Scars of Dracula (1970) Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Christopher Matthews, Patrick Troughton. Dir: Roy Ward Baker
A young rogue disappears and his brother and his fiancée track him down to castle Dracula. Sharp pacing can get you through shakier Hammer films, but this drags and is too derivative. The male lead dies early and is replaced with a blander one and the bat effects are awful.
Touch of Evil (1958) Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff. Dir: Orson Welles.
Mexican (?) honeymooner Heston clashes against detective Welles as they investigate a murder. How great direction can turn a good film into a great one: dramatic, arresting and told with visual flair further enhanced by great performances and cracking dialogue. A near perfect thriller.
The Raven (1934) Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lester Matthews. Dir: Lew Landers.
A poe-obssessed surgeon plots revenge against those who deny him the woman he loves. Though shakey round the edges and dated in places, this is an absolute riot with several stylish and memorable sequences that stick in the memory. Lugosi hits the right note in his over-the-top performance.
The Big Steal (1949) Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Ramon Novarro. Dir: Don Siegal.
Soldier Mitchum pursues Novarro who framed him for theft while he is pursued by cop Bendix. I wasn’t engaged, it seemed unsure of whether it was a comedy or drama and would’ve been over quickly if anyone in it used their brains, but it’s generally highly regarded by critics.
Timber Falls(2008) Josh Randell, Brianna Brown, Nick Searcy, Beth Broderick. Dir: Tong Giglio
Beautiful twenty-somethings take the wrong route hiking and naturally meet a house of psychos. Counting the clichés is about as much fun as you’ll have with this derivative affair. Script is wooden, hard to tell whether it’s tongue in cheek or trying to be serious, it is unintentionally funny.
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965) Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner. Dir: Martin Ritt.
A disenchanted agent takes on one final mission before retiring. The first anti-Bond film. Le Carre’s excellent far-fetched thriller is given a suitably cold edge by stark photography and an excellent performance by a perfectly cast Burton as the weary spy. Excellent and unsettling.