If you are shopping for that last minute present for that horror fan in the family, let me tell you about what Synapse has put out on dvd finally. The Complete Hammer House of Horror finally sees the light of day in one 5 disc collection. A lot of people may remember this little British anthology show from the early 80â€™s that seemed to be very ahead of its time. This collection has the whole history of the show all 13 episodes that clock in at about 52 minutes each. Now all of the shows are not hits, and there are a few that fall short, but none of them are truly bad. They are all watchable and entertaining. To me, the three stories that were bad were the 4th episode that was called Growing Pains. The story is something we have heard before a family who is sad about the loss of their son; he comes back from the dead to haunt them. The episode is weak is because it goes nowhere fast, it is just so slow and long and by the end it just feels like it was a wasted opportunity. Again, it was so bad I would not say do not watch it, but compared to the three stories that led this dvd off, this is the drop off episode that just seems to go nowhere and you are happy you watched it, but you are more happy it is over. Another one I sort of felt dragged was the Carpathian Eagle. Now keep in mind before you get to this, the other stories are again really fun and strong and very unique for their time.
Pierce Brosnan has a small cameo as a victim, in a story about a serial killer that has a twist to the story. For 1980, I assume the concept of a twist like this was cutting edge and maybe groundbreaking. Again, this is another one that suffers from bad pacing, it is way too slow and once the twist comes to light, the ending is so predictable and really suffers from a lack of direction. I guess my mother who has never seen Sixth Sense or Seven or the hundreds of films that have to be so smart that it gives us that ending we cannot see coming, would love this more than someone who has seen so many twists and turns in films that I expected everything that happened to happen. To me, the worst of all the whole series was Guardian of the Abyss overall. It is a story we have seen done to death over and over about a satanic cult that is pretty clueless and even less original. Those weaknesses aside, the rest of this dvd is solid. The atmosphere in most of these stories really is more eerie than the story being told, but you have fun and get some good scares along the way. For being a television series the episodes really boost some questionable material to be shown on a station at that time, and some very un-television violence that may explain why this television show had such a quick run. This is very entertaining and extremely creepy. To think this lead to stuff that would come later like the Friday the 13th show and the awful Freddy Nightmares. All in all, this is a present that any horror fan would love.
9 out of 10