Monday, 30 November 2015


With the announcement of our competition winners coming up later today, four lucky winners will bag a copy of Donald Fearney's 'Amicus Vault of Horrors: The Amicus Story'... here's a little something to share, a little treasure that's usually kept under lock and key.. a signed copy of the paperback tie in of Amicus films, 'Dr Terrors House of Horrors'...signed by Milton when we interviewed him on camera at his home in London back in 1982. Paper back tie ins were quite popular in the 60's and 70's. Do you own many Cushing film / paperback tie ins? If so which is your favorite?

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Sunday, 29 November 2015


It seems that hardly a week goes by now, without some distributor releasing a 'remastered, special edition, uncut, limited edition, cleaned up, all singing and dancing' blu ray from the Hammer or Amicus film vaults. To be fair, most of these releases do come up with the goods, and many of the films now presented minus scratches, dust with censor snipped footage now 'slipped back in', do pass mustard. We'll leave the 'experts' to pick and chew over ratio discrepancies among themselves. Having said that, however good the main attraction feature is presented, quite a few releases fall at the fence on the strength of what was once, just a little extra, a good will gesture, thrown in to complete the package... a dusty stills gallery, a few yellowing pages from a press book, some vintage cinema posters or if you are really lucky all three. But, over the past few years, the target audience has become more than a little sophisticated and knows exactly what it wants and expects. Has some distributors have found to their cost, the success of a new release can fly or fall based on the strength of their EXTRAS.

Today, nothing less than a 40 minute documentary, including rare stills, behind the scenes footage and interviews will do. Twenty five minutes of 'talking heads', including 'a celebrity' or two..... neither of which appeared in the feature attraction, but do happen to have an opinion about it, doesn't really impress. And why should it? Not when there IS a veritable treasure of material out there to be used, if you know where to find it and how to incorporate it into an extras documentary.

In the field of 'extras features' to be found on blu rays over the past few years there are one or two familiar producers, authorities, names and faces that spring up with alarming regularity. What you probably don't know, is the one name, that for many, wouldn't even summon the faintest tinkle of a bell... and yet, for almost ten years he has produced an unfailing record of documentaries and extra features, that sometimes threaten to even over shadow the feature product itself!

It's common practice now in the pre release promotion for many fantasy genre releases, for distributors to promise the earth...and more! Photo galleries, rare behind the scenes footage, rare interviews with the actual cast and crew...and  photographs. RARE ones. Many, Many RARE ones. Sadly, what we get is a twenty minute tedious rip off of talking heads, of people who may be critics, fans, authors or academics who might KNOW the subject matter very well, and once may have met Terence Fisher in a pub thirty years ago, along with five black and white press photographs, panned and edited in the style of Ken Burns, that appeared donkey's years ago in Famous Monsters and have been  doing the rounds ever since, in every publication from the Radio Times to a dodgy mag, that thinks the way to a fans heart and wallet is by printing suspect pics of Hammer film starlets, long before they were stars, self consciously flashing their bits and tits, and often more.... tacky.

For quite sometime now this person, has produced an outstanding series of documentaries and extras for blu rays and dvd releases, and yet has remained quite happily for most people, under the radar. Unlike many, he doesn't crave the spot light himself, never appears in his documentaries, never visits or comments on forums and would never even consider doing an interview, believing his work speaks for itself.

For a small tight crowd of Hammer film fans in the UK, the name Donald Fearney was first connected with a series of very unique garden parties with actors and technicians from the film world. That may not sound anything particularly exciting or special, until you consider that the 'garden party' was held at the home of Hammer films 'Bray Studios'.... and the actors and technicians, some 60 to 80 in total, were the cream of British Fantasy Cinema from the Hammer and Amicus hey-days. Fearney hosted this event not once, but three times! Invitation by ticket only, fans could walk at their leisure around Down Place, take in the atmosphere, while chatting to Veronica Carlson, Ingrid Pitt, Val Guest, Don Taylor, Michael Ripper, Jimmy Sangster, Hazel Court, the Collinson twins, Hammer producer Roy Skeggs, Hammer films producer Anthony Hinds, Yvonne Monlaur, Carol Marsh and a host of others. Autographs...were free. This of course, was before the explosions of signing events that are all too common these days. But, they were something very special and never to be repeated. 

