‘Icons of Horror’ DVD puts the Hammer down for creepy chills

While I did grow up with some creepy Hammer horror experiences (The Brides of Dracula, anyone?), and I do revere horror as a genre, I’m no student or fanboy of the Hammer brand, though I respect it. Back then, the veddy British aspect just threw me a bit. I was used to all-Amurhican heroes like John Wayne, not thin, erudite champions like vampire hunter Peter Cushing.

But some of my best buds looove these movies, and they are, in a word, excited about Sony’s new release of Icons of Horror: Hammer Films, a two-disc set featuring four lesser known Hammer flicks previously unavailable on DVD. They are: The Gorgon, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and Scream of Fear.

Now, these aren’t horror classics. They aren’t The Exorcist. But they are creepy, chilling entertainments from a British studio which consistently showed respectful devotion to horror as a legitimate genre, not just a form of box office exploitation (and hey, if you can achieve both, then so much the better).

The discs have no extras, apart from theatrical trailers, but print quality is largely high. Bottom line: These flicks now flicker in the digital world — which makes them more accessible and, in a way, permanent.

As I understand, with this release, the only Hammer horror film not yet on DVD is 1959’s The Man Who Could Cheat Death. Completists, your day is coming. Until then, hop aboard the Hammer horror express and enjoy these October-worthy rides. Though they aren’t Hammer’s best, they are Hammer — and isn’t that enough?

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