Thursday, April 8, 2021

German SHATTER poster

Ti Lung - Der tödliche Schatten des Mr Shatter, German film poster

German poster for Shatter/Call Him Mr Shatter (1975), Hammer's second co-production with Shaw Brothers following right after The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.

 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff promoting STARCRASH

 

Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff on promo tour for STARCRASH
Just discovered this photo on The Grindhouse Sleaze & 80s VHS Trash Facebook Group.

I know absolutely nothing about where this originally came from other than that after years of obsessing over Starcrash this is the first time I have come across this image.

Given that this was obviously a well stage promo event for the film, I suspect that there must be other similar material out there somewhere.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Traitor (1957)

I watched this movie for Christopher Lee and stayed for the sheer abundance of Hammer actors. 
 This film gives Lee yet another opportunity to sport a fake German accent and act opposite a number of future Hammer Horror colleagues such as Anton Diffring (The Man Who Could Cheat Death), Oscar Quitak (The Revenge of Frankenstein) and John Van Eyssen (Dracula) as well as Robert Bray of Lassie fame. 
 It was the first production to be filmed in the New Elstree Studios, a place that Christopher Lee does not appear to have been too enamoured with. In his autobiography, he remembers that he introduced co-star Donald Wolfit to Tolkien’s The Hobbit there “as a much-needed distraction from the water pouring down the cement walls, the duck boards between the stages traversing a sea of mud, the lights that didn’t work, the absence of windows in the dressing-rooms and the economies made on paint”. 
 The film focuses on a group of German Ex-Resistance fighters who meet annually at a mansion in England at the anniversary of their former leader’s death who had been executed by the Nazis. During this meeting, it becomes apparent that one of the friends must have betrayed him. Before the identity of the traitor can be revealed, however, they are also faced with some other murders in the midst. 
 This is a wonderfully old fashioned chamber piece in the tradition of Agatha Christie that lives by its superb cast and betrays nothing of the challenges associated with the new studio. A specially commissioned piano piece, Prelude Without A Name, plays an important role and the effectiveness of the movie is only somewhat marred by a gimmicky denouement that is out of step with the prior plot developments. 
 I watched the UK release which is probably the preferred one, even though the shorter US version also contains additional scenes not in the UK cut as per this review






Thursday, January 7, 2021

Milk Advert and BBC Documentary shot on the set of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES

 Two videos filmed on the set of THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES.

The Dairy Council UK filmed an advert with behind the scenes clips of Peter Cushing and the other stars and crew members drinking some cold milk. (“Pick up a pinta… stay on top!”)

 

The BBC also came over and filmed a documentary FISTS OF FIRE about Shaw Brothers that incorporated clips of The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires as well towards the end of its 30 minute running time.


Friday, January 1, 2021

Wayne Kinsey: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Scrapbook


Wayne Kinsey’s Peveril Publishing House has over the last few years kept the flame alive for us Hammer Fans when it comes to sumptuously illustrated coffee table books.

 Wayne had previously written a number of Hammer related books for more traditional publishers, some of which have now become collector’s items. He was also behind The House That Hammer Built, an incredibly in depth fanzine dedicated to all things Hammer and the research that went into publishing this was the basis for a lot of his subsequent oeuvres. 

As successful as all his ventures were, Hammer by now is a very niche market interest so at some stage it became increasingly more difficult for regular publishers to justify those kinds of publications so Wayne together with designer Steve Kirkham set about creating their own independent imprint. The rules they use for their books can be summarised as such: 

 • Only the highest quality will do. 
 • They will have a very limited print run of usually 600-700 copies. 
 • They will only sell through their website so don’t bother searching for them on Amazon or elsewhere. • The books need to stay below 2kg as the postage rates would otherwise sky rocket. As a result their publications don’t come cheap but they are worth giving up on a few meals just to afford having them on your shelves. And once they’re gone you can rest assured that used copies will skyrocket in price in no time at all. 

I have previously reviewed The Peter Cushing Scrapbook and their Hammer Locations.

I also own their non-Hammer related series of Fantastic Films of the Decades (three volumes so far) and their book on She. I have, however, missed out on some of their other books that have since sold out, most regrettably The Hammer Frankenstein and Hammer Dracula Scrapbooks

So when their latest publication was announced, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires Scrapbook, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Though I was early enough with the ordering, my copy already is number 398 of 600 so by the time you read this, there may not be many more left. 

