Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $21.49 Last Price: $29.95 Buy now! 3rd Party 21.49 In Stock
Release Date: December 12th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1963

The Terror: Special Edition / The Little Shop of Horrors

Overview -

With a name like Corman, you know it’s good! Thanks to Film Masters, fans of drive-in schlock, horror, and underappreciated genre gems can add The Terror Special Edition to their collections. In addition to the Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff classic, Corman’s iconic The Little Shop of Horrors joins the fun leaving both films looking and sounding better than ever with a terrific set of bonus features to match. Recommended

The two sides of Roger Corman are represented with The Terror (1963) and The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). Corman's Gothic, spooky side is on display in The Terror, an atmospheric horror tale of a French soldier whose encounter with a ghostly woman leads him to a mysterious castle full of dark secrets. The pairing of a youthful Jack Nicholson as the soldier and veteran Boris Karloff as the castle's owner make The Terror a memorable example of Corman's mid-sixties Goth period. Though Corman is credited as director, several others took a turn behind the camera, including Nicholson himself, Monte Hellman, and Francis Ford Coppola. Meanwhile, Corman's more whimsical side is on display in The Little Shop of Horrors. This legendary cult film features a bumbling florist's assistant who creates a giant plant that happens to crave human blood. The usual Corman stock company is on hand, including Jonathan Haze and Dick Miller, plus a cameo by Nicholson as a dental patient with a high threshold for pain.

Special Features

Full length commentary for 'The Terror' by C. Courtney Joyner and Dr. Steve Haberman, Full length commentary for 'Little Shop of Horrors' by Justin Humphreys and Special Guest, Full color inserted booklet with original essays, Featurette by Howard S. Berger provides a fresh look at 'The Terror', 'Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story: Part Two'; an original Ballyhoo Motion Pictures Production


Blu-ray Disc Features:

  • BRAND NEW RESTORATION OF THE FILM
  • Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story: Part Two'; an original Ballyhoo Motion Pictures Production
  • Full length commentary for 'The Terror' by C. Courtney Joyner and Dr. Steve Haberman
  • Full length commentary for 'Little Shop of Horrors' by Justin Humphreys and Special Guest
  • Full color inserted booklet with original essays
  • Featurette by Howard S. Berger provides a fresh look at 'The Terror'
  • BONUS FILM: Little Shop Of Horrors (1960)

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Length:
81
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Release Date:
December 12th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Roger Corman is arguably one of the most successful producers, directors, writers, and even actors in Hollywood history. Maybe not necessarily by the standards of quality, but his quantity was unmatched. Give the man $100 and you’ll have ten features ready to screen within a week. While a number of his productions could be written off as little more than schlock drive-in filler, the man could also produce a few true gems in his time. One of his best and possibly most under-appreciated was the atmospheric period horror/thriller The Terror. One of his funniest and most endearing works is the wickedly dark horror comedy The Little Shop of Horrors

With The Terror, we see Jack Nicholson as French Soldier Lt. Andre Duvalier going toe-to-toe with Boris Karloff’s Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe. Our impetuous Lieutenant has been separated from his unit during the war. Aided by a mysterious woman (Sandra Knight), Duvalier follows her to the Baron’s imposing castle. Only there he discovers that she’s actually been dead for twenty years! At barely 81 minutes, the story packs a lot of mood and atmosphere into this little thriller. Another great example of Corman’s Gothic Horror period alongside his Poe adaptations, the film works because of the key performances from Nicholson and Karloff. Jack still looks and sounds like the Jack we all know and love, not giving a damn about faking an accent but he gets into the part and delivers with sincerity. Likewise, the aging veteran of monster movies past, Karloff is in terrific form as our Baron with far too many secrets and plenty of screentime to cast an imposing impression. Corman also had a knack for pacing this one out building the suspense towards a pretty shocking final payoff. Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, and Jack Hill among others also lent their talents throughout the troubled production trying to get the film finished. What should have taken mere days took months! Troubled or not, the film still works surprisingly well.

Then we come to the delightful The Little Shop of Horrors. I mean, come on, it’s The Little Shop of Horrors - what more can I write about this delightful darkly hilarious gem? I don’t know anyone who can honestly and earnestly watch this film and not enjoy themselves. From the outset with side characters like Dick Miller’s flora-masticating Fouchs, John Herman Shaner’s diabolical dentist Dr. Phoebus Farb, and capped off with Jack Nicholson’s delightful oral sadomasochist Wilbur Force, the film's a riot. All that character flavor and I haven’t even gotten to the perpetually wormy Jonathan Haze as our famous botanist Seymore Krelborn! Running barely 70 minutes, the film is a great mashup of Corman’s unhinged sense of humor run wild. It’s also a great example of how efficient he was as a filmmaker reusing sets and props he’d just used for A Bucket of Blood. When you’re trying to shoot a film in two days and a night, you don’t cut the corners, you simply redress them! 

