DVD News: Fox Horror Classics, Vol 2

One of the best DVD releases of last year was Fox Horror Classics, Volume 1. On September 9, 20th Century Fox’s home video division will follow-up with Fox Horror Classics, Volume 2, which promises to be another exciting three-disc box set, including CHANDU THE MAGICIAN, DR. RENAULT’S SECRET, and DRAGONWYCK. As with Volume 1, Volume 2 offers some good extras: short featurettes on each film, audio commentaries by experts, stills galleries, before-and-after restoration comparisons, and two radio show performances with actor Vincent Price recreating his role.

The estimable Stuart Galbraith IV at DVDTalk.com, objects that many of the titles in both sets do not belong to the horror genre, but this is a fairly minor bit of semantic quibbling. Volume 1 included and THE UNDYING MONSTER, THE LODGER, and HANGOVER SQUARE: the first is a werewolf movie, and the other two feature psycho killers; all of them are intended to mystify and terrify the audience, and it seems to me that only a very narrow definition of horror could exclude these films from the genre.

Volume 2 may be a bit more problematic in terms of stretching the definition of horror, but all of the titles should be of interest to fans of old-time terror.

CHANDU is a fantasy-adventure serial with some sci-fi overtones – not exactly horror, but at least is has Bela Lugosi, which should please classic horror enthusiasts. RENAULT is a more traditional horror film, featuring the evil doings of a mad scientist, played by genre veteran George Zucco, who was in a ton of these films but usually in supporting roles.

The final film in the set, DRAGONWYCK, is an atmospheric piece of Gothic melodrama, starring the great Gene Tierney and Vincent Price. To say that it is not horror may be an arguable position, but the film is filled brooding mystery and things going bump in the night (even if the ghosts are memories and guilt rather than actual phantoms). In fact, the film plays out like a prelude to Price’s later Poe horror film adaptations, particularly THE TOMB OF LIGIEA – anyone who enjoyed those later horror films will certainly get a kick out of DRAONWYCK, so it’s inclusion as a “Horror” film should not be objectionable.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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