A man who certainly needs no introduction to anyone who regularly visits this page. Today we mark the birthday of the late Terence Fisher, a director whose trade mark blend of fairy-tale, myth and sexuality, gave us some of Cushing's and Hammer films greatest hits. The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, The Gorgon, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed..... and many, many others. All absolute gems. Happy Birthday Terence Fisher!.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Sunday, 22 February 2015
Today we mark the birth of one, Lewis Ernest Watts Mills... or as we knew and loved him... Sir John Mills. He was without doubt, one of our most popular and beloved English actors and born today February 22nd 1908. In a career that stretched over eight decades, Mills appeared in over 120 films, debuting in 1932 in 'Midshipmaid Gob' right up until 2009 in 'The Snow Prince'. Many of his roles like Pip in 'Great Expectations' in 1946, Shorty Blake 'In Which We Serve' in 42, Captain Scott in 'Scott of the Antarctic' in 48 and the alcohol troubled Captain Anson in 'Ice Cold in Alex' in 58 would make him an internationally renowned star.
Mills appeared in two films with Peter Cushing, the first in 1976 entitled 'Trial by Combat' aka 'A Dirty Knight's Work' as Sir Edward Gifford. It was no more than a guest appearance, slotted in when another project on Cushing's slate fell through. The second though, was a much grander enterprise with Tyburn films and marked Cushing's return to the character of Sherlock Holmes...and Mills as Watson! They made a terrific team as a much older duo, so impressive was the chemistry that another Cushing /Mills / Sherlock film from Tyburn was planned entitled 'The Abbot's Cry', but was scuppered owing to Cushing's fragile health.
Like Cushing, Mills was in his private life a sensitive romantic, in January 2001 at the age of 92, he and wife Mary, age 89, renewed their marriage vows at St. Mary's Church, next to their home, Hills House, in Denham, England. When they had wed 60 years earlier, he was denied a church service because he was serving in the Army during World War II. Happy Birthday, Sir John!
Sir John Mills died on the 23rd of April 2005.
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Today we remember JACK PALANCE, born on this day in 1919....everyone has a favourite Palance movie and there's many crackers to choose from..Shane, Batman, Hawk the Slayer, City Slickers...or even his performances as Dracula in 74 or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1968.
The Cushing connection would his be crackling performance as Ronald Wyatt in 'The Man Who Collected Poe' story in 'Torture Garden' (Amicus films 1967) A man of few words off the set, he owned his own cattle ranch and displayed other creative sides as a exhibited painter and published poet.
Read our review of 'The Man Who Collected Poe' - 'Torture Garden' : HERE
Friday, 13 February 2015
Today we remember Robert Oliver Reed, born today February 13th 1938. The 'Cushing Connection' spreads over three films, 'Captain Clegg /Night Creatures' in 1962, 'Sword of Sherwood Forest' in 60, both for Hammer films and a car crash of a film entitled 'A Touch of the Sun' in 1979... a film produced in Africa, and never found a distributor outside of it! A larger than life character both on and off the screen..who was always happy to acknowledge his 'Hammer film roots.... 'The Curse of the Werewolf in 1961 and 'These Are The Damned' in 1963. Happy Birthday Oliver!
Thursday, 12 February 2015
REMEMBERING: Born today in 1940, RALPH BATES. Sadly, no longer with us. A talented actor and a truly gentle and kind man.
The great, great nephew of the renowned French scientist Louis Pasteur developed into a strangely handsome dark haired, pale complexioned English actor. Ralph Bates was born in 1940 in Bristol, England and attended the University of Dublin and studied at the Yale Drama School. His dramatic talents first came to audiences attention playing the evil Emperor Caligula in the well received BBC TV series The Caesars (1968). However, the Hammer studios resurrection of the horror genre was then in full stride, and Bates was soon engulfed in the swirling cloak of Hammer's success as he appeared in several horror films in quick succession.
