Wednesday, 2 December 2015


Sad news to report British character actor Anthony Valentine has passed away… Best known for his the ruthless Toby Meres in Callan, the sinister Major Mohn in Colditz, and the title character in Raffles…. He also starred in the Hammer films The Dammed (1963), To The Devil A Daughter (1976) and the Hammer House Of Horror episode Carpathian Eagle

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


It seems that hardly a week goes by now, without some distributor releasing a 'remastered, special edition, uncut, limited edition, cleaned up, all singing and dancing' blu ray from the Hammer or Amicus film vaults. To be fair, most of these releases do come up with the goods, and many of the films now presented minus scratches, dust with censor snipped footage now 'slipped back in', do pass mustard. We'll leave the 'experts' to pick and chew over ratio discrepancies among themselves. Having said that, however good the main attraction feature is presented, quite a few releases fall at the fence on the strength of what was once, just a little extra, a good will gesture, thrown in to complete the package... a dusty stills gallery, a few yellowing pages from a press book, some vintage cinema posters or if you are really lucky all three. But, over the past few years, the target audience has become more than a little sophisticated and knows exactly what it wants and expects. Has some distributors have found to their cost, the success of a new release can fly or fall based on the strength of their EXTRAS.

Today, nothing less than a 40 minute documentary, including rare stills, behind the scenes footage and interviews will do. Twenty five minutes of 'talking heads', including 'a celebrity' or two..... neither of which appeared in the feature attraction, but do happen to have an opinion about it, doesn't really impress. And why should it? Not when there IS a veritable treasure of material out there to be used, if you know where to find it and how to incorporate it into an extras documentary.

In the field of 'extras features' to be found on blu rays over the past few years there are one or two familiar producers, authorities, names and faces that spring up with alarming regularity. What you probably don't know, is the one name, that for many, wouldn't even summon the faintest tinkle of a bell... and yet, for almost ten years he has produced an unfailing record of documentaries and extra features, that sometimes threaten to even over shadow the feature product itself!

It's common practice now in the pre release promotion for many fantasy genre releases, for distributors to promise the earth...and more! Photo galleries, rare behind the scenes footage, rare interviews with the actual cast and crew...and  photographs. RARE ones. Many, Many RARE ones. Sadly, what we get is a twenty minute tedious rip off of talking heads, of people who may be critics, fans, authors or academics who might KNOW the subject matter very well, and once may have met Terence Fisher in a pub thirty years ago, along with five black and white press photographs, panned and edited in the style of Ken Burns, that appeared donkey's years ago in Famous Monsters and have been  doing the rounds ever since, in every publication from the Radio Times to a dodgy mag, that thinks the way to a fans heart and wallet is by printing suspect pics of Hammer film starlets, long before they were stars, self consciously flashing their bits and tits, crouch fluff and often more.... tacky.

For quite sometime now this person, has produced an outstanding series of documentaries and extras for blu rays and dvd releases, and yet has remained quite happily for most people, under the radar. Unlike many, he doesn't crave the spot light himself, never appears in his documentaries, never visits or comments on forums and would never even consider doing an interview, believing his work speaks for itself.

For a small tight crowd of Hammer film fans in the UK, the name Donald Fearney was first connected with a series of very unique garden parties with actors and technicians from the film world. That may not sound anything particularly exciting or special, until you consider that the 'garden party' was held at the home of Hammer films 'Bray Studios'.... and the actors and technicians, some 60 to 80 in total, were the cream of British Fantasy Cinema from the Hammer and Amicus hey-days. Fearney hosted this event not once, but three times! Invitation by ticket only, fans could walk at their leisure around Down Place, take in the atmosphere, while chatting to Veronica Carlson, Ingrid Pitt, Val Guest, Don Taylor, Michael Ripper, Jimmy Sangster, Hazel Court, the Collinson twins, Hammer producer Roy Skeggs, Hammer films producer Anthony Hinds, Yvonne Monlaur, Carol Marsh and a host of others. Autographs...were free. This of course, was before the explosions of signing events that are all too common these days. But, they were something very special and never to be repeated.

If you purchased Final Cut's blu ray release of 'The Brides of Dracula', 'Captain Clegg/ Night Creatures', 'The Phantom of the Opera' or 'The Evil of Frankenstein'... you would have seen Donald's work. All extra content was produced by Don , with help from editor, Jim Groom. It's all of a very high standard. Don says his job is to 'tell the story'. From page to screen, how the film in your hands was produced, with help from narrators like Hammer actor, Edward de Souza and John Carson. The first thing that strikes you about Fearney's documentaries is the sheer volume of content he brings to the screen. It's quite staggering and I have yet to view any extras documentary, that matches his photo count, and the staggering total of vintage photographs he freely shares with the viewer to 'tell the story'.

