Gothic Films - episode six

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Gothic Films - episode six

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Edited: Sep 8, 2019, 11:37pm

Jean Kerchbron's Le Golem from 1967 is terrific. I can't understand how it's not better known. Based on Meyrink's book, but with a more convoluted psychological narrative in which the golem is seen as the secret double of Athanasius Pernath--at least, Pernath fears that identification. Fantastic performance by André Reybaz.

Sep 9, 2019, 10:19am

>1 LolaWalser:
And not available in the UK, of course! I did fid this piece on the website:

Edited: Sep 9, 2019, 1:02pm

>2 housefulofpaper:

Perfect! An appetiser, at least... Interestingly, the book was adapted by Kerchbron and Louis Pauwels, who had more than a passing interest in esotericism and the occult. I read a strange novel of his, L'amour monstre, and you'll note his bestseller was the semi-fictional The morning of the magicians, with a subtitle in French "introduction to fantastic realism". Which somehow seems an apt descriptor of Meyrink and Leo Perutz's work too... If Meyrink was an "update" of sort of medieval alchemical lore, Kerchbron/Pauwels offered such an "update" of him.

Sep 12, 2019, 6:24pm

>3 LolaWalser:

I should have noted it, because The Morning of the Magicians has a chapter to itself near the beginning of Gary Lachman's book Turn Off Your Mind which I own, and have read, in both the first and the second editions. But the memory isn't what it was...

Speaking of Golem films, a couple of days ago I saw the news that Paul Wegener's 1920 version is coming out on Blu-ray (in the UK) in a new 4k restoration - from the original negative (that had been thought lost), it says on the Eureka video website!

Edited: Sep 13, 2019, 2:44pm

>4 housefulofpaper:

I wish someone would finally collect whatever is available of the previous two installments of Wegener's trilogy--nothing but teasers for decades! The 1915 film--the first Golem film--is supposedly existing in considerable length, at least according to some silent cinema websites.

I'm currently looking for Duvivier's version (based on Wegener) from 1936. Disappointed that Criterion didn't include it in its "Duvivier in the 1930s" set... It also stars Harry Baur--monumental actor, must see.

P.S. Piotr Szulkin's 1979 "Golem", adaptation of Meyrink, is available on YouTube but unfortunately in Polish only.

("Golem" (1979) - film polski)

Sep 22, 2019, 3:39pm

I re-watched one of Hammer's least regarded films on Blu-ray: Lust for a Vampire. I'm afraid I've got a soft spot for this one. There are some aspects of it that work, for me at any rate, while time has softened the impact of what might have dismayed Hammer fans in the original audience.

What do i like? Ralph Bates' creepy besotted satanist teacher. Harvey Hall, who usually plays leering heavies, gets to portray a kind of German Inspector Whicher and looks as if he might wrap the case up before the film's halfway through (until he's dealt with). The fact that the peasants at the end (against advice) burrning down the castle and thereby NOT destroying the Karnsteins because fire cannot harm vampires (in 1970/71 this might, I suppose, have read as a reactionary position, criticising the counterculture, '68'ers, etc. but through the lens of current events I'm going to read it as a warning about populism and failing to think about the consequences of actions.

Mike Raven is pretending to be Christopher Lee and of course failing, and bringing an element of presumably unntentional camp to proceedings. Poor chap, he was a radio D.J. but isn't allowed to use his own voice (he's dubbed by Valentine Dyall) and he's even replaced by close-ups of Christopher Lee's eyes in some shots. His presence in the film is enjoyable, at nearly half a century's distance, but for all the wrong reasons.

Ditto the song "Strange Love" that plays over the rather Corman-esque dream sequence (but watching in HD I got a sense of how effective just flooding the screen with psychedelic colours, in a darkened cinema, would have been).

Obviously the whole "lesbian vampire in a girls' finishing school" is pure exploitation, but even here the sequence where the (morally shabby) "hero" Richard Le Strange (a very disobliging stand-in for J. Sheridan Le Fanu!) explores Castle Karnstein, is cornered by what appear to be three "Dracula's wives" type vampires, only for them to be revealed as schoolgirls playing games, and then the scene shifting to the school, with a class of "ancient greek" exercise being conducted in the grounds, quite effective. I think its the transition between the played-up gothic of the castle and the determinedly Enlightenment air of the school (until the camera focuses in on Suzanna Leigh's bust that is - but then, it is subjectively giving us Shabby Le Strange's subjective view).

Sep 22, 2019, 3:44pm

Hmmm, "least regarded"? I could regard it again and again! :)

Unfortunately so far I managed only once, on YouTube (and then it was deleted), that's the one I can never seem to find for a reasonable price.

I'm taking dinner and a DVD to friend's tonight, Mario Bava's Four times that night. First time viewing for both of us.

Sep 29, 2019, 12:34pm

I don't know--perhaps I'm getting jaded. Just watched the first episode of Bitten, about a woman who's a werewolf and the only female of her species (well, that's what the blurb says). IMDb has it as 'Drama/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery', but I think I know a soap when I see it and I'm not watching any more.

Sep 29, 2019, 12:57pm

Okay--perhaps I am jaded. Just started watching The Witches of East End. Only lasted quarter of an hour this time--more soap. Like accidentally watching 'Dallas' or 'Dynasty' or something ...

Sep 29, 2019, 6:24pm

>8 alaudacorax:, >9 alaudacorax:

You're adventurous... I'm leery of hip new stuff.

The Bava was weak garbage, by the way, and Not Even Horror, but since I mentioned it above... count this a bonus warning.

Disappointingly, the UK DVDs of Casting the runes (1979) and Zodiac (1974) won't play for me. First time I get this problem. Nothing seems to be physically wrong with the DVDs, and The Jensen Code from the same seller plays just fine. I use the VLC media player--it gives some error message but no remedy. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears...

Omg, this is OT as well, but before I forget--Year of the Rabbit! Whatever else Brits are losing, it won't be their sense of humour!

Sep 29, 2019, 8:41pm

>10 LolaWalser:

It's always infuriating when a disc won't play for no apparent reason. Casting the Runes is currrently on YouTube, if that's any consolation. Sorry about the Bava . I watched it, or rather some of it, probably 20 years ago. It was on shown on terrestrial British TV. I think I got bored and started switching channels.

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 7:44pm

>11 housefulofpaper:

Thanks for letting me know--I did look but the only result seemed to be some recent remake... (ETA: found it!) I'll check again. I did see it already a few years ago (on the trusty YT of course), as well as Zodiac, but there you go, sometimes there's no use being honest and buying stuff! The weird thing is that all three titles I got are on the same label, Network? and the Runes and Jensen Code were even printed in the same year, 2007.

Yeah, the Bava is a waste of time for anyone but the hardiest completist. I mean, it offers his trademark visual style, the thrilling colours, the girl is lovely and the swinging sixties look charming, but the story really tests one's patience. The awful dub never helps, of course. The single most annoying thing about all Italian movies from that era...

Edited: Sep 30, 2019, 4:38am

>10 LolaWalser: - Disappointingly, the UK DVDs of Casting the runes (1979) and Zodiac (1974) won't play for me. First time I get this problem. Nothing seems to be physically wrong with the DVDs, and The Jensen Code from the same seller plays just fine. I use the VLC media player--it gives some error message but no remedy. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears...

That rang a bell, though I haven't used VLC for some time, and I'm in a different region. I found this on an Ubuntu forum and I seem to remember it working for me, but I have no idea if it works on a Windows machine:

There's a chance that even after installing libdvdcss, some of your DVD's still won't play. One solution is to play the DVD with a media player that allows you to disable DVD menus. In VLC Media Player for example, when you choose to open a disc, there's an option "No DVD menus". You just have to enable that option before you press Play.

ETA - As I understand it, the 'libdvdcss' they mention is included in VLC to start with, so ignore that.

Sep 30, 2019, 4:44am

>13 alaudacorax:

Of course, the person giving the advice put's inverted comma's in plural's, so how reliable they are ...

Sep 30, 2019, 4:01pm

>13 alaudacorax:

Thanks for that, I've seen mentions of this "libdvdcss" thingy when I searched for answers, need to figure it out properly. IIRC there was no option to disable anything when I tried to open the disc in VLC, everything is greyed out, but I need to look again.

Oct 1, 2019, 11:56pm

>1 LolaWalser: I actually have the book! I forgot about it (it's still wrapped). Didn't know there was a film though. It's a funny book because I picked it up at a used store. It must have come from Europe I think, because it's a non-uniform shape with my others, and has the spine text in the reserve direction. I keep putting it upside-down on my shelf. My library had Caligari. Maybe they'll have that as well.

Oct 2, 2019, 12:32pm

>16 WeeTurtle:

Meyrink is a fascinating writer, well worth looking up.

Note that Wegener's Golem from 1920 is based on a folk legend--the plot and characters have no relation to Meyrink. It's one of the most famous classics of silent cinema so I'd think chances would be good that a public library would hold it--however, it's also available free in many places online too.

Oct 2, 2019, 7:07pm

>17 LolaWalser:

That comes as a surprise to me. That the film is not based on the book, I mean. I've just today started reading the Dedalus edition and your post prompted me to have a second look at the introduction. It is careful not to say that the film is based on the book--the word it uses is 'inspiration'. It doesn't go out of its way to disabuse one of the notion, either--the film is mentioned both in the introduction and the chronology at the front and it's easy to jump to the assumption. I've only read the first three chapters so far, but, with hindsight, they seem to be heading into quite different territory--I think that this morning I read somewhere a comparison of Meyrink to the films of David Lynch.

Irrespective of all that, what I've read so far is quite captivating and I think I'm hooked on this one. I'm really tempted to read a few more chapters, but it's midnight here ...

Oct 2, 2019, 7:17pm

>1 LolaWalser:

Does anyone else find dolls and puppets really creepy? Never liked the things. Every time I look at the image in >1 LolaWalser:, first my eye is caught by the big one on the right, then the little dark one peering round its neck takes me by surprise--damn thing is watching me!

Edited: Oct 3, 2019, 2:24am

>18 alaudacorax: I was about to say "Hey! I know that guy! But no...that was Cronenberg. I have heard of Eraserhead though, as being an unusual flick in the days of the double feature films.

>19 alaudacorax: It depends on the doll. I had to go back and look at that doll again. I think it's not so bad because it's looking away from me at something else, and kinda reminds me of King Jareth from the Labyrinth movie. (Yay, Bowie!).

Are you familiar at all with the reality show "Face Off"? It's a reality competition for make-up artists on Space Channel and I think SyFy (not sure who get's what and where) but there's a specific episode on dolls (Deadly Dolls I think it's called) and it's really neat to see what people do with them. Relating a little bit to The Golem, there's an episode where they make automatons (of sorts) from trades materials (metal, leather, wood, etc.) that become imbued with life. Some are creepy, some aren't. Part of the make-up is that they need to come up with a story concept as well.

EDIT: The automaton episode is called "Puppet Masters."

Oct 3, 2019, 2:29am

An odd sort of film that I just remembered is a French film called Vidocq, about a famous detective working on case who winds up supposedly dead.

And, just from the touchstone search it might not be a character unique to that one film? It's neat to watch as it mixes live film with painted backgrounds and such, and in a live film way reminds me of Disney's layered animation technique with films like Pinocchio.

Oct 3, 2019, 4:06am

>20 WeeTurtle: - I think it's not so bad because it's looking away from me at something else ...

Wrong doll. Look at it again and drop your eyes to its throat and a fraction to your left or its right--there's second face glaring 'woodenly' straight at you. Perversely, I now really want to see the film if only to see the dolls when that scene is in motion. Also, that bearded old man's hat rocks ...

>20 WeeTurtle: - I have heard of Eraserhead though ...

Not Twin Peaks or Mullholland Drive, perhaps Lost Highway?

Edited: Oct 3, 2019, 5:11am

Looking on UK Amazon, there seems to a an astonishing number of DVDs of Wegener's Der Golem avilable and, given Amazon's unconcern about which review goes where, it's a headache trying to work out which is worth getting. And then there's the upcoming blu-ray that Andrew mentioned above ... perhaps my safest bet is to pay the extra for that.

Edited: Oct 3, 2019, 7:19pm

>18 alaudacorax:

Well, Meyrink drew on the same myth, but the plot and the characters are quite different.

>21 WeeTurtle:

I'm not familiar with that movie, but there was a famous 19th century detective of that name who became a policeman after a life of crime. He was an inspiration to Hugo, (edited for correction): Balzac (Vautrin) and Poe (detective stories) and who knows who else. His memoirs, including descriptions of some cases he worked on, were reprinted many times and there have been at least two television series based on it--I managed to see quite a bit of the earlier 1970s one on YT.

>23 alaudacorax:

I have the Kino Lorber versions separately and in a set. But I believe you can easily find it free in decent versions online too.


The edition with this cover is good:

Oct 3, 2019, 5:54pm

I've got the 2003 Eureka DVD (region 2) of The Golem. The website says it's fully restored and digitally remastered, an watching it, the condition of the image seemed as good as we could expect of such an old film. But clearly the new 4k restoration's going to supersede it.

>21 WeeTurtle:
The Vidocq film is the Gérard Depardieu film from 2001? I had never even heard of it before your post. Just watched the trailer on YouTube - in German. I can't tell if it's any good :)

I don't think I was afraid of puppets as a child. Not even Raggety from Rupert the Bear. And I can still be beguiled by a traditional Punch and Judy show. Maybe it's more unsettling if the show or work takes a surrealistic or psychedelic turn - think of Jan Švankmajer's films for instance - but even there it may be the surrealism more than the puppets.

Mr Sin, the supposed ventriloquist's dummy (really a cybernetic "homunculus" from the future) gave me a turn when he started waling by himself and murdering people in Doctor Who.

Oct 3, 2019, 7:25pm

Puppets, dolls, mannequins and the like are my brother's phobia. Wow, this is weird. I just tried to remember what, if anything, I used to be phobic about and I can't think of anything. I am fearless!

Or, more likely, all horrored-out by Real Life...

Hey, anyone saw the trailer for some 1960's lost story Doctor Who student re-enactment, is that going to be a full story or what? I saw it on the Doctor Who YT channel but the link they had went to a 404 error.

