Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Rock & Roll Grenoside

Grenoside in South Yorkshire has a long standing tradition of sword dancing. The highlight of the dance is the 'decapitation' of the leader (they knock off his rabbit skin hat), after which he comes back to life. J.G Frazer would have a field day. The dance still happens, by the way, on Boxing Day each year.

Perhaps I should have let you know that in December. At least you're prewarned for this year.

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Art of Universal #2

From the bonkers 'vampire on the bayou' 'Son Of Dracula' (1943). Lon Chaney is 'Count Alucard' - they don't ever really ever explain how he is the son of Dracula, and I don't really care - it's ridiculously enjoyable.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

When The Moon Is Full

'The Beast Must Die' mixes Blaxploitation, Agatha Christie and werewolves to much less exciting effect than you might think, but it's a pretty cool stab at something a bit different nonetheless.

Millionaire businessman / hunter Tom Newcliffe invites an all star cast to his remote country estate for the weekend. His motive is not to enjoy their sparkling repartee, however, as he strongly suspects that one of them is a werewolf and, as there is a full moon due, he hopes to witness the transformation of a human into a lycanthrope, and then to pump a load of silver bullets into the creature and hang its head on his wall.

Newcliffe may be a hunter, but he's no sportsman, and certainly no marksman. He has spent millions on having an elaborate security system installed in the grounds and, as soon as he hears the first howl, slips on a black pvc jacket and goes out with a massive gun, guided every step of the way by hidden cameras, concealed microphones and Anton Diffring, who passes him information through a two way radio. Despite all these advantages, he misses the werewolf (actually a large scruffy dog) by a mile when it's right on top of him, so is then reduced to mindlessly strafing the ground from a helicopter in the vain hope that he might hit something, anything vaguely dog shaped.

He also treats his guests like shit, nicking bits off their cars so they can't get away, shouting at them, serving them raw steak and forcing them to play an interminably boring game which involves passing around silver things and waiting for someone to go all hairy. In the meantime, the guests are picked off one by one until, when there's only a couple left, Newcliffe finally manages to hit the target, although it's a very short lived triumph...

Perhaps most notable for its 'Werewolf Break', a William Castle style gimmick where the action is paused and the audience invited to guess who the werewolf is, 'The Beast Must Die' wins no prizes for direction, characterisation, effects or acting (even Peter Cushing adopts a daft Swedish accent), but it tries hard with limited resources and, for that reason, deserves your attention.

The Beast Must Die

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Chill Filled?

'The Beast In The Cellar' has a decent cast and some grisly murders, but it's really boring. I mean really, really, really boring, so monumentally talky and impossibly slow that no amount of hairy feral psychopaths could save it, let alone one rather unconvincing one. 

Here's the theme tune, written by legendary pop songwriter Tony Macauley. It's rather nice.

Please don't think that I don't like the film, because I like everything I post about, even if I don't rate it, but I have to be honest, so there you are, my honest assessment - it's boring, go and see it!

The Beast In The Cellar

Friday, 27 January 2012


Reverend Matt Dawson: Where's Holly?

Dinah: You really got a thing for her, haven't you, Reverend? Come on, she knows it - so do most of the kids. It's as obvious as (actress looks around room) - a psychedelic poster.

Strange Paradise


Reverend Matt Dawson: "Holly! Nice to see you here, what a pleasant surprise".

Holly Marshall: "You mean making the church scene? Forget it, Reverend, I'm not resting...(actress realises she's fucked it up) ...I'm not praying, just resting".

Strange Paradise

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Today's 'Science Topics' covers the six senses. No, not really, they hadn't discovered the sixth one in 1976.

Whenever I feel down at work , I often think 'at least I'm not a sport scientist'. Sorry, Rod.


The soundtrack to watching telly in the 70s was a series of sickening thuds...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Milton Reid provides security to Christopher Lee and Roger Delgado in Hammer's 1961 Orientsploitation film 'Terror Of The Tongs'.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Genius Of Hammer

Vampire teeth or zombie eyes?

Or perhaps a Rasputin beard (for guys and gals alike).

Hammer enthusiasts will know that they were expert at economics and exploitation. As mentioned last weekend, 'The Reptile' and 'Plague Of The Zombies' were filmed back to back at Bray Studios in July 1965 using the same sets and crew, but noticeably different camera angles and set ups (Hammer were never hacks).

Once these productions had wrapped, the studio had a quick change around, new actors were brought in and 'Dracula, Prince of Darkness' and 'Rasputin, The Mad Monk' were made in the same circumstances. Four films for (almost) the price of two. 

These were then cross-matched and double billed as per the posters above to ensure that audiences watching the films didn't notice the similarities, and cheap but eye-catching gimmicks were employed to put bottoms on seats: simple, productive, effective, cheap, genius.