Which bring me to Donald's latest release. This one is a stand alone feature. It was recently a boast, from a company promising the earth in the shape of their forth coming documentary, that in so many words...'for the first time in our documentary we'll be telling the behind the scenes story of these Hammer Dracula films.....' I guess they missed the 90 minute Fearney documentary entitled 'The Legend of Hammer Vampires', released in 2009 and features exclusive interviews with, Jimmy Sangster, Tudor Gates, John Forbes Robertson, Dave Prowse, Caroline Munro and John Cater who until that time, had never appeared before a camera to tell their story. Produced for a very modest £2,000 that again, that's £2,'s a tight, info packed professionally produced feature, that wont have you reaching for the fast forward or skip button and again the content I have never seen bettered, at least that was until last week...

Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg's Amicus Vault Of Horrors, tells the full story..warts and all of the legendary partnership of Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg and the production company, Amicus films, who along with Hammer films dominated the horror / fantasy genre in cinemas during the 1960's and 70's. The Amicus reputation is probably more based on their series of portmanteau films such as, Dr Terror's House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror and it would have been an easier job for Fearney, in telling the Amicus story, had he just trod this well worn path. The fact that this documentary covers not only ALL 'Horror' Amicus output, but also their less successful ventures like ' The Mind of Mr. Soames', 'What Became of Jack and Jill?' and 'A Touch of Love'. This does not detract or make for boring viewing, quite the opposite. Fearney has left no stones unturned in finding material and 'the story behind the story' in the production of these films. The addition of the narration delivered by the fruity and rich tones of none other than Roy Hudd, is a real plus. Hudd's career as a performer, comedian and highly respected authority on the history of entertainment in the UK, makes him the perfect choice, for the colourful tale of Amicus and cinematic stories that often held a black cruel twist.

Amicus Vault of Horrors, begins with a very clever homage to Dr Terror's House of Horrors, that continues through out the documentary, using the turning of Dr Terror's Tarot Cards, as a cunning visual device in telling the story of the Amicus fortunes... and fate. One very interesting plus in the documentary is the footage of a never before seen interview with Milton Subotsky, this interview comes from our very own Peter Cushing Appreciation Society archives. A lot has been written about Subotsky down the years, much of it second and third hand, this is the first and only time, where he gets  the opportunity to share his side of the story, and who better to help him do that, than  Donald Fearey.

Written by Marcus Brooks

Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg's  : Amicus Vault of Horrors DVD is a region 0 release and is available for purchase for £20.00 which includes post and package anywhere through the following paypal address:  PEVANS113@BTINTERNET.COM

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Monday, 26 October 2015


Michael Gough (Dr Charles Decker), Margo Johns (Margaret), Claire Gordon (Sandra Banks), Jess Conrad (Bob Kenton), Austin Trevor (Dean Foster), Jack Watson (Superintendent Brown), George Pastell (Professor Tagor)

Director – John Lemont, Screenplay – Herman Cohen & Aben Kandel, Producers – Nathan Cohen & Stuart Levy, Photography – Desmond Dickinson, Music – Gerard Schurman, Makeup – Jack Craig, Art Direction – Wilfred Arnold. Production Company – Merton Park Studios.

Dr Charles Decker returns after having been missing for a year following a plane crash in Uganda. He has discovered a serum among the natives. Using Konga, a chimpanzee he has brought back with him, he determines to perfect his theories regarding the links between plant life and human tissue and the belief that plants can be commanded by human will. He injects Konga with the serum, which causes it to increase to the size of gorilla. He then uses Konga to go out and kill rivals and those who impede his research.
Konga is one of the films from producer Herman Cohen. Cohen had had some success with a host of teen revisions of classic horror monster movie themes in the late 1950s, beginning with I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and including the likes of I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957) and Blood of Dracula (1957). (There is no truth to the rumour that persistently circulates that Konga was originally to have been titled I Was a Teenage Gorilla). From 1959 onwards, Herman Cohen relocated in England and produced another series of horror films there, beginning with Horrors of the Black Museum (1959).

The lynchpin of Herman Cohen’s English films was Michael Gough. Michael Gough had great success, delivering a wonderfully cruel and demented performance as the killer crime writer in Black Museum. Cohen again casts Michael Gough here and also would in The Black Zoo (1963) and Berserk (1967), all of which headlined Gough as a demented killer.