Oct 3, 2019, 7:53pm

>26 LolaWalser:

Oh, there was plenty that I was scared of including, for a time, a triangular patch of sunlight that appeared on the bathroom wall in the mornings, and which I was half-convinced was a ghost!

I do know about this Doctor Who episode, but I hadn't seen the the trailer until just now. Here's a link that should work:

It's not a full story that's been recreated, as such, but it is one full stand-alone episode. None of the regular cast (the Doctor and companions) are in it.

I believe that what happened was this:
A four part story was edited down to three episodes because it was deemed to be too slow and uneventful (this was The Planet of Giants). This left a one-week gap in the schedules. For "reasons", I guess, the regulars were not contracted to do an extra week's work. Fortunately plans were afoot to create a 12-episode spectacular Dalek story (The Daleks' Master Plan, of which only 3 episodes now survive.) and that made it possible to create a 25-minute pre-credit sequence, as it were. And that's what the University students have recreated.

Oct 3, 2019, 7:54pm

>22 alaudacorax: Oh, I know of those too, but not well enough to get an idea of the style of the film maker.

>25 housefulofpaper: That's the film, yeah. I spotted it at a local film rental place in the foreign section and was fascinated by the cover. The Wikipedia page says it's based off the memoirs of the guy. I remember it being somewhat slow and artsy. Had to watch it a couple times through. Might have come a little from having to read and watch a movie at the same time.

Oct 3, 2019, 8:16pm

>27 housefulofpaper:

Thanks for the explanation, that's what I was looking for. I saw the trailer but their link to further info just landed me on an expired BBC page.

Edited: Oct 4, 2019, 6:02am

>26 LolaWalser: - I am fearless!

Always thought of you as fearless because it took it long time to dawn on me that your profile image was an internet meme and not a photograph of yourself.

ETA - Unless you're the origin of the meme, of course.

Oct 4, 2019, 2:30pm

Heh, I jump boxcars... in spirit! ;)

Oct 14, 2019, 5:35pm

I finally got round to watching The Magician (1926) this evening. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Paul Wegener was a very odd presence, thoroughly menacing and scary on times, then occasionally teetering on the edge of comedic.

I loved Haddo's castle, especially that staircase.

I had difficulty reconciling Margaret's sculptures with what we could see of her character. I have a feeling that when she and Burdon finally got married he gradually found he'd got more than he'd bargained for.

Found the soundtrack rather distracting, though--well, very distracting, in fact. The composer had cobbled together a thousand pieces from classical music and opera and there were so many I knew but couldn't put a name to--infuriating.

A couple of questions: (a) Haddo was trying to create a human being--isn't it a bit self-defeating if you sacrifice a perfectly good maiden to do it? (b) Why was Margaret's uncle--I forget his name--after that same book of magic that Haddo found and used? Am I missing something obvious? Perhaps he wanted to make a maiden for himself?

Oct 14, 2019, 5:42pm

>32 alaudacorax:

I missed the obvious in my question (a), didn't I--perhaps Haddo intended sacrificing one maiden to make ten! Still can't figure out why Margaret's uncle wanted that book, though.

Edited: Oct 14, 2019, 6:27pm

>32 alaudacorax:
A reminder that I've got an unread paperback of W. Somerset Maugham's novel somewhere in the house.

Edited: Oct 15, 2019, 6:29pm

Something that I thought was good news but on reflection probably isn't - Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula are now available on blu-ray in the UK. They are being sold as exclusively through HMV as part of their "premium collection" range. I think these are all from Warner Bros archives and any extras on the disc (and indeed any remastering) are identical to and dependent upon the US release.

Unlike the recent Hammer re-releases from other studios, there are no extras on these discs.

edited - corrected "studies" to "studios".

Oct 14, 2019, 8:34pm

>32 alaudacorax:

So glad to hear that, it's a good one isn't it! Yeah, I remember the hodgepodge score. Not that unusual for the silents, I thought.

I'd have to refresh my memory re: the uncle. Will get back to you.

>35 housefulofpaper:

Tempted to no avail, but, you can add "Lujuria para un vampiro" to the scorecard of DVDs I bought prompted by a post of yours, thanks. :)

Edited: Oct 15, 2019, 5:54am

>36 LolaWalser: - Yeah, I remember the hodgepodge score. Not that unusual for the silents, I thought.

The score was actually written for the Turner Classic Movies reissue, so 2010 or thereabouts, but I'm damned if I can find out anything about it. The film is not even included in Robert Israel's IMDb entry. I'd assumed that it was original as I thought he used the Swan Lake music for the opening theme as a nod to the 1931 Dracula, but at the end of the film it says 'Original music by Robert Israel. New version copyright 2010 ...', which is pretty ambiguous, but seems to suggest it is a version of an earlier score, perhaps sheet music for cinema organists or whoever to accompany the original showings. Now I'm wondering if the Swan Lake theme was a kind of general-purpose horror movie opening music back in the day.

ETA - Just to be clear, Israel is a contemporary composer--born in 1963.

Oct 15, 2019, 5:20am

>37 alaudacorax:

Another odd thing about the DVD. I bought it as a Region 1 American import, but I forgot and stuck it in my blu-ray player, and it played perfectly well. There's nothing on the DVD or packaging to say it's region-free--or region-anything, for that matter--and the usual copyright warnings on screen seem to suggest that even the makers of the DVD think it's Region 1, but it seems to be region-free, nevertheless. Were all the Turner Classic Movies reissues region-free?

Edited: Oct 15, 2019, 12:30pm

>37 alaudacorax:

Oh, yes, I know it was a newly arranged score--I meant that sort of "sampling" was actually the norm for silents from the beginning, not much original composing for them specifically went on.

On that note (ha), I was interested to read about the score put together for the first showings of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in the US--they deliberately chose ultra-modern Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Debussy, Richard Strauss for that avant-garde feel. In Germany there WAS an original score commissioned but only the description survives--it too was "modern", Expressionist, based on Richard Strauss as a model.

>38 alaudacorax:

It's a DVD-R, maybe that makes a difference.

Nov 2, 2019, 5:56pm

Borley Rectory is something I've been looking out for, but any DVD with the name of "the most haunted house in England" I saw turned out to be a cheap effort with very poor reviews.

This Borley Rectory is an animated documentary, but the techniques used - actors shot in front of a green screen, then composited into painstakingly recreated sets that are lit in a kind of hyper-German Expressionist style, and populated with (even more painstakingly-created) dust motes, pipe smoke, and nebulously insubstantial spectres, makes it something very much out of the ordinary.

Actors include Reece Shearsmith and Mr English Gothic, Jonathan Rigby, as ghosthunter Harry Price.

The main feature is only just over an hour long (but represents something like five years' work on the part of writer, director and animator Ashley Thorpe). There are hours of extras (some admittedly repetitive, Q&As after festival screenings and so on); but also Thorpe's three previous short horror films and some documentary features.

Nov 3, 2019, 4:49am

>40 housefulofpaper:

I could have sworn we've had a discussion here on the Borley Rectory story, but I can't find it by running searches.

Anyway, I remember being a little annoyed. The whole story seemed to me nonsense--a combination of fraud, mischief and gullibility ... except that there was an actual skull found there. But I couldn't find that much or any attention had been paid to it. Surely that needed investigating?

Nov 3, 2019, 5:07am

>41 alaudacorax:

Oops! Spoke to soon. I was annoyed back when I couldn't find anything about that skull, but now I've found out about it in just five minutes' searching. From -

The skull that Mrs. Smith found was attributed to a victim of the 1654 plague, many victims of which were crudely buried in the ground that later became part of the garden of Borley Rectory. It was not uncommon for skulls and other bones to be found on the property, and they were routinely reburied in the churchyard.

Oh well ...

Nov 3, 2019, 5:09am

>40 housefulofpaper:

I haven't much patience for the Borley Rectory story, but I'm eager to see that film purely from your second paragraph.

Nov 3, 2019, 3:57pm

>43 alaudacorax:

The trailer's been up on YouTube for nearly two years, but it somehow managed to pass me by.

The script doesn't come down definitively on either side of the real or fake question. The apparitions are dramatisations of the testimonies and reportage from Harry Price and others, and are not necessarily presented as fact. The finding of the skull does feature in the film, you may be pleased to know.

Nov 4, 2019, 6:35am

Can I tell you what I'm NOT watching at the moment? Lust for a Vampire! I've had it probably ten days (CinemaParadiso DVD rental), and I've yet to get more than five or ten minutes into it. I've sat down to watch it at least three times, but that first five or ten minutes is just so bloody awful I switch off from a combination of exasperation and embarrassment.

Oh well, if I force myself to watch it tonight, perhaps it will become clear why they had that seemingly quite random shot of Christopher Lee's eyes, or why they are resurrecting presumably a vampire right in front of a whacking great crucifix; but I doubt if it will become clear why they so unconvincingly dubbed Mike Raven's voice.

Anyway, I've written about it here and I'm hoping that will somehow give me the impetus to sit through it ...

Nov 4, 2019, 1:11pm

>45 alaudacorax:

No good. Lasted about twenty minutes and ... just can't. No wonder Ralph Bates hated it. I was expecting one of those pillow fights in sexy underwear any minute in the school girls' dorm--that's about the tone of it. But even for that I couldn't put up with the rest of it. I think I must be finally growing up. I need something with more artistry and intellectual content. Like Jess Franco ...

Edited: Nov 5, 2019, 7:47pm

Borley Rectory

Looks interesting. Every Ghost Ever, apparently. Unfortunately neither my library nor "online" seem to offer it...

My latest ghostly experience was the quite stylish-looking The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre, 1964. Originally produced as a pilot for a projected series starring Martin Landau as a ghost hunter with a day job as an architect. The project was junked, so they added some more scenes to the pilot and showed it as a TV movie.

I listened to some of the commentary on the DVD. The idea for the series sounds intriguing--it was envisaged as an explicitly horror series, unlike the existing ones similar in some ways, such as The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents etc. Presumably that is exactly why it didn't get the green light though--too scary, gory, someone thought better of endless dealing with the aggrieved public?

The pilot has Judith Anderson doing a variant of the creepy Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.

I was most intrigued by the character of Landau's sidekick, who is his no-nonsense, more-than-middle-aged housekeeper. And she's not played for laughs! Assuming she'd have stayed on, that might have made for a unique relationship in TV and cinema.

The story itself appears more enigmatic than it really is, for a while at least, because they extended some scenes beyond reason simply to fill the time. I got bored in places but then impressed in other because the very longueurs added something dreamy and uncanny to the proceedings. Wouldn't recommend going to huge expenses to buy it but if you get a chance give it a look.

Apparently it has quite a "cultish" reputation, as happens with stuff that was seen only once and long unavailable.

Nov 4, 2019, 8:52pm

>46 alaudacorax:

Ah well...I gave my best shot at a defence of the film at >6 housefulofpaper:. I have actually watched two or three Jess Franco films recently...

>47 LolaWalser:
I was intrigued enough to watch the tv version (which is currently uploaded to YouTube - as ever, who knows how long it will stay there?). I have to confess I'm puzzled by the technicalities of '60s US television. Without the extended scenes you report, the pacing and feel is like (to take an obvious example) a BBC studio drama played more or less as live and captured with multiple video cameras. Can you actually do multi-camera drama with film cameras, I wonder?

It might be the theatricality and slightly off pacing at times, that unfortunately brought to mind the horror spoof Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (especially at the climax). I hesitated to write that for fear of putting the notion in the readers' minds and spoiling their enjoyment...but then I did it anyway.

Random thoughts while watching - did the wall of paintings in Nelson Orion's clifftop house inspire Night Gallery eight or so years later? I'm sure the ghost effect was previously used in The Outer Limits (the show Joseph Stefano had just left) for an alien (The Galaxy Being episode?). Judith Anderson absolutely not attempting an accent appropriate for "Sierra de Cobre". If this had become a series, I hope the bluff work colleague wouldn't have taken screen time from the best character, the housekeeper (I bet he would have done, though).

Nov 5, 2019, 4:41am

>48 housefulofpaper:

If I owned a copy, I'd probably watch Lust for a Vampire all through at some point--when I was in the right mood--but I have to send it back, else I'll be getting another of CinemaParadiso's 'gentle reminders' in my email box. Besides, I have Borley Rectory at the top of my wish list on there, and I'm eager to see that.

By the way, if you think I'm mentioning CinemaParadiso a lot, I don't have shares in them or anything--it's just that I think they're brilliant, vastly superior to any streaming service I've come across (for UK-based viewers, I should add), and I don't want them suddenly going out of business on me. I must have found them somewhere, of course, but I rarely, if ever, see advertisements for them, so the more people who know about them the better.

Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 5:24am

So I just encountered this:

Is anyone familiar with it? *Gothic* from 1986. Looks to be dramatizing the horror story contest between Byron and the Shelleys.

Nov 5, 2019, 4:50am

>50 WeeTurtle:

That's yet another I've long been meaning to see but never got round to--another shout out for CinemaParadiso (>49 alaudacorax:)--I've moved it up to second on my wish list ...

Nov 5, 2019, 7:01pm

>50 WeeTurtle:

"Looks to medramatizing the horror story contest between Byron and the Shelleys".

That right, although "psycho-dramatising" might be closer to the mark - it's a very (intentionally) overwrought, laudanum-soaked and stylised retelling of the stay at Villa Diodati that led to Frankenstein and (indirectly through Polidori's reworking of Byron's fragment of a vampire story, Dracula).

Nov 5, 2019, 7:45pm

>48 housefulofpaper:

If the version you watched is on the "Scissorman" channel I just found, I notice it has a bluish/purplish tinge. The DVD included both the pilot and the extended version but I only watched the latter, which is in gorgeous black and white. It's beautifully photographed.

I thought the story effective enough although it became fairly predictable. The special effects I thought were quite good (the ghost, the whirlwind etc.) All in all, I think it's a pity we didn't get more stories of Nelson Orion (+ his housekeeper).

>50 WeeTurtle:

Yep, Ken Russell's bit of fun. The cast is the best part of it, IMO. Although I should note I only saw it in a blurry print in one of those 50-movie packs from Millcreek.

