Blu-ray Review: THE REPTILE

THE REPTILE was directed by John Gilling from a screenplay by Anthony Hinds and stars Ray Barrett, Jennifer Daniel, Noel Willman, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper and Marne Maitland.

In The Reptile, a deadly epidemic is spreading through the remote Cornish village of Clagmoor Heath. As darkness falls, its victims are found foaming at the mouth with savage wounds on their necks. After his brother falls prey to the “black death,” Harry Spalding (Ray Barrett) travels with his new wife (Jennifer Daniel) to Clagmoor to investigate his sibling’s mysterious death. With little help from the unfriendly locals, Harry follows a trail of clues that leads him to the sinister Dr. Franklyn (Noel Willman), the doctor’s strange, but beautiful daughter (Jacqueline Pearce) … and a horrific family secret.

Harry Spalding (Ray Barrett) and his new bride Valerie (Jennifer Daniel) move into his late brother’s cottage where they quickly notice that the locals keep their distance and aren’t ready to give the two a warm welcome. There is Tom Bailey (Michael Ripper), a local pub owner, who befriends the couple but also warns them that they should leave the village because of the mysterious deaths that still haven’t been explained. Valerie ends up getting a surprise introduction to Dr. Franklyn (Noel Willman) who forces himself into the couple’s home while he’s looking for his daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce) who runs away whenever she gets the chance. But why? There’s also Mad Peter (John Laurie), the local outcast, who also warns the couple that something isn’t right in the village and then all of a sudden he becomes the next victim of this mysterious illness that happens to come with bite marks.

What happens is, even Harry gets bitten but is able to escape the death penalty that comes with it thanks to his wife and Tom Bailey. It’s also because this bite wasn’t meant to be deadly. All is finally revealed when Dr. Franklyn is confronted by the couple and this is when Anna’s shocking secret is ultimately exposed because she’s part reptile and her bite can be deadly when she needs it to be. In the end, Dr. Franklyn has to go up against his own servant (Marne Maitland) who’s also a part of the reason his daughter has been cursed, and as soon as the servant is dealt with, Anna decides it’s time to pay back her dear old dad and she bites him. During the big struggle in the finale, the house ends up getting set on fire leaving Dr. Franklyn and Anna trapped inside while Harry and Valerie are able to make their escape.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some classic promo art. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. 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 with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Reptile ended up being another first time watch for me and I really got a kick out of this 1966 horror classic. I liked the suspense-filled story about this mysterious curse and thought the cast did a great job with their characters. The Reptile is an atmospheric gothic chiller through and through but it also slowly turns into a venomous creature feature as it plays out. Speaking of creature features, the makeup effects for the creature are well done and also have a creepiness about them. The look for the victims and how they appeared once they were bitten was also impressive. Director John Gilling did a fine job telling the story and bringing it to life on screen. This one is all about the characters but the location and sets are what gives this one its gothic vibe, like so many other Hammer classics from yesteryear. I’m so thrilled that Scream Factory continues to dig deeper into the Hammer Films library and they did a really good job with this release. The Reptile will be available on Blu-ray on July 30th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 91 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition (1.66:1) and (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some new audio commentary, a new interview, a vintage making of featurette, a classic World of Hammer episode, a couple of theatrical trailers, TV spot and two image galleries.

  • NEW audio commentary by film historians Steve Haberman, Constantine Nasr and Ted Newsom
  • NEW interview with 1st assistant director William P. Cartlidge (21:39)
  • The Serpent’s Tale – The Making of The Reptile (22:45)
  • World of Hammer – Wicked Women (24:52)
  • Theatrical Trailers (06:33)
  • TV Spot (00:23)
  • Still Gallery (03:48)
  • Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (04:51)
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3.5

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