Cold War Creatures Four Films from Sam Katzman
Sam Katzman's name may frankly not be held in the same general esteem as some other famous Golden Era producers like David O. Selznick or Adolph Zukor, but for sheer number of films produced and perhaps especially in cost to profit ratio, Katzman might eclipse more ostensible luminaries than you might expect. While Zukor, as the head of Paramount Pictures, got literally hundreds of "presents" credits, his actual producing credits (according to the IMDb) number fewer than a hundred, and Selznick logs in with even fewer than that. Of course both Selznick and Zukor tended to enjoy much more fulsome budgets and more glittering marquee stars than Katzman, a hardscrabble guy who started working in the film industry when he was barely a teenager, and who then climbed the ranks to work at a number of studios, including "poverty row" centers like Monogram, but also 20th Century Fox, Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Columbia, ending up with (again according to the IMDb) 239 credits as producer. The four Katzman produced efforts Arrow Video has aggregated in this appealing collection may arguably not be from Hollywood's "real" Golden Era, with, as the title of the collection may hint at, these films all emanating a mid- fifties ambience that sought to attract younger viewers in particular away from the hypnotizing influence of that confounded television invention, often courtesy of plots that included science fiction and/or horror.

The 1950s was a decade that saw a big shift in horror films. Before this ghosts and ghouls were the predominant fare, with vampires and monsters and other such creatures being tied to the world of the supernatural and the spiritual. However, with the advent of the 1950s, and following the horrific attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a new breed of horror began to emerge; films where science was the cause of the things that frighten us. Cold War Creatures gathers together four such films, all produced by Sam Katzman, that took traditional monsters and added a science twist.

The first film in this collection, Creature With The Atom Brain, took the concept of zombies and added in an element of gangster movies, and a big dose of ‘atomic’ science. Beginning with a lumbering man breaking into a casino to kill the owner and escaping with the money, the film follows a police scientist and his partner as they try to get to the bottom of the case. With witnesses claiming the assailant kept walking after being shot, signs that they possessed super human strength, and traces of radiation left behind, the police come to the conclusion that atomic science is behind things.

Next up in the set is The Werewolf (1956), a new take on the classic monster. This film treats the titular monster as a figure to feel sorry for. Rather than being a monster out to harm people the werewolf is a victim of science.
The werewolf is left to be hunted by the frightened townspeople, as well as the scientist who experimented on him. This poor amnesiac man is hunted like the animal people think he is, and is driven to transform into a monster because he’s not given the chance to do anything else. It’s a pretty sad story, one that puts unscrupulous science as the villain.

The Zombies of Mora Tau (1957) is probably the most traditional of the films presented in this set, and doesn’t really feature any science gone bad. The story is set in Africa, where a ship carrying a fortune in diamonds has long since sunk into lake Mora Tau. Over the years various treasure hunters have come to try and claim the fortune, but have all met violent deaths at the hands of the zombies that protect the prize. We follow the latest group of treasure hunters as they come to try and claim the fortune for themselves.

The final film in the set might be one of the best, though not because it’s of better quality. The Giant Claw (1957) is the Sam Katzman take on a giant monster movie, and thanks to some goofy, low budget effects it’s an absolute delight. When a mysterious, huge UFO begins destroying aircraft, a team is set up to look into the phenomenon. However, they soon discover that this isn’t some form of aircraft, or enemy missiles, but instead a giant alien bird. Protected by a force-field of antimatter, the creature is invulnerable to all kinds of conventional attack, leading our heroes to have to turn to science to try and find a solution.

4xBD50 | 1080p AVC | 293 min | 126 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller


DISC ONE: Creature with the Atom Brain
• Audio Commentary by critic Russell Dyball (2021)
• 2021 introduction by historian and critic Kim Newman (8:32)
• "Sam Katzman: Before and Beyond the Cold War Creatures" 2021 documentary by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette (73:57)
• Super 8mm Condensed Version (19:27)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:11)
• Image Gallery

DISC TWO: The Werewolf
• Audio Commentary by critic Lee Gambin (2021)
• 2021 introduction by critic Kim Newman (13:53)
• "Beyond Window Dressing" 2021 visual essay by historian and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (23:35)
• Super 8mm Condensed Version (7:33)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:58)
• Image Gallery

DISC THREE: Zombies of Mora Tau
• Audio Commentary by critic Kat Ellinger (2021)
• 2021 introduction by critic Kim Newman (7:34)
• "Atomic Terror: Genre in Transformation" 2021 visual essay by critic Josh Hurtado (19:48)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:55)
• Image Gallery

DISC FOUR: The Giant Claw
• Audio Commentary by critics Emma Westwood and Cerise Howard (2021)
• 2021 introduction by critic Kim Newman (12:27)
• "Family Endangered!" 2021 visual essay by critic Mike White (12:51)
• Super 8mm Condensed Version (6:29)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:03)
• Image Gallery (23)

Download Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman: Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The Werewolf (1956), Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), The Giant Claw (1957) 4 x Blu-Ray Arrow Films Limited Edition: