in October

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have announced the Region 1 DVD release of Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman on 16th October 2007 priced at $24.96 SRP. Sam Katzman, the amazingly prolific and successful, if sometimes derided, producer who churned out over 200 B-movies and serials over a four-decade-plus career, finally gets a little respect (or so the press release says) via The Sam Katzman Collection, the latest entry in Sony’s “Icons of Horror” DVD series. The two-disc set includes four features making their R1 DVD debut, two of which have never been released in any video format. First up is The Giant Claw, the infamous 1957 sci-fi thriller about a giant bird from outer space that chows down on people and planes; it stars genre veterans Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday and Morris Ankrum and is directed by Fred F. Sears. Another fan favourite is the self-explanatory Zombies Of Mora Tau (1957), also directed by Sears. It stars the 50’ Woman herself, Allison Hayes, and was written by blacklisted screenwriter Bernard Gordon (whose name has been restored for the packaging) under the name Raymond T. Marcus. The new-to-video titles include Creature With The Atom Brain (1955), written by the legendary horror/sci-fi writer Curt Siodmak and directed by Edward L. Cahn. It stars Richard Denning in a fast-paced gangsters-meet-reanimated-corpses tale. Cahn also directed The Werewolf (1956), an Atomic Age chiller about a man (Steven Ritch) who becomes the victim of a worthy scientific experiment gone horribly wrong.

The set also includes the original trailers for all four features, plus bonus trailers, as well as Chapter 2 of Katzman’s 1951 serial version of Mysterious Island, directed by the renowned Spencer Gordon Bennet. Rounding out the package are a pair of “scary” shorts: a 1959 Mr. Magoo cartoon, Terror Faces Magoo, and an extremely rare two-reel comedy from 1936, Midnight Blunders, starring Tom Kennedy and Monte Collins as a pair of bumbling detectives who cross paths with a Frankenstein-ish monster.

Why Chapter 2 and not 1? Sony Pictures consultant Michael Schlesinger explains: “The first chapter is all exposition and frankly not very exciting. I thought it would be better to get right to the action. And in any event, it opens with a recap, plus everyone already knows the story from the 1961 Harryhausen version or the Jules Verne novel.”

All four features are presented in black-and-white and their original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio (anamorphic widescreen presentations). Audio and subtitle options are English only.

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