The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959 United Kingdom)

No, this is not the Cliff Richard story but that could be an alternate title. TMWCCD is from the era when a film could be made for 84,000 pounds, and look expensive. We have here a tale of an eminent doctor, Georges Bonnet (Anton Diffring, who stepped into the role after Peter Cushing backed out) who dabbles in sculpting. Bonnet is maintaining a pretty big secret: he’s actually a lot older than he looks, managing to stay healthy and youthful looking by a scientific process involving removing glands from unwilling donors. The problem is one can see this was developed from a stage work so the viewer has to be patient. Very patient! [Read more…]

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The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb (1964 Britain)

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb is a good-looking film at least, thankfully not having the rushed and made-on-the-quick-and-cheap production values of the Universal Kharis Mummy films. The chilling Hammer atmosphere is present in how the film looks, with the sumptuous Gothic sets, lush photography that does a fine job evoking atmosphere, much tighter editing and rich bold colours. We have the usual well spoken actors, in this case Ronald Howard (the hero)  and Terence Morgan (the villain). The music score is hauntingly stirring, and while this flick is too often dull it really does bring it on home in the final twenty minutes. [Read more…]

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968 UK)

dracula-has-risen-from-the-grave-01The musical theme startled me on a first watch. James Bernard never wrote a better score than this one – it’s so threatening as well as thrilling. The psychedelic opening titles are also mesmerizing. In so many ways it is the quintessential Hammer horror film. It has all of the elements which have made me a fan of the Studio. The fairy-tale Central European setting, the Gothic Castle Dracula with the quaint little village huddling under its menacing presence. [Read more…]

The Vampire Lovers (1970 UK)

Ingrid Pitt 1970 (2)In Australia this movie ran continuously for at least 5 years at the same theatre, so popular was this Hammer classic. The Vampire Lovers is a classic tale of good versus evil, the way vampire films should be, with the vampire as a soulless and selfish creature with no humanity left in it. The modern idea of the suffering humanistic vampire decrying the pain of immortality is somewhat embarrassing. Another ridiculously overused modern device is vampirism as an infectious disease. We’ll have none of that here! [Read more…]

The Curse Of The Werewolf (1961 United Kingdom)

cursewerewolf By the early 60s director Terence Fisher was still regarded as Hammer’s best director, and his remarkable work here is definitely on par with the previous classics he had made at that point. Fisher puts to great use the lavishly built sets and makes this one of his most beautiful looking films despite the budget constrains, he creates a Gothic atmosphere of impeding doom that suits perfectly Anthony Hinds’ story. [Read more…]

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