BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
Psycho Circus: The Creeping Flesh, Torture Garden, The Brotherhood of Satan (1967 – 1973) - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Home Video Distributor: Mill Creek Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray - April 4, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Psycho Circus: The Creeping Flesh, Torture Garden, The Brotherhood of Satan (1967 – 1973)
I understand why Mill Creek is popular with some people. They offer low-rent movies at bargain basement prices. Hell, even their deluxe treatment – warts and all – of classic 1980’s television shows are priced below average. But all those cheapo bargains come with a cost and it is usually in the quality of the presentation and lack of supplemental material. Love it or hate it, Mill Creek – with their release of Psycho Circus – have given us two Peter Cushing gems tucked inside a rather lackluster package.
Truth be told, there are three films housed in this release. The Creeping Flesh is one title that deserves its own release. It’s a certifiable Cushing classic and while the transfer appears to have most of the dirt and debris removed in its HD debut, it is sad that Mill Creek has seen fit to include it alongside the other films. Directed by horror headmaster Freddie Francis, the film is a 1973 production that co-stars Christopher Lee and Lorna Heilbron. It concerns itself with the discovery of a abnormally large giant that starts growing flesh and soon terrorizes a family after its discovery in New Guinea. This movie is AMAZING and deserves a much better presentation than the one it is given here.
Also included in the trilogy of terror is The Brotherhood of Satan, a 1971 horror film that is directed by Bernard McEveety and features a bizarre group of senior citizens who are trying to get some kids to worship Satan. Remember the era, if you will. Satan and horror went hand-in-hand. The effects are simple and the dialogue is rather hilarious, becoming absolutely unbearable when an aging coven of witches starts chanting and the kids start commanding their parents. This one is for Horror Hounds only and, certainly, it's only good for a chuckle or two.
Rounding out the collection is Torture Garden, also directed by Freddie Francis. This 1967 Amicus production turns out yet another solid performance from Cushing and features a fairground freakshow run by Burgess Meredith as Dr. Diablo who promises to show interested people a really scary and good time – if they are willing to pay extra. Written by Psycho’s Robert Bloch, the film is highlighted by a cool performance from Jack Palance and the punctuated twists in the duplicitous reveal at the end that sees the devil himself addressing the audience.
Ultimately, this is yet another sad collection of films that deserve far, far better. I mean, Mill Creek, could we get a higher bitrate for these titles? Maybe better audio? Most will fork over the $8 for The Creeping Flesh and, yes, that’s pretty much the only reason to purchase the set.
Mill Creek presents this collection of three horror films they’ve dubbed Psycho Circus with mixed results. Sure, the 1080p presentation is nice but, man, these films look – with varying aspect ratios of 2.40:1, 1.78:1, 1.77:1 – bottom barrel rough. Only The Creeping Flesh looks better than it did on DVD. It’s cleaner and a bit more detailed. The rest are pretty junked-up looking, with The Brotherhood of Satan suffering the most. Ultimately, what we have with this release is three genre films loaded onto a single BD-50 with absolutely no extras (including subtitles) and no on-screen menu. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is pretty tinny, so plan on turning up the volume on those receivers.
The Creeping Flesh - (1973) - Color - 94 minutes – Rated PG
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones unleashing a malevolent being on the scientist's family and friends.
Brotherhood of Satan - (1971) - Color - 92 minutes - Rated PG
Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri
A family is trapped in a desert town by a cult of senior-citizens who recruit the town's children to worship Satan.
Torture Garden - (1967) - Color - 93 minutes – Not Rated
Jack Palance, Burgess Meredith, Peter Cushing, Robert Hutton
An anthology of four short horror stories about people who visit Dr. Diabolo's fairground haunted-house attraction show.