Thursday, 31 May 2012


Tony Bonner (Toomak), Robert John (Rool), Brian O’Shaughnessy (Mak), Julie Ege (Nala), Marcia Fox (Dumb Girl), Rosalie Crutchley (Old Crone)

Director – Don Chaffey, Screenplay/Producer – Michael Carreras, Photography – Vincent Cox, Music – Mario Nisembene, Special Effects – Sid Pearson, Production Design – John Stoll. Production Company – Hammer/Columbia. UK. 1971.
Back at the dawn of prehistory. After a volcanic eruption kills most of his tribe, the fierce Mali asserts leadership over the survivors and takes them on an arduous trek across a desert region to find a new land. A tribe of more advanced blonde-haired people welcome them. Mali takes a mate from the other tribe and she gives birth to two twin boys – the peaceful and intelligent, fair-headed Toomak and the cruel, dark-haired Rool. As the two boys grow up, they compete for the role of tribal leader and the beautiful Nala.
Hammer Films had had some success with a cycle of prehistoric films beginning with One Million Years B.C. (1966) and continuing with the likes of Slave Girls/Prehistoric Women (1967) and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970). Creatures the World Forgot was the last of this mini-cycle and is generally regarded as the poorest of the films, due to its eschewal of the stop-motion animated effects – indeed its lack of any dinosaurs at all – that had marked One Million Years and When Dinosaurs. There is a certain irony to all this – in attempting to make the film more cheaply, Hammer actually succeeded in making it the most anthropologically correct of the whole cycle. 
It also says much about the audience for these films – that they prefer the romantic spectacle of cavemen fighting dinosaurs to the prehistoric reality.Creatures the World Forgot is not as bad as many of the pro-dinosaur crowd would have us believe. Director Don Chaffey, who also made One Million Years B.C., stages a number of scenes well – there’s one visually great piece with two women fighting for a water skin at the top of a dune, they rolling to the bottom while the water uselessly splashes out in closeup only to find they are then trapped there unable to scrabble up out of the loose sand. 
Chaffey also stages some exciting action scenes – the catfight between Julie Ege and Marcia Fox and the alarmingly realistic scene where Brian O’Shaughnessy is gored by a wildebeest. Some pieces like where chief Brian O’Shaughnessy gets water out of the ground or the scurrying for insects to eat have the flavour of anthropological verisimilitude about them. In the end though, Creatures the World Forgot returns to the genre’s usual simplistic storylines – bad hero vs good hero, the saving of the put-upon fur-bikinied heroine – but for the most part isn’t too bad a variant. Minor Anglo-horror queen and top-billed former Miss Norway Julie Ege has a forgettably passive role.
Don Chaffey was a director who made a handful of films during the Anglo-horror cycle, including several others for Hammer’s exotica cycle with One Million Years B.C. (1966) and The Viking Queen (1967). Elsewhere, Chaffey directed Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and the psycho-thriller Persecution/The Terror of Sheba (1974). In the 1970s, he moved over to work in US television and also made several children’s films with Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (1978) and the Hanna-Barbera film C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979). 

Review: Richard Scheib
Images: Marcus Brooks

Wednesday, 30 May 2012




Edward de Souza (Gerald Harcourt), Jennifer Daniel (Marianne Harcourt), Clifford Evans (Professor Zimmer), Noel Willman (Dr Ravna), Barry Warren (Carl Ravna), Jacqui Wallis (Sabena), Isobel Black (Tania), Peter Maddern (Bruno), Noel Howlett (Father Xavier)

Director – Don Sharp, Screenplay – John Elder [Anthony Hinds], Producer – Anthony Hinds, Photography – Alan Hume, Music – James Bernard, Special Effects – Les Bowie, Makeup – Roy Ashton, Production Design – Bernard Robinson. Production Company – Hammer. UK. 1962.

The early part of the century. Gerald Harcourt and his newlywed wife Marianne are passing through Bavaria on their honeymoon when their car breaks down. They seek refuge in the local village where the locals seem very superstitious and fearful. They are befriended by the wealthy and charming Dr Ravna who invites them to a masque at the Chateau Ravna. But Gerald passes out drunk and when he wakes in the morning he finds that Marianne is missing. Both Ravna and the entire village deny any trace of her existence. The only person who will help him is the embittered Professor Zimmer and so Gerald bands together with him to rescue Marianne from being claimed by Ravna’s vampire coven.

Kiss of the Vampire is one of the more interesting other vampire films to come out of Hammer Films during the 1960s. Kiss of the Vampire was made in the period after Hammer had had their huge initial international success with Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958). But for several years Christopher Lee refused to return to the part of Dracula, determining to establish himself as a serious actor first. The period saw The Brides of Dracula (1960), which tried to be a Dracula film without having Christopher Lee or any Dracula present. Kiss of the Vampire interestingly enough had begun life as another tentative Christopher Lee-less Dracula film. Hammer then decided to make it an original film that would not be dependent on such a notable vacancy at its center and such connections were written out.

