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Karloff, Lugosi, Ford and Russian Raid on Eureka Blu-ray in March/April

28 January 2021

Eureka Entertainment has announced its March 2021 Blu-ray releases, which include a feast of films for Boris Karloff fans in the shape of Karloff at Columbia, a re-release of the excellent Murders in the Rue Morgue/The Black Cat/The Raven: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi, a John Ford western double-bill Straight Shooting & Hell Bent: Two Films by John Ford, and Rissian action movie, Russian Raid.

 

Karloff at Columbia Blu-ray cover art

KARLOFF AT COLUMBIA | Blu-ray | 19 April 2021 | £29.99

One of the most recognisable faces in horror, Boris Karloff (or simply ‘KARLOFF’, as he was often billed) has been described as “to the horror movie what Fred Astaire was to the musical”. Presented here are the six films he made for Columbia Pictures, a collaboration which produced some of Karloff’s finest acting roles.

In The Black Room, Karloff takes on a dual role as twin brothers in 19th century Europe. One of the twins inherits the family castle and suddenly the local women start disappearing…

The Man They Could Not HangThe Man With Nine LivesBefore I Hang, and The Devil Commands form the “Mad Doctor” cycle, a thematically linked series of films where Karloff always plays a doctor whose obsessions inevitably lead them to murder!

And finally, The Boogie Man Will Get You is a delightful parody of the “Mad Doctor” films, starring both Karloff and Peter Lorre.

All six films are presented in their worldwide debut on Blu-ray, this release is also the first time they have been available on home video in the UK.

Limited Edition Blu-ray features:

  • Limited Edition O-Card slipcase [3000 copies]
  • All six films presented in 1080p across two Blu-ray discs
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • Brand new audio commentaries on The Black Room, Before I Hang, and The Boogie Man Will Get You with Kevin Lyons and Jonathan Rigby
  • Brand new audio commentaries on The Man They Could Not Hang, The Man With Nine Lives, and The Devil Commands with author Stephen Jones and author / critic Kim Newman
  • A LIMITED EDITION collector’s booklet featuring writing on all six films by Karloff expert Stephen Jacobs (author of Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster); film critic and author Jon Towlson; and film scholar Craig Ian Mann [3000 copies]

 

Murders in the Rue Morgue/The Black Cat/The Raven: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi Blu-ray cover

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE/THE BLACK CAT/THE RAVEN: THREE EDGAR ALLEN POE ADAPTATIONS STARRING BELA LUGOSI | Blu-ray | 12 April 2021 | £21.99

This trio of classic 1930s horror films – Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and The Raven – is also distinguished by a trio of factors regarding their production. Most notably, each film is based on a work by master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe. Part of the legendary wave of horror films made by Universal Pictures in the 30s, all three feature dynamic performances from Dracula’s Bela Lugosi, with two of them also enlivened by the appearance of Frankenstein’s Boris Karloff. And finally, all three benefit from being rare examples of Pre-Code studio horror, their sometimes startling depictions of sadism and shock a result of being crafted during that brief period in Hollywood before the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code’s rigid guidelines for moral content.

Director Robert Florey, who gave the Marx Brothers their cinema start with The Cocoanuts in 1929, worked with Metropolis cinematographer Karl Freund to give a German Expressionism look to Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), with Lugosi as a mad scientist running a twisted carnival sideshow in 19th-century Paris, and murdering women to find a mate for his talking ape main attraction. Lugosi and Karloff teamed forces for the first time in The Black Cat, a nightmarish psychodrama that became Universal’s biggest hit of 1934, with Detour director Edgar G. Ulmer bringing a feverish flair to the tale of a satanic, necrophiliac architect (Karloff) locked in battle with an old friend (Lugosi) in search of his family. Prolific B-movie director Lew Landers made 1935’s The Raven so grotesque that all American horror films were banned in the U.K. for two years in its wake. Specifically referencing Poe within its story, Lugosi is a plastic surgeon obsessed with the writer, who tortures fleeing murderer Karloff through monstrous medical means.

