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From Beyond The Grave (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection is a brand to follow when it comes to physical media releases. Rivaling that of reveals from Arrow Video, Criterion Collection and Vinegar Syndrome, we know when in the month that their upcoming titles will be announced but what they will be is an intriguing mystery. And given how large the catalog of Warner Bros (And New Line) is, it could be any number of things. Being that its October, horror is the overwhelming theme with the Blu-ray titles. From Beyond The Grave comes to us from Amicus Productions. Like Hammer Horror (And to some degree American International Pictures), the United States rights to the films spread across all sorts of holders and studios. Amicus’ bread and butter over the others back in the day was their ability and consistency in putting out horror anthology movies. From Beyond the Grave is one of those, and has been featured in the Twisted Terror Collection (Alongside John Carpenter’s Someone’s Watching Me, Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend and Dr. Giggles). Its available to order now from the Amazon link below.

Film 

Bolt the door, lower the lights and settle in for a stylish five-episode supernatural shocker possessed of a shivery all-star cast and drenched in evil. Welcome to Temptations Ltd., a decrepit antique shop whose unwary customers get more than they bargain for from the wily proprietor (Peter Cushing). A mirror. A medal. A snuff box. An ornate door. All unleash novelty surprises for the characters in these wickedly horrific tales featuring an all-star ensemble of the doomed.

There’s a nifty wrap around to From Beyond the Grave that features Peter Cushing as an antiques shop owner who sells stuff to people who later take it home and have their lives upended by it. Cushing is such his lovely self and the premise of the room and his delivery so good, you almost don’t want it to leave there. You kind of want to just focus on him for the movie. But, that could be the part of being left wanting some more. Its a different, more unique character for Cushing too, as he’s a little more rough and tumble and showcases what sounds like a thicker Scottish accent.

There are some stars of the genre that show up here and lead stories which is pretty fun. Though, I feel this movie sort of peaks a bit early and never finds its way back. As with every horror anthology movies, you win some, you lose some. Some you like more than others. This one starts at its best and just slowly works down notches as it goes. And the recognizable faces (Not that it matters) start getting less recognizable as you go too. The David Warner led one to kick things off was my favorite, and it had some really spooky stuff in it. The rest have their moments and fun, but nothing quite gets back to that first high.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Warner Archive Collection debuts From Beyond the Grave on Blu-ray on what can be assumed to be a 2K transfer of the film. And it yields some terrific results here. The image is crisper, retaining its natural grains structure and fulfilling plenty of details in every corner of the image. The print appears to be in dynamite shape and showcases very good color and deep, close to natural blacks. The image keeps a very spooky vibe and plays into the whole thing swimmingly.

Depth: Decent depth of field here as the characters look loose and free to frolic through the frames and the camera movements feel clean and confident. No motion distortions noticed on this viewing.

Black Levels: Blacks run deeper and close to natural. They do end up being pretty grainy at times, but do manage to keep a lot of detail information in the frame no matter the darkness. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors look pretty luscious here as they tend to in these productions. Reds flow gorgeously and blue is a pretty dominant and well saturated color into this image.  A particular good glance at the reds comes in the form of some of the wallpapers, especially in the final story behind the weapons hung up on the walls.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and texture show through very well in medium and close up shots. Wrinkles, make up lines, freckles, sweat, stubble and more come through wonderfully in medium and close up shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

Audio 

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

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: From Beyond the Grave retains its original mono track in lossless form for its Blu-ray debut. The tracks features a really nice, layered appeal with a pretty nice depth to the sounds effects. The balance of the effects, music and vocals plays very well. This mix doesn’t have a big impact as its light on the low frequency end, but still manages to be rather effective enough in its own right.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals have a faint analog hiss as an underlying base but is rather clear with light issues on S’s hissing or any sort of peaking.

Extras 

Trailer (HD, 2:49)

Summary 

From Beyond the Grave is a fun little outing in the horror anthology realm. If you’re into classic Hammer/Amicus stuff, then it’ll be right up your alley. Warner Archive Collection’s release may be light on the extras, but it features a pretty impressive presentation that keeps the film fresh and alive to carry on in another generation of the home video world.

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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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