Hammer restored classics coming to bluray - Page 5 - AVS Forum
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post #121 of 150 Old 11-21-2012, 06:29 AM
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Dracula (1958) announced for BluRay UK 3-18-13! Check the Hammer Restoration Blog for a few details!
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post #122 of 150 Old 01-07-2013, 06:24 AM
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Here's the link, sounds very cool: http://www.hammerfilms.com/news/article/newsid/462/dracula-on-uk-blu-ray

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post #123 of 150 Old 01-07-2013, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_R_STL View Post

Here's the link, sounds very cool: http://www.hammerfilms.com/news/article/newsid/462/dracula-on-uk-blu-ray

This is the one release Hammer *must not* screw up. It's a no hesitation pre-order buy for me (even with Hammer's shakey track record so far) as it's in my top 5 favorite films. Considering they managed to track down the few deleted clips from a Japanese print and have apparently re-integrated the shots into the well-reviewed BFI restoration, it really comes with high expectations.
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post #124 of 150 Old 01-07-2013, 11:14 AM
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It might also cause a few more people to buy region free players, bonus!
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post #125 of 150 Old 01-07-2013, 06:34 PM
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This is the one release Hammer *must not* screw up.

After Hammer's messing up shots with new CG effects that's a faint hope. The best you can hope for is merely ok.
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post #126 of 150 Old 01-17-2013, 12:55 AM
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I finally bit the bullet, ordered the UK "Curse Of Frankenstein" BR/DVD combo and watched it tonight.

What a messed up release this is. Long story short, the source looks like a blown out color blasted 8mm rental print.

Back in high school, I got ahold of my schools 16mm movie rental catalog and once a month, would rent 3 movies (the company apparently didn't care who they sent them to), including as many Hammer horrors as they carried and showed them at home. Curse Of Frankenstein was one of them and it remains the only time I've ever seen a really strong quality print of this film that even included the "head dunk in the acid bath" bit that is now a lost scene.

Rambling aside, I did a side by side comparison with the US Warner Bros dvd release that's been out for years now and the UK Blu-ray (and dvd just for giggles) and it shakes out like this - The US dvd transfer is dramatically cleaner with more detail although it suffers from rather pale color. The 1.66:1 widecsreen framing is better done on the US dvd. The UK BR/DVD framing is centered lower on the frame, thus cutting out more critical picture info (tops of heads, etc). The UK release has vastly more vibrant almost oversaturated colors but the lack of detail from the source print used really kills any revelatory enjoyment watching this in HD. The big draws for the UK release is the “Academy” ratio 1.37:1 viewing option which seems clearly composed and shot for tighter horizontal framing although how much or how little seems inconsistent from scene to scene. The other draw is the 2 second glimpse of Cushing handing a gooshy large eyeball which looks more like a black lima bean.

It's hard to describe, but watching this release in the condition the movie is presented, it's an almost seedy, grindhouse feeling. Many so-called restorations, especially of B-level horror and cult flicks seek to raise the experience of revisiting a formerly dismissed film seen under typically terrible conditions and thrashed prints to a sort of revelatory near-religious experience of rediscovery. Not so here. Strangely, this release actually seems to affirm all the stereotypical negative opinions UK film critics originally had about early Hammer Horror being base, tacky, garish junk.
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post #127 of 150 Old 01-17-2013, 06:36 AM
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Have you ever seen a really good print of Curse? I saw a double feature re-release with Dracula in the late sixties and it didn't look very good then. It seems a camera negative is out of the question all the surviving prints are seriously flawed.

CW Hinkle
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post #128 of 150 Old 01-17-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood View Post

Have you ever seen a really good print of Curse? I saw a double feature re-release with Dracula in the late sixties and it didn't look very good then. It seems a camera negative is out of the question all the surviving prints are seriously flawed.