I did get recently another of Russell's "Gothic" extravaganzas, The fall of the Louse of Usher (not a typo!) with players who have names such as "Tulip Junkie", "Emma Millions" and "Alex Alien". :)

Nov 6, 2019, 5:38am

>47 LolaWalser:, >48 housefulofpaper:

The Ghost of Sierra de Cobre (no touchstone?): I'm looking at that DVD cover. I'm trying to teach myself to draw and I'm really frustrated that I can't get my faces recognisable as their subjects. I'm not sure what to think on finding a (presumably) professional artist who's no better than I am. If I tried to draw Martin Landau it would currently come out something like that. I wonder how much he/she got paid?

Nov 6, 2019, 12:47pm

>54 alaudacorax:

The front cover does look a bit basic. Perhaps it was done by someone involved, the writer or the producer or someone like that...

Nov 6, 2019, 3:47pm

>53 LolaWalser:
Yes, that's the version I watched. The Kino Lorber release is region-locked, apparently, so there's no point my trying to get a copy.

>54 alaudacorax:
I had a quick Google search and it seems to have been the poster art for the long version's theatrical release. Recycling some production sketches or storyboards on the cheap? Or was a loose charcoal sketch somebody's idea of a particular kind of '60s chic sophistication?

Nov 8, 2019, 6:48pm

>45 alaudacorax: Poor you! I managed one sitting of 'Lust for a Vampire' years ago. Hammer at it's worst! At least you didn't get to the dreary love theme song in the middle!

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 2:06pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Nov 12, 2019, 3:37pm

I've just re-watched Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, prompted by a few posts over on 'More Gothic gossip': #276 to #281. My opinion of this film seems to veer about in a drastic manner for every watching. The problem is that there's some pretty poor stuff and some very good stuff in there.

Some things are just too weird to get my head around. Keanu Reeve's turn gets a lot of mockery, but Cary Elwes as Lord Arthur was pretty unconvincing, too; yet he is an upper-class Englishman in real life--he should have nailed it! Then, I really disliked the portrayal of Van Helsing, but how much of the role is down to Hopkins, how much to the director and how much to the writer? Also, having Hopkins play the priest, play Van Helsing, do the odd voice-over as Van Helsing and then do other, non-Van Helsing voice-overs seems to be one job too many--overkill.

Visually, I thought it was consistently very good--a great film to watch. I also think there were a number of visual references and even one or two musical ones that I am just failing to pin down.

I thought Winona Ryder was excellent but about Mina I'm not so sure. Setting aside the liberty they took with Stoker's Mina and just looking at the film on its own merits, the whole Dracula/Mina/Jonathan Harker relationship doesn't seem to me to sit very well. Are we supposed to think at the end of the film that she's finished with Harker? Dracula seems to have been the love of her life--the film implies that she really is the reincarnation of Elizabeta, which leaves good-guy Jonathan looking surplus to requirements.

I had a strong sense of the film being 'chopped'. For example, the move from Lucy getting killed to them staking her in her crypt seemed too rushed, as did her descent into illness--there seemed to be bits missing; the same for Jonathan's travails in and escape from Dracula's castle, the same for Van Helsing and Mina's journey to the castle.

Okay, that has the minuses overwhelming the pluses, but I really am in two minds about this film--I just don't know what I think of it. Watching it is an experience--that's for sure.

Nov 12, 2019, 3:39pm

>59 alaudacorax:

Oh, and that song over the final credits stinks.

Nov 12, 2019, 3:44pm

Damn! I was just about to ask if, finding myself confronted with a vegan vampire, I should steak him; but then I realised he couldn't possibly be both vegan and vampire.

Nov 12, 2019, 7:14pm

>59 alaudacorax:

Oh dear, I've yet to watch it, but nothing there makes it tempting... I guess I blanked out the fact it has Reeves and Ryder.

Have you seen the one with Frank Langella (sp?) as Dracula, with Kate Nelligan (great actress)? Asking because as I recall it too goes for the "romantic" Dracula so I'm wondering what you thought about that, how it might compare.

I don't remember what I thought. That it wasn't a real Dracula story, probably.

Nov 12, 2019, 9:07pm

>59 alaudacorax: Good, and very fair review! You're right about Cary Elwes. I didn't like the voice Hopkins used as Van Helsing. I saw a documentary of the making of the film once - in one part it showed Hopkins suggesting and doing various rather silly things for the scene where he first meets Mina, and Coppola okayed his suggestions. So probably Hopkins is to be blame for what is on screen! I also didn't buy the Dracula/Mina/Elizabeta framework that Coppola created for the film. It didn't work for me. And the film wasn't scary (probably it's worst fault)

Spot on about it being 'a great film to watch', though. I have watched it a few times, despite its flaws, because of the beautiful visuals and the 'in camera' techniques Coppola uses throughout - it's a real feast for the eye, with nice touches like Oldman's rise from the coffin at one point being a nod to Max Schreck's in 'Nosferatu'; and Coppola using an authentic old 'Pathe' camera to get that quirky stuttering look on screen when Dracula first meets Mina; and also the use of puppet theatre, shadows etc.

Nov 12, 2019, 11:10pm

>62 LolaWalser: - ... nothing there makes it tempting ...
... because I've woefully undersold it. It really is worth seeing and I'd feel guilty about anyone missing out on it on my account. Rembetis' second paragraph points to some of the riches there. I really do find it very difficult to pass a final, 'good or bad' judgement on it--perhaps 'a very flawed masterpiece' would be the best summing-up.

Edited: Nov 12, 2019, 11:17pm

>63 Rembetis: - And the film wasn't scary (probably it's worst fault)
Yes, Coppola's pretty much turned it into a love story, hasn't he?

ETA - 'Tragic love story' would have been better wording.

Nov 12, 2019, 11:39pm

Talking about tragic, I was actually half-way through a 'vampire evening'--I also had/have The Brides of Dracula to watch and a couple of nice lamb chops out of the fridge to get to room temperature--but I dozed off for SEVEN hours, just after >61 alaudacorax:'s feeble punning--hence the last couple of posts at past four in the morning. I suppose I should get to bed to chase that last hour, and then those lamb chops for breakfast ...

Nov 13, 2019, 5:32am

>62 LolaWalser:

I think we talked about the Langella one in another thread recently and I'd never seen it. It's currently number five on my CinemaParadiso wish list (I get them two at a time), so watch this space ...

Nov 13, 2019, 2:10pm

>64 alaudacorax:

Not a problem, I'll pay my Dracula-fan dues to it sooner or later, but I do like it when I've something to look forward to rather than "tick off". I like Gary Oldman, so there's that.

In other viewing, I've made a second attempt to acquaint myself with the Star Trek universe and am watching for the first time Star Trek: Voyager. The reason I mention this is that so far I've noticed at least two episodes with very strong horror and even Gothic elements, which moreover seem to contain homages to well-known horror stories. The first one, called Faces, introduces an alien species, Vidiians, who are horribly disfigured by a virus and survive by poaching healthy organs from other species.

They capture a ST officer who is half-Klingon half-human and begin experimenting on her. That whole sequence, with the laboratory in some undeground caves, the Vidiian surgeon being both Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster in one, plus other twists from everything from the Phantom of the Opera to The Silence of the Lambs, makes for a great horror treat.

The other story, Revulsion, funnily enough involves the same ST officer (it's a couple seasons later). She and the holographic doctor board a seemingly abandoned ship with only a holographic character on it. We know before they do that the ship's crew had been massacred by the crazed hologram--it turns into a mini-slasher movie.

I find these homages and excursions into other styles most entertaining.

Nov 13, 2019, 7:51pm

I've watched the Frank Langella Dracula tonight so fingers crossed will be able to say something sensible about it, when and if the conversation comes round to it again.

I'll make some (non-spoiler) notes to help jog my memory.
Based on the play (Jeremy Brett! Peter Wyngarde! taking the role in '70s productions) (centred around asylum - see also TV production starring Denholm Elliot)
Edward Gorey production any influence? Or just Universal hanging onto the copyright?
British TV sitcom supporting cast (+ Trevor Eve)
Cornwall standing in for Whitby
Folklore re. white horse
Olivier as van Helsing
Donald Pleasance
Romantic hero also top predator??
John Williams score
cheat ending?

Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 8:04am

>69 housefulofpaper: - ... see also TV production starring Denholm Elliot.

Ye gods, how I forget things!

First thought, 'I've got to see that'. Second thought, 'Consult IMDb'. Found he's not only in it but playing Dracula. Also, he played Roderick Usher, both plays in an old ITV series, 'Mystery and Imagination'. Third thought, 'Hang on, don't I own a box set?' I'm pretty sure I own the set and completely forgot about it, never getting round to watching it. I shall shortly mount an expedition to the spare bedroom. If I don't return within a few days, send help.

ETA - Don't own it, never bought it. The cover was so familiar to me because I've been 'meaning to' buy this for so long--apparently since pgmcc and housefulofpaper wrote about it here back in 2012. Added it to an Amazon wish list just over five years ago because I baulked at the price--and it's exactly the same price today! Ordered it anyway.

On the bright side, had my day's upper body workout, heaving storage boxes of videos round the spare room ...

Nov 14, 2019, 11:47am

>70 alaudacorax: I don't know if you can get the Uk tv Channel 'Talking Pictures'? They are going to show 'Mystery and Imagination' - starting on Sunday 8th December, they are showing 'Uncle Silas' at 9pm; on Sunday 15 December, the Ian Holm 'Frankenstein'. The remaining episodes will follow each Sunday. You might want to cancel that order if it is expensive and you can wait? Having said that, I have this set, and it is definitely worth having.

Nov 14, 2019, 12:04pm

>65 alaudacorax: Nail on head! Coppola did turn 'Dracula' into a tragic love story.

I quite like the Langella's romantic 'Dracula'. I saw it on original release at the cinema back in 1979, classified 'X' (I was 2 years underage!)

Nov 14, 2019, 2:39pm

It's a very handsome production. I like the grey palette; the direction does some interesting things, especially in the crowd scenes and bird's-eye-view composition. The score is excellent, and Monster!Mina one of the scariest moments from a vampire movie I've seen.

Nov 14, 2019, 7:02pm

>71 Rembetis:

Hah! Just my luck. Actually, it's not really that expensive for a box set, and I'm not the best at remembering and catching TV programmes, so I might as well have it.

Nov 14, 2019, 8:22pm

>73 LolaWalser: When I saw Langella's Dracula at the cinema in 1979, it had a beautifully rich, opulent palette, with an autumnal look. It was perhaps a bit overlit in some scenes, but I think I prefer this version of the film overall, as it's beauty and bold use of colour made a great impression on me back in the day. I haven't seen this version since 1979. In 1991, John Badham issued a version on laserdisc, almost drained of colour (the 'grey palette' you refer to). John Badham did this as he originally wanted to shoot the film in black and white (to mirror the Lugosi original and the Gorey stage show), but Universal objected. Every copy available on any medium since then has had this 'grey' version, and the original was thought lost in the Universal vaults. However, Scream Factory in the USA has just issued a blu ray of the film with both the original theatrical colour version, and the de-saturated colour version. I am hoping we get a UK blu ray at some point. There are clips from both versions on Shout Factory's youtube page to compare and contrast:

Carfax Abbey clip - original version :
Carfax Abbey clip - desaturated colour version:

Flesh of my flesh clip - original version:
Desaturated colour clip:

Carfax Abbey looks a bit creepier in the desaturated colour version, but, oh my, that bold use of red at the end of the 'flesh of my flesh' clip - it's like something out of Almadovar - so much more effective than the desaturated version!

You are so right about the score - one of the greatest horror scores without doubt, and about Monster Mina!!

>74 alaudacorax: I understand, and think it is worth having the dvd set in your collection!

Nov 14, 2019, 10:15pm

>75 Rembetis:

Oh, WOW, what a difference!! I mean, I do like the greys and all, but the colour version is amazing! But dang it all, Blu-Ray only again...

The blood red background makes so much more sense in that scene than orange... thanks so much for taking the trouble to show this, I had no idea (I expect maybe Badham says something on the DVD commentary, but I haven't listened to it).

Arrgh, now back to pondering getting a Blu-Ray drive or something...

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 5:37am

>75 Rembetis:, >76 LolaWalser:

Fascinating. I tend to instinctively want to stick up for the director's vision (on this point my mind invariably goes to the original cinema Blade Runner abomination), but just occasionally the studio really does know best. I would like to see both. Um ... I'm jumping the gun, here--don't know if I'm going to really like the film yet. Patience.

>75 Rembetis:

Do Shout Factory/Scream Factory products usually eventually make it to the UK? I don't remember ever coming across one on UK Amazon or wherever.*

ETA - So far, I love the director's vision--the set and cinematography in the first pair of links were fabulous. I thought the second, desaturated version just looked like getting hold of a poor copy, but that might have been because of the order you listed them--perhaps I'd have thought differently had I watched the second clip first; the first viewing just exploded on me--especially the spider's web.

*I note the website only ships to US and Canada

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 5:44am

>77 alaudacorax: - ... the first viewing just exploded on me ...

In fact, I was rather distracted from Mina's entrance by trying to take in all the background detail.

Nov 15, 2019, 7:15am

>77 alaudacorax: I think most, if not all, Shout Factory products are region locked to Region A, so not playable on our UK players (although they are readily available to import through ebay, wow, etc, for those who have multi-region players). I do not own a multi-region blu ray player and don't want to go down that road!

However, many of the films that Shout factory release end up over here later on other labels (and vice versa - the UK had many Region B locked Hammer films on blu ray before they saw the light of day on Shout Factory).

An example - in 2016, Shout Factory released a collector's edition of 'Exorcist 3' which included, as an extra, a reconstructed cobbled together version of Blatty's original vision of the film before studio interference (no final exorcism scene, much more philosophical musing). I thought this was niche and wouldn't make it over here, but Arrow are releasing 'Exorcist 3' next month with both the original and reconstructed versions, and with many of the extras imported from the Shout Factory release.

