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Val Lewton Horror Collection
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Val Lewton Horror Collection

5.0 1
Director: Gunther Von Fritsch, Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson

Cast: Robert Wise

Inspired by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin's famous painting, this seminal horror film marked the first of three collaborations between RKO producer Val Lewton and British genre star Boris Karloff. Set during the 1912 Balkan Wars, Isle of the Dead featured Karloff as Greek general Pherides who, along with an American journalist (Marc Cramer), visits the gravesite


Inspired by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin's famous painting, this seminal horror film marked the first of three collaborations between RKO producer Val Lewton and British genre star Boris Karloff. Set during the 1912 Balkan Wars, Isle of the Dead featured Karloff as Greek general Pherides who, along with an American journalist (Marc Cramer), visits the gravesite of his late wife on a deserted island. They find the grave desecrated and a group of travelers held hostage by the superstitious beliefs of Kyra (Helene Thimig). One by one, the inhabitants of the island are felled by what Dr. Drossos (Ernest Dorian aka Ernst Deutsch) terms the plague, but what Kyra insists is the work of Thea (Ellen Drew), a young nurse she believes to be a "varvoloka," an ancient Greek vampire. Thea's patient, Mrs. St. Aubun (Katherine Emery), suffers from death-like trances and, sure enough, during one of her spells, she is pronounced dead by Swiss archeologist Albrecht (Jason Robards Sr. and is interred alive.

Bedlam is one of the costlier psychological-horror efforts from RKO producer Val (Curse of the Cat People) Lewton. Boris Karloff stars as the supervisor of the notorious 18th century British insane asylum St. Mary's of Bethlehem, better known as "Bedlam." Anna Lee, who co-stars as the feisty mistress of a fatuous government official, is appalled by the miserable treatment afforded the Bedlam inmates and insists that reforms be initiated. The crafty, politically connected Karloff responds by having Lee herself incarcerated in the institution: she is a "willful woman", and therefore must be insane. With the help of a few of the more rational patients, Lee stages a mutiny, capturing Karloff and giving him a mock trial. Though they don't truly intend to harm Karloff, he is seriously injured by one of his tormented patients. Assuming that Karloff is dead, the other inmates wall up his body in the cellar -- and as the last brick is put in place, we see Karloff's eyes suddenly open! Though it has it moments of genuine terror, Bedlam is as historically accurate as possible, right down to the archaic dialogue passages. For the most part, the film is an indictment against political corruption, with Karloff (in a terrific, multi-faceted performance) alternately bullying and wheedling to save his own behind. Val Lewton (writing under the pseudonym Carlos Keith) based his film on one of the illustrations in Hogarth's "The Rake's Progress," glimpses of which are seen throughout the film as transitional devices.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In the early and middle 1940s, producer Val Lewton turned out the most stylish, literate horror movies made up to that point in time. He did so while hamstrung by the low budgets and occasionally ridiculous titles foisted on him by RKO's marketing division. But it's a tribute to his stewardship -- and the creativity of the production unit he assembled -- that these films still enjoy the respect of fright-film connoisseurs and continue to influence new practitioners in the genre. Working at a time when Universal's classic-monster slugfests dominated the field, Lewton and his directors concentrated on mood, atmosphere, and psychological terror. They operated on the assumption that what you don't see is often more unnerving that what you do see. And they were right. How else to explain the success of Cat People (1942), with its beautiful girls supposedly turning into murderous panthers, or I Walked with a Zombie (1943), a cleverly adapted (and thinly disguised) version of Jane Eyre? Lewton and his team excelled at making the commonplace menacing, as when a cozy New York neighborhood became home to a devil-worshiping cult in 1943's The Seventh Victim or a dusty New Mexico town became a killing field in The Leopard Man (made in the same year). But his scriptwriters employed more typical horror-genre locations as well, setting Isle of the Dead (1945) on a sinister Greek island and Bedlam (1946) in an 18th-century insane asylum. Lewton teamed horror icons Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in a neatly scripted adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher (1945) and even filtered the terrors of Curse of the Cat People (1944) through the imagination of a scared child. There isn't a single weak film in this box, although some are clearly better than others. Frankly, we'd think it worth buying just for Cat People, Zombie, and Ghost Ship (another 1943 release), but having Lewton's entire output in one collection will be nirvana for shudder-show devotees. This Collection also includes the 2008 documentary Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows, narrated by filmmaker and fan Martin Scorsese. The film, which debuted on Turner Classic Movies in January 2008, adds considerable perspective to Lewton's collected work, and was written and directed by Kent Jones.