Firstly in a support role as demonic Lord Courtley in Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), followed as the lead character Baron Frankenstein in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), then as Giles Barton in the sexy Lust for a Vampire (1971) and as the well meaning Dr. Jekyll in an unusual spin on the Robert Louis Stevenson story in Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) and 'Fear in the Night' with Peter Cushing in 1972. Bates brought a new zest to Hammer and with his stylish dialogue delivery and film acting methods, he quickly won himself quite a few fans in both critics and regular film goers!
Unfortunately, by the early 1970s there had been a downturn in Hammer studios fortunes, and Bates then found himself turning to more traditional character work in other production houses and he appeared in several films before snaring other superb villainous role as George Warleggan in the 18th century period piece Poldark (1975).
After Poldark, Bates himself kept busy in a few forgettable UK made TV shows and television film roles which did not really do justice to his remarkable talents. In the late 1980s his health rapidly deteriorated, and he sadly passed away from cancer aged only 51 on 27th March 1991.
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Comicbook.com reports today: WALKING DEAD tribute to Cushing's Grimsdyke: On tonight's episode of AMC's Talking Dead, host Chris Hardwick and special effects guru Greg Nicotero revealed that the walker pictured above and at right was, in fact, an homage to the classic Tales From the Crypt ghoul known as Grimsdyke.
That undead unfortunate, played by Star Wars and Dr. Who and the Daleks veteran Peter Cushing, can be seen at left...and, yeah, it's easy to see why eagle-eyed fans who spotted things like George Romero's Bub and the in-jokes ranging from The Boondock Saints to An American Werewolf in London, didn't immediately pounce on this one. It's a solid likeness, but hardly identical...mostly because of how far effects have come since Cushing's day.
It isn't that the effects aren't great on Nicotero's end -- it's that the look they were mimicking came from a time when the effects weren't that great, and it would have been odd and out of character for The Walking Dead to have a walker look just like him -- so it was more "in the style of," rather than a more direct copy, and that made him a touch harder to spot."
The Arthur Grimsdyke make up was created by Hammer / Amicus make up legend, Roy Ashton.
Friday, 6 February 2015
NEWS: COMING IN JULY FROM Kino Lorber Studio Classics - ON BLU-RAY & DVD! - from a BRAND NEW 2015 HD MASTER!
Amicus Films MADHOUSE (1974) Starring Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri, Natasha Pyne and Linda Hayden. I know there are many of you out there who have been awaiting for this. More news on this soon!
Wednesday, 4 February 2015
PETER CUSHING DR WHO: Here's a great competition from back in the day, when prizes meant PRIZES! All 450 of them up for grabs, including 'THREE film Daleks' from 'Dr Who and the Daleks' starring Peter Cushing and seen her with the Dalek, Roberta Tovey. All this came courtesy of the kids comic TV 21... If you happen to have a Tardis or any other time machine handy, let me know and we'll nip in it, off to 1965 and bag those prizes!
Peter Cushing, Jennie Linden and Roy Castle... 'Dr Who and the Daleks' (1965) Castle's clowning for the camera and press here with Dalek 'Claw-thing', would have many Who fans today rolling their eyes, I am sure... but all good fun at the time.
Tuesday, 3 February 2015
starwarsunderworld.com posts: TARKIN IS BACK! After having his name dropped several times in the premiere of Star Wars Rebels back in October, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin will be making his first appearance on the series next week. The episode "Call to Action" premieres on Disney XD next Monday February 9th, but was made available this morning to subscribers on the Watch Disney XD app.
The episode will see voice actor Stephen Stanton reprise the role after playing the character on several occasions in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The character first appeared in A New Hope back in 1977 and was played by the legendary actor Peter Cushing. The episode description reads, "As public awareness increases around the Rebels activity, they target an important Imperial network." How Tarkin fits into this is still unclear, but you can bet he's not too happy about what the crew of The Ghost have been up to for the past several episodes.