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Although not a Hammer Production, THE CREEPING FLESH ($25) is another great teaming of Hammer terror titans Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, who work in this outing under the hand of fellow Hammer alumnus director Freddie Francis. In THE CREEPING FLESH, Peter Cushing portrays Emmanuel Hildern, a driven Victorian era scientist, who returns from an expedition to New Guinea with what he believes to be a prize-winning discovery. Said discovery turns out to be an ancient humanoid skeleton of almost gigantic proportions, which seems to predate mankindís better-known ancestors.

While cleaning the skeletonís hand with water, flesh reforms around one of the saturated digits, which Hildern amputates for closer study. Upon examination of the newly formed flesh and blood, Hildern discovers what he believes to be the "essence of evil" and tries to create a vaccine to protect mankind. Of course, Hildernís experiments go awry, with his lovely daughter Penelope (Lorna Heilbron) turning homicidal. Also along the way, Hildernís half-brother James (Christopher Lee) pilfers his work, which leads to the remainder of the skeleton being exposed to water and some rather shocking results. The cast of THE CREEPING FLESH also includes George Benson, Kenneth J. Warren, Duncan Lamont, Harry Locke, Hedger Wallace and Michael Ripper.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made THE CREEPING FLESH available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Considering the filmís age and modestly budgeted origins, this is really a great looking presentation. In general, the image appears sharp and provides a solid level of detail. Occasional shots come off a bit soft looking, but there is nothing worth complaining about. Colors appear clean and are rendered with a good level of saturation. Some of the reds occasionally seem just a tad fuzzy, and a couple of shots had some mild fluctuations, but otherwise the color reproduction is just fine. Blacks are inky, whites are stable and contrast is smooth. Shadow detail is a bit truncated, but nothing beyond what one would expect from a similar film of the same period. The film elements display minor blemishes and a bit of grain, but neither is too bad. Digital compression artifacts maintain a low profile.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is more than respectable. Most of the background hiss and other audible anomalies have been cleaned up in the mastering process. Dialogue is crisp and always totally understandable. Fidelity has its limitations, but the music manages to be reproduced without harshness or brittleness. No other language tracks are provided, but English and Japanese subtitles have been included. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as bonus trailers for MR. SARDONICUS, 13 GHOSTS and REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

THE CREEPING FLESH remains an enjoyable old school horror outing, featuring two well-known genre icons. Columbiaís DVD looks great and sounds just fine, so if you are a Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing fan, you are going to want to add THE CREEPING FLESH to your collection.



The Creeping Flesh (1973)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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