Product Details

Release Date:
Turner Home Ent
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; A great new career documentary; Expert commentaries on 7 movies

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Val Lewton Primary Artist
Boris Karloff Gen. Nikolas Pherides,John Gray,Master George Sims
Dennis O'Keefe Jerry Manning
Kim Hunter Mary Gibson
Richard Dix Captain
Simone Simon Irena Dubrovna
Tom Conway Paul Holland,Dr. Louis Judd
Anna Lee Neil Rowen
Bela Lugosi Joseph
Ellen Drew Thea
Frances Dee Betsy Connell
Kent Smith Oliver Reed
Margo Clo-Clo
Russell Wade Tom Merriam,Donald Fettes
Billy House Lord Mortimer
Edith Barrett Ellen,Mrs. Holland
Henry Daniell Dr. Wolfe "Toddy" MacFarlane
Hugh Beaumont Gregory Ward
James Ellison Wesley Rand
Jean Brooks Kiki Walker,Jacqueline Gibson
Marc Cramer Oliver Davis
Edith Atwater Meg Camden
Glenn Vernon The Gilded Boy
Isabel Jewell Frances Fallon,Maria
Jane Randolph Alice Moore,Alice Reed
Katherine Emery Mrs. St. Aubyn
Lawrence Tierney Louie
Alan Napier Mr. St. Aubyn
Ann Carter Amy
Ben Bard Bowns
Christine Gordon Jessica Holland
Donna Lee Street Singer
Jack Holt Commodore
James Bell Dr. Galbraith,Dr. Maxwell
Jason Robards Oliver Todd,Albrecht
Edmund Glover Jacob Winslow
Eve March Miss Callahan
Evelyn Brent Natalie Cortez
Elizabeth Russell Barbara
Erford Gage Jason Hoag
Helene Thimig Kyra
Rita Corday Mrs. Marsh

