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Wake Wood(2011) Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle, Timothy Spall, Eva Connolly. Dir: David Keating.
A couple experience a ritual that resurrects their deceased daughter for three days. A new Hammer film that actually feels like one. Has flaws; the script is pared back, and gives way to cliché in the end. But the idea is strong and embodies the spirit of rural chillers of old.
Chimes At Midnight(1965) Orson Welles, Keith Baxter, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford, John Gielgud. Dir Orson Welles.
Prince Hal avoids regal responsibility with the help of his friend Falstaff. 5 Shakespear plays are condensed into one simple, but beautiful story of friendship and responsibility. A little hard-going for Shakespeare novices, but Welles is as ever a dynamic presence as both actor and director. Battle sequence is superb!
The Creeping Terror (1964) Vic Savage, Shannon O'Neil, William Thourlby, John Caresio. Dir: A.J.Nelson.
Spaceship lands on earth, unleashing a monster that devours all in its wake. So bad it’s not even funny. Monster is a pathetic mix of rubber and bits of carpet. Heavy narration and occasional dubbing tries to mask the lack of sound recording, but can’t hide lack of plot. Excruciating!
The Black Cat (1934) Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Julie Bishop. Dir: Edgar G.Ulmer
A war veteran travels to the home of the man who stole his wife and child. Famous for Bauhaus sets, black magic and torture – making it prone to over-analysis. Cutting leaves plot holes and supporting players are bland, but nevertheless, remains one of the most interesting pictures of the 30s
Privilege (1967) Paul Jones, Jean Shrimpton, Mark London, Jeremy Child. Dir: Peter Watkins
Britain’s most popular pop-singer is actually the tool of the establishment. Curious faux-documentary that’s too OTT to be taken entirely seriously, but too bleak to be funny. A reaction to the screaming crowds of its day, but still has plenty to say about celebrity adulation. A fascinating and troubling film.
True Grit (2010) Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper. Dir: Joeal and Ethan Coen.
A girl seeks the help of Marshal with ‘True Grit’ who can hunt down her father’s killer. A beautifully shot old-fashioned western yarn that certainly doesn’t hold back in its depiction of violence. The cast are uniformly marvellous. It’s good to see a coming of age tale with teeth.
The House That Dripped Blood (1970) Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Pertwee, Denholm Elliot, Ingrid Pitt, Joss Ackland. Dir: Peter Von Dufe superfluous
4 scary stories set in a house within a murderous reputation. Despite the name, there’s more tongue in-cheek than there is dripping blood. There are hits and misses but the whole thing is carried off with enthusiasm and the ensemble really is first rate. Iffy ending though.
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1920) John Barrymore, John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Charles Lane, Nita Naldi. Dir: John S. Robertson.
A noble scientist explores his dark side when he creates a potion that turns him into a monster. In this silent version, Hyde is not a sexual predator, but a disgusting monster. Later versions would flesh out the characters but none quite create such a disturbing and unsettling atmosphere.