Kiss of the Vampire is an interesting effort. It has been aptly called a vampire version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938) (a film that Hammer later directly remade in 1979). Producer Anthony Hinds sets up a fair and reasonable script, better than most of the later Dracula sequels. The focus isn’t so much the hardly interesting married couple, but rather the two opposing figures of good and evil fighting on either side of the film – Noel Willman who plays the vampire with glacial stolidity but alas lacks any real charismatic presence, and Clifford Evans who plays the vampire hunter with a brooding harshness. Kiss also comes filled with several other intriguing performances packed around the sides, most notably from Barry Warren as Ravna’s very weird son and Barbara Steele-lookalike Isobel Black as the innkeeper’s vampirized daughter who one wishes had been given more screen time.

Don Sharp’s handling sometimes falters, but he is aided considerably by the sumptuous production values of all early Hammer films, which buoy the film up, most notably during the beautifully staged masque sequence. [The masque scenes was later wittily parodied in Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers/Dance of the Vampires (1967)]. There’s a most unusual climax featuring hordes of attacking vampire bats (a sequence that had originally been intended as the climax of The Brides of Dracula), which falters slightly through merely adequate effects.

Kiss of the Vampire was the genre debut of Australian-born Don Sharp who later became a regular director within the British horror industry making the likes of Witchcraft (1954), Curse of the Fly (1965), the first two of the Christopher Lee Fu Manchu series The Face of Fu Manchu (1965) and The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), Rasputin The Mad Monk (1966), the period sf comedy Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon/Those Fantastic Flying Fools/Blast Off (1967), the undead biker film Psychomania (1971), the psycho-thriller Dark Places (1972) and the lost world film Secrets of the Phantom Caverns/What Waits Below (1984).

Kiss of the Vampire exists in two different versions, the original cinematic and video release. Kiss of Evil is a cut version for tv, which adds additional scenes taken from Hammer’s The Evil of Frankenstein (1964). 

REVIEW: Richard Scheib
IMAGES: Marcus Brooks


HAMMER FILM PRODUCTIONS Classic telling of the 'HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES'. A FULL REVIEW and supported by a gallery of VINTAGE LOBBY STILLS. If it's Hammer and Peter Cushing you're after, it's worth taking a,look at the the website! Please click the link to go to the review: SHERLOCK HOLMES HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES


PETER CUSHING (Van Helsing) and CHRISTOPHER LEE (Count Dracula) stand here on location in a field ready to start shooting 'the fight to the death' prologue scene for Hammer Film Productions 'DRACULA AD 1972'. This weekend our PETER CUSHING APPRECIATION SOCIETY WEBSITE brings you a special feature and 'behind the scenes' gallery from the shooting of that very scene. Don't miss it THIS WEEKEND SATURDAY JUNE 2nd 2012! Get your horse and coach at the ready!

Monday, 28 May 2012


Raul Julia (Gomez Addams), Anjelica Huston (Morticia Addams), Christopher Lloyd (Uncle Fester/Gordon Craven), Christina Ricci (Wednesday Addams), Jimmy Workman (Pugsley Addams), Elizabeth Wilson (Abigail Craven/Dr Pinder Schloss), Judith Malina (Granny), Carel Struycken (Lurch), Dan Hedaya (Tully Alford), Dana Ivey (Margaret), Paul Benedict (Judge Womack)

Director – Barry Sonnenfeld, Screenplay – Caroline Thompson & Larry Wilson, Based on the Cartoons Created by Charles Addams, Producer – Scott Rudin, Photography – Owen Roizman, Music – Marc Shaiman, Visual Effects Supervisor – Alan Munro, Special Effects – Chuck Gaspar, Makeup – Tony Gardner & David Miller, Production Design – Richard MacDonald. Production Company – Orion.USA. 1991.
The Addams Family – husband Gomez, his wife Morticia, their two children Wednesday and Pugsley, her mother, their butler Lurch and a disembodied hand – live a bizarre life in their big Gothic mansion, relishing all that is death, decay, pain and suffering. Gomez’s crooked lawyer Tully Alford then conspires with loanshark Abigail Craven to rob Gomez’s fortune. They come up with a scheme to get Abigail’s brutish son Gordon to pose as Gomez’s brother Fester who went missing in the Bermuda Triangle.

Charles Addams’ series of cartoons – which were initially unnamed but later came to be known collectively as The Addams Family – first appeared in The New Yorker in 1935 and continued until Charles Addams’ death in 1988. The cartoons offered a gleefully perverse inversion of family life – a Christmas cartoon would show them pouring boiling oil down on carollers, Gomez and Morticia would install torture equipment in the children’s playroom where the children would be found tying their teachers down and so on. The characters were incarnated in a well-remembered tv series, The Addams Family (1964-6), a show that was quite subversive in its time with its cheerfully anarchic inversion of such wholesome family fare as Father Knows Best (1954-60) and The Honeymooners (1955-6).

