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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

NIGHTMARE / KISS OF THE VAMPIRE

NIGHTMARE and KISS OF THE VAMPIRE ($60) is MCA/Universal's second Hammer double feature and a genuine treat for Laserdisc collectors.

NIGHTMARE is director Freddie Francis' second film derived from the PSYCHO school of horror films. The plot concerns a young woman who witnessed her own insane mother murder her father. Years later, the young woman herself is driven insane by parties unknown. After the young woman is taken off to the asylum, the very same thing begins to happen to the conspirators. NIGHTMARE is entertaining, but isn't as deranged as director Francis' earlier effort PARANOIAC. Francis does, however, use the film's black and white 'scope cinematography to great effect, just as he did in PARANOIAC. The cast of NIGHTMARE includes David Knight, Moira Redmond, Jennie Linden and Brenda Bruce.

MCA/Universal has given NIGHTMARE an excellent Letterboxed transfer. The aspect ratio is close to the full 'scope proportions, and the image has excellent detail and contrast. The film element used for the transfer is in nearly pristine shape. The digital monaural soundtrack is free from significant distortions.

KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is the only non­anamorphic Hammer movie to be presented in its proper aspect ratio by MCA/Universal, and now makes me wish they would re­master each and every one of their Hammer films in its proper ratio. Hey MCA/Universal! How about a boxed set of BRIDES OF DRACULA, CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA all in their proper 1.66:1 ratios!

The turn of the century story of KISS OF THE VAMPIRE concerns a newly married couple whose motor car breaks down in a small Bavarian village. The couple stay at a small inn but become the dinner guests of the local Lord. As any Hammer fan might of guessed, this gentleman and his family have peculiar dietary requirements. Soon the wife disappears, and as quickly as you can say THE LADY VANISHES, everyone denies the existence of the unfortunate man's wife. The bridegroom is forced to turn for help to the inn's only other guest, a professor, who has lost his own daughter to the vampires in residence. KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is a very stylish entry in Hammer's "Dracula without Dracula" series of vampire films. Director Don Sharp completely captures the Hammer flavor, and makes one forget about Christopher Lee, who refused to play the Dracula during this period. The cast of KISS OF THE VAMPIRE features Clifford Evans, Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel and Edward De Souza.

MCA/Universal's Letterboxed transfer of KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is a knockout, and the 1.66:1 aspect ratio is just about dead on. The image is nicely detailed, and the colors are richly saturated. The digitally encoded monaural soundtrack has some distortion, but the dialogue always remains intelligible. The Pioneer pressing was relatively clean. MCA/Universal has also included a couple of trailers. One for NIGHTMARE and the other for KISS OF EVIL, the re­edited television version of KISS OF THE VAMPIRE.

Recommended for Hammer and horror fans in general.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright © 1996 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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