So here we have another double feature of episodes from Movie Macabre, with Elvira this time taking on Maneater of Hydra (1966) and The House That Screamed (1969). The former has the disconcerting spectacle of Cameron Mitchell appearing not only as a baron (ookaaayyy) but being dubbed. He’s experimenting with plants on his remote Greek island, and a group of tourists run afoul of one of his results. Given how long it takes for the titular plant to show up and relieve the dullness, one starts to wonder if the title doesn’t refer instead to one of the hot-to-trot tourists.
The House That Screamed, meanwhile, is a Spanish effort that is something of a period giallo. The setting is a private girls’ school where a series of brutal murders take place. The production is handsome enough, though its concept is no less sleazy for all that.
Not good. Maneater is passable, in that though the mono is far from perfect, it doesn’t commit any horrible crimes. But the score of House suffers from gurgling so extreme it is almost comical. These are pretty dire audio tracks, all in all, but their saving grace is that they are, at least, not as bad as the video.
Dear God. It really is special (if I may put it that way) to see the grain associated with tracking problems on an old VHS tape turning up on a DVD release. House is at least widescreen (non-ananmorphic), but the picture is so washed out and blurry it looks like a multi-generation dupe. Meaneater isn’t much better, but at least the Elvira sequences are halfway watchable. Given that the disc lets us watch the films without interruption, is it too much to ask for a transfer that doesn’t actually make the act of watching an agonizing experience?
Other than the choice of viewing options, nada.
These aren’t the greatest films going, but they do still deserve a decent presentation. Unfortunately, only the most committed viewer will be able to make it all the way through the features.