Technical Credits
Gunther Von Fritsch Director
Jacques Tourneur Director
Mark Robson Director
Robert Wise Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cat People/The Curse of the Cat People
1. Credits and Foreword [1:11]
2. First Real Friend [3:53]
3. Wicked Ones [4:02]
4. Animal Uproar [4:29]
5. Fairy Tales [2:19]
6. Moya Sestra [4:48]
7. Like a Leopard [3:27]
8. Dr. Judd [5:04]
9. Restless Cats [3:20]
10. What Love Is [3:20]
11. Between Mind and Soul [1:45]
12. Drifting Apart [2:26]
13. Stalking Alice [5:35]
14. Key to Evil [3:25]
15. Pool Panic [4:35]
16. Of Interest to Judd [4:16]
17. Confession of Love [2:04]
18. Unlocked Door [2:55]
19. Stalking Oliver and Alice [3:24]
20. Transformation [3:47]
21. Both Parts Must Die [2:24]
1. Credits [1:04]
2. Winged Friend [2:35]
3. Oliver's Fears [2:46]
4. Dreams and Wishes [3:32]
5. The Old House [2:50]
6. Unbelievable Story [3:22]
7. I Wish for a Friend [4:20]
8. Doesn't Fit [2:13]
9. Julia Farren [4:24]
10. Headless Horseman [5:10]
11. Siren Song [2:24]
12. Naming Her Friend [5:37]
13. Christmas Carolers [3:15]
14. Exchanging Gifts [3:06]
15. Friendship Ring [2:19]
16. Punishment [4:10]
17. Don't Leave Me [3:22]
18. Into the Woods [3:41]
19. Lost Daughters [3:03]
20. Friend to Her Rescue [4:56]
21. I See Her Too [1:29]
Disc #2 -- I Walked With a Zombie/The Body Snatcher
1. Credits [:59]
2. No Beauty Here [3:08]
3. Fort Holland [4:54]
4. Woman in White [5:08]
5. A Zombie [4:58]
6. Words as Weapons [4:21]
7. Mrs. Rand [1:42]
8. Brothers at Odds [2:40]
9. Love Revealed [2:35]
10. Noble and Other Feelings [2:25]
11. Better Doctors? [3:22]
12. Walk to the Homefort [4:03]
13. Dance Fever [2:47]
14. Behind the Door [3:14]
15. Trouble Ahead [5:18]
16. Carrefour Comes [4:35]
17. Mrs. Rand's Admission [4:43]
18. Wesley's Request [3:19]
19. Freeing Jessica [2:49]
20. Secrets of All Hearts [1:28]
1. Credits [1:22]
2. Watch Sharp [3:10]
3. Georgina's Case [5:16]
4. New Assistant [1:26]
5. Meeting Gray [5:15]
6. Dead and Unburied [5:24]
7. Best Man for the Job [3:58]
8. Awaiting the White Horse [2:13]
9. Out of the Question [3:08]
10. Fettes' Request [2:36]
11. Stilled Song [3:27]
12. Party to Murder [1:47]
13. The Operation [1:26]
14. End of Business! [2:14]
15. Immovable [2:11]
16. A Fool and No Doctor [3:14]
17. Burkeing Joseph [5:36]
18. Gift You'll Not Refuse [3:34]
19. Shame of the Old Ways [3:24]
20. Gray's Pleasure [2:45]
21. Rid of Him [3:19]
22. The Child Walks [3:57]
23. One More Body [2:16]
24. Never Get Rid of Me [4:53]
Disc #3 -- Isle of the Dead/Bedlam
1. Credits and Foreword [1:30]
2. Toll of War [4:07]
3. Island Cemetery [3:25]
4. Albrecht's Guests [5:18]
5. Going for Medicine [3:46]
6. In Rebellion [1:25]
7. Plague Strikes [2:48]
8. Breeding Beliefs [3:32]
9. Proud of Death [3:07]
10. Familiar Enemy [4:43]
11. When We Sleep [4:15]
12. Watchdog's Duty [4:31]
13. Thea's Spirit [2:11]
14. The Only Safe Thing [2:18]
15. Taken Ill [4:28]
16. Is It My Fault? [1:50]
17. Buried Alive [3:46]
18. Breakout [3:26]
19. Out of the Darkness [4:25]
20. Trident's Target [3:20]
21. I Saw the Vorvolaka [3:25]
1. Credits [1:29]
2. Ill-Fated Escapee [2:36]
3. Capital Fellow Sims [4:28]
4. Honest Mason [2:32]
5. Nell's Bedlam Tour [3:27]
6. Pitiless [1:59]
7. Fête Fatality [4:31]
8. What Can I Do? [2:10]
9. Quarrel With Mortimer [4:13]
10. Parrot Parlay [5:50]
11. That Devil Wilkes [2:24]
12. Commission on Lunacy [5:08]
13. Inquiring Quaker [3:16]