Konga is a thoroughly schlocky film. There is some wonderfully overwrought nonsense about witch doctors making plants subservient to their wills and scenes of Michael Gough walking through the conservatory throwing meat to his carnivorous plants. Gough fires the film up with a wonderfully arrogant performance. However, the rest of Konga is routine hackwork and it is only Michael Gough’s presence that enlivens it in any way. The ape suit is incredibly shabby – somehow in being enlarged from normal to human-size the ape manages to go from being a chimp into a gorilla. The terrible optically enlarged scenes with the chimpanzee rampaging have justly accorded Konga a Golden Turkey status.

Herman Cohen’s other genre films include:- Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952), Target Earth (1954), I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957), Blood of Dracula (1957), How to Make a Monster (1958), The Headless Ghost (1959), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), The Black Zoo (1963), A Study in Terror (1965), Berserk (1967), Trog (1970) and Craze (1973).

Artwork: Jamie Somerville

Saturday, 24 October 2015



It's another of our QUICKY COMPETITIONS where you can WIN AND WIN AGAIN, But you have JUST FIVE HOURS, starting from NOW  gmt to send it your answer!


You can purchase YOUR copy of this REGION FREE BLU RAY from HERE  OR HERE!

DETAILS: Kind of a horror movie, kind of an espionage film, and in some sense a piece of science fiction, Scream and Scream Again (1970) features turns by three icons of the horror genre: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing.  All are involved in a wild “plot” connecting Great Britain to some unnamed totalitarian state where torture, murder, and out-of-control “experiments” are the order of the day. Directed by Gordon Hessler from a screenplay by Christopher Wicking, with cinematography by the worthy John Coquillon.

Starring: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Judy Huxtable, Alfred Marks, Michael Gothard. Directed By: Gordon Hessler. Written By: Christopher Wicking. Score By: David Whitaker. Language: English.Video: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1 / Color. Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA.  Subtitles: English SDH. Theatrical Release: 1970. Runtime: 94 Minutes. Rating: R (Some Violence and Brief Nudity) Region Code: Region Free (A/B/C)

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan / Gentleman Gothic: Gordon Hessler at AIP / An Interview with Uta Levka / Still Gallery / Radio Spot / Original Theatrical Trailer

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Here's ANOTHER chance to win yourself a copy of TWILIGHT TIMES LIMITED EDITION BLU RAY of SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN! - See more at:

Monday, 19 October 2015


A Chance to WIN one of THREE FREE Copies of the EUREKA Blu Ray / DVD Release of Amicus Films 'The Skull' PLUS Full Review and Lobby Card Gallery, ALL at the Peter Cushing Appreciation Society: Just Click HERE 
The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Fan Page
Can Be found: HERE 

Friday, 16 October 2015


Plot: Writer Ben Mears returns to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot in Maine where he becomes interested in writing a novel set around the sinister old mansion that overlooks the town. The town is then struck by a series of killings where the victims are left drained of blood. Ben and Straker, the mysterious owner of a new antique store, become the immediate suspects, being the only strangers in town. When the dead start returning from the grave to drink the blood of the living, Ben and young monster movie fan Mark Petrie become the only ones willing to believe that they are facing vampires. Together they set out to trap and kill Barlow, the master vampire who inhabits the house on the hill.

Salem's Lot (1975) was Stephen King’s second novel and this production was the second-ever screen adaptation of King’s work, following Brian De Palma’s highly successful version of Carrie (1976). For a time, Salem's Lot dallied about as to whether it would be a theatrical film, with directorial names such as George A. Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead (1968), and Larry Cohen, director of It’s Alive (1974), associated with it. The 1979 vampire movie revival, which also included the likes of the lavish Frank Langella remake of Dracula (1979), Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) remake, the killer bat movie Nightwing (1979), the disco film Nocturna: Dracula’s Granddaughter (1979), the Dracula spoof Love at First Bite (1979) and the sex comedy Dracula Blows His Cool (1979), proved the impetus to allow Salem's Lot to get off the ground as a two-part TV mini-series. The directorial chair eventually went to Tobe Hooper – Salem’s Lot was Hooper’s first Hollywood mainstream production after the cult success of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

Stephen King is equivocal about Salem's Lot. That not withstanding, Salem's Lot is one of the most underrated of Stephen King adaptations. Certainly, you can understand where King is not too enthused as the mini-series makes a number of changes to the book. It cuts several characters, compacts a couple into one. There are a number of characters introduced and some of the plot strands are left uncompleted. Bonnie Bedelia’s return as a vampire is peculiarly placed at the end of the story, which ends up oddly unbalancing the climax. Most notable of the changes is in the character of the vampire Barlow. The mini-series turns him into a vampire clearly modeled on Max Shreck in Nosferatu (1922) and eliminates all his dialogue – here he has a single line, whereas in the book he has speeches that go on several pages explaining his origin. In fact, thanks to James Mason’s magnetic performance, the central villain of the show emerges as Straker, who is meant to be the vampire’s daytime aide, rather than Barlow – by comparison try and imagine a version of Dracula (1897) where Renfield is a more prominent character than Dracula.