Regarding the 1979 'Dracula' - having seen the original on the big screen, I was disappointed when I saw it again later as, like you say, it just looked like a poor copy - washed out! The spider's web you mentioned, looks so much more impressive in the original colour scheme, for example.

Nov 15, 2019, 2:56pm

I only knew The desaturated version and the wintry palette still feels like the right one to me. It puts the film in the opposite corner, so to speak, from the lushness of the Coppola version (although I saw from the little interview clip that Badham was hoping to desaturate the image photographically in 1979 to distance his film from the look of Hammer’s Dracula series

Edited: Nov 15, 2019, 4:28pm

I've just watched The Brides of Dracula. I suppose I shouldn't say it's a much better film than >45 alaudacorax:'s Lust for a Vampire as I never got any distance into the latter, but I'm pretty sure it is. I can't help comparing because they both have a school for young ladies and, at the beginnings, they both have a coach careering through the same piece of woodland--for all I know it might be the same bit of film. The latter film was pretty much covering the same ground, I think. This one started off satisfyingly tense and creepy, though, and, so, firmly pulled me in.

And this one has Peter Cushing, so at least one of the classic pair, and a whole bunch of old character actors chewing the scenery. Great fun. And they borrowed Frankenstein's burning windmill.

I suppose I should say that I wasn't really impressed by David Peel as the bad guy. He was quite sinister in places, but seemed not quite up to snuff in others, especially when full-fang. Just couldn't quite carry it off, somehow. It may have simply been the prosthetic teeth--I thought all the pairs of fangs in the film poor--and the direction he was being given; I did get an impression he was capable of doing it better.

Okay, I just looked it up and Peter Cushing was twenty-six years older than Yvonne Monlaur who played the heroine/damsel-in-distress, but he was looking quite youthful in this one and I thought there were just one or two hints that he was going to 'get the girl' in the end. This got me wondering: I can't remember Cushing ever getting the girl in the end, or even playing a love-scene. Anybody else?

One last thing: I have no idea what the title had to do with any of it.

ETA - Talking about borrowing bits of Frankenstein and chewing the scenery: Freda Jackson, as the Baroness's crazy servant, even gave us a fleeting touch of Igor at one moment--one of those 'Did she just do what I think she did?' moments.

Nov 15, 2019, 9:34pm

>69 housefulofpaper: What's this with Jeremy Brett? I see the words Jeremy Brett!

Nov 15, 2019, 10:13pm

>82 WeeTurtle:

In 1978 he played the lead role in Dracula on Broadway - the production of the play designed by Edward Gorey. I would infer from the data in Wikipedia that he took over the role from Frank Langella. I googled and found some photos:

Edited: Nov 16, 2019, 7:11am

I watched Dracula from the Mystery and Imagination series tonight. I'm not excited about it: I didn't think it was bad; I didn't think it particularly good.

Denholm Elliot was a reasonable Dracula, but he didn't have much to work with: most of the heavy lifting was done by James Maxwell as Dr. Seward and Bernard Achard as Van Helsing and he was joint third with Corin Redgrave as Harker/Renfield. His teeth stuck closer to the book--or Nosferatu (now I come to think of it, I believe vampire teeth were inconsistent between characters--didn't properly register at the time and I'd have to check). I got the impression the writer didn't have much time for women: none of the them had any agency, not even Mina. In fact, I was a little offended by the way Mina was written--a Mina written by someone who didn't have much time for women!

It was based on the book, but very truncated, of course (75 minutes), and with characters left out and with places and one pair of characters conflated. Offhand, though, it was the only screen adaptation I can think of to feature the ancient mariner of Whitby--always a minor favourite character of mine--but near-unrecognisable, though.

I really can't think of any more to say. The Brides of Dracula (>81 alaudacorax:) wasn't great cinema but it was satisfying, somehow--a 'proper Hammer'. This wasn't satisfying; I was left a little underwhelmed.

Nov 16, 2019, 7:37am

>84 alaudacorax: - ... Corin Redgrave as Harker ...

I was a little thrown by Corin Redgrave's Shirley Temple-like appearance, not just the blond barnet, but when that combined with the cherubic smiles ...
He was disturbing in the role of lunatic, but I'm not sure for the right reasons.

Nov 16, 2019, 7:56am

>85 alaudacorax:

I was just checking my spelling and I've never before realised that you're supposed to spell 'blond/blonde' differently for men and women. I can spell 'embarrassed', though ...

Nov 16, 2019, 11:48am

>80 housefulsfilmtv: Leaving aside the colour, it's odd what Badham is saying, as his 'Dracula' is as far away from a typical Hammer Dracula film as one can get, in terms of script, depiction of character, and the look and pace of the film. Christopher Lee's Dracula is a predatory monster, whilst Langella is a tragic romantic figure (some 13 years before Coppolla took the same approach). Hammer dialed up the gore and emphasised the horror elements, huge close ups of Christopher Lee's face snarling with his fangs and mouth dripping in blood. Badham's Dracula doesn't even have fangs (a deliberate choice of Badham and Langella's).

The magazine 'Little Shoppe of Horrors' did a whole edition on the making of Badham's 'Dracula' (issue 36). Badham challenged his production team to bring a very controlled muted colour scheme to the film. Peter Young, the set dresser, says "The upholstery was beige, beige, beige, and sort of gilded and wood...there was very little colour in the dressing and Peter Murton's sets." Of the post-production, Badham says "I drained as much of the colour out in the colour mixing to keep it subdued. We'd protected ourselves during the shoot a little bit by making sure all the sets were black, white or grey, and the costumes were as well."

The film was shot on location in Cornwall in Autumn (October and November 1978), and together with Badham's carefully thought through colour scheme (and despite his draining of colour in post-production), the film looked a beautiful golden autumn on the big screen. Having gone to so much trouble to get this look (and as it works so well), why change it?!

Badham says "I liked the original version. I thought it looked nice. I always thought that desaturating the colour would be an interesting way to go, to get a different look out of it. We couldn't achieve that look with the technicolour technology at the time. So when the opportunity came to do that, I thought it was great'.

The problem is, this desaturated version then resulted in the original version getting buried from 1991 onwards! Not good!

>81 alaudacorax: 'Brides of Dracula' is one of my favourite Hammer films. Miles above 'Lust for a Vampire'! Freda Jackson is amazing in this film. I actually think her mania is quite frightening. I also love Martita Hunt in this one - perfect performance.

Racking my brain, but I can't think of Cushing playing romantic lead in anything, or 'getting the girl' in the end. He did play Darcy in a 1952 BBC production of 'Pride and Prejudice', so there would have been love scenes with Elizabeth Bennett, and he did get the girl at the end of that one! It has been years since I saw the tv adaptation of '1984' where he played Winston Smith, but there must have been love scenes in that too. Can't think of anything remotely sexual in his film career. There is the infamous rape scene in 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' which Cushing and Veronica Carlson complained about during production.

>84 alaudacorax: I thought Denholm Elliot was quite effective as 'Dracula', brought a dashing quality to the role. My favourite productions on that box set are 'Uncle Silas' and Freddie Jones in 'Sweeney Todd'. I really hope you enjoy the other episodes more.

>86 alaudacorax: Really? I wasn't aware of that either!

Nov 16, 2019, 11:56am

Ought to add that after shooting in Cornwall in Autumn 1978, Badham's production of 'Dracula' moved to Shepperton Studios for the interiors.

Nov 16, 2019, 5:51pm

>87 Rembetis: It would be nice to see the full interview but in the short clip on Shout's YouTube channel Badham now says that he had always wanted to desaturate the colour but the film processing labs couldn't do it chemically anymore because "all the machines had been sold to China".(!)

And that led them to choose to go in the other direction and boost the warm colours.

Nov 16, 2019, 7:54pm

>89 housefulofpaper: Thanks, just watched the interview clip. Must give Badham his due - at least 'Region A' people can enjoy whatever version of 'Dracula' they prefer - he isn't doing a 'George Lucas' by banishing the original, never to be seen again (although the original hasn't been seen, due to Badham's actions, for about 30 years)!

Badham says there is a 'sense of flesh tones' in the desaturated version. I disagree, no one has a complexion, everyone is a ghastly grey bordering on black and white.

Badham mentions 'three strip technicolour machinery' being sold to China in the 'Little Shoppe of Horrors'. When he made an episode of 'Night Gallery', the Lovecraftian 'Camera Obscura', he took a lot of colour filters out to the back lot with his camera and tried different combinations of filters to get a 'desaturated' colour look for the programme. He says 'it gave everybody a greenish look, but it wasn't totally green. There was still some warmth in it. It was a nice combination of green and amber filters'. Universal hated the results, and tried to oust Badham, but NBC liked what he had done and aired the programme as he had shot it.

Badham wanted to use a similar approach for 'Dracula' - using three strip technicolour machinery. However, 'the technicolour guys in London' explained to him that 'yes, we certainly were able to do that. And now all that three strip technicolour machinery, we sold to it's all single strip.' The colour could not be toned down digitally at that time.

Note, even after 'Dracula', Badham wanted to make 'Whose Life is it Anyway' in black and white and the studio refused. They then allowed him to preview a black and white print of the film, which Badham said the preview audience loved, but the studio insisted on a colour print for general release. His obsession runs deep!

Interesting that now Badham admits that warm colours were boosted in 'Dracula'. That accounts for the golden autumnal look I remember. Towards the end of the interview clip on you tube it cuts from the 'desaturated' version to the original version (at 2.17) and the greenish grey trees and the grey leaves for a few seconds become the beautiful rusty autumnal colours of Black Park - wow, the film comes to life! But, curiously, 'Monster Mina', at the beginning of the clip, seems to look more effective in black and white than in colour.
(SPOILER ALERT in the following interview clip, there are clips from a key scene in the film which some who haven't seen the film might not wish to see in advance) :,

Funny that Black Park was used as a location - a Hammer films staple; and that Badham used Eddie Powell for Langella's stunts - Christopher Lee's stuntman at Hammer.

Nov 18, 2019, 5:34pm

>90 Rembetis:
Thanks for taking the trouble to write up the information from the Little Shoppe of Horrors interview, it puts a lot more flesh on the bones of the story Badham tells in that clip. Thanks also for telling me about his Night Gallery episode. I've been (slowly, I must admit) working through the series on DVD and this gives me something to look out for.

>81 alaudacorax:
Brides of Dracula tops a lot of lists of people's favourite Hammer vampire films, even though Christopher Lee is absent. And I have to go along with the consensus - to quote the "Breakfast in the Ruins" blog:
‘Brides..’ remains a masterpiece of gothic horror, especially during its opening half hour.* Not only for its magnificent photography and production design, or for the brooding atmosphere of decadence and dread conjured by Terrence Fisher’s flawlessly classical direction, but also with regard to more down-to-earth matters of narrative and character drama

*before Cushing's Dr Van Helsing is introduced, and Yvonne Monlaur's character, Marianne Danielle, is the Gothic heroine of a virtually self-contained first act.

Mind you, the blogger spoiled my enjoyment a bit by stating that the film should be in its original Academy ratio. The current blu-ray/DVD box presents the film in widescreen.

A couple of things about the film are are "un-Hammery", as it were; which is always a bit of a jolt. The jagged blood-red ettering of the title sequence is more often seen on later parodies of horror films the the real things, in my experience, and Malcolm Wiliamson's score has a fair amount of organ music in it which (inadvertently, I'm sure) conjures up the sometimes threadbare Universal and always threadbare Monogram horrors of the forties.

Oh, the vampirised girls are the "brides" because the continuing vampirism in the region is the persistent "cult" of Dracula. Or something.

I'm currently watching Scars of Dracula...from best to worst...?

Nov 19, 2019, 5:05am

>91 housefulofpaper:

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I can't remember the music, and that it wasn't in its correct aspect ratio just didn't register with me. I'd now like to have another look at it in light of what you say, but I posted it back to cinemaparadiso just this morning (never going to stop plugging them!)

I'd really like to compare The Brides of Dracula and Lust for a Vampire, too; I'm curious to see if they re-used a bit of film in the coach scene at the beginning--perhaps simply the same coach and same bit of track (through woodland alongside a lake--so familiar, that bit of scenery).

Nov 19, 2019, 3:30pm

>84 alaudacorax: - His teeth stuck closer to the book--or Nosferatu ...

I was half in error, there. I'd got it into my head that Jonathan Harker (Stoker) gave a description of Dracula where his teeth accorded with Max Schreck's in Nosferatu. Not true--he has D's teeth pointed and protruding over the lower lip, but doesn't specify which teeth. Denham Elliot seems to have been fanged with Max in mind.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 6:47pm

>92 alaudacorax:
I've dug out my 2007 DVD of The Brides of Dracula and am pleased to discover that it's academy ratio (and a nice sharp transfer too).

While I was watching the film on blu-ray, I didn't notice anything wrong - there was no glaring example of lost picture information of a cramped composition. However, watching the older disc, the composition certainly seems designed for the square format of the academy ratio.

Nov 20, 2019, 3:00am

>94 housefulsfilmtv:

Mine was a widescreen blu-ray. I assume the one you mention.

Edited: Nov 20, 2019, 7:56pm

Very interesting reading, y'all. Now I want to rewatch the Brides... just to check on the aspect ratio.

Still dragging my feet on Dracula, but I did watch something new to me, A Study in Terror from 1965. I can't recall even hearing about this before. John Neville (who I had no idea was a fellow Torontonian) plays Sherlock Holmes pitted against Jack the Ripper, same as in Murder by decree, but with different character motivations etc.

I suppose it's interesting more as a curiosity, and perhaps for the appearances of some actors--a young Judi Dench, Frank Finlay as Lestrade, Robert Morley as Mycroft Holmes, Anthony Quayle...

P.S. O yes, one more thing going for it--excellent two music hall numbers by a Georgia Brown.

Nov 21, 2019, 5:02am

>96 LolaWalser:

I loved Georgia Brown; in my earlier life, she was one of the best singers and performers around, but she never seemed to quite make it to the really big star she should have been.

Also a long-running sore point in that she was one of the stars and the singer of the theme song for one of the greatest TV series I've ever seen, the BBC's adaption of Satre's The Roads to Freedom, which, the gods only know why, has never been released on DVD, etc.

Nov 21, 2019, 1:11pm

>91 housefulofpaper: I wouldn't say 'Scars of Dracula' is the worst Hammer Vampire film - that has to be 'Lust for a Vampire' for me. I quite like 'Scars', even though I shouldn't!

>96 LolaWalser: >97 alaudacorax: Haven't seen it for years, but I enjoyed 'A Study in Terror'. (You might like 'Time After Time' from 1979 - with H G Wells (Malcolm McDowell) pursuing Jack the Ripper (David Warner), also starring Mary Steenburgen. It's great fun.)

I agree, Georgia Brown was indeed brilliant. She was the original 'Nancy' in Lionel Bart's 'Oliver' in London (Bart wrote 'As Long As He Needs Me' with her in mind), and went with the show to Broadway. Fortunately for us, whilst in New York, she performed 2 numbers from 'Oliver' on The Ed Sullivan Show':

Georgia Brown did not get on at all with Ron Moody. When she didn't get the part of Nancy in the film version of 'Oliver', she publicly blamed Ron Moody for the decision (she had heard he had insisted she be replaced), but he denied the allegation completely. Whatever the truth, it's clear she was perfect casting for the role, and had she been chosen for the film, I think she would have become a much bigger star than she did. I saw her on stage once, '42nd Street' in 1984, and she had great stage presence. I think she was one of the 'old school' stars (like Ethel Merman) who didn't need a microphone to be heard at the back of the stalls?!

I have never seen the BBC's Satre's 'The Road to Freedom'. I remember it was shown at the NFT a few years ago, over an entire weekend. Very odd that something so well regarded has never had a release.

Nov 21, 2019, 7:30pm

>96 LolaWalser:
When Hammer's back catalogue started coming out on digitally remastered blu-ray the company hosted a forum on their website devoted to restoration issues. It got quite heated on the question of aspect ratio, with (it seemed to me) some people wedded to the idea that how they first saw a film must be the canonical way it has to be presented, despite any amount of contrary evidence (from the composition of shots to the more concrete details of editor's notes and records of film premieres). I didn't play my two copies of Brides side-by-side but, since I didn't notice anything wrong with the widescreen version I don't think it's a big issue with this particular film. I watched Citizen Kane on a special one-off matinee at the local ABC cinema many years ago, - widescreen - and that DID suffer from losing about 25% of the picture. Newspaper headlines (important to the story) that should have been visible on screen but were actually missing, being a particularly egregious loss. The cinematography (those initial deep focus shots for Xanadu for example) was stunning all the same.

A Study in Terror is a film I watched on late night TV at some point in the 1980s. At the time I had no prior idea that it existed, either. I did note the similarity to Murder by Decree (which I had somehow seen a few, or maybe just a couple of years, earlier and was quite scared by. In fact, by the conspiracy/cover up as much as by the murders, I seem to remember). An odd bit of trivia - the novelisation of A Study in Terror is by "Ellery Queen" who is both a pen name used by a number of detective fiction writers over the years and also the fictional detective he/they write about. So the novelisation treats the story of Holmes investigating the Ripper murders as a "cold case" looked into by another fictional detective of a later generation. I've got a '80s reprint of it somewhere in the loft.

>97 alaudacorax:
I was confused by Georgia Brown's name.What was her connection to the song? In my defence I was young and there wasn't an internet yet. I see from IMDb that she was working as an actor/voice actor in the States after she seems to have stopped performing as a singer/in light entertainment (mostly) in the UK. I might be wrong - of course IMDB takes no notice of stage performances. I also see she was in another Holmes film, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.

>98 Rembetis:
All I can say is, I quite like Lust for a Vampire, even though I shouldn't!

Did anyone watch the Jonathan Rhys-Meyers Dracula TV series from about 6 years ago? It only lasted one season. I picked it up on disc cheap in HMV, and as we're discussing all things Dracula I watched the first episode. The story elements from Jack Palance and Gary Oldman's films that differ from the novel are to the fore (Dracula is definitely Vlad Tepes, Mina is the reincarnation of his lost love, he is the romantic hero of the series). But there are novelties too. Dracula is masquarading as an American entrepreneur - a kind of Thomas Edison/ Nikola Tesla with maybe a hint of (the young) Howard Hughes. He has a secret plan to destroy a centuries-old Illuminati-like secret society called "the order of the Dragon" (but wait, wasn't Vlad Tepes called "Dracul" because he was a member of the order of the...oh, never mind). And he's working with Van Helsing (these reveals come so fast they hardly count as spoilers). One episode in, I can't decide if it's more like Mr Selfridge than Penny Dreadful.

Nov 21, 2019, 7:50pm

>95 alaudacorax:
I've just realised that, because I posted >94 housefulsfilmtv: from my film & TV account, you can look in my library and check the covers of my copies of Brides. I suspect there have only been two UK releases, though.

At least, the box for the 2007 disc states that it's the film's first UK DVD release.

Nov 22, 2019, 10:12pm

>97 alaudacorax:, >98 Rembetis:, >99 housefulofpaper:

It's great to hear Georgia Brown was a recognised and beloved figure. Thanks for the links Rembetis (the second one is forbidden to me tho) and houseful--so there's a film of the Seven Percent Solution too?!--had no idea. I found Murder by decree scary and creepy too--the comic book ripped it off completely (From Hell). So do you know what's the earliest version of Sherlock vs. Jack the Ripper?

Here's the link to what I watched, some new channel with good copies (let's hope I didn't just jinx it): A Study in Terror

Georgia's first number starts at @ 3:40.

They also have The Black Torment and The Sorcerers and Dr. Terror's House of Horrors...

I haven't seen the Rhys-Meyers TV series but if it's the one where Mina and Lucy have a, ahem, VERY close friendship, I have been meaning to see it.

Nov 23, 2019, 4:58pm

>101 LolaWalser:
I don't know what the earliest Holmes/Jack the Ripper story was (or book or film - or radio play. It could have been any medium, I suppose), or when it was. I would hazard a guess that it was quite late. I think I'm right in saying Conan Doyle's family kept control over Holmes as a "property" for quite a while. Adrian Conan Doyle wrote Holmes stories, often based on hints in the canonical stories (the Giant Rat of Sumatra and so forth) "at his late father's own writing desk". For that extra authenticity.

Also, would there have had to have been a "decent interval" between the murders, and their use as just one more item in the "foggy Victorian London" prop-bag? or were people more cold-blooded back then?

To digress a bit, I think Alan Moore has always been quite upfront about the influences he drew upon when he wrote From Hell. The Sir William Gull/Royal cover-up theory didn't originate with Murder by Decree, but in books by Stephen Knight, which were picked up by the press and popularised to the extent that they sort of became generally accepted for a time, like Erich von Däniken's "ancient astronauts" nonsense.

But there was more to it than that. He also adopted the sacred geometry of London that Iain Sinclair created, or discovered, in works such as his poem "Lud Heat" (1975) (which is the one that Moore cites), and in his novel White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings (1987). (Moore subsequently appeared in Sinclair and Chris Petit's short film The Cardinal and the Corpse. Later on he later included Sinclair's fictional alter ego, Andrew Norton, as a supporting character in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.)

Moore also went on record about wanting to portray the women murdered by the Ripper as real three-dimensional characters and not the cyphers of popular culture and Ripperology.

On that score, the recent book by Hallie Rubenhold, The Five, has falsified many of the assumptions that Moore (and generations of Ripperologists) have made about the women. It seems to have also demolished the whole conspiracy theory.

A review from when the book was first published, here:

I think I agree with your assessment of the film version of From Hell. I remember thinking that, when it stripped away most of the magical (or should it be "magickal?" I'm never sure) elements of Moore's book, it ended up delivering something that was pretty much "just another" Jack the Ripper movie.

Nov 24, 2019, 10:59am

The Horror Channel telly channel in the UK has absolutely no sense of proper timing. Sat down for some lunch today, and turned on the TV to find myself face to face with Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Classic film as it might be, I refuse to watch Dracula at lunchtime. I switched over to a CD. A few hours pass, I sit down to a bite of tea, switch on the telly, and who do I see--Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, getting barbecued in the windmill! Come on! It's not even properly dark yet ...

Nov 24, 2019, 4:03pm

>103 alaudacorax:

Ah-hah, but WHO is tuning into the Horror Channel at lunchtime?

>102 housefulofpaper:

Actually I don't think I saw the film version of From Hell... and didn't know any of that surrounding lore about Moore's interests etc. Very interesting, though I'm not much of a fan of his. I know we discussed the Ripper before but didn't recall if in connection with Sherlock Holmes--did I dream this up or is there a version somewhere in which Holmes IS the Ripper?

I thought the "conspiracy" (a royal/high-ranking perp?) was always seen as more of a legend. I'm not really into "Ripperology" but even so noticed recently-ish there was again talk of that deranged Polish workman as the most likely culprit. And the sociological aspect was certainly mentioned early on--even in that fictionalised documentary you once linked (the two cops reconstructing the case)--and even in this 1965 movie, A study in terror, Anthony Quayle's character, the born-again doctor to the poor, is decrying the conditions in Whitechapel as the "real" murderer. He is even very media-aware (maybe less anachronistic than it may appear? advertising is an old art; people always knew the power of the newspapers) and remarks sarcastically that finally Whitechapel is making headlines and attracting public attention, gory murders having succeeded where his efforts to stir consciences has not.

Thanks for the link, and ugh the comments. It never ceases to amaze me how clueless and misogynistic is the commentariat even on a publication like the Guardian. All sorts of contortions to refuse to see when women are treated like dirt. It's clear as day that Jack the Ripper's fame has gained these proportions because his story combines extreme sadism against women with sexual exploitation of women--women's sex and women's death hand in hand, like the punters like it. There are examples of more recent equally sadistic and equally sexual serial killings of men and boys, Fritz Haarmann for example, but those don't have the same appeal. Let's not forget it was then and still is men who rule the media and entertainment; it's still men who decide what's the story and what's the angle of the story. And since it's women most of the world--men anyway--want to see raped and disemboweled; that's the stuff of the legends, that's entertainment.

No, we would not have had the same story if Jack the Ripper had murdered men because while there is horror in that, there is no sex in that (that is, not to the dominant, straight male POV.) Ripper killing men would be only scary, and that's depressing and discouraging. Note also that the movies always go for showing the victim prostitutes as pretty, young, sexy and appetising. I wonder how the popularity of the story might have been affected if we could have seen exactly the types that were actually killed? That is, it's more than likely that it's the later mediatic treatment that sexualised the story the most for the public, that created the sexual fantasy that is still being sold to this day. Just look at the bouncy fresh young things in A study in terror, in vivid Technicolor dress and makeup. Reading about the grind the real prostitutes suffered, the constant hardship, drunkenness, dirt, illness, starvation, I doubt there'd be half the attraction to watching them--whether getting solicited or being hacked to pieces.

Ack, how quickly posts go mega! If only I could reply to some of the comments there I wouldn't be going on here... Mmm I was going to say something else... ah, yes, got it, back to Moore--well, an illustration really, of that dominant POV that made Jack the Ripper into a legend still going strong... I read just the other day his short book about pornography, 25 000 years of erotic freedom. It's a recent book, from 2000s or even 2010s, and yet it's entirely cast in the formula of male=subject, female=object (and heteronormative), there's not a breath of sense that women exist as desiring subjects in their own right or might want to or deserve to enjoy "erotic freedom" too . In fact, if you gave this book to an extraterrestrial with no knowledge of gender, you could tell them with no contradiction from the text that "women" are a sort of toys, robots, or a different animal species men use for their erotic pleasure.

But, again, that's what the market sells, what we are all used to seeing the market sell. Other viewpoints have yet to assert themselves in it. The "real" story of Jack the Ripper has yet to be told.

Nov 24, 2019, 4:35pm

I'm still reading Kyoka Izumi's gothic tales and started watching an anime, Basilisk, as a sort of accompaniment (the touchstone goes to a volume of the related manga). I've seen the first 6 episodes (of 24) and so far am engaged. As usual, I'm a tad bewildered wondering who this is aimed at--so much gore and leering sexuality, combined with childishness (or, what strikes me as childishness).

But the relevant Gothicky horror elements are the main attraction. The story concerns two hereditary enemy clans, composed of shinobi or ninja warriors with supernatural powers. There's a man whose hair--even nose hair!--can act as innumerable extra limbs, a girl who commands a viper and masses of butterflies, a woman whose power seems to be, uh, raining blood, a creature who can enter stone and ground etc. Some of these are familiar from tales like Kwaidan but the invention goes ever farther.

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 5:39am

>104 LolaWalser: - Ah-hah, but WHO is tuning into the Horror Channel at lunchtime?

In my defence, I'll frequently catch episodes of the original Star Trek or really silly, straight-to-video or made-for-TV sci-fi. Anywhere I'm safe from the up-coming election (no objection to politics, it's the politicians who get up my nose).

Nov 25, 2019, 6:19am

>104 LolaWalser: - Thanks for the link ... whether getting solicited or being hacked to pieces.

Agreed with everything you wrote there, but it sparked an uncomfortable train of thought.

Recently finished re-reading Dracula and I'm in the middle of watching a handful of Dracula films, and my mind becomes full of it as soon as I log-in here (The Gothic Literature group being my main purpose here, excepting an occasional venture into The Weird Tradition). So, your words had my thoughts automatically jumping to Mina and Lucy.

It occurred to me that I do really like a good damsel-in-distress story. How few Gothic novels there are without a damsel-in-distress near the centre--from The Castle of Otranto to Dracula and probably beyond, there she is. The trouble is, I can't help but realise that the damsel-in-distress is, generically, another point on the scale of the attitudes you write about. Young, attractive and menaced with unspeakable things is pretty much the attraction of it, whether we talk about Lucy Westenra or the media distortion of the Ripper's victims. There seems to be a touch of sadism in the set-up that comes uncomfortably close to the old feminist idea of all porn being violence to women.

Then I remember that these things were why the Gothic novel was traditionally so looked-down upon. It seems I can't get away from the idea of the Gothic novel being a guilty pleasure, as opposed to an innocent pleasure.