If you purchased Final Cut's blu ray release of 'The Brides of Dracula', 'Captain Clegg/ Night Creatures', 'The Phantom of the Opera' or 'The Evil of Frankenstein'... you would have seen Donald's work. All extra content was produced by Don , with help from editor, Jim Groom. It's all of a very high standard. Don says his job is to 'tell the story'. From page to screen, how the film in your hands was produced, with help from narrators like Hammer actor, Edward de Souza and John Carson. The first thing that strikes you about Fearney's documentaries is the sheer volume of content he brings to the screen. It's quite staggering and I have yet to view any extras documentary, that matches his photo count, and the staggering total of vintage photographs he freely shares with the viewer to 'tell the story'.

Which bring me to Donald's latest release. This one is a stand alone feature. It was recently a boast, from a company promising the earth in the shape of their forth coming documentary, that in so many words...'for the first time in our documentary we'll be telling the behind the scenes story of these Hammer Dracula films.....' I guess they missed the 90 minute Fearney documentary entitled 'The Legend of Hammer Vampires', released in 2009 and features exclusive interviews with, Jimmy Sangster, Tudor Gates, John Forbes Robertson, Dave Prowse, Caroline Munro and John Cater who until that time, had never appeared before a camera to tell their story. Produced for a very modest £2,000 that again, that's £2,'s a tight, info packed professionally produced feature, that wont have you reaching for the fast forward or skip button and again the content I have never seen bettered, at least that was until last week...

Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg's Amicus Vault Of Horrors, tells the full story..warts and all of the legendary partnership of Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg and the production company, Amicus films, who along with Hammer films dominated the horror / fantasy genre in cinemas during the 1960's and 70's. The Amicus reputation is probably more based on their series of portmanteau films such as, Dr Terror's House of Horrors, Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror and it would have been an easier job for Fearney, in telling the Amicus story, had he just trod this well worn path. The fact that this documentary covers not only ALL 'Horror' Amicus output, but also their less successful ventures like ' The Mind of Mr. Soames', 'What Became of Jack and Jill?' and 'A Touch of Love'. This does not detract or make for boring viewing, quite the opposite. Fearney has left no stones unturned in finding material and 'the story behind the story' in the production of these films. The addition of the narration delivered by the fruity and rich tones of none other than Roy Hudd, is a real plus. Hudd's career as a performer, comedian and highly respected authority on the history of entertainment in the UK, makes him the perfect choice, for the colourful tale of Amicus and cinematic stories that often held a black cruel twist. 

Amicus Vault of Horrors, begins with a very clever homage to Dr Terror's House of Horrors, that continues through out the documentary, using the turning of Dr Terror's Tarot Cards, as a cunning visual device in telling the story of the Amicus fortunes... and fate. One very interesting plus in the documentary is the footage of a never before seen interview with Milton Subotsky, this interview comes from our very own Peter Cushing Appreciation Society archives. A lot has been written about Subotsky down the years, much of it second and third hand, this is the first and only time, where he gets  the opportunity to share his side of the story, and who better to help him do that, than  Donald Fearey.

Written by Marcus Brooks

Milton Subotsky and Max J Rosenberg's  : Amicus Vault of Horrors DVD is a region 0 release and is available for purchase for £20.00 which includes post and package anywhere through the following paypal address:  PEVANS113@BTINTERNET.COM

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The mighty CUSHING DIGIT... here in Hammer films
 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'

Christopher Lee's Dracula relentlessly hunts Cushing's Van Helsing 
through the ruins of St Bartoff's in the closing moments of Hammer films 'Dracula AD 1972'

Peter Cushing trapped in the WAX MUSEUM meets a terrible fate in Amicus films, 'The House That Dripped Blood'.

Peter Cushing's Baron Frankenstein makes his point to Simon Ward
in Hammer films, 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed'

Peter Cushing plays it for laughs in the closing moments of the Tyburn films, Peter Cushing documentary, 'One Way Ticket To Hollywood'

One of the few lighter moments in Peter Cushing's 1968 film, Corruption where he roles his eyes at the 'hip and young' when explaining the origins of 'pottage'! 

