Wednesday, 31 July 2013

FANTASTIQ'S PETER CUSHING CENTENARY MONOGRAPH LIMITED RUN: TAKING PRE ORDERS NOW


Here's some great news just in from Tony Earnshaw and Fantastiq. It's a very interesting Peter Cushing Centenary publication, with an impressive line up of contributors. Snap them up before they all go, it's a limited run. 

"The first Fantastiq monograph is a 20-page centenary tribute to that gentle man of horror, Peter Cushing. Illustrated with portraits and behind-the-scenes photographs, it includes a complete filmography and features contributions from filmmakers and co-stars such as Bernard Cribbins, Kate O’Mara, Peter Sasdy, Kevin Connor, Peter Duffell, John Hurt and Val Kilmer. Limited to just 250 copies, this one-off publication is available for £5 including P&P in the UK, and £10 including P&P elsewhere in the world. We are taking pre-orders now. Payment by bank transfer, cheque and Paypal. Send your order to: tony@reelsolutions.co.uk " 

News on Fantastiq's three day film and TV festival focusing on fantasy, sci-fi and horror. - coming up later....

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

THE 'OTHER' HELEN : MARY HELEN : PETER CUSHING, THE GHOUL AND TALES FROM THE CRYPT


THE 'OTHER' HELEN. Requested Post for George: This is a screen capture of Arthur Grimsdyke's wife, Mary Helen in Peter Cushing's 'Poetic Justice' story in Amicus Films, 'Tales From The Crypt', often confused with the photograph Peter used of his actual late wife, Helen in Tyburn Films 'The Ghoul'. The Helen featured in this photograph was taken from a stock photo library...


NOW ON THE BIG SCREEN: THE UNOFFICIAL UNAUTHORISED GUIDE TO DOCTOR WHO AT THE MOVIES


This looks interesting.... Thanks to Nicole Ryan for the heads up. "This one totally slipped past me...Apparently, it details the "development hell" that afflicted the two Cushing Dr Who movies, as well as singer Michael Jackson (and comedian Bill Cosby) being seriously considered for the Doctor in the '80s. Weird."

HERE ON KINDLE: Now On The Big Screen

TOP TARKIN : SIDESHOW COLLECTABLES IMPRESSIVE STAR WARS FIGURE


The Sideshowtoys figure of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin 'Star Wars' (1977) Quite an impressive figure. Apparently, Forbidden Planet in Shaftesbury Avenue, London has one in their figure display cabinet opposite the checkouts!

'SHATTER' FILMED IN HONG KONG. WHERE THE ACTION IS APPARENTLY!


Shatter also known as Call Him Mr Shatter and They Call Him Mr Shatter is a 1974 British-Hong Kong action film starring Stuart Whitman, Lung Ti, Lily Li, Anton Diffring and Peter Cushing in his last film for Hammer Studios. It was the second and final international co-production between Hammer Studios of England and Shaw Brothers Studio of Hong Kong. The film was shot entirely on location in Hong Kong and was first released in 1974 in UK.

Monday, 29 July 2013

THE MUMMY: HAMMER FILMS: CUSHING AND LEE CLASSIC COMES TO BLU RAY


GREAT NEWS! Coming to Blu-ray, 14th October, with some great extras!

''Frankenstein Created Woman' and' Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell' to follow!

This new release on Blu-ray and DVD double play presents the film in its original UK theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 for the first time, as well as featuring a host of brand new extras never seen before and in high definition. Containing 2xDVD + 1xBlu-ray. Features include: Original UK theatrical aspect ratio: 1.66:1 (the film has never before been released at this aspect ratio); Alternate “full frame” aspect ratio: 1.37:1; “Unwrapping The Mummy” – New 25 min. HD documentary about the film’s creation and history.; “Hammer’s Rep Company” – New 20 min. HD documentary about Hammer’s informal repertory company of actors.; Commentary – New expert commentary from Marcus Hearn & Jonathan Rigby.; “Stolen Face” – bonus feature (Terence Fisher’s 1952 crime drama, 72 mins.); “The House Of Horror: Memories Of Bray” – Hammer’s all-new 5-part documentary (50 mins. total) which will premiere on Hammer’s YouTube channel before the Double Play release.;“Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing” – The World Of Hammer episode;HD Archive/Stills Gallery Original industry promo reel restored to HD (6 mins.)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

CORRUPTION: CENTENARY DELUXE EDITION STREET RELEASE DATE OCTOBER 8TH 2013


SIX DAYS TO WIN YOURSELF A VINTAGE PETER CUSHING AUTOGRAPH PHOTOGRAPH


Here's your chance to win a vintage autographed photograph of Peter Cushing (circa 1965) over at our UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Fan Page (HERE )

Please read the competition details carefully! You can ONLY send your answers to us by using the 'message button' at the top of the PCASUK fan page. Any answers or entry posted onto the main wall or news feed will be deleted and not counted as an entry. The lucky winners name will be posted via a video clip here on the PCASUK page on SUNDAY 4th AUGUST 2013. Good Luck Everyone. Have Fun!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

HOW PETER CUSHING FINALLY GOT HIS WISH ON FILM


WIN BLU RAY COMBO RELEASE OF DR WHO AND THE DALEKS PLUS SIGNED ROBERTA TOVEY POSTER!


