Blu-ray Review: THE UNCANNY

THE UNCANNY was directed by Denis Héroux from a screenplay by Michel Parry and stars Peter CushingRay MillandDonald Pleasence, Samantha Eggar, Susan Penhaligon, John Vernon and Alexandra Stewart. In 1977, legendary Amicus co-founder Milton Subotsky teamed with Canadian producer Claude Héroux to bring this feline chiller to life.

This 1977 horror anthology follows Wilbur Gray (Peter Cushing), a paranoid writer who must convince his publisher Frank Richards (Ray Milland) that all cats are unholy fiends based on three tales of kitty carnage.

The movie begins in 1977 when Wilbur Gray visits Frank Richards to show the publisher some stories he has about these killer cats that supposedly have supernatural powers. He shares each event with his publisher who doesn’t seem interested in them at all and in the end the poor writer finds out the hard way that maybe he should’ve kept these feline stories of the macabre to himself. The first segment takes place in 1912 London and centers around Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood), a wealthy old woman with a lot of cats. She loves her cats so much that she decides to rewrite her will and leave them her fortune. There’s also her nephew Michael (Simon Williams) and maid Janet (Susan Penhaligon) who come up with a plan to change the will. Miss Malkin catches Janet in the act but she’s no match for the younger woman who kills her in her own bed. This is when the cats take matters in their own paws and get revenge for the murder.

The next segment takes place in 1975 Quebec and follows Lucy (Katrina Holden), a young orphan girl who comes to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents die in a plane crash. She also brings along her cat, Wellington that isn’t welcome in their new home. It doesn’t take long for her cousin Angela (Chloe Franks) to start picking on her but Lucy has a few supernatural tricks up her sleeve and gets back at her nasty cousin in a disturbing way. The third and final segment takes place in 1936 Hollywood and follows Valentine De’ath (Donald Pleasence) who kills his actress wife so his mistress Edina (Samantha Eggar) can take her role in the horror movie they’re filming. His dead wife’s cat begins to torment the two actors, and even though they try to get rid of it numerous times, the cat is always one step ahead of them until it finally avenges her death.

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. This Severin release comes in a black keepcase which helps it stand out from the others. 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 Uncanny was scanned from an inter-negative recently discovered in a London vault. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were really good. I noticed a couple of blotches but that’s it. I didn’t really have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I always enjoy a good horror anthology and The Uncanny not only ended up being a good one – it’s a great one! You don’t have to be a cat lover or hater to enjoy this fancy feast of a thriller because it’s such an entertaining watch that features a handful of legends from film and television. I enjoyed the stories for all three of the segments as well as the wrap around that tied it all together. Each segment takes place at different times and locations but the one thing that connects them all are the cats and the paranoid writer who shares these dark stories and ends up finding out the hard way that maybe he shouldn’t have. Peter Cushing nails it as this paranoid writer who accidentally wages war with an army of cats that are ready to take over the world. Director Denis Héroux did a fantastic job telling these stories and bringing them to life on screen plus they feature some fun performances by some familiar faces. The Uncanny definitely has the classic look of an Amicus or Hammer production that so many horror fans will pick up on. This was another first time watch for me and I had a blast with it, so much that I hope Severin digs up and dusts off more horror classics like this gem from the 70’s. The Uncanny will be available on Blu-ray on May 28th.

Distributor: Severin Films

Run Time: 89 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85.1)

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

Subtitles: N/A

Special Features: The extras include “The Cat’s Victim” – an Interview with actress Susan Penhaligon (11:47) and the original trailer (02:32).

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