1958. Directed by Terence Fisher

Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) avoids the guillotine and sets up a medical practice in Germany under the name of Dr Stein, much to the annoyance of the local medical board with whom the Baron fails to see eye to eye. One member of the board, Dr Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews) recognises the Baron for whom he really his and requests that he work for him in return for not revealing his identity. A bargain is struck whereupon the Baron reveals his current progress, which I am sure you can guess at almost at once.

Work begins and the new creation (Michael Gwynn) is given the brain of the Barons assistant Karl (Oscar Quitak) which ultimately leads to a whole heap of trouble for all concerned.

This is a very good film and several peripheral characters add to the overall depth and interest. The Janitor (George Woodbridge) is a particularly shifty character and of course the small inclusion of Michael Ripper (this time playing a drunken grave robber called Kurt) is always welcome. Gwynn plays the monster really well and comes across as a tortured soul with subtle ease. This is bog standard Hammer Horror and once you have tasted the delights you really can't get enough. The fact that Fisher directs is just icing on the blood-filled cake.



1972. Directed by Robert Fuest

An absolute gem of black/horror comedy with Dr Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) rising from the dead and setting about finding eternal life for himself and his adored wife Victoria (Caroline Munro) by using the ancient Scrolls of Life. Unfortunately whilst Phibes has been in a state of suspended animation for three years a rival for endless living by the name of Biederbeck (Robert Quarry) has taken possession of the scroll and is doing his utmost to be the one to receive the ultimate gift. The race is indeed on!

One line gags, gruesome murders and some lunatic imagery all make this a darn good jaunt and with excellent performances via Detective Trout (Peter Jeffery) and sidekick Waverley (John Cater) plus cameo appearances from Peter Cushing, Beryl Reid, Gerald Simm, John Thaw and Terry Thomas, this is just a must have film.

I am sure there was no intention here to scare your pants off but just a random stab at producing an excellent sequel with fun and horror in equal measure. For me the production team and director got this one very much spot on and this is still somewhat a unique film in the horror annals.



1954. Directed by Gordon Douglas

This is literally a f-ant-astic film with those formic ridden freaks making for some superb sci-fi cinema. It may be old hat all these years on but for enthusiasts it is still an utter pleasure.

Atomic blasts in New Mexico have led to a mutation of ant who it seems are on the warpath and ready to spread the world over. In the ants quest for food several innocents have been killed and the tale unfolds as a young dumb-struck girl is picked up in the New Mexico desert by Police Sgt. Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and his sidekick. A giant footprint and a trashed trailer with no parents to be found obviously get alarm bells ringing and after consultation with the films hero and FBI Agent Robert Graham (James Arness) and two doctors from the Department of Agriculture, Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter Pat (Joan Weldon) a shocking conclusion is reached. The rest is everything the viewer can expect but no less compelling.

This is a veritable family feast of big-bug hokum with many sturdy acting roles and some good memorable imagery. Many a childhood was blessed with this kind of sci-fi indulgence and there is no reason why young and old alike can't enjoy this cracking effort all these years later.



1958. Directed by Richard E. Cunha

Two escaped convicts Lon (Gary Clarke) and Gary (Tommy Cook) find themselves hiding aboard a spaceship whereupon they are discovered by the slightly unhinged scientist and space enthusiast Dirk Green (Michael Whalen). Green offers them freedom in return for the assistance in helping him fly to the moon and back. Amazingly the convicts agree! However, before the ship takes off Greens fellow scientists Richard Travis (Steve Dayton) and Cathy Downs (June Saxton) suspect all is not well and climb on board to investigate. The ship takes to the skies with them trapped as helpless stowaways. Eventually all parties meet up and leader Green is killed during a meteorite storm. It is up to the others to get to the moon and meet up with Greens intended - The Lido Leader (K. T. Stevens).

The adventure really starts when the crew are on the moon with bizarre rock monsters pursuing at 1mph, the female inhabitants and their bizarre costumes and not forgetting the giant spider that lurks within a nearby cave system ready to pounce and kill - pathetic! The acting is dubious to say the least and the camera work at some points out of focus. The effects are hopeless with the most memorable being when the space rocket is first seen via a window and is obviously just a model rather than a giant ship in the distance.

If one was trying to push an argument for the merits of this film one would surely struggle but for myself and I am sure others who find this cheapo throwaway nonsense entertaining I don't think much explanation be needed. I enjoy this kind of movie and find fascination in many areas. Many may crow but there is a place for awful gems such as this.


. Directed by Freddie Francis
Here we go again with Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) and his assistant Hans (Sandor Eles) run out of town after once more found dabbling in things beyond death and the mutilation of corpses.  They take up residence in the Baron’s old, disused castle whereupon work begins afresh to resurrect the Baron’s monster which he has recently come across suspended in ice.  Unfortunately when the creature is given new life it fails to respond to stimuli so the Baron is forced to contact travelling hypnotist Professor Zoltan (Peter Woodthorpe) to try to activate the brain into action.  The hypnotist succeeds but makes sure the creature obeys only himself and so blackmails the Baron into a 3-way partnership.  Behind the Barons back however Zoltan is using the creature for his own wicked means and sending him out to punish those that have crossed him and also to steal gold.  The rest of the film is steady formula but still holds attention.
This is an oddity in the Frankenstein series and never really seems to fit in, but taken as a stand alone I still find it entertaining.  Professor Zoltan is a hammed up character who staggers around in a drunken haze hell-bent on being just plain old deviant. The mute girl (Katy Wild) adds convenient adhesive within the plot.
You have to get this if you are an ardent collector and fan of such wonder and I don't think you will be too disappointed providing you overlook the lack of continuity with other Frankenstein films.



