Archive for hammer film productions

The Hammer Legacy: The Vampire Collection – Bring on the blood and boobs!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , on May 9, 2012 by goregirl

Two pieces of music from The Hammer Legacy: The Vampire Collection!

Music and images from Robert Young’s 1972 film Vampire Circus; music composed by David Whitaker.

Music and images from Roy Ward Baker’s 1970 film The Vampire Lovers; music composed by Harry Robinson.

Hammer Film Posters with music from The Devil Rides Out

Posted in movies, UK with tags , , on January 28, 2012 by goregirl

My latest slideshow featuring Hammer film posters with music from The Devil Rides Out Performed by The Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra. Every last one of these posters are a work of art! I will have one more review for Eisenhower and the Horror Movies and than a summary of the feature on Monday and Tuesday.

THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by goregirl

Terence Fisher directed several films for Hammer Film Productions. Most of the titles Fisher directed were during Hammer’s heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s and are some of the studio’s best. Among his outstanding entries are The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Mummy, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Gorgon and The Devil Rides Out. The Devil Rides Out is without a doubt, one of my favourite Hammer films of all time. I contributed a review for The Devil Rides Out to friend of the dungeon Basement Scream’s feature “Six Weeks of Satan” (to read the review click here). Terence Fisher directs The Brides of Dracula with stylish flare and a touch of sexy and the result is positively captivating!

Marianne Danielle has travelled a long distance by carriage to take a position as a teacher in an all girl’s boarding school. Along her travels the carriage driver stops at an inn and leaves Marianne to fend for herself. She is befriended by the Baroness Meinster who invites her to stay at the family estate. The Baroness’ it turns out has a son who she is keeping hidden from the townsfolk. The Baroness does not divulge to Marianne why she is imprisoning her own son only that there is a very good reason for doing so. When Marianne meets the Baron he appears to be ready to jump from the balcony to his death. She comes running to him only to discover he is in chains. The charming and handsome Baron paints a very different picture for Marianne of the reasons he is imprisoned in his own home. Falling for him instantly Marianne rushes to find the key that will unlock his chains. Marianne has no idea the evil she has unleashed, but she soon will.

Despite the lack of Dracula himself, The Brides of Dracula is a sequel of sorts. While Christopher Lee is absent the always excellent Peter Cushing is back as Dr J. Van Helsing. The performances are perfect by the entire cast. Our lovely Teacher Marianne is played by Yvonne Monlaur who is downright adorable. It is she who unleashes the naughty Baron Meinster played with devilish mischief by David Peel. Under the guise of a romantic gesture the Baron lures himself females to grow his vampire army. One of my favourite characters is Greta. Greta was charged to care for the Baron by his mother insuring he stay hidden, tethered and fed. Greta cackles madly at the discovery the Baron has been freed, and fulfills her duties as his human servant. Greta aids with such grim tasks as helping new vamps claw their way out of their coffins! Freda Jackson is fantastic as Greta creating a character that is both amusing and spooky. The icy Baroness Meinster is conflicted and realizes her decision to keep her son alive is a dangerous and foolish one. Marita Hunt plays the Baroness with sophistication and confidence and an air of self importance. There is no mistaking that she is indeed “the Baroness”. Last and certainly not least is the wonderful Peter Cushing. The serious and efficient Mr. Van Helsing can also show sensitivity and concern when necessary. Peter Cushing brings the perfect balance to the role creating a Van Helsing that is both very likable and credible. Cushing would reprise his role as Van Helsing for Hammer several more times after this.

Like most Hammer Films The Brides of Dracula is a high achiever when it comes to its visuals. The sets are just fantastic. The colors and lighting is extremely easy on the eyes and the always lingering red color scheme gives the film a blood soaked vibe. Much of the film takes place in the home of the Baroness and Baron Meinster. The property appears to be absolutely massive and the home and its interiors are divine. The scenes filmed from Marianne’s bedroom balcony are particularly impressive in displaying the enormity of the property. There isn’t much here for effects however and just a glimpse of blood; but The Brides of Dracula is certainly none the lesser for it.

Those crazy nightgowns women wore during the Victorian period were not the gear for running in. Of course all that flowing fabric makes for some pretty pictures. I wonder if any women broke bones falling down those Hammer stairway sets in that Victorian garb? In any case, the costumes are all lovely and impressive; they just are not very practical when you need to run for your life! The story is simple but engrossing and they even add a couple special touches that make this particular vampire tale unique. A steady pace and a thrilling finale seal the deal. Certainly these older Hammer films seem quite subdued and bloodless in comparison to the films that came after. Keeping in mind that color was still a relatively new concept in film; a beautiful gothic horror tale like The Brides of Dracula must have been that much more impressive to audiences.

