And Now The Screaming Starts (1973 Britain)

This period horror film has all the right ingredients to be a success. It’s got atmosphere, nice sets, Peter Cushing, an experienced horror director, a severed hand with a mind of it’s own…but despite all this, it just doesn’t work as it should. One of the studio’s rare non-anthology movies, it suffers from a very uncertain script. The opening narration suggests a gothic melodrama along the lines of `Rebecca’, but it all-too quickly goes over the top. Familiar genre faces such as Patrick Magee pop up only to fall foul for a disembodied hand (a left over from the studio’s `Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors’) and the whole thing falters. [Read more…]

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Dracula A.D. 1972 (United Kingdom)

(I dedicate this post to Peter Cushing, who always maintained his dignity even when his hands were full.) Moving on…no prizes for guessing which year this baby was released. T’was a leap year in horror. A vintage year for being a vampire trapped in St Bartolph’s churchyard, London. Although it feels slapdash, with its day-as-night shots, total lack of continuity and sloppy script, this film succeeds as a comic masterpiece. A bit like the Beatles disastrous Let It Be sessions, Hammer’s Dracula run-at-the-top was also nigh. Right nigh. And there was little Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee could do to stop the rot except to throw as much middle aged, Anglo-Saxon gravitas at the latest concotion they had found themselves roped into. [Read more…]

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