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.
Captain Clegg (1962)
Director: Peter Graham Scott
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen, Oliver Reed
Storyline: It’s the 18th century and Captain Collier has been hired to figure out and stop all the smuggling.
Review (Spoils): The Royal Crown suspects that there is smuggling happening so they hire Captain Collier and his crew to check it out. When the captain starts to investigate in what is happening out on the foggy seas we learn the haunting tale of Captain Clegg. He suspects that the village vicar is holding a secret and trying to drive away their investigation with such ghost stories.
When I think of Hammer films I think of vampires, monsters and voluptuous women. This film is a lot different than those tales and films. This film is very dark, grainy and sets a morbid mood. Some of the classic parts of the film are when we are introduced to a crew known as the Marsh Phantoms that set the scene with skeletons and skeletal horses. Picture a film of gloominess and a touch of pirate humour and that is what makes this a hidden gem for Hammer films.
I like to mention that both Peter Cushing and beautiful Yvonne Romain stole the stage of this film and of course the perfect gentleman Oliver Reed. When it comes to the cast it screams Hammer but when it comes to the story telling it is something different.
Rating: Not as classic as many other Hammer films so it is not as popular but this still a hidden gem when it comes to horror films of the 60s. This film is also known as Night Creatures but it is hard to not want to sit down and watch Yvonne Romain.
The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Clifford Evans, Oliver Reed, Yvonne Romain, Catherine Feller
Storyline: A young boy was born on Christmas day from a mute servant who was raped by a beggar. Now he is cursed by god with lycanthropy.
Review: Leon (Oliver Reed) was born on Christmas day; his mother (Yvonne Romain) was a mute servant who was raped by a beggar. This brought on the curse of lycanthropy which his adopted parents and he tries to hide from society. He grows up to become a handsome man but is haunted by nightmare at night (full moon) due to his disease. Supposedly only love will lift the curse. While in his travels he comes across working for a wine cellar and falls in love with his daughter Cristina (Catherine Feller). But every full moon he turns and brings terror to the villages.
This is one of the great Hammer films that lie outside of the Dracula series. The film relives on the internal battle of the young man and the beast. He wants to be normal and live a normal life but the curse keeps him with drawled from the rest of society. The makeup is very well done and he is one of the most notable of the werewolves in horror outside of the Wolfman himself. The story does become long before get to the curse as a quarter of the film is on the life of his mother and her torment. They should have swapped the leading ladies around as Yvonne Romain is beautiful and Catherine Feller just does not fit the part. Other than that this is a great film.
Rating: I’m a Hammer fan and I find this film rates as one of their better films. The storyline is filled and the acting is pretty decent. Oliver Reed and Yvonne Romain are both enjoyable to watch and the werewolf itself was well done. The only complaint would be the bright red blood they should have toned that down a bit.
Burnt Offerings (1976)
Director: Dan Curtis
Main Stars: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis
Storyline: Caretakers move into a gothic house what they do not know is the house gains more beauty each death within its residence.
Review (Spoils): We have the Rolf family that moved into an old gothic house as care takers for the summer. Ben (Oliver Reed), his wife Marian (Karen Black) and son David move in and right away strange things start to happen. The house starts to suck the good essence out of them and uses for itself to become the grand mansion it once was. The more accidents and freaks death the more grand the house becomes. Through all the time Marian becomes more and more attached to the house and slow becoming more elderly almost ghost like as the house sucks the life from her. Another example is Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis) who also ages quickly and becomes very sick. The only person that seems to understand this is the father Ben especially after nearly drowns his son (that dam crazy house!).
The film has no real gore it feeds off of being eerie and leans a lot on death and regenerations. Karen Black steals the show with her freakiness as usual which is just natural for her. Bette Davis also did an awesome job and her makeup was great as she aged. Oliver Reed always freaked me out period!
Rating: If you’re looking for a good old fashion “this house is f*cked up” movie this is great. I really enjoyed this film and have seen many times. It has a great feel for the great age of 70’s horror films and plus it has two of the best freaky dames of horror Bette Davis and Karen Black.