Saturday, February 28, 2009

2 new Hammer events

Courtesy of the Yahoo Hammer group comes news of two interesting Hammer related events in the near future:

It looks like Don Fearney is going ahead with yet another one of his outstanding Hammer meet ups in the Cine Lumiere in London. On July 25 he will stage a John Carson tribute with a Q&A and showings of some of Carson's movie. It is likely that this will include a cinematic appearance of Plague of the Zombies that starred Carson as the evil squire. Tickets will be £25. More details about this when I have them, but Don's events are always a lot of fun (just check here and here for some examples) and an opportunity to meet up with a number of Hammer stars and indeed Hammer fans.

Valerie Leon is also planning a one-woman show about her film career aptly titled Valerie Leon's Carry On. The show will be staged on March 19 in St Albans and on March 21 in East Grinstead. The latter event also includes a gourmet meal presumably with Ms Leon in attendance as well. More details can be found on her website. A visit to her website will also reveal a little clip of recent projects that she was involved in. Looks like she is definitely keeping busy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hallo, hier spricht.....

Looks like I am an official blogaholic right now as I have just started a new blog dedicated to the Krimi genre. Krimis are a few dozen German crime and mystery movies dedicated to Edgar Wallace and other pulp fiction outings. They have accompanied me through my teenage years and I have recently rediscovered them again thanks to a series of well made German DVD box sets. If you like to know more about these films and feel like venturing into an area of less well known Eurotrash productions, please visit my Hallo, hier spricht...

Looking forward to finding some of you there. You never know: Some familiar faces may occasionally also show up as e.g. Christopher Lee has also appeared in some of those productions.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Witches (1966)

Been watching Hammer's Witches about a month or so ago and ever since then had every intention to do a little write up, but everytime I started to put virtual pen to virtual white paper I couldn't come up with any angle. It's only now I figured out why.

The Witches is by far Hammer's most average production. It's neither good enough to praise it in any way, nor bad enough to mock or condemn it. Heck, it is one production where they begged the censor to give it an X rating, though he left it with an A as there really is nothing adult or scary in it. At all.

Screenplay is by Nigel Kneale. Given the amount of energy he wasted bitching about how Hammer in his opinion ruined their Quatermass adaptations, it is surprising he managed to keep so quiet about this production.

So what can I say about the production. Nothing much other than..... Meh!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Rondo Awards

Another year over and the Rondo Awards are awaiting your votes again.

Here are some of my absolutely biased recommendations in case you are unsure in some categories.

There are scores of worthwhile blogs to vote for in the best horror blog category and in actual fact I have been in touch with a number of the owners of those blogs, read them regularly and could easily vote for most of them, but Curt Purcell’s Groovy Age of Horror just needs to win this year. Every year this blog shows up for the Awards and every year it gets snuffed. Yes, this may be very niche market (dedicated to pulp paperbacks and comics/fumetti), but it is a labour of love and always highly readable. Your truly in the early days of this blog also wrote some entries about German pulp horror series and about sleazy Modesty Blaise rip-off The Baroness. So if you’re undecided, you now know what to do.

Dick Klemensen’s Little Shoppe of Horrors again features in several categories. The magazine was published twice last year, so take your pick of the entries you would like to vote for:
11. Best Magazine of 2008
12. Best Article of 2008 (PLEASE PICK TWO)
-- 'Scream and Scream Again: The Uncensored History of Amicus Productions,' by Philip Nutman, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #20. Deep examination of the studio that emerged from Hammer's shadows.
13. Best Magazine Cover
LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #20
Alternate cover by Bruce Timm

As you can pick two articles I would suggest to also vote for
-- 'El Vampiro Speaks,' by Bryan Senn, Richard Sheffield and Jim Clatterbaugh, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT #24. Rare interview with Mexican horror star German Robles.
I have shared many a happy drink with Bryan Senn. He was even around when I created a new cocktail, the Grandma Baileys i.e. Grand Marnier and Baileys on ice. (Now that this is out I expect every bar in the world to serve this, but at least you dear readers now know where this came from.) Bryan’s writing is always highly entertaining and he is also the author of two of my favourite genre-books-with-an-unusual-angle, Drums of Terror: Voodoo in the Cinema and A Year of Fear: A Day-by-day Guide to 366 Horror Films, so it would definitely be nice to see him earn a Rondo.