Nov 25, 2019, 6:25am

>107 alaudacorax:

If that last post seems to end rather abruptly, it's because I didn't know where to go from there. I can see a problem with Gothic literature; I have no intention of stopping reading it. Don't know how to reconcile the two.

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 6:32am

>108 alaudacorax:

Perhaps being aware of the problem is enough on its own?

Nov 25, 2019, 8:37am

>102 housefulofpaper: - ... like Erich von Däniken's "ancient astronauts" nonsense.

I think I must be getting really jaundiced and sceptical in my attitudes--probably from too much YouTube. Looking for something on telly to watch over lunch today, the Quest channel (UK) programme Codes and Conspiracies had an episode devoted to von Daniken, called 'Ancient Astronauts'. I thought I'd see what rubbish they tried to peddle to me--might raise a grim chuckle. I'm damned if they didn't gently demolish him--and his followers and imitators. I see so much of this stuff when I run through the guides, not least on Discovery channel, and it hadn't occurred to me that some of them might be rationality fighting back. Perhaps western civilization hasn't quite yet gone into reverse, after all?

Nov 25, 2019, 5:03pm

It seems I can't get away from the idea of the Gothic novel being a guilty pleasure, as opposed to an innocent pleasure.

Surely you're being too hard on yourself and the Gothics! I wouldn't worry until you start planning Goreyesque scenarios involving secluded spots in sinister landscapes, casting an eye for a suitable victim any time you find yourself in a crowd... Then, I'd toss the books and call the doctor. ;)

Nov 25, 2019, 7:25pm

Shocked to discover I haven't read From Hell. Not all of it. I was reading it in instalments in a short-lived adult (not "adult", if you take my meaning) comic book called Taboo in the '80s. It only ran 5 or so chapters. I bought the collected graphic novel in the mid-90s but I don't think I ever read it. I've only just realised this!

>107 alaudacorax: (and >104 LolaWalser:)
The first wave of Gothic had a large, maybe even majority female readership. Thinking about it, today there's a big female readership for true crime books that I would find pretty strong stuff. Not to mention those newsstand magazines with happy innocuous titles like "Take a Break" but stories such as (this one is from Take a Break's website) "I caught my hubby trying to KILL our two babies").

The idea that all Gothic fiction was written to elicit a simple response of sadism and voyeurism seems wrong simply because so many women we reading it and evidently enjoy its modern-day analogues (stronger stuff than the ladies-in-nightdresses-fleeing-mansions by-Moonlight novels I see reminisced about online. I don't remember them; did the UK just have Mills and Boon romances instead? But I'm digressing).

Of course horror- written and cinematic and televisual (not to mention the theatre of the Grand Guinol) - went it's own ways and certainly can be sleazy, exploitative, sadistic. I just tried to look up who made the observation the cinema is an inherently voyeurisitc medium (it's the viewer can look and look; they (the actors/subjects) can't look back at you, catch your eye or upbraid you, or move away from you). I was suprised to be lead to a Biblical scholar, J. Cheryl Exum. I'd expected a "name" in Post-modern philosophy.

Poe claimed “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” Not the most erotic or the most exciting but the most poetical. Did he mean it evokes regret and sorrow, perhaps a (masochistic?) pain at being unable to prevent this death? (Yes there can be less elevated responses - a grim determination (but which is really a form of narcissism) to seek revenge, or (hello Betty Blue) a rekindled creative spark, for example. A viewers response doesn't depend on the good intentions or good faith of the filmmakers, I don't think.

>104 LolaWalser:
I haven't seen that particular book of Alan Moore's. I do know that he's done stuff that isn't simply straight and heteronormative. Comparatively little things (a story for - I think- an HIV/Aids charity comic, that was narrated by two hermaphroditic angels), to his big erotic graphic novel Lost Girls (Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz all staying at a sanatorium (it might even be the one in Thomas Manns The Magic Mountain where (I remember reading) he worked very closely with his partner, and the artist non the book, Melinda Gebbie to present a female perspective and experience of sexuality.

Re. A Study in Terror - I'd forgotten the socially aware aspects of the film. But that was rather more "par for the course" back in the '60s and '70s. I was going to talk about the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of the script but then pulled up short because of course Jekyll and Hyde fed into the shadowy image of "Jack the Ripper": cloak, top hat, emerging out of the London fog. But the scriptwriters were bothers Donald and Derek Ford. They at the time were writing for films and TV, including the cutting edge (for the time) Z Cars. But Derek Ford, by the late '70s, had gone on to writing exploitation such as Suburban Wives and on (or down) to hardcore pornography.

>110 alaudacorax:
I remember Horizon demolishing it 40 years ago! Funnily enough i was reminded of the BBC letting Henry Lincoln (who co-wrote for 60's Doctor Who and the screenplay for The Curse of the Crimson Altar) make programmes about Renne-le-Chateau and the Priory of Sion through the '70s only to debunk it all with an episode of Timewatch in the early '80s. It's just been on TV as I type! (it's a repeat of a documentary about The Da Vinci Code on BBC4).

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 11:23am

>112 housefulofpaper:

I haven't seen that particular book of Alan Moore's.

It was a chance encounter for me too, I'd never heard of it until I saw it in the library. The basic argument, dubious at best, is that "previously" there existed happy civilizations unburdened by sexual problems because they had a healthy relationship to pornography. Examples given of the Greeks, the Romans, and even the Neolithic chubby little Venus of Willendorf, Moore says, must have been used as a masturbatory object.

It's very short, illustrated on the cheap (I suppose) by the reproductions of mainly classical paintings--horizontal naked pink women, one shunga, and, crowning it all, Courbet's L'origine du monde (which I'm happy so say I've seen multiple times LIVE. ETA: the painting! I was talking about the painting. Not that the OTHER interpretation... er... doesn't fit too) But not a single picture of anything not geared to "the male gaze", nor, as I said, any acknowledgment of women as subjects in the text.

It was actually not just disappointing but slightly surprising--while I wouldn't say I'm well acquainted with Moore's work, and I'm aware of the misogynistic slant in what I've read, to say nothing of the controversies--this was just too glaringly retro. I feel that if he'd asked anyone for a second opinion, they would have gone "um, but what about the women, what about the gays, 21st century calling".

I know Lost Girls, I used to have a copy. It elicits complex responses, I learned that from a lengthy exchange with a friend (male) up on critical theory and feminism as I am not. Long story short, I was far more enthusiastic about the picture of liberated--or more accurately, the process of liberating--women in it than he. We didn't agree in the end but his take opened my eyes to some problems. However, I'm afraid revisting those arguments would take this thread even more into a digression... On the off chance you'd be that interested, I'd gladly collate the exchange for you.

Uh, she says that, and immediately goes Off Topic in a major way...

Z Cars

I'm watching the first season of The Sweeney--what a blast from the past. This after seeing the two feature films on Kanopy--I realised the series would showcase even more of those old actors I love. The last episode watched had Dudley Sutton, hair like a mass of springs and bedecked head to toe in dark green velvet.

OK, my super-weak excuse for going off the rails here is that I recall not knowing who Dennis Waterman was when I watched Palance's Dracula movie--now I'm well-acquainted and appreciative of his duet with John Thaw.

Nov 26, 2019, 4:59am

>111 LolaWalser: - Surely you're being too hard on yourself ...

It's really an academic interest rather than crisis of conscience:

Hand on heart, I'm really uncomfortable with stuff where vulnerable women are menaced, and tend to switch off and watch something else; I was equally hand on heart when I wrote, "... I do really like a good damsel-in-distress story" (>107 alaudacorax:): the two things would appear to be mutually exclusive.

I really don't know why, over this issue, one story will appeal to me and another repel me. I know it's nothing to do with screen versus print. I know it's nothing to do with an explicit threat versus something nebulous and unspecified.

I do know that when it's one of the switch-off tales I tend to think of them as misogynistic and sadistic, and when it's one which grips me those things don't occur to me (or not till I'm writing posts like this, at any rate). Which is rather inconsistent and irrational of me.

It's an interesting bone for me to chew on at the moment. Well, it's an old bone I keep revisiting, really; and I'm currently thinking it's really time I got it properly gnawed.

It looks like I've written myself into a new project ...

Nov 26, 2019, 5:56am

>112 housefulofpaper: - The first wave of Gothic ... on the good intentions or good faith of the filmmakers, I don't think.

From my own observation over the years, I don't think I agree with your implication that female readership or viewership can't on times be motivated by 'a simple response of sadism and voyeurism'.

However, my current bone is concerned with instances where sadism and voyeurism is not, at least on the surface, the creator's motivation. I understand Poe's point perfectly. I think Bram Stoker did, too--I'm thinking of some elements of the death of Lucy. But what if I move my viewpoint slightly? Stoker tended to put his fictional women on pedestals--contrary to what Freudian-motivated academics and Coppola and his like might think, in the book Lucy is quite an angelic, saintly character--and I suspect in Poe's 'beautiful woman' he really means the same sort of unrealistic 'angel'. In the reading I can enjoy the character as part of the overall work, but when I step back a little I can also see that she's a beautiful object created to be destroyed to give a frisson to the reader; were she a more flesh and blood character, with realistic inner conflicts and motivations, I suspect the reader (or this reader, at least) would find the destruction much less comfortable reading--too much reality.

Edited: Nov 26, 2019, 5:59am

>114 alaudacorax:, >115 alaudacorax:

Apologies for boring you all with these posts. I've just realised that I'm working out in public, here, stuff that I really should be putting in my private journals.

ETA - At least till I've properly got to grips with it ...

Nov 26, 2019, 11:41am

>116 alaudacorax:

Not at all, no need to apologise as far as I'm concerned; obviously the topic of violence etc. is pertinent to the genre.

Don't know that I have anything interesting to say, though. I'm not one for "guilty pleasures", I don't feel guilty about anything I enjoy. That said, of course there surface complexities and contradictions galore the moment one starts analysing one's enjoyment--I'm not sure one could have it otherwise. So, for my part, I accept as a matter of fact that I am a creature of violence in a world that is steeped in violence--a Sadeian world to the last of his black letters. This acceptance, however, is not indifference. I do and will continue to squawk about the injustice and horror of it all until the day I die.

Nov 29, 2019, 6:02pm

Apologies for disappearing. I hope to pick up the threads of the conversation soon (although if the weather stays dry this weekend may be my last chance before winter to tidy up the garden).

In the meantime and referring back to the mentions of Georgia Brown a week or so back, there's a documentary from 1968, in the BBC's "One Pair of Eyes" series, in which Georgia Brown revisits the East End, reminisces about her childhood and the experience immigrant communities. It's interesting in its own right but of course is now also a time capsule of a corner of London as it was half a century ago.

It's on the BBC's iPlayer, if you can access that somehow.

Oh, the documentary's called "Who are the Cockneys now?"

>101 LolaWalser:
I haven't got beyond episode one yet, but...I don't think it would be out of place, stylistically (I think that's the word I'm looking for).

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 12:12pm

>118 housefulofpaper:

Oooo, fascinating!! Thanks so much.

One Pair of Eyes - Georgia Brown - Who are the Cockneys Now BBC 1968

She had a beautiful voice. Silly detail--in The Avengers, Tara introduces herself to Steed with something like "Tara... ra boom de ay"--I finally got it! :)

ETA: aaah--I avoid looking at comments on YouTube, just caught this accidentally--the top one is by Miriam Margolyes, the actress! So nice.

Dec 3, 2019, 7:12pm

>119 LolaWalser:
Oh yes! I hadn't seen that because I was led to (rather than found) the documentary on the BBC iPlayer. There are other documentaries from the same series on YouTube and I'll have to take a look at them, too.

Foe some reason there was a revival of those old Music Hall songs in the '60s which fed into children's television in the '70s. The resut was a knew a lot of those old songs! (it's a funny things, there was a documentary roughly contemporary with the One Pair of Eyes documentary I saw few years ago all about this Music Hall/supper club/cabaret one point an interviewee bemoans the lack of contemporary music and musicians compared to the days of Music Hall, and you just have to step back and reel off a few names: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, ...I mean,come on!

Sorry for still not applying myself to these threads; but listlessly browsing YouTube (sorry that's what I've been up to) has at least produced some dividends: the obscure short TV film The Cardinal and the Corpse (ref. >102 housefulofpaper:) got uploaded last year:

Dec 4, 2019, 1:52pm

>120 housefulofpaper:

at one point an interviewee bemoans the lack of contemporary music and musicians compared to the days of Music Hall, and you just have to step back and reel off a few names: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks

Lol! I have to say, the older I get the more it seems like a musical wasteland out there--I couldn't name you more than a couple current musicians (classical doesn't count, never did) and that's only because the gossip about them gets sprayed all over. It's funny how that happens--where has all the music gone?!

That link looks great, thanks.

Dec 4, 2019, 7:36pm

Continuing on the link in >120 housefulofpaper:

I've seen Martin Stone showcased in something else before (quite possibly thanks to some other chat on LT--maybe even in this group?) I know he remained etched in my mind as the quintessential street bookman. (Uh, now I wonder--could David Mason have written about him in The Pope's bookbinder? Must make a note until the next tectonic shift that unearths the book.)

Moore, what an apparition. I loved the scene (staged no doubt but still) with him trying to get into that house: "I KNOW the book I'm looking for is here! Let me in! Let me in!" Don't we all feel his pain...

Moorcock seems astonishingly jolly, totally not the vibe I expected. I pictured him as a glum haughty druggie and dandy wannabe.

Robin Cook, the guy who wrote Coma? One of the first nightmares of my early teens (fit punishment for sneaking into my parents' shelves...)

Omg that guy with the yellow tie and towers of books behind. WHAT was his deal. Jesus. (But who am I to talk...)

o btw, that channel with the Study in Terror I linked above--Flick Vault or something--put out some fab stuff recently; one, Polanski's Cul-de-sac with a demented Donald Pleasance, and something new to me, Doomwatch, a Tigon production from 1972 with Ian Bannen. The story is uncannily like The Wicker Man in too many details for coincidence: a guy--but scientist, not cop--is sent to a remote island to check on something, finds weird atmosphere, hostile people, everyone shoos him away; there is a pretty young teacher whom he confronts about a missing child; strange goings-on at night, he follows a group of villagers, is attacked etc.

