BluRay/DVD Reviews

DOCTOR BLOOD’S COFFIN

By • Dec 15th, 2011 •

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Gory and gruesome for its time, combined with a documentary feeling to the Cornish environment, these qualities have diminished in effectiveness over the decades to the point now where only flaws in story, direction and performance remain.

Sidney Furie exhibits a (very) few stylistic traits he would display to far better effect in later films such as specific shots held an inordinately long time. One, a heart removal operation, doesn’t work, but another, grappling with a fungus-covered living corpse, still packs an ich-y punch. By the time he did LADY SINGS THE BLUES, he had that long take idea down.

The film is an inner-logic calamity. There’s an attempt at mystery early on around the tail-end of the first act – not revealing the killer’s identity, which is odd since we are absolutely sure we know who it is, and by the end of the second act, it’s confirmed that we were right all along.

Kieron Moore (ANNA KARENINA, DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS) as Doctor Blood, with his buffeted boxer’s face, is a welcome thesp in a film like this. But we never grow to like him, nor anyone else for that matter. Directorial clumsiness, heavy-handed scripting, casting against talent (other roles, not Moore’s or Hazel Court), and perhaps a rushed schedule, do this film no favors. In today’s market, where the scares of yesteryear are no longer visceral, we’re left with an unpleasant experience where once there was creepy horror.

Speaking of Ms. Court, she was quite lovely, but seemed to have an acne problem during the shoot. She’s great to gaze upon nonetheless, but the medical procedures against God argument she lays on Dr. Blood late in the film is not a bit of fun.

The print looks quite good. Grainy, just as I remember it, which adds to the sickening aura, and reasonably subdued colors. Editing, not too good. Coverage, awkward. Interesting to note that the camera operator was Nicolas (THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, BAD TIMING) Roeg, who later gave us a great horror film – DON’T LOOK NOW.

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