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|The Ghoul Special Edition (2009)|
(a) Granada Ventures/Network, UK
(b) as The Ghoul
[Note: "The British Film" collection.]
"When the full moon strikes the door of my tomb, I will come back, you hear? I will come back to kill!" An eminent
Egyptologist has purchased a precious stone stolen from an Egyptian tomb. A great believer in the ancient
gods of the people whose history he studies, when he is buried he has the stone entombed with him
in the hope that it will appease the gods after death. The Professor is not dead, however, but in a
trance—and when the stone is stolen from his tomb he returns as a ghoul, furious at the theft
and hell-bent on wreaking revenge upon those responsible. The first British film ever to be
labelled 'horrific' (as well as being the first British horror 'talkie'), The Ghoul was
thought lost for many years until a subtitled print was found in Prague. Many years later a copy
of the uncut British print was found, and it is this version which has undergone digital restoration
for inclusion on this DVD. Starring Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke and Ralph Richardson, this
landmark film is a key title in any horror film collection.
• THE GHOUL (UK, 1933)
"Kim Newman and Stephen Jones pair up again for another commentary on this region 2 and 4
Network disc. I have to say I enjoyed this track a lot more than their partnership on Carnival of Souls
with Jones definitely more engaged in the chat. Here he takes the lead and Newman joins in with what turns
out be very interesting stuff about the history of British horror. There are occasional hypothetical and
tangential comments, but these are fewer than their other collaboration and the emphasis is on being well
researched and factual. It's kind of the nature of horror movie commentaries that they are less seriously
researched and more at the mercy of flights of fancy, but my taste is for a more focussed approach, and
on this score Newman and Jones succeed admirably."
"Once again Network have provided a Commentary Track by genre writers Kim Newman and Stephen Jones,
who are clearly good friends and previously collaborated on the two Horror: 100 Best Books reference
works. Both really know their genre movies and appear to independently research the film they are
commenting on and then meet up for the recording itself, which results in a lively debate as they
compare opinions and notes for the first time. As with Carnival of Souls, this is a
hugely enjoyable and informative track loaded with learned opinion and interesting facts
about the film and those involved in its production, with Newman providing detail on the
relationship between film and the novel on which it was based, and both men chipping in with
comparisons to the 1961 comedy remake What a Carve-Up! . . . On the basis of this
and the Carnival of Souls track, the pair have the potential to become the Bey Logan
of horror commentaries. If Network plan to release further horror favourites in the future,
I do hope they again engage the services of this pair."
"There are another couple of plusses here: a lively and erudite commentary by horror mavens Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, plus a handsome, informative booklet by the latter. (Jones, amusingly, makes a pertinent observation in the commentary: why does Karloff look so hideous even before his revivification as a murderous zombie?)."
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