Blu-ray Review: THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES

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THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES is based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The movie was directed by Terence Fisher, from a screenplay by Peter Bryan and stars Peter Cushing, André Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi, Ewen Solon, David Oxley and Francis de Wolff. The score is by James Bernard.

The opening scene of this 1959 Hammer Films Production sets up everything with Sir Hugo Baskerville (David Oxley) who is hosting a party where a beautiful young woman escapes from what appears to be a rather uncomfortable situation involving her. Baskerville chases after her and when he finally captures her, he stabs and kills her in cold blood. As soon as this happens, he hears a terrifying howl close by and ultimately ends up on the receiving end of some kind of large dog that stays hidden from the screen. All the viewer has to go on is the howling and the terrified look on Baskerville’s face as something attacks and kills him. This begins the legend and the curse of The Hound of the Baskervilles because more family members would fall to this Hound of Hell in the years to come.

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Fast forward centuries later where Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and his loyal sidekick Dr. Watson (André Morell) meet Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) and in their very first meeting a tarantula finds its way on Henry’s shoulder. Has the curse returned? Holmes and Watson are on the case and Watson pretty much gets the lead in this investigation. Enter Stapleton (Ewen Solon) and his daughter Cecille (Marla Landi), two more characters that are brought into the mix and as suspense builds and the story plays out. The time finally comes when Henry has to come face to face with a surprise that reveals a shocking family secret. On top of this the Hound of Hell also makes a full appearance in the end and of course Holmes and Watson are there to save the day. The mystery is solved and this old family curse is finally laid to rest.

The Hound of the Baskervilles ended up being another first time watch for me and I thoroughly enjoyed this classic Hammer Films Production. I’m familiar with many of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories and now I can finally check this one off. The story was fun and all of the main characters were interesting. It’s all about a supposed family curse that is ultimately unveiled as something much more. Everybody knows who Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are and these two classic characters are on the case! The movie features these classic movie icons who put on a great performance in this gothic yarn from a much simpler time. The movie is more character and story driven so the special effects are kept to a minimum but the Hound of Hell does look pretty terrifying when we finally get to see it. Sure, it’s a dog with a few accessories but that’s one mean looking dog!

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The front of the packaging features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, a few quotes, an image and list of special features. The reverse sleeve and Blu-ray disc feature some matching artwork. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes a lot of images from the movie and some nice words about The Hound of the Baskervilles by Julie Kirgo. You can see the cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues at all with the video and audio for this release.

Bottom line is, I had an absolute blast watching The Hound of the Baskervilles that was also a first time watch for me. I really enjoy these old Hammer classics and glad that distributors like Twilight Time dust them off and shine them up for new generations of horror fans to enjoy and appreciate. Otherwise these old movies would be lost in time and sadly forgotten about. Anyway, the story was a lot of fun and all of the main players were interesting to follow. Peter Cushing shines once again in an iconic role that he portrayed numerous times and we get to see Christopher Lee in a more vulnerable role in this go around. He usually plays the big bad but not here! This Limited Edition Blu-ray released on June 14th and is a must have for horror aficionados and fans of the old Hammer classics. There’s only 3,000 units so don’t miss out on this one!

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (1.66:1) Color / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff!

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke
  • Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee (13:00)
  • Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson on The Hound of the Baskervilles (14:52)
  • Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from Mr. Sherlock Holmes (14:35) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (06:22)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:07)
  • MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (02:06)

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