DVD Review: Penny Dreadful (The Complete Second Season)



Horror TV shows mostly underwhelm. Why? Because they are mostly on broadcast networks or lower tier cable channels. They promise to deliver, but after standards and practices have their way, it’s mostly bumps in the night and musical spooky musical scores that survive the editing room. When Showtime began hyping Penny Dreadful, there was a bit of skepticism to the promise found in the advertising campaign. How could a TV series touch the scares normally reserved for the big screen in a dark room? Only took a few seconds of Eva Green in a possessed state to know that horror done on a pay channel doesn’t have to restrain itself. The show provide as many scares and grotesque situations found at a Hammer Horror festival. The show became a hit and thus we are graced with Penny Dreadful: The Complete Second Season.

The series features a noted classic horror icons linking up in turn of the century London. Sir Malcolm Murray (Living Daylights‘ Timothy Dalton) is the African explorer whose daughter is original Dracula victim Mina Harker. Vanessa Ives (Casino Royale‘s Eva Green) is a mildly possessed woman who wants to kill spiritual evil in extreme ways. Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) is an man who likes things rough yet never shows it on his body. What’s his secret? Dr. Victor Frankenstein is a medical guy who doesn’t hold back on his cure for death. One of his best experiments is the Creature (Rory Kinnear). The undead man discovers that the worst thing about being immortal is paying the rent. He has to find jobs where looking like a stitched together bag of bones is a plus. Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) is a wild west shooter stuck in London and working as a hired gun for Sir Malcolm. Brona (Doctor Who‘s Billie Piper) was originally a hooker dying of TB. But she gets a comeback. Finally there is Sembene (Danny Sapani) Sir Malcolm’s muscle against the demonic enemies.

The idea of a hooker and a gunslinger in this monster filled world seemed out of place. Season two puts them into the horror universe. Brona gets to fill the role of the Bride of Frankenstein. Victor promised his monster a woman so he revives the TB girl with his special procedure. However she isn’t ready to marry the monster. She’s got her eyes on a different kind of immortal man. Turns out that Chandler is more than a quickdraw artist. His devotion to Vanessa comes from the fact that not only is he a man, but he’s also man’s best friend. Chandler is a werewolf. When the full moon comes out, he gets hairy and rips everything apart.

After battling the vampire creatures, a new force arrives without a break. Since this is Showtime, the new creatures are naked bald demonic women. They attack with fury around town. Who is behind them? Evelyn Poole (Skyfall‘s Helen McCrory), the spiritualist from season one has more talent than merely reading Tarot cards. She’s can raise Hell. This becomes a massive battle of attacks and subterfuge. Evelyn uses her spells to seduce Sir Malcolm. However her ultimate goal is possessing another character. This all out supernatural battle takes place while Frankenstein’s creature deals with another crummy workplace. This time he’s working at a struggling wax museum.

Penny Dreadful: The Complete Second Season amps up the action from the previous season. The demonic attacks are swift and gory. The passion between Dorian and the Bride of Frankenstein is seductive. They even have creepy demon dolls to go along with the werewolf action. The ten episodes play out like a well passed horror film. It’s easy to sit back for a Monster marathon weekend before Halloween.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the harsh shadows that play out the shadows. There is a Blu-ray available to truly take in the spooky angles. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround that gives you the creeps from all part of your sound system. There’s also a 2.0 Dolby Spanish dub. The episodes are subtitled in English.

Video Production Blog contains 7 episodes around three minutes long each that detail behind the scenes action. They did a massive backlot build to create the streets. They cover dancing, the waxworks, the blood ball and the characters’ big transformation.

Reeve Carney Round Table (7:47) allows the actor who plays Dorian to rap with the super fans.

History of the Occult (2:06) is a power point timeline of evil events including Led Zeppelin.

Character Profiles are two minute pieces of the major cast members.

Penny Dreadful: The Complete Second Season brings more evil to London.

CBS DVD presents Penny Dreadful: The Complete Second Season. Starring: Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green. Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper. Boxset Contents: 10 Episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: October 6, 2015.

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