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Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 Main

Universal Horror Collection: Volume 5 - The Jungle Captive Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Universal Horror Collection Volume 5 Large

Directed by Harold Young
Written by Dwight V. Babcock and M. Coates Webster
1945, 63 minutes, Not rated

Starring:
Otto Kruger as Mr. Stendahl
Vicky Lane as Paula Dupree
Amelita Ward as Ann Forrester
Phil Brown as Don Young
Jerome Cowan as Det. Harrigan
Rondo Hattan as Moloch the Brute

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Review:

Once again, Paula Dupree lies dead in the morgue, but her body is stolen by a disfigured goon named Moloch and taken to a remote house. Dr. Stendhal is conducting re-animation experiments on rabbits and is ready to switch to humans. He kidnaps the lovely Ann Foster, his lab assistant, and uses her for blood transfusions with the ape-woman while he stimulates the dead heart with electricity. Stendhal successfully revives the body but needs Dr. Fletcher’s notes to turn the creature back into a beautiful woman. He sends Moloch to retrieve them and wherever Moloch goes he leaves bodies in his wake. Following additional surgeries and transfusions, the ape-woman is transformed back into Paula Dupree. The events leading to her early demise have left her severely brain damaged and Stendhal decides he knows another way Ann can assist him, but Moloch may see things differently.

The Jungle Captive, the third and final installment in the franchise, is a satisfying step up from its predecessor Jungle Woman. Relative newcomer Vicky Lane takes over for Acquanetta as Paula Dupree. There is not much for the ape-woman to do besides be experimented on and wander around, but fortunately the surrounding characters are more memorable. The intimidating Rondo Hatton (House of Horrors) makes quite the impression as the deadly Moloch. His striking features demand your attention and will instill fear in some viewers. Providing the opposite reaction is Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon), whose enthusiastic Det. Harrigan relishes the challenge of solving a case is instantly likeable. Otto Kruger (Magnificent Obsession) provides a nice spin on the classic mad scientist character with a reserved performance.

Paula Dupree is by far the weakest character in Universal’s classic monsters lineup and shows no reason to be remembered beyond the circles of die-hard fans of monkey-human weird science flicks. Despite spanning three pictures, the character is never fully realized and the effects of frequently shifting between ape and human are never explored. For volume five of its Universal Horror Collection series, it is nice that Scream Factory continues its deep dive into the studio’s library, reaching beyond the familiar names of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill among others. These lesser-known titles are given fresh life and are ready to be discovered by a new generation of genre lovers.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, three of the films (The Monster and the Girl, Jungle Woman and Jungle Captive) receive full 2K scans and restorations of fine-grain film elements. Captive Wild Woman skips the scan and is offered a HD remaster. All four look better than any previous release and display sharper image quality and richer detail.

The original mono audio recordings are represented by solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks that are clean and free from any hiss, pops or other distortions. Dialogue levels are always clear and understandable.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Disc 1: The Monster and the Girl

Film historians Tom Weaver and Steve Kronenberg provide an insightful audio commentary filled with the expected info on the cast and crew and also offer their thoughts on similar films of the era. There are some wonderful anecdotes involving make-up artist Charles Gamora and his work on the gorilla suit. They point out differences from script to screen and problems facing the British censors and the critical response to the picture.

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Disc 2: Captive Wild Woman

Tom Weaver returns for another audio commentary that is just as enjoyable as the last. His knowledge is thorough and impressive, and this time he is joined by Dave Hodge, head keeper of carnivores at the Louisville Zoo in Louisville, Kentucky, who offers his thoughts on the work of his 1940s counterparts. There is a lot to pull from, making this another discussion worth checking out.

A theatrical trailer has been included.

A still gallery offers a collection of promotional images and artwork.

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Disc 3: Jungle Woman

Film historian Gregory William Mank provides an audio commentary filled with production notes and trivia. He offers biographical information on members of the cast and crew and delves into the script’s somewhat subtle subtext. The most interesting topic is the unfortunate story of star Acquanetta and the racial scandal that led to the early termination of her contract with the studio.

A photo gallery presents a series of promotional images and publicity shots.

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Disc 4: The Jungle Captive

Scott Gallinghouse provides the audio commentary for this picture with mixed results. The film historian starts off strong with his information but the gaps of silence grow longer and longer. He would benefit from a moderator, but manages to relay some interesting details before running out of steam.

A theatrical trailer has been included.

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Grades:

The Monster and the Girl:
Captive Wild Woman:
Jungle Woman:
Jungle Captive:
Threestars
Threestars
Oneandahalfstars
Threestars
Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Threeandahalfstars
Features: Twostars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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