We have TWO competitions coming up for you this weekend at our Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Fan Page with some great prizes! Here's our first, in association with http://www.underthefloorboards.com/. It's your chance to win a copy of Dr Who and the Daleks blu ray combo release AND a SIGNED promo poster autographed by Susan Tovey! PLEASE only send your answers by PERSONALLY MESSAGING us on the facebook fan page. You'll find the message button, top right under our big banner, top of the page. Closing date: Saturday 3rd August Midnight gmt, so plenty of time. Winners name drawn on the following day, Sunday 4th August and announced here on the page! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

GRINDHOUSE RELEASING GIVES 'CORRUPTION' IT'S FIRST U.S RELEASE AND ON BLU RAY


Grindhouse Releasing is bringing Peter Cushing's little-seen 1968 shocker CORRUPTION aka CARNAGE- Uncut to DVD and blu ray. Grindhouse will give CORRUPTION a series of theatrical screenings this year too. Here's a sneak peep of two versions of the cover art, designed with Grindhouse's usual flair...



Here's a what to expect from quite an impressive line up of extra features:

'Grindhouse Releasing is proud to present the FIRST-EVER U.S. home video release of the wildest, sickest and sleaziest swinging-sixties British horror thriller -CORRUPTION. The legendary Peter Cushing stars as a surgeon driven to murder and madness as he attempts to restore the beauty of his hideously disfigured fashion model wife. Co-starring Sue Lloyd and Hammer Horror beauty Kate O'Mara (THE VAMPIRE LOVERS). This special edition contains shocking scenes of GORE and NUDITY previously deemed too strong for American audiences.

Bonus Features:
• 2 DISC SET - Deluxe dual layer Blu-ray Edition + DVD combo
• Spectacular new hi-definition digital restoration of the original uncensored version - PLUS - the "International Version" of the movie with bloody violence and nudity presented for the very first time in America
• Interviews with stars Wendy Varnals, Billy Murray, Jan Waters and Peter Cushing
• Audio commentary by acclaimed UK horror journalist Jonathan Rigby and Peter Cushing biographer David Miller
• Isolated music and effects track
• Liner notes by Allan Bryce, editor of the celebrated British horror magazine THE DARK SIDE
• Extensive still galleries, trailers, TV spots and radio spots
• The original annotated director's shooting script and production notes
• Shocking reversible cover with original art by notorious illustrator Rick Melton
• Grindhouse Releasing prevues of coming attractions
AND OTHER SURPRISES!

WIN BLU RAY OF DR WHO AND THE DALEKS AND TIM DOYLE ARTWORK

Don't miss your chance this SATURDAY to win yourself a copy of Peter Cushing's DR WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965) and a poster of Tim Doyle's artwork only at https://www.facebook.com/petercushingblog

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

'MEANWHILE BACK AT THE CASTLE..' RACHEL COMPSON CUSHING AND LEE SERIES NOW ON PCASUK FACEBOOK


A great series of illustrations by artist Rachel Compson are now being featured on The UK peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Page. 


'ALIENS IN THE MIND' LAST EPISODE NOW ON BBC I PLAYER : CUSHING AND PRICE


For those of you who have been following the classic 1977 BBC Radio series 'ALIENS IN THE MIND' starring Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. Here's the link to the BBC I Player for the final episode! Thanks to Jonathan Ives http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b007jlw9/Robert_Holmes_Aliens_in_the_Mind_Genetic_Revelation/

'THE MAN WHO FINALLY DIED' PETER CUSHING AND STANLEY BAKER PRESS STILL

 
"The Man Who Finally Died" released December 1963, was a BBC serial that originally aired in 1959, with this feature version following three years later, with an entirely different cast. Stanley Baker stars as British subject Joe Newman, formerly the German-born Joachim Deutsch, who has believed his father Kurt dead for 20 years, until receiving a phone call from Bavaria claiming to be Kurt Deutsch. Upon arriving, he locates his father's grave before visiting the Deutsch widow, Lisa (Mai Zetterling), currently living in the country home of Dr. Peter von Brecht (Peter Cushing), his every move watched by the local police, plus the insurance investigator (Niall MacGinnis) responsible for Newman's phone call, who feels that the deceased may still be alive. Holds up rather well despite its television origins, thankfully not lost though unseen for decades, reuniting Baker with Peter Cushing, five years after 1957's "Violent Playground." Cushing initially appears sympathetic but gradually displays more sinister shadings, but has only one lengthy scene during the film's first half (the von Brecht home is Bray studio's familiar Oakley Court). The fine supporting cast includes Nigel Green, who previously appeared with Cushing in 1960's "Sword of Sherwood Forest," which also featured Niall MacGinnis (playing Friar Tuck), who again supported Cushing in 1966's excellent "Island of Terror."

