Georges Bonnet is a doctor and sculptor. He is well known and his work is well recieved. He sculpts beautiful woman that he meets and often then shows these at private events for his friends. The problem is he is actually a 108 year old man that has been able to stay alive because he is killing these women and stealing their Parathyroid gland. He has to murder someone ever ten years in order to have the life giving operation be rejuvenated and live another ten years. During this ten years he must drink a life giving elixar in order not to grow old very quickly. It has seen him move across the face of the country. Moving from large town to large town, avoiding the same people in order to be reborn and escape justice. When however his partner and friend, Dr Weiss is unable to perform the operation he becomes angry. He needs to find a surgeon to perform the operation before he cant survive any longer.
Hammer studios was the British studio that reinvented the horror form. The time before it was a waste land of dull B movie genre cinema. A delightful series of films that were dark and bloody, as well as having deep undertones of sex and lust. These were films that opened the door to modern film makers and new wave producers in cinema. Hammer is well known for its blistering horror output but less known for its other genre films. They are less known for great sub genre films. Films that took a delightful bend of horror and mixed various genre conventions from sci fi, for instance. This is one of their sci fi, horror and gothic mash ups that actually is very good. It takes the fears of the 1950s over the explosion of science and its encroachment on peoples life. Then highlights the fear of hubris in that medium. Blends with a very difficult subject on mortality and death. It takes these fears and bends them into a gothic horror film, that actually complements all three motifs. This works because all three work on our base desire and fear, that of immortality.
Terence Fisher was Hammers go to director. He directed more films than Hitchcock and had as many charectoristic mise en scene and form elements to make his work interesting. In TMWCCD he uses color and canted angles in a dual balance. This adds great tension and disturbance to simple scenes. It is over used now but take it at its time and you will love it. The case is great Diffring is a little camp and flapping but that is the characters centre. Lee is always great and a sad loss to us with his passing. He also helps the Animal/ man balance the film is exploring. The film is very good but suffers from a bloat that is at its tail end. This makes it drag at the wrong point. A film that is tilted in act 3 direction makes you have to focus on pointless scenes of exposition and feels very rushed. This also feels a lot like the fear of the screenwriter. He might have missed something in his exploration of hubris and so has to clean up the cupboard before the visit from the producers.
Now to the Discs themselves. I have rightfully been told off for missing this but here I go to make amends. The features first and they are very good. The booklet is informative and has a great piece on Hammers output in these years. Exclusive new video interview with Kim Newman, shows what a great and intellegent wordsman he is. I was lucky to have spoken to him. He was unlucky enough to have had to listen to me! But here you can enjoy his wonderful insight. The other video of historian Jonathan Rigby is informed but less worthy. It has a brand new 1080p high-definition transfer in the film’s original aspect ratio which allow the visuals themselves to shine a little. I felt it was still dull like a lot of the 50s prints and that was a benefit to the viewer. Never should you enhance a visual pallette like this by making the color over blown. The subs are dull and add little but get the script out. In my opinion it has been brought into today with this exclusive digital restoration but not too much that it loses its past.