Largely, Tobe Hooper prefers to not concern himself so much with the adaptation but expands outward on it, staging it as a series of set pieces. These set-pieces are intensely captivating – the gravedigger trapped in the grave he is digging as the vampire child rises from its coffin; Mark Kerwin watching in bed as Brad Savage eerily floats up in a cloud of mist tapping at his window; a body rising from a morgue table and its graphic dispatch with a crucifix made of wooden spatula; a gripping sequence with David Soul and Mark Kerwin in a cellar struggling to stake Barlow’s body as the sleeping brood of vampires wake up as the sun sets; and one gratuitous but blackly funny sequence with George Dzundza returning to surprise his adultering wife and her lover with a shotgun that entirely jolts one out of their seat. Certainly, Salem's Lot’s failing is a tendency to be written around these set-pieces – but what gripping set-pieces they are.

Everything else makes Salem's Lot a class production. Heartthrob David Soul, then at the height of his popularity with the TV series Starsky and Hutch (1975-9) is dull, but there is a fine supporting cast with everybody else creating well-rounded characters, especially the delightfully chirpy Bonnie Bedelia who makes a striking transformation from schoolteacher to seductive vampire. The best of these is James Mason, who appears to be having some of the best fun he had in his latter years. Mason’s dry but melodious, deliberately absent-minded intonation lends itself to a performance of startlingly calculated evil. Production designer Mort Rabinowitz also delivers a memorable haunted house set.

Salem's Lot is available in two forms. The most prevalent is the original 183 minute mini-series, which is still seen in that format on video and cable revival today, although is often cut by as much as 30 minutes running time. At the same time, there was also a truncated feature-length 112-minute theatrical release print that was shown in some countries.

Larry Cohen who, as mentioned above, was originally pegged as director, made a loosely related sequel A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987). The Stephen King novel was later remade as another two-part mini-series ‘Salem’s Lot (2004), featuring Rob Lowe in the David Soul role, Donald Sutherland as Straker and Rutger Hauer as Barlow. This is a different version of the story than the 1979 version and, though the lesser, is not uninteresting.

Edited and Design : Jamie Sumerville
Review: Richard Scheib 


Saturday, 10 October 2015


Just a reminder that our competition where you can win yourself one of two complete blu ray box sets of HORROR CLASSICS from Warner Brothers is still open, but closes on WEDNESDAY 14th OCT at midnight! The competition is running here on, the peter cushing appreciation society facebook fan page and our website Also you can purchase your set or the individual releases from here at AMAZON

Here also is my review of the box set, should you want to check out it's spec first :) It's a rarity among vintage releases these days... Truly, it's faultless!

"All the films in this package, technically are flawless. All four movies have been remastered in 1080p and are presented in their original aspect ratios.THE MUMMY in 1.66:1, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave and Taste The Blood Of Dracula in 1.85:1. With each film you'll be very happy to discover there no print drop outs or blemishes anywhere to be seen, the colour and contrast is solid and each film has an amazing detail, like you would never have seen in any of these films previous releases.

As with, Warner's dvd release of TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, the blu-ray here restores over four minutes of footage that was originally removed from the U.S. theatrical print and the previous VHS release too. Where TASTE was originally rated GP, according it has now been given an R rating.

The reinstated scenes are as follows: The shots of Dracula's blood changing to powder in the prologue; there is also extended shots in the brothel scenes, including a snake charmer's dance shot and some topless nudity, the violent beating of Ralph Bate's, Lord Courtley is extended, and; Dracula's violent, snarling attack on a female victim. Also, all the major death scenes have some extended footage, including more glimpses of Christopher Lee's writhing Dracula!

The HORROR CLASSICS package also includes a complete and uncut version of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED. The notorious rape scene that was originally snipped from all U.S. versions, is now back. In line with visuals of the films in this package, I am pleased to say, the English audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0) are also perfect!

Each film also comes complete with additional French, and Spanish (both Castilian and Latin) language tracks with optional English SDH, French, Spanish (both Castilian and Latin) subtitles. In addition, both DRACULA films include German audio tracks and German subtitles. Each film comes with its original theatrical trailer.

The outstanding quality of this box set from it's presentation packaging to the over all quality of the films themselves, puts this release way above any previous releases of the titles and would be a fantastic addition to any collectors or Hammer fans film library! Well Done WARNER!"

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