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The Vengeance Of She (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory continues its dig through the annals of Hammer Horror history with the debut of the hotly demanded and requested title, The Vengeance of She! The first film remains only on DVD via Warner Archive Collection (C’mon dudes, lets match up here!), but getting the sequel is a nice start. Its coming with some fresh new interviews, a 2K scan and an episode of World of Hammer (Always cool to see these on the extras list). Start off your She collection at the end by picking this one up and hopefully its not too long before the Ursula Andress original arrives on Blu-ray. The Vengeance of She arrives on February 26th, available from the Amazon link below.

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Film 

A young beautiful woman named Carol (Olinka Berova) is plagued by hallucinatory voices calling her “Ayesha” and is drawn by a mysterious force toward the east. During her voyage, she meets Dr. Philip Smith (Edward Judd) who decides to accompany Carol to her unknown destination. Eventually the two reach the lost city of Kuma where Carol is greeted as the reincarnation of Queen Ayesha, the beloved of King Killikrates (John Richardson). Philip is imprisoned and meets Za-Tor (Noel Willman) who tells him of the high priest’s deceitful plan to obtain the secret of immortality by bringing back Ayesha to King Killikrates. Will Philip escape in time to reveal the truth and save Carol from destruction?

One of the big selling factors above all else with the original She, was star Ursuala Andress, who was quite iconic beyond just her breakout in the James Bond film Dr. No. Unfortunately for Hammer, her contract was done with them and she was under no obligation to do this movie. Instead, newcomer Olinka Berova was brought in as a sorta replacement. And well, its just not the same without Ursula. Unfair to Berova, but there is a humongous drop in charisma and the ability to command a celluloid frame with just your presence.

I hadn’t seen The Vengeance of She before, but knew it was a pretty well demanded Blu-ray title and personally I’m not seeing why. Its quite possibly for collector’s sake. The film’s plot is incredibly exposition heavy and features a lot of talking and not a whole lot of any doing. There aren’t many action beats, suspenseful or graphic moments to keep the film afloat. The costumes and sets are more period centric and not wild or a thing of beauty at any point. There is just a whole lot of conversing that’ll have your mind wandering away until the film goes up in a little blue flame.

Yes, I’ve been pretty hard on the film here, but the overall arc was nothing too special we hadn’t seen before and the way its told is pretty plodding with no real commanding or high camp performances to captivate (The ones that do aren’t there for too long). I do plan to return to the film and give it another shake in the near future, but overall, this one was a time checker for the most part. Its very very 60s in its feel and pacing, which you can flip a coin if its going to be watching something cool and abstract or watching paint dry on a canvass.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream Factory touts a new 2K scan of the original film elements for the debut of The Vengeance of She on Blu-ray. And its actually pretty impressive here. There’s a good saturation of the colors and the image is pretty crisp with a good deal of the grain left intact to compliment the image.

Depth:  Decent spacing is present in the image. Nothing mind blowing, but the camera and characters move smoothly and comfortable through every environment. There is also some admirable pushback feel to them as well.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty deep and genuine. Some detail is consumed by the darkened caverns, but much texture and pattern still remain visible. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong, from flashy fabrics sticking out to bursting lipstick on a few characters. Whites and blues impress as well, especially the flame in the cavern toward the end.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and pretty consistent throughout.  Facial features are pretty discernible from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean. The print is in really good shape too.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The Vengeance of She arrives with a nice, loud and pronounced mono track. The score builds and strikes with some impressive power. Effects are surprisingly well displayed in their depth and layering. Overall, this mix features a good balance and presents the film in a nice imposing form to your viewing area.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and plenty audible throughout with a very analog sourced feel to them.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • By the Monster Party podcast hosts Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe and James Gonis

Terence Clegg: Assistant Director (HD, 2:35) – Shares a couple memories, like the lead actor being a diva (“bit of a Madam”) and the crew not liking him. Leading lady was popular on set. He admittedly doesn’t remember a lot about the movie and talks of shooting the ending scenes and has a little story about it (Which I won’t spoil, but is pretty funny).

Joy Cuff: Visual Effects (HD, 8:02) – She lept to this movie from 2001: A Space Odyssey. She has a much better recollection of her experience and the film than the ‘ol AD. There’s talk of her designs for the temples among other things while the bust scene in the movie sits behind her (Meant to look like Ursula Andress).

Trevor Coop: Clapper/Loader (HD, 5:42) – His second movie as a clapper/loader, following Quatemass and the Pit. He gives a nice picture of the logistics of the location shooting and actually incidentally touches upon something Terrence Clegg brought up in his interview.

World of Hammer Episode: Lands Before Time (SD, 24:40) 

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:23)

TV Spots (SD, 1:22)

Image Gallery (HD, 5:27)

Summary 

On my first viewing, The Vengeance of She really wasn’t my cup of tea and I found myself a bit bored. Though, I’m willing to do my research as to the appeal of the film and give it another shot under a different mental lens. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray for it is terrific though, with a great presentation and some fun interviews. Its honestly pretty neat to see the elders be so blunt and honest about things (Nobody was very fond of the lead actor in the film). Hammer fans should grab this for the sheer fact that it could be something scarce later on. Those curious may want to view it first in some way before making the choice to buy.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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