Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hammer Time

This Halloween I'm on a Hammer Films kick. Not only do you get gory horror with the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing but plenty of eye candy with Rachel Welch, the late Ingrid Pitt and the rest of the Hammer Glamor girls.

Dracula A.D. 1972
Dracula rises from the dead into the swinging 70's of London in this inspired version of the same old story. Peter Cushing plays Van Helsing's modern heir and Stephanie Beachman plays his daughter who gets caught up with some swinging hippies lead by Johnny Alucard who's real motivation is to bring Dracula back from the dead. The opening scene is pure late 60's hippie schlock with a rock band and a bunch of their followers sticking it to the man. But with Lee, Cushing, Beachman and Caroline Munro this is a must see for Hammer fans. Available through Netflix streaming so perfect for this weekend's Horror film festivities.

Vampire Lovers
An odd but enjoyable vampire story staring Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing. Pitt plays the beautiful Marcilla/Carmilla preying on the young and beautiful Madeline Smith. Great Gothic imagery, though much of the day for night shots look terrible. Some minor nudity with Pitt seducing Smith but, hey, it's a Hammer film. Great for late night Netflix streaming this weekend.

One Million Years B.C.
Now I haven't seen this one since I was a kid but watching it now, with an adult perspective, I see it as a one of the best pre-historic (though not at all accurate) flicks. Made in 1966, a couple of years before Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey and his famous ape sequence, it has quite the spacey intro grounding the audience in the past. If it wasn't for the cheesy narration to spoon-feed the time frame to the audience, it's quite a great sequence. Then we meet the brutal Stone Tribe and the 'enlightened' Shell Tribe and the stunning Rachel Welch as the most beautiful cave-woman in pre-history. When I was a kid watching this flick, I was taken more by the Ray Harryhausen animated monsters then a scantly clad 60's icon. But now, Rachel is the star of the show and real joy to watch. Besides all that, the whole story has quite the pulp feel as the Tomac, the outcast from the Stone Tribe explores this desolate wilderness. Oh and then the great cataclysm at the end? Great stuff! Unfortunately, it's not available on Netflix streaming so I had to order it via Netflix snail-mail (yes, despite everything we're still Netflix customers - for now).

Bonus feature:
Twins of Evil
A great little vampire flick staring Peter Cushing and Madeleine and Mary Collinson (the Twins of Evil). Cushing's role is great as a puritan witch-hunter (think Solomon Kane) who tries to protect one of his nieces (one of the twins) from falling for the satanic Count. I thought this movie had some amazing themes which would make for a great remake.


  1. I kind of like Vampire Circus and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, too, but you certainly named some good ones.

  2. I was trying to track down When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth but I'll have to pick that up at our local video shop. Vampire Circus is on my list as well. I don't think I've ever seen either one.

  3. I love Halloween. It's the best.

    Happy Movie Watching.

  4. @Bliss - If there's an American version of When Dinosaurs Ruled... I think it cuts out some of Victoria Vetri's best scenes. ;)

  5. Excellent list!

    Synapse is putting out Twins on DVD and Blu-ray sometime soon.

    When Dinosaurs Ruled... was on a Warner Brothers double-feature disc with Moon Zero Two, but the back of the case listed it as rated G when the UK cut was actually on the disc. It got pulled out of production. Since the Warner Archive MOD program just released Moon, maybe there's hope that Dinosaurs will be available again.