Granted this was almost 40 years ago (around 1975) so my memory is clouded by time, but the 16mm rental print I watched seemed fairly decent as far as clarity and color although it was full of splices and scratches (in fact it broke at one splice midway through). Even though the color is muted compared to the UK BR/DVD, I really do prefer the quality of the US dvd release even taking into account the US release is missing the eyeball scene (blink, and you'd miss it, lol!).
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post #129 of 150 Old 01-18-2013, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

Back in high school, I got ahold of my schools 16mm movie rental catalog and once a month, would rent 3 movies (the company apparently didn't care who they sent them to), including as many Hammer horrors as they carried and showed them at home. Curse Of Frankenstein was one of them and it remains the only time I've ever seen a really strong quality print of this film that even included the "head dunk in the acid bath" bit that is now a lost scene.

What a lucky kid.
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post #130 of 150 Old 01-18-2013, 08:13 PM
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I rented [Horror of]Dracula in 16mm. I believe it was for a church function (?!) It was in the mid-sixties, and it was missing ten minutes or more (the transfusion scene and thereabouts). But it appeared to be a 16mm Tech print (there were such things) and the color was fabulous.

CW Hinkle
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post #131 of 150 Old 01-18-2013, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

I finally bit the bullet, ordered the UK "Curse Of Frankenstein" BR/DVD combo and watched it tonight.

What a messed up release this is. Long story short, the source looks like a blown out color blasted 8mm rental print.

Back in high school, I got ahold of my schools 16mm movie rental catalog and once a month, would rent 3 movies (the company apparently didn't care who they sent them to), including as many Hammer horrors as they carried and showed them at home. Curse Of Frankenstein was one of them and it remains the only time I've ever seen a really strong quality print of this film that even included the "head dunk in the acid bath" bit that is now a lost scene.

Rambling aside, I did a side by side comparison with the US Warner Bros dvd release that's been out for years now and the UK Blu-ray (and dvd just for giggles) and it shakes out like this - The US dvd transfer is dramatically cleaner with more detail although it suffers from rather pale color. The 1.66:1 widecsreen framing is better done on the US dvd. The UK BR/DVD framing is centered lower on the frame, thus cutting out more critical picture info (tops of heads, etc). The UK release has vastly more vibrant almost oversaturated colors but the lack of detail from the source print used really kills any revelatory enjoyment watching this in HD. The big draws for the UK release is the “Academy” ratio 1.37:1 viewing option which seems clearly composed and shot for tighter horizontal framing although how much or how little seems inconsistent from scene to scene. The other draw is the 2 second glimpse of Cushing handing a gooshy large eyeball which looks more like a black lima bean.

It's hard to describe, but watching this release in the condition the movie is presented, it's an almost seedy, grindhouse feeling. Many so-called restorations, especially of B-level horror and cult flicks seek to raise the experience of revisiting a formerly dismissed film seen under typically terrible conditions and thrashed prints to a sort of revelatory near-religious experience of rediscovery. Not so here. Strangely, this release actually seems to affirm all the stereotypical negative opinions UK film critics originally had about early Hammer Horror being base, tacky, garish junk.
Thanks for the report. It's apparent by now that the non-Warner Hammers won't be coming out in the United States anytime soon. I wonder if the UK owners are holding the rights hostage to the newer transfers (as poor as they have been reviewed) and no entity in America is willing to take the commercial chance.
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post #132 of 150 Old 01-18-2013, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for the report. It's apparent by now that the non-Warner Hammers won't be coming out in the United States anytime soon. I wonder if the UK owners are holding the rights hostage to the newer transfers (as poor as they have been reviewed) and no entity in America is willing to take the commercial chance.