1971. Directed by Seth Holt

A long dead Egyptian Queen has passed on her spirit to modern day girl Margaret Fuchs (Valerie Leon) and plans to rise again when certain celestial bodies are in line.  Margaret’s father Professor Julian Fuchs (Andrew Kerr) led an expedition with 5 others and found the body of evil sorceress Queen Tera.  The body is transported back to London with 3 artefacts and the Queens severed hand which has on it a red jewelled ring.  Fast forward and the night before her anniversary Margaret receives the ring as a present from her father and here the plot thickens.  Margaret becomes possessed by Tera and pursues the artefacts from 3 of the other members of the expedition so as to bring life back to the body of the Queen.  Torn throats a plenty amidst some low budget scenery and the finale is upon us in no time at all.  At the aid of Margaret/Tera is rogue member of the original group Corbett (James Villiers) who perhaps is the films leading character
This is a  film that needs watching a couple of times to truly get to grips with and appreciate the composition and style.  It starts rather slowly but increase in pace and becomes better than one first gives credit for.  A few gruesome killings will please fans of gore and the general Hammer-esque feel will meet the needs of the connoisseur.



1933. Directed by Merian C Cooper

A praiseworthy review is academic as this film transcends time and still impresses to this day. The effects are stunning, the story fast-paced and full of action and the whole feast an entertaining romp to savour.

Film maker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) picks up street stray Ann Darrow (Faye Wray) and takes her on an adventure of a lifetime to the mysterious Skull Island where he intends to shoot his next big movie. The crew, including sailor John Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) finally locate their isolated destination and go ashore to see local tribes people ready to offer a sacrifice to the mighty Kong. But who or what is Kong - that is the question! The crew are spotted and make haste back to the ship but Denham wants to return to shoot his movie. At night after Driscoll and Darrow confess their love for one another Darrow is kidnapped by the tribe and thus taken as an offering to Kong. The crew eventually realise Darrow has gone and set off in hot pursuit arriving just in time to see her taken away in the clutches of the mighty gorilla King Kong. The chase begins and boy what a treat it is!  Monsters and action galore all within a jungle environment second to none.

Anyone and everyone should know this story inside and out with the finale having imagery drilled into the minds of the populace. This is more than a film but a remarkable achievement and in a thousand years will still be regarding as a momentous classic. What more can one add?



1931. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

By far and away the best adaptation of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson novel that has the impeccable Frederic March in the lead role putting in a performance of almighty stature.

You know the script by now (well you should do) as the caring and renowned Dr Jekyll dabbles in things he shouldn't and attempts to split his personality and reveal his darker, insidious side. He succeeds with disastrous consequences and the tale we all know and love is played out in exact and impressive style. Amidst Jekyll's experiments is a tale of love with his fiancée Muriel Carew (Rose Hobart) and a tale of lust with his floozy Ivy Pearson (Miriam Hopkins). Hopkins gives a brilliant performance as a good-time girl whose life is shredded by the obnoxious attention and dominance of Mr Edward Hyde with emotions of many kinds poured out via an intriguing character. Two other characters of note are Jekyll’s butler Poole (Edgar Norton) who is just a lovable chap and Muriel’s father, Brigadier General Carew (Halliwell Hobbs) who is so amusingly pompous as to be totally unforgettable.

A film with much to recommend it and some mesmerising make-up/transformation effects that defy the time this film was made. Nothing less than excellent and truly one of my all time favourites.



1953. Directed by Byron Haskin

Based on the HG Wells classic novel, this film for me is fairly over-rated with some dubious acting and ridiculous aliens damping down the whole watch.

A fireball lands in the San Gabriel mountains and attracts the attention of the public. Here we meet Dr Clayton Forester (Gene Barry) who gets friendly with local Pastor Matthew Collins (Lewis Martin) and his niece Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson). From inside the meteor several spaceships emerge and after a few killings the military are called in as it is agreed the visitors are from Mars and very hostile. After a few feeble attempts by teh forces to defeat the ever increasing army of spaceships the aliens fight back and bring destruction to all in their path. Can anything stop these Martians from taking over our world?

At the time I am sure this film did make an impression although obviously not as much as the original radio show. This effort now is still worthy of a viewing but lacks any real zest. The colours are vivid and there are some fine moments with the flying crafts quite unique and very memorable. The sound of their fire-power is a sound you won't forget in a hurry. The dialogue though is barren and the delivery just very ordinary in places. The depth of the tale is limited and been done a million times over so dilutes the effect somewhat. Hardened Sci-fi-ists will no doubt have many an argument to support this film but for me it is an acquired taste.



1992. Directed by Bernard Rose

Student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and friend Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) are writing a thesis on Urban Legends and myths.  They soon get wind of tale regarding the Candyman (Tony Todd) which they foolishly check out further.  Apparently if you say 'Candyman' fives times whilst facing a mirror the one armed killer will appear behind you.  Guess what happens next?
The legend is that the Candyman was an educated artist who got the daughter of a powerful man pregnant.  In revenge, the man hired a bunch of louts to punish the Candyman, whereupon they sawed off his right hand, covered his body in honey and released a swarm of bees which stung him to death.  His body was burnt on Cabrini Green where the aforementioned Helen and Bernadette find themselves.  The story unravels from there.
This is a slowish film that still has some good shocks and decent characters. However, one can't help feeling there is a need for extra pace as some moments seem to stall the movement of the whole picture.  The story does have depth and some good roles with Lyles husband a particularly sneaky piece of work and The Candyman played quite sinisterly with a certain smooth, overpowering effect that works just fine.  A film one has to be in the mood for in the right setting - most surely a late night, lights out watch!


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