Sunday, 19 July 2009

Back to the shadows...

In preperation for the upcoming Gothic Season in Bath, I've been revisiting some Hammer films (like I need an excuse).

Having recently watched Oliver Reed in CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF with much anticipation - having not seen it since I was a boy, I found myself quite disappointed by the film. Good opening, and then it sags all over the place until the finale.

A crying shame, being that THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN and FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED all exceeded my expectations/rememberence to the degree that I've been singing their praises from the rooftops ever since. No nostalgic, sentimental attatchment to the films, just honest to god appreciation for the film making involved. Great scripts with great direction, some wonderful acting (some), exiting ideas, way more depth than you might remember and astonishing work from Jack Asher (cinematography) and Bernard Robinson (sets).

Tonight I watched - and introduced my wife to - THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, which is GLORIOUS. Ripe to the point of bursting.

The first half hour is some of the best work Terence Fisher - indeed Hammer as a company - ever did. It looks beautiful. It's mysterious, and mischevious and surprising, and it rockets along like nobody's business.

There are flaws unfortunately - an appalling rubber bat that Peter Cushing almost sells by his commitment to the scene, and weak music, missing the classic touch of James Bernard, wwho was unavailable for this one (terrible cliched organ music that is sometimes not more than creepy scales). But it is so incredibly gorgeous to look at - Jack Asher's use of colour is incredible. As out there in it's use of non sourced colour as anything by Mario Bava, though perhaps not quite so unhinged. The purples, reds and greens on show here are jaw dropping.

Expect this one on the bill if there's ever a follow up to the Gothic Season to be held in Bath this October.

I should add - that my wife really loved it. As she did last nights viewing of THE GORGON. Iffy final reveal on that one - but not so devestatingly bad as some might lead you to believe. If you liked what comes before, you'll probabyly go with it.


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