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Thursday, 26 November 2015



Three of MANY competition winners from our OCTOBER competitions where we gave away two fabulous Hammer Horror Classics Box Sets from WARNER BROTHER. Steelbook copies of Dr Terrors House of Horrors Blu Ray from SCREENBOUND. SIX copies of Scream and Scream Again from TWILIGHT TIME, TWO box sets of Hammer Horror Classics from WARNER BROTHERS . THREE copies of The Skull from EUREKA and THREE copies of The Man Who Could Cheat Death blu rays from EUREKA.... It's good fun to set new competitions and help everyone  to get a chance to build up their Cushing Blu Ray and DVD collection! As always many thanks to our sponsors.


Saturday, 21 November 2015


Today we remember Ingrid Pitt who was born on this day.. A wonderful actress who starred in several horror classics such as The Vampire Lovers with Peter Cushing, The House That Dripped Blood, The Wicker Man both with Christopher Lee. A truly lovely lady who lead a remarkable life...

Monday, 16 November 2015


Today we remember Burgess Meredith, born on this day, a versatile actor whose career has coved multiple genres. Notable roles include The Penguin on TV Series Batman, servile appearances on The Twilight Zone, notable films include Rocky (1976), The Sentinal (1976)…. He co-starred with Peter Cushing in Amicus's Torture Garden (1967)

Peter Cushing as a guest on the UK Thames television programme 'Looks Familiar', broadcast 25th January 1979. Pictured here with presenter Dennis Norden are journalist, film and tv critic Dilys Powell and actor Burgess Meredith, who starred alongside Cushing in Amicus Films 'Torture Garden' in 1967. This was Peter Cushing's second appearance on the series, he first was with guests, Ernie Wise and Evelyn Laye broadcast on 23rd October 1975.

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Thursday, 12 November 2015


Today we Remember Julie Ege, a model and actress, she starred in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1968) also in the Creatures The World Forgot (1971) for Hammer….she co-starred with Peter Cushing in Hammer's Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires (1974).

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diabloque documentary hammer horror, warner brothers, frankenstein, dracula has risen from the grave, the mummy, cave girls, vampires, horror unlimited, diabolque, 

Monday, 9 November 2015


Just in case you missed our post about this last week... Here's a little something that may make that special Cushing themed Christmas gift for yourself extra special this year! How would you like to own Peter Cushing's Personal Burberry Coat? It's up for auction now on EBAY...and there is just six days to go. The coat has been kindly donated to the Pilgrim Hospices by Bernard Broughton and Peter Cushing's estate. All the proceeds from this sale go to a very deserving cause. that Peter supported too. This is a special exception where I am very happy to supply the ebay link. PLEASE give your support. LINK: HERE

This cozy woollen cardigan, also belonged to Peter and is up for auction too! And here is the LINK: HERE


Saturday, 7 November 2015


REMEMBERING: Melissa Stribling who was born today November 7th 1927. Stribling appeared in just the one film with Peter Cushing...but boy did she pick the right one! She also got to play in one of Hammer films most iconic scenes in their 1958 'Dracula', where Christopher Lee's Count, in the dead of night, visits her home and..without a word.. seduces her. The scene is so super charged with sexual tension, it almost crackles off the screen and as a result got the scissors treatment from the censors at the time. In 2013, in Hammer's restored print the exorcised footage was replaced, giving us the full picture of what Director Terence Fisher, Stribling and Lee had originally intended and created.

I've read in several reviews of 'Dracula' both from the time of the films' release in 58 and in more recent times, that Stribling was a curious choice for the role of Mina Holmwood, that compared to the likes of Valerie Gaunt and other Hammer actresses, even though she was only in early 30's when she appeared in Dracula, many thought her slightly ordinary and plain. I totally disagree...but if that was the case, I can't help thinking that, director Fisher's choice in Stribling was intentional. That subtext in the story of Arthur Holmwood's wife being frustrated and bored, suddenly being charmed and seduced by the exotic and erotic Count, Stribling was...the perfect choice.



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