Significant and still unsettling early works of American studio horror filmmaking, these three Pre-Code chillers demonstrate the enduring power of Poe’s work, and the equally continuous appeal of classic Universal horror’s two most iconic stars.

Blu-ray features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations for all three films, with The Raven presented from a 2K scan of the original film elements
  • Uncompressed LPCM monaural audio tracks
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue – Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
  • The Black Cat – Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
  • The Raven – Audio commentary by Gary D. Rhodes
  • The Raven – Audio commentary by Samm Deighan
  • The Raven – isolated music & effects track
  • Kim Newman on Edgar Allan Poe and Universal – interview with journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman
  • Cats In Horror – a video essay by writer and film historian Lee Gambin
  • American Gothic – a video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
  • “The Black Cat” episode of radio series Mystery In The Air, starring Peter Lorre
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” episode of radio series Inner Sanctum Mysteries, starring Boris Karloff
  • Bela Lugosi reads “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Vintage footage – The Black Cat contest
  • Stills galleries
  • A 20-page collector’s booklet featuring a reprint of "Re-Arranging Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Tim Lucas

Blu-ray review >>

 

Straight Shooting & Hell Bent: Two Films by John Ford Blu-ray cover art

STRAIGHT SHOOTING & HELL BENT: TWO FILMS BY JOHN FORD | Blu-ray | 19 April 2021 | £21.99

The Masters of Cinema Series presents two early features from John Ford (credited on both films as Jack Ford) in their UK debuts on home video, fully restored in 4K.

Straight Shooting is landmark in the history of the Western. The first feature directed by Ford, it revived the career of Harry Carey who gives a rough and tumble performance here as a hired gun who turns on his employers to defend an innocent farmer and his family.

In Hell Bent,‘Cheyenne Harry’ (Harry Carey playing the same character from Straight Shooting) flees the law after a poker game shootout, and arrives in the town of Rawhide, where he becomes friendly with local cowboy Cimarron Bill (Duke Lee) and dance hall girl Bess Thurston (Neva Gerber). When gang leader Beau Ross (Jospeh Harris) kidnaps Bess, Harry goes to desperate lengths travelling across the deadly desert in order to free Bess from the hard-bitten Ross.

Blu-ray features:

  • Limited Edition O-Card slipcase and reversible sleeve artwork [2000 copies]
  • Both features presented in 1080p on Blu-ray from 4K restorations undertaken by Universal Pictures, available for the first time ever on home video in the UK
  • Straight Shooting – Score by Michael Gatt
  • Hell Bent – Score by Zachary Marsh
  • Straight Shooting – Audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride, author of Searching for John Ford: A Life
  • Hell Bent – Audio commentary by film historian Joseph McBride
  • Brand new interview with film critic and author Kim Newman
  • Bull Scores a Touchdown – Video essay by Tag Gallagher
  • A Horse or a Mary? – Video essay by Tag Gallagher
  • Archival audio interview from 1970 with John Ford by Joseph McBride
  • A short fragment of the lost film Hitchin’ Posts (dir. John Ford, 1920) preserved by the Library of Congress
  • A collector’s booklet featuring writing by Richard Combs, Phil Hoad, and Tag Gallagher

 

Russian Raid Blu-ray cover

RUSSIAN RAID [RUSSKIY REYD] | Blu-ray | 22 March 2021

Nikita, a former Russian Spetsnaz operative, is hired to neutralise the large private security force at a local factory by his shady employer. But Nikita and his group of highly trained fighters get more than they bargained for when it turns out the factory is actually owned by a dangerous warlord connected to the Russian military. By the time the ‘hostile takeover’ is complete, Nikita reveals that he has orchestrated his own secret mission to take personal revenge on the most dangerous man in Russia.

The Russian feature, inspired by Gareth Evans’ 2011 martial-arts hit The Raid makes its debut on Blu-ray in the UK.

Montage Pictures Blu-ray features:

  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio
  • Optional English subtitles