Friday, 4 May 2018

Hammer Films Double Feature: Maniac & Die! Die! My Darling! Blu-ray Review

Not Rated; 184 minutes; Buy Link

I'm back!!!!!

Well, I actually didn't go anywhere at all! I've just been procrastinating once again, which explains why my review for the Hammer Films Double Feature: Maniac & Die! Die! My Darling! is so late. Originally, I meant to have it written and posted around the same time I had reviewed the Hammer Films Double Feature: Never Take Candy From a Stranger and Scream of Fear! (Read my review here!).

While Hammer Film Production has been around since 1938, the film company didn't become famous until it started releasing horror flicks. The birth of "Hammer Horror" began with the first film in The Quatermass Experiment trilogy in 1955. The horror genre was very successful for Hammer until the 1970s, when their Gothic-style stories started to fade with moviegoers. Their last horror film was To the Devil... a Daughter, which was released in 1976. The production company seemed to dead until it was revamped in 2007. Since then, the company has returned to their horror roots with several feature films, including The Woman in Black and its sequel The Woman in Black: Angel of Death.

For the last few years, Mill Creek Entertainment has been releasing several of the Hammer horror films to DVD and Blu-ray. Most recently, they released Hammer Films Double Feature: Maniac & Die! Die! My Darling! to Blu-ray.

Directed by Michael Carreras, Maniac is a 1963 British-French psychological-thriller that centers on Jeff Farrell (played by Kerwin Mathews), an American artist who finds himself alone in France after breaking up with his girlfriend. With nowhere to go, he ends up renting a room above a bar owned by Eve Beynat (played by Nadia Gray) and her stepdaughter, Annette (played by Liliane Brousse). Despite an age difference, Jeff falls for Eve, who convinces him to help her husband escape an asylum. Unfortunately, Jeff finds out that things aren't always as they seem to be.

Directed by Silvio Narizzano, Die! Die! My Darling! (also known as Frantic) is a 1965 British horror-thriller that centers on Patricia Carrol (played by Stefanie Powers), an American woman who is planning on marrying her boyfriend Alan (played by Maurice Kaufmann) in London. However, before she can get married, she needs to make a visit to her deceased fiancé Stephen's mother in Mrs. Trefoile (played by Tallulah Bankhead), who lives in a secluded house near a small English village. Upon arriving, Patricia quickly learns that Mrs. Trefoile is extremely religious and doesn't allow any modern technology in her home. Plus, the woman blames Patricia for her son's death. With the help of her servants, the old woman holds Patricia hostage in the attempt to cleanse her soul!

Final Thoughts

I'm so glad Mill Creek Entertainment has released these two Hammer classics to Blu-ray, as the picture quality comes in so much better than what was on the Hammer Film Collection: Volume Two DVD set that was released a few years ago.

Maniac is less horror and more of a thriller. For me, I found it to be a bit boring for the first half of the film, but the story does pick up a bit in the second half. The acting is pretty solid and there's an interesting twist towards the end, as well as a thrilling chase scene.

Die! Die! My Darling! is my favorite of the two films in this release. It has a reverse psycho-like plot that relies on Bankhead's incredible performance as a grief-stricken mad mother. Stefanie Powers also gives an excellent performance as well.

Overall, I enjoyed watching (well, rewatching) both of the films on the Hammer Films Double Feature Blu-ray.. If you have never seen either of these films, I highly recommend them.

*Note -  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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