As a Corman fan, these are two great highlights of his work. He obviously packed in a dozen other features in between these two films, but these were always standouts. Between tape rentals and television, and any number of bargain bin multi-film DVD collections, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen either of these flicks. They’re just fun. And Film Masters’s decision to pair them as a Double Feature offering is actually rather brilliant. On one side you have Corman at his most earnest with The Terror and his absolute silliest with The Little Shop of Horrors. And since watching both features would take less than three hours to enjoy, you’ve got a great evening of fun ahead of you!



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Film Masters dives into the Corman archives to give fans a double feature helping of The Terror and The Little Shop of Horrors in a new two-disc special edition set. Each film scores a Region Free BD-50 disc and are housed in a multi-disc case. Also included is a 22-page booklet featuring two excellent essays by C. Courtney Joyner and Mark McGee about the respective films within this set.

Video Review

Ranking:

To say past releases of The Terror and The Little Shop of Horrors have been “mistreated” is a bit of an understatement. Within the protection of the public domain, the films could occasionally see decent releases, but usually, those had been barely watchable or for Little Shop pointlessly colorized. More often than not these films looked like hot garbage with some discs simply recycling a VHS tape master and calling it a day. Thanks to Film Masters, we have a new HD Restoration of The Terror from original 35mm elements and a new HD print of The Little Shop of Horrors to enjoy. Quite honestly this is the best I’ve seen either film, mostly because they actually look like films! For The Terror, this is the first time that the colors looked human and natural without being washed out or so blown out the film looked like a Saturday morning cartoon. Details are pretty good for most of the feature, but some scenes were obviously pulled from the best available elements and can be a tad rougher around the edges. Optical effects shots or transitions can be bit iffy, but even then, that's still better than what I've seen in some other releases. 

The Little Shop of Horrors has always had a unique look, mostly because Corman didn’t slow down filming to change or fix the lighting so it’s always been a bit bright and blowout. Some discs I have stashed away in those 50-film sets, this movie could look so blown out you couldn’t make out anything of importance. It’s still very bright, but this looked like the first time I saw some of the details in our hilarious characters, our intergalactic talking plant, or how sparsely adorned the sets were. All around these are pretty terrific restorations; a true earnest effort to preserve these films. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, both films come home with pretty respectable DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio tracks. Easily the best I’ve heard them, there’s still a little bit of background hiss, some low points but nothing as egregious as past offerings. I'm used to The Little House of Horrors sounding very tinny and shrill, so it was nice to actually be able to enjoy it at a reasonable volume. As for The Terror, I had been so used to all of the pops or low hum that I wasn’t expecting to actually hear the dialog so cleanly! Sound effects and music still sound a bit restrained, more so with The Little Shop of Horrors but nothing horrible or inaudible. Given it was a more expensive production The Terror has a little more to offer sonically speaking. But both tracks are in very good shape all things considered. The care and attention in restoring the audio is a notable effort.

Special Features

Ranking:

On the bonus features front, Film Masters has assembled another great collection of informative extras. Both films get great audio commentaries that are well worth the time. After the commentaries, Howard S. Beger and Kevin Marr’s Ghosts in the Machine documentary on the disc for The Terror is a big highlight of this extra feature package. For Little Shop, Ballyhoo’s Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story Part 2 may be a little shorter but it packs in some interesting tidbits for fans to dig into. Then you have new re-cut trailers for each film using restored elements and again that 22-page booklet features some excellent essays that are well worth the read.

22-Page Essay Booklet

Disc One: The Terror

  • Audio Commentary featuring C. Courtney Joyner and Dr. Steve Haberman
  • Ghosts in the Machine: Art & Artifice in Roger Corman’s Celluloid Castle (HD 44:12)
  • 2023 Re-Cut Trailer

Disc Two: The Little Shop of Horrors

  • Audio Commentary featuring Justin Humphreys and star Jonathan Hazs
  • Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story Part 2 (HD 17:14)
  • 2023 Re-Cut Trailer

After hundreds of features either produced by, directed by, or written by - Roger Corman has left an indelible mark on theater screens all over the world. He’s also responsible for training and shepherding the careers of countless actors and current major blockbuster filmmakers. Film Masters’ The Terror Special Edition Blu-ray with The Little Shop of Horrors is a celebration of Corman and his filmmaking moxy. Both features are in better shape now than I’ve ever seen them with respectable-sounding audio and a nice healthy selection of interesting worthwhile bonus features to match. If you’re a die-hard Corman fan, this is an essential addition to the collection. Recommended