I seriously doubt that. I really don't think Hammer UK has any control over what the US studios can do with their movies that they (NA studios) released. From what I understand, Hammer outright sold unlimited North America rights to the various films as they were being produced - many of them were co-financed by US studios in the 60's under multi-picture deals. IMO, Warner Bros, Sony, Fox and Universal probably just don't see any financial incentive to go to the trouble to release their licensed Hammer films on Blu-ray, at least right now. In fact, Sony only a few years ago put out a few multi-titles collections on dvd (under the "Icons" moniker) and they were for the most part really superior transfers. Even Universal has excellent, restored film sources for their Hammer films that looked stunning despite the fact they (8 movies!) were crammed on 2 DVD18 discs almost a decade ago. It's really shocking that many of Hammer's greatest films are best represented by prints archived by US studios, not by Hammer itself.

Ideally, a company like Twilight Time would be ideal in getting these films out on Blu-ray under the relatively best circumstances. I'm pleased with the couple of Synapse releases so far, but it appears they are limited to just a few 70's titles.
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post #133 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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I seriously doubt that. I really don't think Hammer UK has any control over what the US studios can do with their movies that they (NA studios) released. From what I understand, Hammer outright sold unlimited North America rights to the various films as they were being produced - many of them were co-financed by US studios in the 60's under multi-picture deals. IMO, Warner Bros, Sony, Fox and Universal probably just don't see any financial incentive to go to the trouble to release their licensed Hammer films on Blu-ray, at least right now. In fact, Sony only a few years ago put out a few multi-titles collections on dvd (under the "Icons" moniker) and they were for the most part really superior transfers. Even Universal has excellent, restored film sources for their Hammer films that looked stunning despite the fact they (8 movies!) were crammed on 2 DVD18 discs almost a decade ago. It's really shocking that many of Hammer's greatest films are best represented by prints archived by US studios, not by Hammer itself.

Ideally, a company like Twilight Time would be ideal in getting these films out on Blu-ray under the relatively best circumstances. I'm pleased with the couple of Synapse releases so far, but it appears they are limited to just a few 70's titles.

Who has the original negatives or if 'lost' the next best thing thou? Looking good on dvd does not count for much for 1080p, if Hammer or somebody else has them and is holding out for more cash the NA rights means little without access to the best film source possible.
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post #134 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 01:15 PM
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The Hammer Horror Series has a pretty stellar lineup of Universal-released films from the classic Hammer period (Brides of Dracula, Curse of the Werewolf, Phantom of the Opera, Night Creatures ) and some others of lesser importance, but BD chauvanists won't be impressed. But for $20 it's a really good deal, and, as I recall, they look quite good. If you've never seen Brides of Dracula it's almost worth it just to see that. Kiss of the Vampire has a big following too.

CW Hinkle
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post #135 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 01:22 PM
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The Hammer Horror Series has a pretty stellar lineup of Universal-released films from the classic Hammer period (Brides of Dracula, Curse of the Werewolf, Phantom of the Opera, Night Creatures ) and some others of lesser importance, but BD chauvanists won't be impressed. But for $20 it's a really good deal, and, as I recall, they look quite good. If you've never seen Brides of Dracula it's almost worth it just to see that. Kiss of the Vampire has a big following too.

So why are they not on BD?
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post #136 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 01:26 PM
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So why are they not on BD?
Ask Universal. They don't put out a lot of classic era films unless they are A plus titles.

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post #137 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 01:27 PM
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You'll need to consult the spirit of Carl Laemmle to answer that.

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post #138 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 04:00 PM
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Ask Universal. They don't put out a lot of classic era films unless they are A plus titles.

You mean like the A plus catalog title DragonHeart (twice)? I am sure if Universal thought Hammer films would sell well they would put them out, as much as I would like to see them doing it assuming by some miracle they do not mess with it, it's unlikely.
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post #139 of 150 Old 01-19-2013, 09:40 PM
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Who has the original negatives or if 'lost' the next best thing thou? Looking good on dvd does not count for much for 1080p, if Hammer or somebody else has them and is holding out for more cash the NA rights means little without access to the best film source possible.

