Universal Horror Collection: Vol. 2 Blu-ray
Directors: Edward Sutherland, Joseph H. Lewis, William Nigh, James Hogan
Writers: Seton Miller, Philip Wylie, Milton H. Gropper, Al Martin, Clarence Upson Young, Paul Gangelin, Brenda Weisberg
Cast: Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, David Bruce, Evelyn Ankers, Charlie Ruggles, Una Merkel, Patric Knowles, Turhan Bey
Distributor: Scream Factory
Not Rated | Runtime: 63 / 61 / 66 / 66 Minutes
Release Date: July 23, 2019
Exhume four tales of the macabre from the crypts of Universal Pictures with Scream Factory’s Universal Horror Collection: Vol. 2. This Blu-ray release pays tribute to legendary horror stars such as Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, David Bruce, and Evelyn Ankers.
In this 4-disc set, youâ€™ll find Murders in the Zoo (1933), The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942), The Strange Case of Dr. Rx (1942), and The Mad Ghoul (1943). On Blu-ray for the first time, these films are presented in high-definition with a brand new 2K scan from the original film elements and the collection comes loaded with new audio commentaries and featurettes.
Directed by Edward Sutherland, Murders in the Zoo stars Lionel Atwill (Captain Blood) as Eric Gorman, millionaire sportsman and animal collector. He’s also an insanely jealous husband who seeks to use his knowledge of predators and prey to dispose of the most dangerous game â€“ his wife Evelyn’s (Kathleen Burke) lovers. Mechanical mambas, man-eating alligators, ferocious lions, and beefy boa constrictors await Evelyn’s would-be paramours in a surprisingly grisly movie for the time.
In The Mad Doctor of Market Street, director Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy) and screenwriter Al Martin (What Price Crime) introduce us to Dr. Ralph Benson (Lionel Atwill), a mad scientist â€“ not unlike Dr. Moreau â€“ who is experimenting on the natives of a South Sea island. There, his breakthrough in resurrecting the dead goes to his head, with him proclaiming, “Iâ€™ll be the greatest man who ever set foot on this earth. All will honor my name.” There’s only one problem â€“ the survivors of a shipwreck know the secret behind Benson’s pseudoscience and aim to out him as a false god.
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx stars Patric Knowles as Jerry Church, a private investigator hired by defense attorney Dudley Crispin (Samuel S. Hinds) after five of his clients are strangled to death by a mysterious serial killer known as Dr. Rx. As it turns out, the good doctor has plans for Church too â€“ he’s going to transplant the private eye’s brain into a gorilla. Why? Well, um… why not? What aspiring serial strangler doesn’t need a gorilla gumshoe on his side?
Finally, in The Mad Ghoul, Dr. Alfred Morris (George Zucco) is consumed by curiosity over the effects of an ancient nerve gas, used by the Mayans during human sacrifice rituals. He tests the nerve gas on his assistant, Ted Allison (David Bruce), resulting in the medical student’s transformation into a mindless, grave-robbing ghoul. Now it’s up to the police and ace reporter “Scoop” McClure (Robert Armstrong) to put an end to the Ghoul’s killing spree and Dr. Morris’s mad experiments.
All in all, Universal Horror Collection: Vol. 2 includes a solid selection of pre-code horror films, even if it isn’t as strong as the Karloff and Lugosi-heavy Vol. 1. Each film in Scream Factoryâ€™s 4-disc set looks and sounds great, with spirited production design and makeup effects and memorable performances from horror icons like Lionel Atwell.
In addition to Vol. 1, this set makes a great companion to the Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection as well. The only real disappointment is the lack of special features on Vol. 2 â€“ the first volume was jam-packed with new material, while this release feels pretty barebones in comparison.
Murders in the Zoo
NEW Audio commentary with author/film historian Greg Mank
Mad Doctor of Market Street
The Strange Case of Dr. Rx
NEW Gloriously Wicked: The Life and Legacy of Lionel Atwill
he Mad Ghoul
NEW Audio commentary by film historian Thomas Reader
Universal Horror Collection: Vol. 2 is now available at Amazon. For more reviews of Scream Factory releases, click here.
Clip: Snake Bite Dinner Party (Murders In The Zoo)
Clip: Live Again (The Mad Doctor Of Market Street)