The Devil’s Own / The Witches (1966)
Director: Cyril Frankel
Main Stars: Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, Ann Bell, Ingrid Boulting, Michele Dotrice, Gwen Ffrangcon Davies, Ingrid Boulting
Storyline: A school teacher moves to a small village to teach and witness’s examples of possible witch craft.
Review (Spoils): English School teacher (Joan Fontaine) was in Africa when she had a nervous breakdown due to being haunted by voodoo. After she was recovered, she was offered a new job as a school teacher in a small country town. When she arrives, she notices the people of the village are very private and even some act very weird. As she witnesses a young bright boy who hangs out with a blond girl who plays with dolls being picked on by the village she gets interested. As she works her way into getting more information on the occult and people start to disappear or die the truth starts to show.
Like much Hammer Films the scenery are amazing in this little Gothic tale of witchcraft. The characters are well done and played for the small strange village. Joan Fontaine does a great job trying to play the sane one (even though her hair was a disaster in the film). Ingrid Boulting did a fantastic job playing the secretive young woman Linda who played with dolls and left the audience guessing if she was evil or not.
The film like mentioned above gave the typical Hammer scenery with is breath taking for horror, we have chants, strange high as a kit dancing, drowning, sheep shit, worms more sheep, little dolls and some stabbings. Nothing over the top for blood and gore except for the mud and sheep poop.
Rating: This movie was way better then I thought it would be. The opening scene seemed a bit cheesy and I was concerned but once the film moved it location to Europe, I was ok. The ending just kind of ends and it could of used some weirdness or a cliff hanger but it was based off a book. Which I did learn that that Joan Fontaine bought the script and sold herself and the tale to Hammer to be done.
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
Director: Peter Sasdy
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden. Peter Sallis, Isla Blair
Storyline: A gentlemen’s club is talked into resurrecting Dracula in trade for the ultimate sin.
Review (Spoils): Three middle-aged men who live life to the fullest are talked into selling their soul and some money to resurrect the prince of darkness himself. During the ceremony, the men back out but the young man who talked them into continues and Dracula is raised from the undead. Dracula takes it upon himself to kill each one of the men off one and one and ruin their lives. During all this, one of men Hargood’s daughter is under a spell of Dracula and is taken under his wing causing torment to the village.
Christopher Lee is back as Dracula yet again and he is outstanding. This time he does have some dialogue but nothing huge. We have the cape, red eyes, bright red blood, some biting, some glowing crosses; some great devil worship alters and because it is a Hammer Film some flowing bosoms. The storyline is actually decent and different then the other tales and we have the lovely Linda Hayden and Isla Blair gracing the screen. The only issue with the film is ending as it ended quickly without a long-winded battle that Dracula deserves.
Rating: I personally enjoyed this film even though it did have some plot flaws. We have some enjoyable views of the women that are overtaken by the prince of darkness and I honestly think Christopher Lee was the greatest Dracula. Someday I would love to sit and watch them all in order to get the full effect of the Hammer Dracula films.
Die! Die! My Darling (1965)
Director: Silvio Narizzano
Main Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Yootha Joyce, Donald Sutherland
Storyline: A young woman goes to visit the mother of a past fiancé and becomes overwhelmed with her need.
Review (Spoils): Patricia Carroll (Stefanie Powers) arrives in London with her new fiancé but before she can move on she promised that she would finally meet her old fiancés Steven’s mother (Tallulah Bankhead) (he died and Patricia has moved on). She travels out of town to an old beaten down house to finally meet the woman. She is old, strong opinionated, strangely religious and obsessed with her son. As Patricia tries to survive the visit she learns that she is not leaving anytime soon and has to keep lying to survive her visit. We quickly learn that mother is not all that she portrays to be.
Die! Die! My Darling is something a little different for a Hammer Film. This film is based mostly in an old house and a broken down mind. We have the very gorgeous Stefanie Powers playing the lead victim and lady who is being held against her will and captured because a mother is insane over the loss of her son. As the truth of Patricia starts to come to light the more nuts the mother is driven. The characters and acting is extremely well done and the even the storylines between the main plot is an interesting twist. Such as the hired staff that work for the mother and what’s in it for them. The religious over tones keeps the film entertaining and there are even some funny scenes but at the same time the mood can be very dark and icky at the same time. Some bright red blood, knives, gun shots, a green dead body, a couple prayers, lots of “poor Steven”, long legs and sexiness. This film has it all.
Rating: This title has been thrown around for long time from music from the Misfits right to the creepy and classic tunes of Alice Cooper and Steven. This movie is a classic! This is the perfect ex-mother in-law has lost her mind film. Tallulah Bankhead is one scary mom and very strong headed and when she finally snaps the fun begins. This is a classic horror film that everyone should checkout very entertaining.
Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Director: Don Sharp
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: The story of the power of the madman monk Rasputin
Review (Spoils): Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee) has the mental power to bend people to his will. When he uses his power to heal a woman and starts to gain the reputation from the villagers as a good guy eh starts to show his true colours. Rasputin uses his mind to brain wash women to become his slaves and bid his evil doing. To the point of their breaking point and their weakness.
Much like other Hammer Films this one is made up with beautiful gothic scenery and clothing. We have Christopher Lee at one of his best make-up setup as the mad monk. His acting stands out in this film and Rasputin should be a legendary character of his much like Dracula. The film tells the story of the drunken mad monk and how he uses his mind to control people to do his bidding so that he can live happily in wealth. The two damsels in this Hammer film are legendary scream queens Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley, we do not have the bosoms out like most Hammer films but at the same time we do have great acting as Shelley places the poor soul that the monk torments.
Rating: I will be honest I did not find it the strongest Hammer Film as it is lacking frights but the story and the acting alone is worth watching. Some of the story is lacking on how he gets the powers and the ending just kind of just ended but that is not much different other Hammer Films. I think we needed more cleavage and less mullets.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Paul Massie, Christopher Lee, Dawn Addams
Storyline: The Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline but with a twist.
Review (Spoils): Doctor Henry Jekyll (Paul Massie) is a boring man as he is stuck in his lab all day working with monkeys and mute children trying to study the workings of the mind. He is so occupied that he is ignoring his wife’s (Dawn Addams)needs and she is fooling around with his best friend Paul Allen (Christopher Lee). This leads to madness when the doctor starts to experiment on himself after being rejected by his wife. The difference is in this tale is he becomes a more cleaner looking gentleman but a madman inside.
This is a total different twist then the other versions of have seen so far with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline. At beginning of the film I was wondering what the hell was going on with Paul Massie and his voice but once the film kicked into gear I was surprised and locked on this film. The acting is well done and to be honest Christopher Lee stole the show. He is the clean cut friend who is screwing Jekylls wife and using his money. Dawn Addams plays the part of the not so nice wife who is only out for herself in her own way but in love Paul.
This film gives us the basic Hammer Film treatment of bosom women, stockings, a longer then it needed to be dance show, some snake charming ladies oh and some red blood and a nice blow to head (poor Oliver Reed)
Rating: This film is great! It actually might be up there as one of favorite Hammer Films as the story keeps you glued to the screen and the ending is very well done and the conclusion is shocking (remind me of The Fly for some reason). If you have not seen this film and a fan of the Hammer Films you need to check this one out.
The Mummy (1959)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux
Storyline: The tomb of Princess Ananka has been invaded and since a mummy is stalking the ones involved.
Review (Spoils): A bunch of archaeologists discover a hidden untouched tomb (not sure how they could of missed yet) of the late Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux). When they enter the tomb they get cursed by an Egyptian local and her lost high priest (Christopher Lee) who is now a mummy comes back to life to haunt and terrorize those people that entered the tomb. 3 years later the relics of the tomb get transferred to England and so does the mummy and he continues his terror upon the ones that despoiled the ancient tomb.
This film is messed up in storyline, we start with what is happening in Egypt, then scroll over to England and then have 20min of a flash back before the time in Egypt and then once again thrown into the present. Peter Cushing is playing the part of the son even though he is 100 years old. Christopher Lee plays the high priest and the mummy which is not bad. The make-up is actually well done and I like the way the monster moves but the plot and story is pretty weak.
Rating: I usually enjoy a good Hammer Horror film but this one seemed weak. Christopher Lee was good as the monster but the rest of cast did not cut it for me. Even Yvonne Furneaux seemed lacking for a Hammer film which normally the leading ladies are all over the script. It just felt to setup and forced to be entertaining.
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Thorley Walters, Robert Morris
Storyline: A madman scientist brings back the soul of his assistant into the body of a woman
Review (Spoils): Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing ) plays with the object of death and he and Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters )have a plan to bring someone back to life as they have found a way to trap ones soul. When the young man Hans (Robert Morris) is framed for murder and put to the death they use his soul and place it into a body of young woman found dead in the river. What is not known is that young Hans and the woman known as Christina (Susan Denberg) were secret lovers. When she is brought back to live she goes on a rampage of revenge.
Another Hammer film for the review and as usual we have Peter Cushing, heaving bosoms, red blood, kills off scene and amazing scenery. The story is actually well written and we have a few plots at play here in this storyline. Some bright red blood, hatchets and nice bloody head makes this film very enjoyable.
Rating: I personally actual liked this film a lot. It was a fun film and it had some funny moments and some creepy moments. Susan Denberg was great and I love how she played both the victim and the monster. This film would be great drinking film if you drank every time someone had a glass of wine.