Sunday, 14 July 2013

THE HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR 'THE SILENT SCREAM' REVIEW AND GALLERY


SPOILER ALERT!
Chuck (Brian Cox) is released from prison and goes to work for Martin Bluek (Peter Cushing), a mysterious gentleman who has shown the ex-con some kindness.  Unfortunately for Chuck, Martin may not be quite the charming old man he appears to be…


 


Following the dismal box office performance of Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, Shatter, To the Devil a Daughter and, most disastrously, a big budget (and quite ill conceived) remake of The Lady Vanishes, Hammer Films was pretty much dead in the water.  Michael Carreras sold off his interests in the company, retiring to many years of wondering what might have been, while Brian Lawrence and Roy Skeggs tried desperately to make a go of it in television.  The two producers hatched an idea for a series of one hour telefilms, to be sold under the banner, The Hammer House of Horror.



PROLOGUE AND TITLE
SEQUENCE : THE SILENT SCREAM

video


It seemed an ideal solution to bring the company up to date in the changing climate of the 1980s – on the one hand, these films could be cheaply produced, and on the other, they could trade upon the studio’s reputation by employing as many of their old guard actors and craftsmen as possible.  In terms of star power, their most significant acquisition was Peter Cushing, who was hired to play the lead in The Silent Scream.  Given that Christopher Lee was pursuing bigger fish in Hollywood at the time, the likelihood of securing their biggest star was slim to nill, and indeed he would not be lured back into the fold until 2010, when he agreed to do a cameo in the “new” Hammer’s psychological thriller, The Resident.  However, securing Cushing’s services was a major plus, just the same, and the actor responded with typical attention to detail and professionalism, ensuring that Martin Bluek would be one of his most memorable roles for the company.


The script by Francis Essex is taut and twist laden, while director Alan Gibson (who had previously guided Cushing through the two “mod” Dracula films, Dracula AD 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula) handles the material with skill and economy.  The film is also graced by an exceptional, if small, cast. Cushing, as previously noted, is at his best here, running the gamut from charming to chilling.  Bluek presents himself as a kindly philanthropist, but the reality is that he was once a concentration camp supervisor – and his interests in Chuck are anything but philanthropic.  The way in which he ingratiates himself to Chuck, only to set the desperate man up to fail, makes for quite an interesting psychological game of cat and mouse.


Brian Cox, a few years way from achieving major cult stardom by being the first actor to portray Dr. Hannibal Lector on screen (in Michael Mann’s Manhunter, 1986), is typically intense and credible as the frustrated ex-con who is trying to make a go of living life on the up and up.  Cox is tremendously sympathetic in the role, ensuring that the audience will remain on his side through the story’s various twists and turns.  Elaine Donnelly is also very effective as Chuck’s doting wife.  Cox and Donnelly have real chemistry together, and the scene wherein Donnelly attempts to interest her husband sexually only to be shot down because of the psychological trauma he has endured while in prison has a truthful ring to it.



Silent Scream would emerge as probably the best of the thirteen episodes commissioned by ITC, though several other episodes also warrant special mention, including Witching Time with Jon Finch, Rude Awakening with Denholm Elliott, and Mark of Satan with Peter McEnery.  Sadly, despite the presence of such strong acting talent, and the input of such talented Hammer personnel as directors Peter Sasdy and Don Sharp (subbing for Terence Fisher, who passed away before shooting began on the occult segment Guardian of the Abyss) and screenwriter Anthony Hinds, the series didn’t generate a lot of interest – and it would not be picked up for a second season.


Undaunted, Lawrence and Skeggs responded with The Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, inflating the running time to 90 minutes, and switching the emphasis from horror to suspense.  It, too, failed to generate interest.  Hammer would then lie dormant for over twenty years, but like one of their beloved vampires, they, too, would rise from the grave in the new millennium.  

Feature: Troy Howarth
Images: Marcus Brooks

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

TIGON'S TALE OF TERROR: THE CREEPING FLESH PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY AND FEATURE


Scientist Emmanuel Hildern (Peter Cushing) unearths what appears to be a missing link while on an expedition in New Guinea.  His attempts at unlocking the skeleton’s secrets are compromised by the precarious mental condition of his daughter Penelope (Lorna Heilbron) and the interference of his bitter half-brother James (Christopher Lee)


In the 1950s and 60s, Freddie Francis established himself as one of the premiere lighting cameramen in Europe, snagging an Oscar for his work on Sons and Lovers (1960) and winning much acclaim for his work on The Innocents (1961).  Like so many directors of photography, Francis had a yen to direct.  He made his first film as a director in 1962 with the obscure romantic comedy Two and Two Make Six (1962), but the German-financed The Brain and the Hammer Films psychological thriller Paranoiac (both also 1962) pointed to where his career would evolve.