14. I Break No Rules [3:52]
15. Her New Weapon [3:53]
16. Playing Cards [3:19]
17. Good Treatment [3:45]
18. Caged Angel [6:03]
19. The Remedy [3:48]
20. Out Under the Stars [2:13]
21. A Sane Man [3:49]
22. Inside Bedlam's Walls [2:46]
23. Too Much Heart [1:27]
Disc #4 -- The Leopard Man/The Ghost Ship
1. Credits [1:02]
2. Catty Entrance [4:10]
3. Clo-Clo's Card [2:09]
4. Trip to the Store [3:26]
5. Cat's Eyes [1:33]
6. Death's Doorway [3:21]
7. Backstage Dealings [2:54]
8. Dancing Ball [3:09]
9. Birthday Flowers [4:08]
10. Closing Time [2:15]
11. Terror From Above [2:55]
12. Maybe Not a Cat [2:23]
13. From Hunch to Suspect [4:20]
14. Champagne vs. Beer [4:52]
15. Something Black [2:01]
16. Stalked in the Street [3:57]
17. Farewell Flowers [3:15]
18. A Body Found [4:08]
19. Tragic Reminders [4:14]
20. Turn Off the Lights [1:54]
21. I Had to Kill [2:19]
22. Where It Counts [1:25]
1. Credits [1:01]
2. Boarding the Altair [4:05]
3. Dead Man on Deck [3:56]
4. Feeling of Authority [3:47]
5. Loose Hook [3:34]
6. Rights Over Their Lives [1:36]
7. Emergency Operation [4:33]
8. Like a Friend [2:53]
9. No More Louie [4:11]
10. Pull in Your Ears [2:59]
11. The Hearing [3:42]
12. Just Like the Captain [3:28]
13. I Don't Know Myself [4:04]
14. We'll Forget All That [3:54]
15. Precautions [4:04]
16. Try and Get Help [5:08]
17. Wrong Replies [4:53]
18. Maybe the Boy Is Right [4:03]
19. Knives Drawn [1:49]
20. A Sailor All Right [1:26]
Disc #5 -- The 7th Victim
1. Credits [:58]
2. Don't Come Back [3:43]
3. Leads on Jacqueline [2:56]
4. Rented Room [3:42]
5. World of Her Own [4:21]
6. Dead in His Tracks [4:17]
7. Subway Menace [4:36]
8. Perils of Jacqueline [2:26]
9. Doorway Glimpse [3:08]
10. Secret Marriage [3:43]
11. Death of the Party [3:30]
12. About Us [3:46]
13. Shadow in the Shower [1:44]
14. Matter of Betrayal [2:35]
15. Touch of the Poet [3:30]
16. At Long Last Jacqueline [4:14]
17. Night the Door Opened [3:02]
18. Palladist Pressure [3:50]
19. Brink of a Drink [1:51]
20. Danger Secret [3:45]
21. Tired of Waiting [1:43]
22. Delivers Us From Evil [3:19]
1. I Dark Mirrors [3:08]
2. Pulp Fiction [2:47]
3. David O. Selznick [4:07]
4. RKO [3:14]
5. Talent Pool [3:13]
6. Cat People [8:32]
7. I Walked With a Zombie [4:24]
8. Darkness Inside [2:55]
9. Death Is Good [3:55]
10. Uneasiness [1:57]
11. Boris Karloff [7:58]
12. After Lewton [5:56]
13. End Credits [1:09]

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Val Lewton Horror Collection 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best-known films in this set are I Walked With a Zombie, Cat People, and its sequel, and all three are recognized classics of the genre. However, each of the titles in this collection is excellent. The three Karloff films provide him with his best roles since the pre-Code days, especially Body Snatcher where he is supported by the great Henry Daniell. Panther Man is a suspenseful American giallo, full of misleads and red herrings. Ghost Ship features a tremendous performance from Richard Dix as a captain going increasingly mad and, in haunting and fleeting periods of lucidity, aware of it. For me, the real revelation in the set was the 7th Victim, a movie whose tone and content feel decades ahead of their time. It has such a pervasive air of suicidal melancholy, that one marvels as it being released by a major studio, let alone during war-time. This box set is an essential and wonderful addition to any horror fan's DVD library.