I took the time to dig through my library of books and magazines concerning Hammer Films and came across a short article in "Little Shop Of Horrors #13" that includes an interview with Ron Roloff from around '95 who was (or maybe still is) Universals Home Video Technical Director and during the early 90's, supervised restorations of many of Universal's Hammer films including Brides Of Dracula, Curse Of The Werewolf, Kiss Of The Vampire among others. The article details the drawn out process in locating satisfactory film elements and indicates that while Universal (had) very good IP and YCM protection elements that included trimmed scenes mostly at their London "vault," some films proved problematic and Universal had to go to the BBC and Hammer themselves for satisfactory film elements. Most of the films Roloff worked on appear on the Universal/MCA Hammer Horror Series DVD set as noted by the poster above and do look superb despite my note about 8 films being crammed on 2 discs in standard def. As most if not all these films were restored in the film stage and have new (as of 1995) archive prints, it's just a matter of new digital transfers.

From what can be gleaned, it appears Hammer themselves do not have the best elements of many of their films. For example, Hammer (actually the BFI) had to go to Warner Bros US for the best quality print to do a restoration of Horror Of Dracula in 2007 and for the upcoming Blu-ray release, had to go through Japan's National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art to get the only known existing cut scene footage.

Remember, Hammer went bankrupt at the end of the 70's and has passed through several hands in the following decades and it's likely much of their film assets were dispersed and deteriorated beyond use in the following 30+ years.
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post #140 of 150 Old 01-20-2013, 09:15 AM
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Interesting info. I had a wild hair and got out the Hammer set and watched Brides of Dracula. Still looks great, with a great score by Malcolm Williamson (a serious composer who recorded on the Lyrita label, dear to audiophiles) and with a bone-chilling performance by David Peel as the vampire (40 years old, looks 20, and a gay man, whose flamboyance was reputedly constantly in need of turning down).

I then turned to Curse of the Werewolf, of which I watched but a few minutes. I had not watched this when I bought the set, as I had seen it recently along with Brides in a double feature at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. I consider it to have pacing problems and too little of the superb werewolf makeup, but the glimpse of the print astonished me. Every other time I had seen it, the color palette was mainly yellows and browns. This print looked beautiful.

CW Hinkle
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post #141 of 150 Old 01-22-2013, 08:33 AM
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Watched Devil Rides Out--and while yes the option of the original version would have been a nice treat after watching this version I doubt I would ever go back. The FX enhancements are fairly subtle--this is not a case of new CGI characters popping out left and right--and I think they only enhance the film. I thought it looked great.

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post #142 of 150 Old 03-04-2013, 08:46 PM
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Surprising news, a number of mid 60's and later Hammer films are going to be (eventually) distributed on Blu-ray here in the US. They are apparently starting with a 3 movie/2 dvd set featuring Dracula Prince Of Darkness, Frankenstein Created Women and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. Off the top of my head, I don't know which other movies might be covered under this agreement but I'd hazard a guess it would include most of the ones originally released by Anchor Bay well over a decade ago on vhs, laserdisc and dvd.

I would also guess that eventual Blu-ray releases will be staggered for a period of months if not longer to avoid cutting into sales of recent Hammer UK Blu-ray releases of the same films. That said, I'll now likely hold off on importing Frankenstein Created Women on BR from the UK even if it means waiting about a year for it to show up on BR here in the US.




The press release:

MILLENNIUM ENTERTAINMENT TO DISTRIBUTE EXCLUSIVE MEDIA’S

HAMMER LIBRARY IN THE U.S.

The “Hammer Horror 3 Feature Film Set” is the first release from Millennium Entertainment, available on April 2, 2013 on DVD

March 1, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) – Millennium Entertainment announced today that they will distribute titles from Exclusive Media’s Hammer library in the U.S.

Established in 1934, Hammer is a groundbreaking feature film production company that was instrumental in creating the horror genre and which recently diversified into publishing, live theatre and live attractions.

Stated Steve Nickerson, President of Millennium Entertainment:

“Hammer is one of the most renowned and beloved film brands in the world and we are thrilled to bring the Hammer Films library to U.S. fans.”