Only it's not about folksy magick-cum-erotica, but pollution turning people into monsters.

Although you have to laugh about how nonchalant everyone is about the nuclear waste (oh, it's JUST radiation) while fretting about the growth hormone.

Nice late (and last?) appearance of George Sanders.

Dec 8, 2019, 8:46pm

>122 LolaWalser:
Sorry about my continuing absence from these discussions. Just too tired to write anything in the evenings after work and then, this weekend, I found mould in random books on my shelves (a particularly sneaky variety that was latching, unseen, onto the inside of dust jackets).

Anyway, I'm very glad that you found The Cardinal and the Corpse worth a look. I know Iain Sinclair has written about Martin Stone (sometimes lightly fictionalised - I think versions of Stone, Driffield (the yellow tie guy), and Sinclair himself are the main characters in White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings but lack of space has made most ofmy paperbacks hard to access, so I can't check. I'm sure the online magazine The Quietus gave him an obituary but I don't know where else I've seen him mentioned - if indeed I have. I haven't read The Pope's Bookbinder (but now I want to!).

Dec 8, 2019, 8:47pm

>123 housefulofpaper:
Ah, I meant to hit the preview button.

Dec 8, 2019, 9:33pm

>123 housefulofpaper:

No need to apologise for anything, I still feel the internet forum is more of an agora than a selected club--people come and go, sometimes sit on that or this bench etc. We all have different rhythms of presence--I think the feel of having a real conversation is more dependent on chance than anything else! I am and will be unusually present throughout the month as I'm already on half-time (had some surgery in November) and intend to use this time to finally finish entering my music collection.

Mould is terrible, I hope you find a good solution. Not sure what that may be, but figuring out what you can do to optimise the atmospheric conditions in your house seems like the first step. Perhaps you know about the Book Care & Repair group, they get often questions about mould.

As a book-maniac I can't help thinking that Mason's memoir would enthrall any one such, but it is mostly about the scene in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada. However, like many successful booksellers before the internet changed everything, he travelled a lot for books, including overseas, and of course the UK was where he went most frequently "for business" there.

Aaaand back on topic for a bit, the Flick Vault keeps giving, they posted an excellent copy of a movie called Haunted House of Horror--lots of 1960s/early70s Stimmung and some truly fab costumes for one of the girls, "Silvia", (for instance a white faux leather minidress with peeping-flesh triangles cut out all over, combined with knee-high lace-up white boots--yes yes yes I'm well past the age when I'd be allowed to wear it but damn I covet it).

They also posted (added to my queue, but not watched yet except for the credit intro) a version of a Burke & Hare story I hadn't heard of before, with Derren Nesbitt and a hilarious mod theme song.

Both of those, I trust, could be quoted in "if you like Dracula A.D. 1972, you might like..."

Dec 8, 2019, 9:57pm

>124 housefulofpaper:
Carrying on...I don't know if this film was my first sight of Michael Moorcock (I watched the original TV transmission in 1992) but perhaps it's not so surprising that he's quite convivial. In the books of hs that I've read, which admittedly is a small percentage of his whole output, he does seem to love a big set-piece party scene.

The Robin Cook in the film isn't the Coma man, but that Robin Cook necessitated a change of pen name when he restarted his career writing police procedurals as Derek Raymond. I haven't read Coma but I remember finding the poster for the film poster unsettling.

Driffield, I understand - no, the touchstone confirms it :) - used to put out an acerbic and eccentric guide to Britain's second-hand bookshops, as well as being a book scout like Martin Stone.

Doomwatch generally has a poor critical reputation for being inferior to the TV series. TV spin-offs were apparently all that kept the British film industry afloat in the early '70s. On the Buses topped the UK box office in 1971. Most of them were comedies that didn't translate well from half-hour studio-based sitcom to 90-minute film. Not just the structural issues of changing the storytelling format, but the fact that things simply didn't look right because they were shot on locations or new sets that didn't resemble the familiar TV studio sets. On the Buses didn't even have the same uniforms. Doomwatch strayed from its original too, but in different ways. It sidelined its regular cast (the three stagey characters we cut back to at headquarters a couple of times) and dropped the genuine environmental and misuse of technology concerns of the series for the Gothic horrors of the islanders (it has a scientific explanation in the end, but it doesn't feel like that was the screenwriter's starting point). I don't think I've seen the parallels with The Wicker Man pointed out anywhere before.

I think George Sanders' last film was Psychomania (The Death Wheelers in the US). Like Dracula A.D. 1972 it's a wonderfully entertaining film without being one that you could, hand on heart, say is a good one.

Dec 8, 2019, 9:59pm

Dec 8, 2019, 10:02pm

Hive mind! Hive mind!

Dec 9, 2019, 10:34pm

>123 housefulofpaper:
I'm realising I've been a touch AWOL around here, too. Sorry about that--don't know where the time has gone. Really need to better organise my time, I think.

>125 LolaWalser:
Hope you're healing well, Lola--take care of yourself.

I have got to see Dracula A.D. 1972--it seems to keep cropping up in these threads. I'm pretty sure I have seen it, but a long time ago and I remember little. I've actually had the Frank Langella Dracula waiting to be watched for a fortnight--they'll be emailing me 'gentle reminders' any time now. I deliberately paused in the middle of a personal 'Dracula-fest' to spend a few evenings re-reading the novel, then life seemed to get a bit hectic and I've yet to get back to the watching. Watch this space ...

Dec 10, 2019, 1:34pm

>129 alaudacorax:

Thanks Paul, recovery seems to be going well so far. Yes, isn't it funny how getting more "free time" somehow doesn't translate into less busy-ness.

I have got to see Dracula A.D. 1972

Pick a mellow mood! It's not built to withstand harsh criticism! :)

>126 housefulofpaper:

I meant to add, thanks for reminding me of Psychomania again.

Oh yes, the info that Doomwatch was a TV series also made me think of something--does anyone know/can tell which series (?) this was--I'm almost certain it was more than one episode but could be wrong--all I remember is a man, or creature, looking horribly disfigured or mutated, coming up to a glass door of a house and pounding on it or otherwise alarming the people inside--this would be the beginning, or the opening sequence. There is water around, maybe a pier on a river or a lake, maybe small boats?

He may have been a soldier or guard of some kind and something happened to him. The "something" can spread and there are other such people... maybe they go amok?

For whatever reason I associate it vaguely with Threads, that post-apocalyptic movie we mentioned before--it could be an association I picked up in a conversation as something similar to Threads or maybe some of the same actors are in it. Whatever it was, it used to be on YouTube but I can't begin to search for it without some specific keyword.

Sorry, I know it's super vague but hey, giving it a shot.

Dec 10, 2019, 6:42pm

>130 LolaWalser: - ... I'm almost certain it was more than one episode but could be wrong ...

You're not thinking of John Carpenter's The Fog, are you?

Dec 10, 2019, 6:55pm

>130 LolaWalser:

This has stumped me. I thought maybe it was The Nightmare Man (1981) or The Survivors (1975-) or Chimera (1991). But if the sequence you remember was in any of them it wasn't the opening sequence; I was able to check all three on YouTube. Also, as far as I know only Survivors features something that can spread and infect others.

Just possibly, it could be a confused memory of elements from David Rudkin's 3-hour TV film Artemis 81 (it's not as good as Penda's Fen but it's interesting. And described as "Gothic" by Rudkin.

But now I'm wondering if we're looking for a single episode from an anthology series like Hammer House of Horror? "Needle in a haystack" springs to mind...

Dec 10, 2019, 7:07pm

>131 alaudacorax:

No--Brit TV for sure and wow, I think

>132 housefulofpaper:

The Nightmare Man

it's this! Bells ringing! Quite possibly I mushed up memories from different stuff but the title--oh yes, this is it--Robert Holmes, that's what I should have remembered.

Thanks, Detective Houseful! super fast work! :)

Dec 10, 2019, 7:30pm

>131 alaudacorax:, >133 LolaWalser:

Oops! I was half-asleep when I made that suggestion--I'd immediately forgotten the bit about it being an opening sequence. Sorry.

Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 8:55am

Watched the Frank Langella Dracula last night: rather a poor film, but there were some good points.

I was not impressed with the writing. It took so many liberties with Stoker’s characters that fifteen to twenty minutes in I was confused and had to start it again. I found the main characters unfocussed and not very believable, especially Doctor Seward and Mucy and Lina—no fault of the actors—and the plot unconvincing. Also, on the external filming, I was never quite sure what was meant to be Carfax and what the asylum.

I’ve never been able to subscribe to the adulation of Olivier’s acting (not on screen, anyway—never saw him on stage) and never believed in Van Helsing; and Trevor Eve, after his first entrance, mostly looked as if he resented being there. Otherwise, the actors were doing their best with what they were given. I was quite taken with a Frank Langella Dracula, and he deserved better writing—I thought him a bit of a wasted opportunity on the film makers’ part. It was ever so slightly disconcerting seeing Dracula ever so slightly prettier than Lucy.

The film edged on cheesiness at times. Impressed though I was with Langella as Dracula, that collar and, on times, his hair-do were a bit hard to take. Some of the wolf-howling (in Yorkshire?) was rather unconvincing, and the chase sequence at the end occasionally brought thoughts of Keystone Cops. Incidentally, I'm damned if they didn't have a coach and horses racing along that exact same track beside the lake as in The Brides of Dracula and Lust for a Vampire; it’s becoming quite an old friend and now I’m going to be watching for it in every film of the genre that I see …

On the 'desaturated' business, I think Badham was just wrong-headed. Black and white is one thing, but when you are, in effect, watching a black and white and then, every now and then, get distracted by the appearance of colour, as on Lucy’s face on occasions, it gets a little annoying. Having said that, it seems a bit perverse to say that I loved the camerawork and settings (especially the interior of Carfax); and I really want to see the full-colour version. But what was the thinking behind the brightly-coloured, ‘psychedelic’ bits? Quite anachronistic.

Bloody daft ending, with that silly kite.

Dec 13, 2019, 9:06am

One of the recurring banes of my working life was The New Boss. The New Boss would always want to reorganise the department, while lacking the knowledge of the place necessary to do so to improvement. They just had to put their own stamp on things. I think the same spirit often siezes the film-maker confronted with a novel.

Dec 13, 2019, 12:55pm

Wow, I've liked this version MUCH more than you did.

There have been so many film versions of Dracula, for the cinema and television, that taking some liberties seems inevitable.

Olivier's role is rather tiny. He looked ill to me, although maybe it was the makeup. I do think he was a capital actor (I've only seen some of his roles for film though, not theatre--presumably records exist.)

Edited: Dec 13, 2019, 4:57pm

>137 LolaWalser:

I may, again, have been reacting to having quite recently re-read the book. Perhaps I needed more distance between the two.

Dec 13, 2019, 7:42pm

>137 LolaWalser:
I checked Olivier's Wikipedia entry and he had serious health issues from about 1967 until his death. It even says he had to take small/supporting roles because he couldn't get insurance for a starring role.

I haven't checked the rest of this, I'm relying on memory...

This version of Dracula, as the credits state, is based on the stage play. I've even a vague half-memory of reading that Universal produced it to maintain copyright in the property. The kinship with the Lugosi version (after the Transylvanian first act) and the Denholm Elliot TV version is more than discernible, I think. The switching of Lucy and Mina's names, for example, but especially restricting the action really to just two locations (Carfax and Seward's asylum).

Whether or not that's true, as I noted in my checklist in >69 housefulofpaper:, this followed the success of the revival of the play in New York, with Langella in the lead role and stage designs by Edward Gorey. They were non-naturalistic, in fact blown-up versions of his black nd white ink illustration style, which may of course have fed into John Badham's desire to desaturate the colour. With hindsight the desaturated version seems to be more naturalistic (in an overcast English winter way) counterpart to Coppola's lush 1992 version.

I noted down "British TV sitcom supporting cast" which isn't right because back then these were essentially stage actors who would turn their hands to anything. Still, it's a bit of a mental jolt when you know a good chunk of the cast list chiefly or only for comedy: Tony Haygarth, Janine Duvitski, Teddy Turner, pre-Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy, still "Sylveste", here (but not Jan Francis. Just Good Friends didn't start until 1983. She actually starred in the ITV version of Casting the Runes around the same time as this film and had recently been a regular in the BBC's Secret Army. I said I would rely on memory but, thanks again IMDb).

Thinking about Edward Gorey for a moment, I wonder if the setting updated to the 1920s so that some typical imagery (Harker's car and driving gear and goggles, for example) could be worked in? Trevor Eve's hair is too long, of course. (I still think the most Goreyesque thing I've seen on film is a couple of seconds from Carry on Screaming, of all things). Oh, and maybe the influence of Gorey's stage designs explains the similarities between the Abbey and the Asylum. As well as, I would guess, a wish to ramp up the Gothic horror of a 19th century asylum?

I'm bothered by the romantic element of the film. Lucy Seward (i.e. the Mina-figure, the names being switched in this version. The character played by Kate Nelligan.) is a strong willed and intelligent person. Too good for Trevor Eve's sullen and boorish Jonathan Harker, clearly. A match, we are given to understand, for the Count. The seduction? wooing? winning? of Lucy by the Count culminates in the "the brightly-coloured, ‘psychedelic’" sequence of the vampire bite/kiss experienced from Lucy's perspective - or both her's and the Count's? I should also mention here that an essay in the Norton Critical Edition of Dracula (which I can't lay my hands on just at the moment, annoyingly) refers to Langella's Dracula approvingly and this scene in particular moves the writer to describe him as "the perfect non-penetrative lover" (I am quoting from memory, but it's not a phrase you're likely to forget in a hurry!)

But then, they are not going to live (unlive?) happily ever after. Dracula is a supernatural killer; Lucy, like Mina Van Helsing, is on course to turn into a decaying red-eyed monster (unlike the Count, but very like the strigoi of Romanian folklore (reports of which in the 18th century very likely kicked off the whole modern vampire literature - see Dom Augustin Calmet). The business with the white horse finding the vampire's grave is also, I believe, a bit of genuine folklore that I don't remember from any previous Dracula adaptations, or from the novel. So is the story confused on an intellectual level or, did the writers know what they were doing but going with a cynical 1970's "true love is impossible" message? And I got the feeling that the film thinks it has a feminist stance. I'm not sure a strong Lucy and a perfect non-penetrative lover add up to that.

