Sunday, February 18, 2018
THE VAULT OF AMICUS
THE VAULT OF AMICUS is the extras disc exclusive to Severin's THE AMICUS COLLECTION Blu-ray box set.
The disc features over 30 trailers from almost every Amicus production. Some of the trailers look almost brand new, others look as if they've been through a washing machine. Even trailers from non-horror Amicus films are included, such as DANGER ROUTE and THE BIRTHDAY PARTY. One can also listen to the trailers with an audio commentary from British horror film experts Kim Newman and David Flint. Newman in particular knows these films like the back of his hand, and his comments on them are insightful and entertaining. I expected Newman to be a bit sarcastic towards some of the titles, but he looks back at most of them with a certain fondness--he even goes out of his way to avoid bashing THE TERRORNAUTS!
The disc also has two extensive audio interviews with the men behind Amicus, Max J. Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky. Both interviews were recorded years ago on generic recording equipment, so the quality of the talks is sub-standard at times. While listening to these talks, one must take everything Rosenberg and Subotsky say with a grain of salt--both men had a lot of axes to grind (especially against each other).
Max J. Rosenberg's recollections were for Jonathan Sothcott, and they last about 45 minutes. According to Rosenberg, it was he who was the guiding light behind Amicus, and Milton Subotsky caused trouble on almost every production.
The Milton Subotsky interview lasts about three hours, and I listened to the whole thing. (What does that say about my life?) Subotsky's talks were with Philip Nutman, who was planning a book on Amicus. Subotsky's reminisces are fascinating from a film geek's point of view....but after a while one gets weary hearing his diatribes. Subotsky claims to have "saved" almost every Amicus production through either his rewriting or re-editing--and the ones he didn't do any major work on he dismisses as terrible. Not surprisingly, he doesn't have much good to say about Max Rosenberg. Listening to these two men snipe at each other (and at several other people involved in the film industry) is rather sad--you start to wonder how any Amicus production got made at all. The one good thing about these talks is that whenever Rosenberg or Subotsky are talking about a certain film, the poster for it is shown on the screen--it is far better than looking at the same image throughout the talk, or no image at all, which is how many other audio interviews on other DVDs and Blu-rays are presented.
Now that I have finally gone through the entire THE AMICUS COLLECTION box set, what are my overall thoughts about it?
I have to say right off the bat that it is a worthy purchase, just for the extras alone. As I have mentioned in the individual blog posts I wrote on the three films included in the set, all the movies have been released on home video before, but I think that Severin has done enough to make one want to buy these titles again. I do have to say, however, that you certainly shouldn't buy the set just for THE BEAST MUST DIE--that film has below-average visual quality and not enough new extras.
Speaking of visual quality, I have read other internet reviews of this set that have dismissed it out of hand, some even saying that all the films looked horrible. I think that at times genre fans take for granted that every Blu-ray release is supposed to look absolutely perfect. These are low-budget movies made over 40 years ago--it may be that Severin had to deal with whatever elements they could get there hands on. All in all, I think Severin has put out a fine package of material, and I hope this set spurs on other companies to release other extra-laden special editions of these types of films.