This big budget film succeeded in reviving the characters all over again for a new generation. In fact, it was The Addams Family that started off the 1990s fad of big-screen revivals of 1960s/70s tv series. It was certainly the most enjoyable Halloween Party Hollywood had put on in some time, a chance for some name actors to get in costume and ape life with a ghoulish, mildly perverse, moderately subversive spin – at least as much as one can when a $35 million budget is at stake. The name actors could almost have been born to their respective parts – particularly Anjelica Huston, who is a necrophiliac’s dream as Morticia in white face paint, crimson lipstick, bruise-coloured eyeliner and comb-length false eyelashes, delivering sly one-liners with a deliciously sexy purr – “Are you unhappy?” “Oh, completely.” Raul Julia gets into boisterous full-blown swing as Gomez, and Christopher Lloyd admirably eye-rolls and double-takes his way through the role of Fester. Best of all is young Christina Ricci as Wednesday (who made her third screen appearance here at the age of 11 and subsequently became an indie favourite), using her impassive round face and a cold steely-eyed glare to singularly unnerving effect.

The mordant essence of Charles Addams’ cartoons has been neatly captured in the script by Larry Wilson and Caroline Thompson, who had previously written Edward Scissorhands (1990) – Morticia cuts the heads off roses, eulogizes over torture, stops Wednesday chasing Pugsley with a meat cleaver to hand her a machete and creates so much sympathy for the witch during a reading of Hansel and Gretel that she has a classroom of children crying; the chat show host discussing voodoo circles has to tell a persistent Gomez he doesn’t know where he can join one; Pugsley and Wednesday set up a lemonade stand where they encounter a Girl Guide selling Girl Guide Cookies who asks if the lemonade is made from real lemons whereupon comes the natural rejoinder – “Are they [the cookies] made from real Girl Scouts?” The downside of the joke is that with the characters begging to be tortured and the only difference between the heroes and villains being lines like: ”You’ve changed into a greedy, nasty Fester from the greedy, nasty Fester we all loved” – it is almost impossible to evince a sense of dramatic peril when the characters get abducted and tied up by the villains.
The Addams Family tv series, starring John Astin as Gomez and Carolyn Jones as Morticia, ran for 64 episodes between 1964 and 1966. It was spun off into a short-lived cartoon series The Addams Family (1973) from Hanna-Barbera, which lasted for 16 episodes, where the principal novelty was a young Jodie Foster voicing the part of Wednesday. Most of the cast from the original series also reunited for a tv special Halloween with the Addams Family (1977). The success of this film was followed by the equally enjoyable sequel Addams Family Values (1993), which brought back all the principal cast again under director Barry Sonnenfeld. The death of Raul Julia in 1994 seemed to cut off the possibility of any further big screen films but there was the subsequent live-action made-for-video sequel Addams Family Reunion (1998) where the only returnee from any of the films was Carel Struycken. Subsequently, there was a cartoon series revival The Addams Family (1993), with John Astin returning to voice Gomez, which lasted for 21 episodes, and the dire Canadian-made live-action tv series The New Addams Family (1998-9), which lasted for 65 episodes. There was also an Addams Family Broadway show that premiered in 2010.
Director Barry Sonnefeld was a former cinematographer on various A-list films, including several Coen Brothers films Blood Simple (1983), Raising Arizona (1987) and Miller’s Crossing (1990); When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Misery (1990) for Rob Reiner; and other successful films such as Throw Momma from the Train (1987) and Big (1988). Barry Sonnenfeld made his directorial debut here. Sonnenfeld would go onto a subsequent career directing comedy and several other genre films, including Addams Family Values, Men in Black (1997), a further tv series big-screen revival with Wild Wild West (1999), the nuclear weapon comedy Big Trouble (2002), Men in Black II (2002) and Men in Black 3 (2012). Sonnenfeld also produced the witty spoof James Bond tv series Secret Agent Man (2000), the live-action superhero spoof The Tick (2001-2), the tv series Pushing Daisies (2007-9) about a man with resurrection powers, and on cinema screens the Gothic children’s film Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), the Disney animation spoof Enchanted (2007) and the animated Space Chimps (2008). 

Review: Richard Scheib
Images Marcus Brooks
Source: Here

Saturday, 26 May 2012


As TODAY SATURDAY 26TH MAY marks the 99th anniversary of PETER CUSHING's Birthday. THE BLACKBOXCLUB celebrates images of a Peter Cushing 'Birthday Past'. Here's some great images from Peter Cushing's surprise 80th Birthday Bash. Spot the faces from Peter Cushing's past television work and movies! All images are from our website!
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