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Bela Lugosi Poe trio and horror-comedy Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray in July

7 May 2020

Today Eureka Entertainment announced two belting-looking horror-fantasy themed Blu-ray releases. First up, Ricky Lau’s influential & genre bending horror-comedy Mr. Vampire will be making its worldwide debut on Blu-ray from a new 2K restoration on 20 July. Released the same day will be Murders in the Rue Morgue/The Black Cat/The Raven: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi, which marks the UK Blu-ray debut for all three films. Both releases come with a sizeable collection of impressive-looking special features.

 

Mr Vampire Blu-ray cover art

MR VAMPIRE [GEUNG SEE SIN SANG] (1985) | Limited Edition Blu-ray | 20 July 2020 | £15.99

One of the most genre-defining (not to mention genre-defying!) horror-comedies imaginable, and one of the key Hong Kong blockbuster hits of the 1980s, the popularity and influence of Mr. Vampire cannot be overstated. Spawning at least four sequels and countless spin-offs and imitations, this Hong Kong horror-comedy to end them all was an understandable crowd-pleasing sensation, and triggered a wave of jiangshi (“hopping vampire”) movies. Produced by the legendary Sammo Hung, the original Mr. Vampire is essential viewing for anyone interested in the 80s golden age of Hong Kong cinema.

In a career-making performance, the late Lam Ching-ying is Master Kau, expert on all matters of the supernatural. When Kau and his two bumbling students, Man Choi (famous comedian Ricky Hui) and Chou (Fist of Legend‘s Chin Siu-ho), exhume a corpse for reburial, things go frighteningly and hilariously awry when the cadaver is revealed to be a hopping vampire. With the undead on the loose, Master Kau is blamed for the chaos, and must work with his students to put the spirits to rest before the vampire’s own granddaughter (80s Hong Kong action icon Moon Lee) gets bitten. Fighting the vampires with everything from sticky rice to filing down the bloodsucker’s fangs, the trio must defeat an increasing number of ghoulish dangers.

Director Ricky Lau would go on to make several more Mr. Vampire successors (as well as the related Sammo Hung sequel Encounters of the Spooky Kind II, with Lam Ching-ying as another vampire-battling master), but nothing tops the original for its classic fusion of screams and laughs, and it has never looked as eye-poppingly, vampire-hoppingly beautiful as this new Blu-ray special edition.

Limited Edition Blu-ray features:

  • Limited Edition O-CARD with new artwork by Darren Wheeling [2000 units]
  • Limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film [2000 units] 
  • 1080p presentation from a brand new 2K restoration
  • Original Cantonese audio (original mono presentation)
  • English dub track produced for the film’s original European home video release 
  • English dub track produced for the film’s original American home video release
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Brand new and exclusive feature length audio commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng (NY Asian Film Festival)
  • Alternate end credits
  • Archival interview with Chin Siu-Hou [40 mins]
  • Archival interview with Moon Lee [15 mins]
  • Archival interview with Ricky Lau [12 mins]
  • Original Hong Kong Trailer

 

Murders in the Rue Morgue/The Black Cat/The Raven : Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi Blu-ray cover art

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE/THE BLACK CAT/THE RAVEN : THREE EDGAR ALLAN POE ADAPTATIONS STARRING BELA LUGOSI (1932/1932/1935) | Limited Edition Blu-ray | 20 July 2020 | £27.99

This trio of classic 1930s horror films – Murders in the Rue MorgueThe Black Cat, and The Raven – is also distinguished by a trio of factors regarding their production. Most notably, each film is based on a work by master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe. Part of the legendary wave of horror films made by Universal Pictures in the 30s, all three feature dynamic performances from Dracula‘s Bela Lugosi, with two of them also enlivened by the appearance of Frankenstein‘s Boris Karloff. And finally, all three benefit from being rare examples of Pre-Code studio horror, their sometimes startling depictions of sadism and shock a result of being crafted during that brief period in Hollywood before the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code’s rigid guidelines for moral content.

Director Robert Florey, who gave the Marx Brothers their cinema start with The Cocoanuts in 1929, worked with Metropolis cinematographer Karl Freund to give a German Expressionism look to Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), with Lugosi as a mad scientist running a twisted carnival sideshow in 19th-century Paris, and murdering women to find a mate for his talking ape main attraction. Lugosi and Karloff teamed forces for the first time in The Black Cat, a nightmarish psychodrama that became Universal’s biggest hit of 1934, with Detour director Edgar G. Ulmer bringing a feverish flair to the tale of a satanic, necrophiliac architect (Karloff) locked in battle with an old friend (Lugosi) in search of his family. Prolific B-movie director Lew Landers made 1935’s The Raven so grotesque that all American horror films were banned in the U.K. for two years in its wake. Specifically referencing Poe within its story, Lugosi is a plastic surgeon obsessed with the writer, who tortures fleeing murderer Karloff through monstrous medical means.

Significant and still unsettling early works of American studio horror filmmaking, these three Pre-Code chillers demonstrate the enduring power of Poe’s work, and the equally continuous appeal of classic Universal horror’s two most iconic stars.

Limited Edition Blu-ray features:

  • Limited Edition Set [2000 copies]
  • O-Card Slipcase
  • 48-PAGE collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film critic and writer Jon Towlson; a new essay by film critic and writer Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; and rare archival imagery and ephemera 
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations for all three films, with The Raven presented from a 2K scan of the original film elements
  • Uncompressed LPCM monaural audio tracks
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue – Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
  • The Black Cat – Audio commentary by Gregory William Mank
  • The Black Cat – Audio commentary by Amy Simmons
  • The Raven – Audio commentary by Gary D. Rhodes
  • The Raven – Audio commentary by Samm Deighan
  • Cats In Horror – a video essay by writer and film historian Lee Gambin
  • New interview with critic and author Kim Newman
  • American Gothic – a video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
  • “The Black Cat” episode of radio series Mystery In The Air, starring Peter Lorre
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” episode of radio series Inner Sanctum Mysteries, starring Boris Karloff
  • Bela Lugosi reads “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • Vintage footage