With this new distribution deal, classics such as Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Frankenstein Created Woman will be made available to the public in new configurations for the first time in almost 10 years. With a multi-tiered approach, a full release schedule is planned to both introduce the Hammer Horror brand to a new audience not familiar with the classic line and provide high end, limited edition Blu-rays and Collector’s Sets to the loyal horror fan over the next several years.

Launching with the April 2nd DVD release of the “Hammer Horror 3 Feature Film Set,” this unique collection of classic Hammer films is offered at an affordable price to encourage the general public to join the Hammer fanbase. The set is headlined by Hammer stars Christopher Lee (The Lords of the Rings trilogy and the new Hobbit trilogy) in Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), as well as Peter Cushing (Star Wars) in The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) and Frankenstein Created Woman (1967).

“We are really pleased to be in business with Millennium to bring the newly restored titles from our library to the United States in HD for the first time,” said Peter Naish, Senior VP, Distribution, Hammer. “Alongside the new extras we have created, we hope that our American Hammer fans will love the Blu-Ray collector’s editions and that these editions will also help new fans discover our rich history.”

More about the “Hammer Horror 3 Feature Film” 2 DVD set:

- Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) – Christopher Lee reprises his role as Count Dracula in this 1966 sequel to the original Horror of Dracula.

- The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) – Professor Lawrence Van Helsing and his son quest to find the seven lost “Golden Vampires.” With the help of a guide and his kung-fu trained siblings, they set out to uncover the truth behind the deadly legend.

- Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) – A young girl jumps to her death (Susan Denberg) after her lover is framed for murder and wrongly executed. Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) places her lover’s soul into her recently deceased body is able to create a new woman, whose soul longs for revenge.
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post #143 of 150 Old 03-04-2013, 11:52 PM
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April 2 for the DVD release...but what about the BD?

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post #144 of 150 Old 03-05-2013, 05:10 PM
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Just because there is a dvd release does not mean there will be a BD release.
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post #145 of 150 Old 03-05-2013, 08:05 PM
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Just because there is a dvd release does not mean there will be a BD release.

"With a multi-tiered approach, a full release schedule is planned to both introduce the Hammer Horror brand to a new audience not familiar with the classic line and provide high end, limited edition Blu-rays and Collector’s Sets to the loyal horror fan over the next several years."
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post #146 of 150 Old 03-05-2013, 08:33 PM
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...Launching with the April 2nd DVD release of the “Hammer Horror 3 Feature Film Set,” this unique collection of classic Hammer films is offered at an affordable price to encourage the general public to join the Hammer fanbase. ..

And it encourages the general public to adopt the latest advancement in 20th century home entertainment technology: DVD
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post #147 of 150 Old 03-05-2013, 09:12 PM
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And it encourages the general public to adopt the latest advancement in 20th century home entertainment technology: DVD

And 3 movies on two discs at that! I wonder how they'll pull that off? Two sided dvds? Cramming two movies on one sided disc and the other on the 2nd disc? Or best of all, splitting the 3rd movie in half between two discs.
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post #148 of 150 Old 03-06-2013, 10:00 AM
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Disappointing news that Millennium first announces a DVD release for the long-anticipated Hammers.
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post #149 of 150 Old 03-07-2013, 05:17 PM
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Disappointing news that Millennium first announces a DVD release for the long-anticipated Hammers.

Do you mean they have put out crummy BDs?
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"With a multi-tiered approach, a full release schedule is planned to both introduce the Hammer Horror brand to a new audience not familiar with the classic line and provide high end, limited edition Blu-rays and Collector’s Sets to the loyal horror fan over the next several years."

Odd they mention it last, the dvd announcement made me stop reading.
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post #150 of 150 Old 03-09-2013, 07:28 PM
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The announcement of this distributor doesn't give me great confidence, but I was mostly disappointed by the announcement their first release would be on DVD only.
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