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires with its melange of Hammer Horror and Shaw Bros Martial Arts was always a film I totally adored, maybe not even despite but because of its faults. (John Forbes-Robertson, looking at your and your lipstick.) It never ceases to entertain me whenever I come around to viewing it but it is admittedly at first glance an odd choice for a standalone book of its kind. 

That is until you learn that Wayne is in possession of Cushing’s screenplay, arguably the only fully complete Cushing script still around and it features all his notes, drawings and costume suggestions. 

Wayne also already owned Roy Ward Baker’s script with notes so those two scripts mark the centre point of this new book. Add a plethora of other photos and material covering all aspects of the production plus additional material relating to a range of unfilmed Hammer Draculas and you have yet another absolute Must Have from Peveril.





Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ollie's Last Round

Two years ago I had visited Oliver Reed's grave in Churchtown, Co. Cork, I blogged about it here.

Prior to this on a visit to Malta I had met the guy in whose arms Reed had died while filming Gladiator. At the time I had published a travelogue about the experience for The Hungover Gourmet #7.

This article together with five others have now been republished in Ollie's Last Call, a new 22.400+ word eBook that is available for just $0.99 (or whatever equivalent in your local online store Amazon deems this to be).

The full list of articles is as such:

Ollie’s Last Round: A travelogue about meeting the guy in whose arms Oliver Reed died while filming "Gladiator" in Malta

Look What's Happened to the Omen and to Rosemary’s Baby:
A look at two much maligned follow-ups to two of the best known movie classics, "Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby" and "Omen IV: The Awakening"

Little Shop of Euro-Horrors: Visiting the Profondo Rosso store in Rome, owned by Dario Argento and Luigi Cozzi, and meeting up with Luigi Cozzi

Raising the (Blind) Dead: An overview over the series of Blind Dead movies by Amando De Ossorio

The Baroness: A book by book look at the wonderfully lurid series of The Baroness paperbacks by “Paul Kenyon” with a solution to their true authorship

Anatomies Dissected: Reviews of the two German "Anatomie" movies


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Sign of Satan (08/May/1964)

Just discovered this episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour from May 08, 1964 with Christopher Lee on YouTube. Not sure how long this will be on but it can also be viewed on DailyMotion.

The Sign of Satan was filmed at Universal Studios and is from the second season of the hour long program. This show was effectively a continuation of the previous half an hour long “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.

The episode was based on Robert Bloch’s short story Return to the Sabbath, first published in “Weird Tales” (July 1938) when Bloch was just 21. Other stories published that month in the magazine contained Henry Kuttner’s Spawn of Dagon, Seabury Quinn’s Fortune’s Fools and Clark Ashton Smith’s Mother of Toads as well as a poem each by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

It features Lee as Karl Jorla, an Austrian Devil Worshipper who features in a recording of a Black Mass. When that recording gets released, his acolytes suspect that he was behind this and threaten to hunt and kill him. A film studio hires him as an actor for a similar role, not knowing that what they had seen in the initial production was not a work of fiction.

During the satanic ritual Lee is heard speaking German and truth be told his German is better than the German accent he puts on when speaking English. He also appears to be wearing a head piece as well as some crazy bushy eye brows and some of the scenes evoke his Dracula, no doubt one of the reasons he was hired for the job.

All the occult references are very moody and must have appealed to Lee as an aficionado in that area. Though the premise of this episode is preposterous - no studio would have hired a No Name and put up with all those exorbitant requests and strange behaviour - the fact that this is one of those productions that show him amongst Satanists and Devil Worshippers with hints of Horror Hotel (1960) as well as future Dennis Wheatley adaptations makes this well worth checking out.

Lee mentions in his autobiography that he was anxious to leave his 12-week old daughter Christina behind which places his arrival around the February 15 mark. This was Lee’s first invite to Hollywood. Rather than being placed in a grandiose hotel as he had hoped for, he is put up in an unfinished motel, but has Marlon Brando’s dressing room.

Filming lasts two weeks and while there, he also meets one of his idols, Groucho Marx, as well as Ray Bradbury who had wanted him to play Mr. Dark in an adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Prior to filming he was seemingly convinced he’d be directed by Alfred Hitchcock directly and only became aware that this was not the case when meeting Bob Douglas, the actual director. He only ended up briefly seeing Hitch from a distance and also lost eight of Ray Milland’s golf balls in a match against him in Bel Air.