I have always been an admirer of Michael Wilks, who together with me is also a member of the Isle of the Dead Yahoo Group, so I also recommend voting for his cover of the new (or should I say relaunched) Scarlet #1 magazine.

And last, but not least:

10. Best Book of 2008
Truth be told, the only newly published genre cult film book I read last year was David Zuzelo’s and Paul Cooke’s TOUGH TO KILL which is *not* on the list for the awards, but a few buddies of mine from the Eurotrash Paradise figured it would be fun if we all start voting for it regardless as in every category you can also vote for entries that were not featured on the list. David is a good buddy of mine and runs the excellent TOMB IT MAY CONCERN blog, so drop by his blog and vote for the man. Wouldn’t it be funny if a book is picked for the Rondos that wasn’t on anyone’s horizon before?

Voting finishes on March 21, 2009. So what are you waiting for?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hammer Playing Cards @ Deadlicious

I just read this post over at the Frankensteinia blog referring me to an older entry on the Deadlicious blog with scans of Hammer playing cards from 1996. I have owned this set of cards for quite some time myself, but so far failed to get decent scans made of them, so it's great to see that the images are around courtesy of Deadlicious.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blackout/Murder by Proxy (1953)

Blackout is the first Hammer Noir I came across that can properly claim to be on a level with the classic Hollywood Film Noirs. Most of the other Hammer Noirs I have seen were all passable. I have yet to find a truly dreadful movie of that subgenre, but I also hadn’t experienced a really outstanding one until I watched Blackout (original UK title: Murder by Proxy).

A man down on his luck (Dane Clark) drowns his sorrows in a bar and meets a stunning Blonde (Belinda Lee) who offers him £500 to marry her. The next morning he wakes up in the apartment of yet another dame with the mother of all hangovers and no recollection of what happened the night before and soon finds himself in the centre of a murder investigation desperately trying to clear his name.

That kind of plot is the stuff that proper Noirs are made of. There’s nothing like seeing an innocent amnesiac caught in a web of deceit of scheming ladies and scumbag lawyers to get you in the mood for bourbon, babes and cigarettes.

Tightly plotted (courtesy of Richard Landau) and excellently directed by Terence Fisher, Blackout also offers great acting all around. With three Hammer Noirs to his name Dane Clark (who also appeared in The Gambler and the Lady and Five Days aka Paid to Kill) would prove to be Hammer’s most popular Noir lead. Belinda Lee is absolutely amazing as an archetypical Film Noir Blonde. She oozes sex appeal and charisma and is able to be both cold as ice as well as charmingly warm or even vulnerable depending on the situation. It’s a pity that she died far too young at the age of just 26 following a car accident.

As in a lot of other Hammer films at the time Jimmy Sangster is again the Assistant Director.

There are still a number of other Hammer Noirs waiting for me, so fingers crossed I can find some more of those gems.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A new 999 Challenger

Looks like we got a new 999 Challenger. Mermaid Heather decided to join our little group after hearing about this from Cattleworks. Heather writes a fantastic blog focusing on all kinds of horror reviews. This is properly reflected in her list of 999 Challenges:

"1. 9 Hammer films. Since I have watched all of one film from Hammer, this will give me an excuse to watch more.
2. 9 Universal Classics. Even though I have explored this area some already, I still have plenty of movies to go.
3. 9 remakes. One of the things horror movies are known for are how many remakes get made. I'm sure I can come up with nine remakes I haven't watched yet.
4. 9 haunted houses. Since I love a good ghost story, this will give me a good reason to find more of what I like.
5. 9 werewolf films. An underused genre. It would be fun to explore this one more.
6. 9 Masters Of Horror episodes. I have watched a few, but I keep pushing actual movies in front of these. Time to stop that and watch some more.
7. 9 Linnea Quigley films. I have watched a few already, but I'm sure I can find nine more films she has been in. She was one of the biggest scream queens after all.
8. 9 Mad doctors/scientists. A genre I have barely explored so far.
9. 9 films where a child dies. Did you really think I would leave this one out? Of course I will have to research this one, and some of the others, but there is no way I am leaving this one out. Not an offical sub genre, but one I am working on making!"

This list is so up my alley!!! I am really looking forward to reading more about her 999 journey and of course I am especially interested in hearing what she thinks about the Hammer movies she is choosing.