I have seen The Brides of Dracula probably a half dozen times over the years and I never get tired of it. It is charming, beautifully shot, well acted and chocked full o’mood and atmosphere. An entertaining and well made gothic horror and one of Hammer Studio’s best in my opinion. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Terence Fisher

Starring: Peter Cushing, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur, Freda Jackson, David Peel, Miles Malleson, Henry Oscar, Mona Washbourne, Andree Melly

Villain Extraordinaire – CHRISTOPHER LEE – The Man, The Movies, The Horror!

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2009 by goregirl

Christopher LeeLee will be 87, this May 27th. The man has more than 260 film and television credits and currently has five films in pre-production. He will be in Tim Burton’s upcoming remake of ALICE IN WONDERLAND playing The Jabberwock. Also in the works is COWBOYS FOR CHRIST,which is a reinvention of THE WICKER MAN directed by Robin Hardy, the same man who directed the 1973 original. At the bottom of this page is a list of Lee’s horror film credits. He has not been in a horror film since 1999’s SLEEPY HOLLOW. He’s been keeping himself busy though with two feature roles in two of the biggest film franchises in history; THE LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS. christopher lee 2

Christopher Lee was born in England in 1922. He enlisted in the RAF during World War II. He joined the Rank Organisation in 1947, following his release from military service and began training as an actor. He landed a number of bit parts . It wasn’t until his association with Hammer Film Productions, that he really achieved world wide notoriety. He starred in many horror films along side Peter Cushing such as DRACULA (1958), THE HOUNDS OF BASKERVILLE (1959) and THE MUMMY (1959). Several years later they again would star in HORROR EXPRESS (1972), one of the dungeon’s all time favorites. He became best known for his portrayal of “Dracula”. He played the character in a number of Hammer sequels. This was not the only character Lee revisited. He also played Fu MANCHU in several films. Lee was responsible for bringing author Denis Wheatley to Hammer. The adaptation of his book The Devil Rides Out (1968) is considered by many to be the best of the Hammer horror films. Another one of his successful roles was as Lord Summerisle in the much loved flick THE WICKER MAN (1973). Also, cited by Lee himself as one of his favorites. Wanting to widen his appeal he went after and landed major roles in more mainstream fare, including the James Bond film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974). The other film made based on a Wheatley novel was TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (1976) also starring Lee. The production was plagued with problems. It was a financial success, but it would be the last Hammer horror film. The work was always steady for Lee and he continued to make films and television appearances but it was 1999 when he was offered a role in Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW that rebooted his career. He played Saruman in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

christopher lee wicker manYou cannot deny the man’s “presence”. That intense, devilish stare and his trim 6 foot 5 inch stature practically commands it. The man was born to act. Without a doubt, he is one of the greatest screen Villains in film history. He is the subject of countless books including his own autobiography LORD OF MISRULE. The man’s performances stay with you long after the credits have rolled. His contribution to film and particularly the Horror Industry is unmeasurable. In 2001, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the film and television industry. Christopher Lee just kicks some serious ass!

1. Alias John Preston (1955)
2. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
3. Dracula (1958)
4. Corridors of Blood (1958)
5. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
6. The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)
7. The Mummy (1959)
8. Tempi duri per i vampiri (1959)
9. The City of the Dead (1960)
10. The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)
11. The Hands of Orlac (1960)
12. The Terror of the Tongs (1961)
13. Taste of Fear (1961)
14. Ercole al centro della terra (1961)
15. Katarsis (1963)
16. La vergine di Norimberga (1963)
17. La frusta e il corpo (1963)
18. La cripta e l’incubo (1964)
19. Il castello dei morti vivi (1964)
20. The Gorgon (1964)
21. Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
22. The Skull (1965)
23. The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)
24. Theatre of Death (1966)
25. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
26. Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
27. Circus of Fear (1966)
28. The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966)
29. The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967)
30. Night of the Big Heat (1967)
31. The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967)
32. Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968)
33. The Devil Rides Out (1968)
34. The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968)
35. Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
36. The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969)
37. The Oblong Box (1969)
38. Scream and Scream Again (1970)
39. Il trono di fuoco (1970)
40. Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht (1970)
41. Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
42. Eugenie (1970)
43. Scars of Dracula (1970)
44. The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
45. I, Monster (1971)
46. Death Line (1972)
47. Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
48. Horror Express (1972)
49. Dark Places (1973)
50. Nothing But the Night (1973)
51. The Creeping Flesh (1973)
52. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
53. The Wicker Man (1973)
54. The Keeper (1976)
55. To the Devil a Daughter (1976)
56. Dracula père et fils (1976)
57. Meatcleaver Massacre (1977)
58. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
59. Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch (1985)
60. Curse III: Blood Sacrifice (1991)
61. Funny Man (1994)
62. Tale of the Mummy (1998)
63. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Christopher lee vampire 3