From Powerhouse Films/Indicator comes Hammer: Volume Three – Blood & Terror, featuring four classic features in stunning HD, alongside a wealth of extras.
The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
Deep in Malaya, men, women and children trapped by the enemy invasion are held in the prison camp of Blood Island. With the Pacific War drawing to an end, the camp’s sadistic commandant (Ronald Radd) has let it be known that, in the event of his country losing the war, he will massacre them all. Knowing this, Lambert (André Morell), a British officer who leads the prisoners, plans an uprising…
This harrowing thriller was a huge success for Hammer despite some hostile reviews of the day, but it has an excellent supporting cast, including Michael Gwynn, Barbara Shelley and Marne Maitland, while Jack Asher’s black and white photography lends director Val Guest’s war drama a stark documentary feel.
Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)
Director Val Guest returned for this follow-up to The Camp on Blood Island, but ditches the sensationalism this time to adapt a three-act BBC teleplay based on an actual war crime perpetrated by a British army captain in Burma in 1942. Stanley Baker plays Captain Langford, an officer who resorts to extreme measures (the execution of civilians) to stop a major Japanese flanking attack against British forces.
Delivering a strong anti-war message while also giving Baker one of the best performances of his career, this gripping war drama was the film that Guest was most proud of, and again benefits from a sterling supporting cast, including Gordon Jackson and Leo McKern, excellent black and white photography from Arthur Grant and fantastic sets that recreate the Burmese jungle on the back-lots of Bray and Shepperton.
The Stranglers of Bombay (1959)
Set in 1820s India, this macabre adventure concerns the British East India Company and the local military battling a fanatical network of criminals, called Thuggee, who worship the goddess Kali, and strangle their hapless victims. Despite receiving an ‘A’ certificate (which meant children could see it accompanied by an adult) on its initial release, this is one of the most violent of Hammer’s big-screen spectacles, but also one of the most enjoyable.
Guy Rolfe is the heroic Captain Harry Lewis, tasked with investigating the cult, while George Pastell and Roger Delgado (best known as the original Master in TV’s Dr Who) are the suitably sinister pair behind all the murder and mayhem. Kudos go to James Bernard’s score which fuses orientalism with a bit of exotic jazz.
The Terror of the Tongs (1961)
A secret society terrorising Hong Kong in 1910, murders the daughter of British merchant sea captain, Jackson Sale (Geoffrey Toone). Swearing revenge, Jackson is helped in his quest by Tong slave, Lee (Yvonne Monlaur) and a mysterious beggar (Marne Maitland)…
Getting his first top billing in a Hammer movie, Christopher Lee dons awkward make-up to play Tong leader Chung King, a role that foreshadowed his appearance as Fu Manchu in later films. Toone makes for a pretty dull hero, but Monlaur oozes sex appeal. While the sets and costumes impress, the story is bit of a drag and you’ll be cringing at the sight of occidental actors playing Asians; with the worst culprit being Charles Lloyd Pack as the creepy Dr Fu Chao.
Each disc includes exclusive new documentaries and appreciations, interviews with actors and crew members, audio commentaries with essential Hammer personnel including Barbara Shelley and Jimmy Sangster, and four extensive booklets. This stunning Limited Edition Box Set (limited to 6,000) is a must-have for classic film fans.