Francis, being a pragmatist at heart, initially accepted his pigeonholing as a “horror” director, and would take great pride in imbuing his films with sufficient visual gloss as a means of patching up the often inadequate screenplays he was handed to work with.  As time wore on, however, his dissatisfaction became quite evident – and indeed he would approach most of his directorial assignments of the 1970s with a mixture of contempt and indifference.


There’s really very little to recommend in such films as The Vampire Happening (1970), Trog (1970), Craze (1973) and The Legend of the Werewolf (1974), but signs of his former flair are happily on display in The Creeping Flesh.  Francis responded well to the screenplay by Peter Spenceley and Jonathan Rumbold, with its heady mixture of Victorian sci-fi and Lovecraft-flavored chills.  The end result is his last great hurrah as a filmmaker; he would direct only sporadically from that point on, and in 1980, he made a triumphant return to the station of lighting cameraman when producer Mel Brooks and director David Lynch drafted him to lens The Elephant Man.  He would go on to work with some of the most exciting and dynamic filmmakers of the new generation, including Martin Scorsese (for whom he shot a super stylish redux of Cape Fear, 1991), and would win another Academy Award for his work on Glory (1989).  Francis died in 2007, at the age of 89.


THE CREEPING FLESH
The story is certainly an eventful one, and it affords both of its iconic lead performers an opportunity to shine.  Cushing is cast in the flashier role, while Lee is seemingly relegated to yet another humorless authority figure.  Cushing imbues his character with ample humanity, but it is the character’s single minded obsessiveness which links him most closely with his most famous genre characterizations: Baron Frankenstein and Dr. Van Helsing.  Emmanuel is very much the absent father.  He dotes on Penelope whenever he returns from his trip, and there’s no question that he genuinely adores her, but his work always comes first; ultimately, he fails to realize her gradual slide into madness until it is too late.  True to form, he attempts to over compensate for this by using his discovery in an attempt to “cure” her madness on a biological level – the experiment is doomed to failure, of course, and one is left wondering just how sane he was from the get go.


Lee’s role as the embittered half-brother doesn’t allow him so much screen time (though he was given top billing in deference to his popularity at the box office), but he delivers a wonderfully detailed characterization, just the same. James can barely contain his contempt and jealousy towards his brother, which prompts him to take a certain sadistic glee in getting the upper hand on him. One gets the sense of James’ lifetime of struggle and unhappiness as he was pushed aside in favor of his more “privileged,” upper crust older brother, and as such his actions become almost understandable. It’s a marvelous performance that seldom gets the attention it deserves.


Lee and Cushing are supported by an excellent gallery of character actors. Lorna Heilbron is superb in the difficult role of Penelope, which requires her to run the gamut from doe-eyed, doting daughter to wild-eyed, crazed harlot – and she never hits a false note.  George Benson, who formerly mugged his way through a comic cameo in Terence Fisher’s Dracula (1958), is excellent as Cushing’s devoted lab assistant. Duncan Lamont is properly authoritative as the suspicious police inspector investigating the ensuing carnage, while real-life couple Michael Ripper and Catherine Finn show up in small roles – he as a blustery deliveryman, she as Heilbron’s caring housekeeper.


Francis handles the material with energy and conviction, but the film loses points for its introduction of a pointless subplot involving hulking character actor Kenneth J. Warren as an escapee on the loose from Lee’s insane asylum. Warren is fine in the role, but the subplot goes nowhere and was clearly crammed into an already busy narrative to pad the running time a bit.


The Creeping Flesh also has excellent production values – the sets and costuming are on a par with the best of Hammer, and the creepy music score by Paul Ferris helps to set the right mood. The cinematography by longtime Francis collaborator Norman Warwick is also lovely without being unduly fussy.  Special note must also be made of Roy Ashton’s makeup work.



The title is explained by the fact that the skeleton “grows” flesh when it comes into contact with water – which Cushing discovers when trying to clean it up a bit… The decidedly phallic looking finger that results from this is truly horrific, as is the final reveal of the regenerated skeleton, which becomes exposed to a rain storm when Lee engineers a break in to steal the specimen.  Francis even reuses his “skull point of view” gag from The Skull (1965) to maximize the effect of this gruesome makeup.


Fans of Cushing and Lee would do well to check out The Creeping Flesh if they haven’t done so already.  And even if you already have, it may well be time to go back and reacquaint yourself with it again; it’s a good one.


Feature: Troy Howarth
Gallery: Marcus Brooks

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