The Reptile (1966)
|Year Of Production||1966|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||John Gilling|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Charles Lloyd Pack
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Charles Spalding dies mysteriously, apparently from the local version of the Black Death. His brother Captain Spalding (anyone for a Marx Brothers reference?), better known as Harry (Australian ex-pat Ray Barrett), arrives in the small Cornish village with his wife Valerie (Jennifer Daniel). They move into Charles' cottage, but the natives are unfriendly, filing out of the local tavern whenever Harry walks in. This causes some consternation to the local innkeeper Tom (Michael Ripper), who despite this befriends Harry.
Local loon Mad Pete (John Laurie) tells Harry that some mysterious "they" killed his brother, then shortly after Mad Pete also dies, complete with blackened face and frothing at the mouth. Harry and Tom discover two puncture marks on Mad Pete's neck, so they decide to dig Charles up. They find the same puncture marks. Meanwhile the local Doctor (top-billed Noel Willman) behaves oddly and his daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce) seems to be somewhat distracted. Both are being terrorised by a mysterious Indian (Marne Maitland). Harry thinks that the appearance of the corpses suggests a King Cobra, but in Cornwall?
This is a pretty good Hammer horror film, played with straight faces by the good cast. Michael Ripper not only gets a sizeable role but also plays a sympathetic character for once. Jacqueline Pearce is pretty good as Anna but does not get enough screen time, unfortunately: a decade later she would be the object of many adolescent male fantasies when she played Servalan in the TV series Blake's Seven. John Gilling directs well, and the film is quite enjoyable and entertaining, if a little measured in pace.
The film is paired with another John Gilling film The Plague of the Zombies on this double-feature disc, and that is not the only similarity between the two films. See the separate review for more information.
The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The film is reasonably sharp without being exceptionally so. There is sufficient detail present to make the film watchable, but I could not describe it as being of reference quality even for a film of this era. Shadow detail is satisfactory.
Colour is reasonably good, with some vivid hues on display. Flesh tones are realistic, but blacks suffer from some low level noise and a lack of richness and depth.
Some edge enhancement is visible, and there is some minor aliasing as well, but neither in sufficient quantities to distract from the film. There are a couple of examples of excessive noise reduction, but fortunately not many.
Film artefacts are present in the form of occasional white flecks.
No subtitles are provided.
This is a dual layer disc with each feature contained on a single layer, so there is no layer change during either film.
The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
Like other releases in this series, the audio is workmanlike with clear and distinct dialogue, a reasonable level of bass and a slight thinness at the top. There is nothing in this mono transfer to object to, nor nothing especially praiseworthy either. In essence, a satisfactory transfer.
The music score is by Don Banks, and is another fine score that underlines the suspense without drawing attention to itself. Jacqueline Pearce even gets to play the sitar, though her finger movements do not match the notes.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras are included.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The alternative US Region 1 release comes from Anchor Bay, who have released a lot of Hammer films. Their release of this film includes the following extras:
Not enough to sway the potential buyer perhaps, but this release is also available in a two-disc set with another Hammer film, The Lost Continent, which might be the best in terms of value.
A reasonable if undistinguished monster film from Hammer.
The video quality is satisfactory.
The audio quality is likewise satisfactory.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|