Blu-ray Review: TERROR IS A MAN

Severin unearths the 1959 Filipino horror classic

“More horrifying than FRANKENSTEIN! More Terrifying Than DRACULA! “

To my everlasting shame as a cult film connoisseur I must admit to having watched little to nothing of Eddie Romero’s output.As a producer and director, Romero was responsible for such classics as BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT, TWILIGHT PEOPLE, BLACK MAMA WHITE MAMA. THE WOMAN HUNT and BEYOND ATLANTIS but its his “Blood Island trilogy” that stands out in the hearts of horror aficionados.

TERROR IS A MAN is the first of this very loose trilogy and one of the Philippines’ first Horror films to be shot in English. Directed in 1959 by Gérard de Leon but only picked up for North American distribution by Hemisphere 10 years later,  TERROR’s basic theme is taken from HG Welles’ Island of Dr Moreau. When William Fitzgerald  (Richard Derr) is washed ashore on an island, the only survivor of a shipwreck, he’s found by Dr. Girard (Francis Lederer) a park Avenue surgeon and (apparently) genetic scientist who has isolated himself to pursue his experiments free from distractions (and ethical constraints) and assisted by his wife Francis (Greta Thyssen) and his assistant Walter (Oscars Keesee).Quickly, we learn that the island has no means of leaving and no means of communicating with the outside world.  Fitzgerald is told that any return to civilization will have to wait until the supply ship returns in several months. Plenty of time for him to explore the island, the native culture of the indigenous people, stumble into the mysterious experiments and get to know the disenfranchised wife a bit better.

Actually…a lot better!

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Blu-ray Review: JACK THE RIPPER (1959)

Severin restores and releases both cuts of this undervalued shocker

The mystery of the Victorian-era serial killer dubbed “Jack the Ripper” has endured the ages, with countless fictionalized novels and films riffing onthe  sordid story of the fiend who once slashed his way through the flesh of London’s ladies of the night. The fact that “Saucy Jack” himself was never caught has only fueled the fantastical, with conspiracies ladled upon conspiracies as to who or what the murderer might have been, most potently in Alan Moore’s FROM HELL graphic novel and the freely adapted (and absolutely undervalued) Hughes Brothers feature film. But one of the more obscure remounts of the Jack the Ripper crimes can be found in Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman’s crackerjack 1959 chiller, simply called JACK THE RIPPER. Working from a script by Hammer Horror vet Jimmy Sangster, the film is a low budget but deft little murder mystery that sends ample chills up the spine, especially in its original UK theatrical cut, the likes of which is represented here – alongside the more sensational American re-edit – on Severin’s snazzy new Blu-ray release.

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