Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection (DVD)

Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Creature with the Atom Brain (1955)
Starring Richard Denning, Angela Stevens, S. John Launer, Michael Granger
Directed by Edward L. Cahn

The Werewolf (1956)
Starring Steven Ritch, Don Megowan, Joyce Holden, Eleanore Tanin
Directed by Fred F. Sears

Zombies of the Mora Tau (1957)
Starring Gregg Palmer, Allison Hayes, Autumn Russell, Joel Ashley
Directed by Edward L. Cahn

The Giant Claw (1957)
Starring Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill
Directed by Fred F. Sears

Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Producers. They hardly ever get any credit. The fact is without them movies just wouldn’t get made. Some of them turn out to be damned near prolific in retrospect. Sam Katzman is such a man. Known within the industry by several colorful nicknames like “Jungle Sam”, “The Schlockmeister”, and “The King of the B’s”, Katzman was a guy that walked to the beat of his own drum while sending out the spooks, creatures, and Fifties-era scares with reckless abandon. This man’s reign of cinematic mayhem lasted for about four decades during which he pumped out hundreds of flicks. Sony has now opened up their vaults and brought home four of his most classic bits of horror cheese in their Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection.

Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection DVD (click for larger image)First up Creature with the Atom Brain. What happens when a mob boss begins to run out of thugs do his criminal bidding? Simple! You just hire a Nazi scientist to re-animate his fallen goombas! (Somewhere out there Tony Soprano is slapping himself in the head for not thinking of this first) Richard Denning (The Creature from the Black Lagoon) plays the cop hot on this band of supernatural crooks collective asses and the results are about as funny as you would expect.

Next up, The Werewolf. There’s no doubt about it — getting into an auto wreck sucks. But you know what would suck more? If the doctors who are supposedly there to help you end up using you as a guinea pig to find a vaccine to cure the effects of a nuclear fall-out. Of course said vaccine ends up having some very hairy side effects. Seriously, the writers in the Fifties were fucking madmen! How do you even come up with this stuff?!

The third feature in this set is Zombies of the Mora Tau. In it a band of no good treasure hunters travel to Africa to recover a chest of diamonds that ends up being guarded by the undead. You know, I remember this being a hell of a lot better. Not that it’s bad mind you, just that it was a bit more on the dull side than I had recalled. Maybe it had something to do with all those silly striped sailor shirts. Ya just cannot be spooky in one of those, ya know?

Sam Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection DVD (click for larger image)Finally comes THE REASON to pick up this set (as if you didn’t have enough already)! The classic flick, The Giant Claw. Folks it doesn’t get much funnier, goofier, or more of a blast than this. The Giant Claw follows the exploits of the military and a group of scientists as they try to stop a giant bird from outer-space who resembles Buz Buzzard, and is known to locals as La Cacanya. Hang on let me eat another ‘shroom. Alright, man, oh yeah where was I? La Cacanya! How I love thee. Let me stroke your feathers oh ginormous bird of death. Aw yeah, baby. Lay that egg. Sexy.


On the supplemental side of the fence we get an interesting package. Throughout this two-disc set you’ll find all manner of Fifties lunacy. First we get the poor man’s Abbott and Costello running around in a fifteen minute short film titled Midnight Blunders. From there we get another fifteen minute jaunt titled “Sinister Savages” which happens to be episode two of Sam’s 1951 serial version of Mysterious Island. Then things are finally wrapped up with a Mr. Magoo cartoon, Terror Faces Mr. Magoo. Pay dirt, baby! What more could we ask? You had me at La Cacanya but capping things off with Magoo? Truly classic!

These movies defy time by defying the rules of good and bad. Therefore they deserve a spot in your horror loving DVD library. Never mind today’s CGI beasties. Gimme an ugly buzzard on a string taking out model airplanes ANY DAY!

Special Features

  • Episode two of Mysterious Island: “Sinister Savages”
  • Short film: Midnight Blunders
  • Terror Faces Mr. Magoo cartoon
  • Trailers
  • Films:

    4 out of 5 each

    Special Features:

    3 out of 5

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