I noticed that Donald Pleasance plays Dr Seward as quite uncouth at times (he has a messy way with a breakfast egg when he's in a hurry and his accent is not quite refined. Something of a self-made man about him). I don't think he actually went to the trouble of creating a character for the B movies roles he took in the '80s - just relied on that voice. He's good here.

I actually found Olivier's grief-stricken Van Helsing affecting even if the performance is a bit theatrical. And Jan Francis' vampire Mina is really quite chilling and a memorable image.

Despite being a massive fan of the first Star Wars film when it came out in 1977 (actually it didn't open in Reading until 1978 but I had the novelisation, the comic book, the LP, the fold-out poster magazines (remember them?), the bubble gum cards before I got to see the film),I hadn't quite realised until recently just how good John Williams' film scores are. This is perfect for the version of the count presented here. I was going to write "Romantic version of the Count" but stopped myself because I'd sort of argued against that, or at least suggested the film is confused on that point. Maybe Jesus Franco of all people, can help. There's an interview where he dismisses the Coppola version and says something like "Dracula does not go off hand-in-hand {with his beloved}. When he loves, he just takes more blood...

>104 LolaWalser:
Belatedly - yes I know of at least one novel where Holmes is revealed to be the Ripper. Should I hide author and title? So it doesn't spoil it for anyone else reading this. Just - don't click! The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin

Dec 13, 2019, 8:31pm

>118 housefulofpaper: Many thanks for the info on the Georgia Brown programme. What a find!

>135 alaudacorax: I enjoyed Badham's 'Dracula' more than you did! I do agree with you that Olivier can be hammy, even in Shakespeare (e.g. the 'King Lear' he did for ITV in 1983).

I love black and white films and avoid colourisations (yuk), but again agree that Badham's weird de-saturated version doesn't do the film any favours.

You are spot on about location! In addition to all the Cornwall scenes, they filmed some scenes in Black Park - including by the lake, as used in many a Hammer film.

I like the Dracula Kite ending, even though it is very odd!

Dec 13, 2019, 8:41pm

>140 Rembetis:

Black Park's only 25 miles away from me. I should go and investigate one day. I see it's also close to Gerrards Cross, which I think used to be home to one of 20th Century Doctor Who's favourite quarries.

Dec 13, 2019, 9:30pm

>139 housefulofpaper:

Re: Sherlock as the Ripper, thanks. I've read only book by that author so far and it was well-written, I'll definitely look for that.

I think there's plenty of room for both the "romantic" and the more ogre-ish Dracula. Does the former introduce a complete novelty into the story or pull out some hidden subtext? I'd go with the latter. Paul may be able to say more as he's read the book so recently. Any time you have a monster with a penchant for barging into ladies' boudoirs, lunging for their tender necks, people won't be able to resist sexual associations.

Dec 13, 2019, 11:21pm

By the way (I don't remember if I mentioned this before--probably did!--sorry if so), but for those who dislike the lovelorn vampires, there's an interesting example of the wholly monstrous version in The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas. Although he appears human (and even handsome, IIRC), he is purely a predator, feeds indiscriminately from women or men, and has no emotions whatsoever.

I think even Stoker's Dracula, as well as Murnau's Nosferatu, have a more human-like if not human side, in that they develop a special plan and ambition to enslave (and/or kill) a particular human victim--which is practically a relationship.

Outright romance may render these characters more ordinary; on the other hand, making them nothing more than killing machines somehow robs the character and the story of interest, to me at least. It's like falling prey to a bear or a great shark. Awful enough, but there's nothing much to be said about it, is there.

Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 4:18am

>137 LolaWalser: - Wow, I've liked this version MUCH more than you did.

Actually, it did keep me watching right to the end--and my patience these days is not what it used to be. I can probably best put it that I enjoyed it with a grumbling undercurrent of irritation.

ETA - I suppose it's just possible that my bad mood had something to do with what passes for politics in my country ...

Dec 14, 2019, 5:27am

I've written and deleted three quite lengthy posts this morning. It's dawned on me what a tremendous figure in contemporary 'folklore' (probably not the right word but I can't think of a better, offhand) Dracula has become, mostly quite independently of the book. It's difficult, or risky, to make definite pronouncements on him. I deleted the last of the three when I realised the 'folklore' probably starts with Lugosi rather than Stoker.

Back to the drawing board.

Dec 14, 2019, 6:23am

>145 alaudacorax:

I'll try to put that more clearly.

I was pontificating about Stoker when I realised that, for the modern viewer, Dracula has pretty much escaped him and exists in a visual environment that begins with the Lugosi Dracula. My instinctive tendency to use Bram Stoker's Dracula as a touchstone or reference is, at best, pedantic. At best ...

I've got an analogy (Is it painful? Shaddup!). I've been trying to teach myself to draw over recent months. One of the great difficulties in drawing faces and figures is to stop your mind interfering--to learn to see what is actually there rather than what the brain believes is there. That's bad enough but Dracula-watching is 50% more complicated: I can watch with an innocent eye, watch with the 20th/21st century film watcher's eye, or watch with an eye soaked in Stoker. And I'm learning how little control we have over our own minds unless we work hard at it.

I realised that in >135 alaudacorax: I was watching mostly with a Stoker eye. I really need to watch with a combination of innocent eye and Tod Browning/Hammer/Coppola eye. It's very difficult, though ... like juggling geese.

Dec 14, 2019, 6:26am

... and that's an hour and half gone this morning ...

Dec 14, 2019, 8:03am

>141 housefulofpaper: I have never been to Black Park myself. It's about 33 miles from me, and I don't drive! Wayne Kinsey and Gordon Thomson wrote a very informative book 'Hammer Films On Location' (very hard to find now I believe) where he covers all the Hammer films shot on location, with maps and comparison shots with how the locations look now. Of course, Black Park features heavily. Glancing through the book, Hammer used Black Park 24 times (25 if the 2011 'The Woman in Black' is counted in.) Kinsey helpfully identifies exactly which part of the Park was used by Hammer for each film. Great for any Hammer fan touring the Park.

>146 alaudacorax: Great description there, the 'watching with a Stoker eye'. I try not to do this as artistic license means changes will invariably be made, often major changes. The one time I failed spectacularly was seeing Coppola's 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' for the first time on its initial release. It was so heavily trailed as being faithful to the book and was anything but!

There is a new trailer for the BBC Dracula on line. It is looking very promising to me. 'The Stoker eye' will have to be put away! It airs BBC1 on 1/2/3 January, at 9pm. 4 and a half hours! :

Dec 14, 2019, 1:10pm

>144 alaudacorax:

ETA - I suppose it's just possible that my bad mood had something to do with what passes for politics in my country ...

My condolences. I'm not remotely British and I feel bitter about your election. It's not leaving the EU per se that's problematic--it's the appalling lies, xenophobia and racism that were used to achieve this. And then to have that side vindicated with such a margin--oh yes, I think bad mood is perfectly excusable.

the 'folklore' probably starts with Lugosi rather than Stoker.

The pop culture, I'd say, the one we are still sharing in. Yes, once the story entered the visual, theatrical and cinematic realm, different ideas and expectations were possible--and inevitable, once precedents were made.

Something similar happened to the story of Beauty and the beast, with the Disney cartoon in particular transforming the beast into a romantic character and the coming-of-age tale into a romance.

>148 Rembetis:

Interesting, another Witty!Dracula it seems. I'd like to see him banter with Buffy.

Dec 14, 2019, 6:52pm

>144 alaudacorax: I share your pain about the election. It's curious how pithy lies like 'Make America Great Again' or 'Get Brexit Done' encourages turkeys to vote for Christmas.

>149 LolaWalser: Dracula Vs Buffy - sounds fab!

Dec 14, 2019, 8:25pm

>135 alaudacorax:
Watching the film again, I'm sure the wolf howling on the soundtrack is always Dracula. However, I now have issues with the end of the film. Allowing that the stake Dracula thrust through Van Helsing didn't burst his heart or sever his spine and he (1) wasn't killed immediately and (2) was still able to move, could even a fully-fit man shove that hook with enough force to go through layers of clothing and deep into Dracula's flesh?

>142 LolaWalser:
You've reminded me that when I last read the novel, I felt that Dracula was sometimes written as an animated corpse and sometimes as - not a Romantic anti-hero, but as a kind of Demon Lover figure. I'm not sure that it was explained in the text as being down to whether the Count had recently fed or not. I remember that on that reading I thought the two conceptions of the character didn't quite mesh together. But that tension may well be one of the elements that led to the Count\s longevity as a figure in popular culture. And it gives scope for differing interpretations.

>143 LolaWalser:
Funnily enough there was a quote in Radio Times, previewing the Moffatt/Gatiss Dracula and discussing the challenges of making hm the central figure of the drama, as opposed to the counter example they gave, Christopher Lee being used sparingly and playing him as "an upright shark".

Is The Vampire Tapestry constructed from linked short stories? If it is, I think I've read one of them in an anthology, but a few years ago now, and I can't recall the specific details.

>145 alaudacorax:
You're in good company in wanting the Count to maintain fidelity to Stoker's text - it was Christopher Lee's constant complaint about the Hammer films, wasn't it. But I do think Dracula has escaped the confines of the book and is now fixed in popular culture (I do wonder where popular culture ends and folklore starts. Or rather, i think they are contiguous but the boundary is a very fuzzy one).

It makes me wonder how a character stays in popular culture. for me, I do know that I was made vaguely aware of Dracula from early childhood onwards. A cape, fangs, biting, blood. Nothing more specific, or rather the blurred outline of overlaid multiple cartoons, adverts, comedy sketches, impersonations, etc.. And the true story, as it were, came in pieces over a long period of years (because I didn't actually take the obvious step of reading the novel until the early or mid '90s).

On a connected note somehow the subject of Jekyll and Hyde came up in conversation with one of my nieces and she said she didn't know it or of it. Again, for me I know of them through innumerable cartoons and comedians doing a funny version of the Frederic March transformation. I felt like she might be in the first generation since the 1880s to be able to read the book innocently, NOT knowing the ending. Which is supposed to be a shock ending. I wanted to tell her to read it straight away before someone or something spoiled the ending for her, but alas she's still a bit too young to read it. It does make one think that cultural icons can fade away, in time.

>148 Rembetis:
I don't drive either. Is it still a feasible day trip though? A train to Slough and then a bus to Black Park...and back again.. :(

If it ever happens, it has to wait until the summer!

Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 9:05pm

>150 Rembetis:

Heh--in the series (don't know if you watched it?) they did have her meet THE Dracula, but he was this gorgeous Gypsy hunk too full of himself for humour.

>151 housefulofpaper:

Yes, The Vampire Tapestry consists of three or four stories linked by the vampire's character but all can be read as standalones.

Demon Lover--that's it, good concept to recall here. But some are more lover-ish than other...

Was Lee's Dracula for Jess Franco really that much closer to the book than his Hammer interpretations? I don't think he got particularly smitten in any of the latter... "upright shark"--haha--love it.

Besides, what actor except for Max Schreck, and Kinski playing Schreck's Nosferatu, really had the physique appropriate for Stoker's Dracula? Lee's 'stache couldn't create the monster on its own. Any strapping fella, to say nothing of the pretty ones like Jourdan and Langella, is being cast against the book's character.

Dec 15, 2019, 6:32am

>139 housefulofpaper: 'Little Shoppe of Horrors' issue 36, says that the Edwardian era was chosen for Badham's 'Dracula' as it made for an interesting twist to the story, as Dracula now faced a changing world 'of technology, of motion, of women's rights'. Badham chose Harker's Hispano-Suiza car because it 'provided historical flavour, offered character detail, and injected added tension and excitement in two chase scenes that couldn't have been done in Victorian times'.

W.D Richter who wrote the screenplay for Badham's Dracula, says the ending was deliberately ambiguous. One inspiration was the Japanese legend that the black dots on the sun are actually crows - 'I find it fascinating that blackness is associated with the sun'. Richter wanted the audience to make up their own mind about Dracula's fate. 'Maybe he was no longer a bird or a charred body, but was something unreal and magical...How interesting it would be to see a black strange form take flight and not knowing if it was like Icarus, where it's going to get worse for this guy in ten minutes when he gets closer to the sun, or whether he's going to become part of nature'.

Frank Langella liked the idea that Dracula can never truly die. Langella says, for him, Kate Nelligan makes the end of the film 'I think she plays it exquisitely, because you do have all the different feelings in her face...You see a great sense in her face that he'll be back, we'll be together again. And it makes the movie end as a love story and not as a horror story'.

>151 housefulofpaper: I don't know whether public transport is feasible for the last part of the journey to Black Park. But, yes, definitely a Summer excursion, and get out before it gets dark!

>152 LolaWalser: I loved the Buffy pilot, then dipped in and out of the rest of it - missed the Dracula episode. Sounds like they made a hash of it?!

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 8:41am

>149 LolaWalser:

I'm still plugging away at the French lessons ... I'm defiantly* going to be a good European!

ETA - *Another of my favourite grouses: are there loads of people online who genuinely don't know the difference between 'defiantly' and 'definitely' or is it something to do with automatic spell-checking? I see it so often that 'defiantly' is starting to look wrong when I write it!

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 8:50am

>149 LolaWalser:, >150 Rembetis:, >153 Rembetis:

Loved the Buffy-Dracula episode myself. It was really one of the lighter, more humorous episodes, with quite a hefty dose of parody to it. There are some easily-found clips of key--and funny--moments on YouTube, but I'm not sure it's permissable to link them here--copyright, etc.

ETA - As a parody, it might have been made for the purpose of amusing the members of this group.

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 9:13am

>151 housefulofpaper:

They did include a version of the 'children of the night' scene where Dracula and Lucy (I think) are listening to the wolves.

I may be a little unfair as there are plenty of horror films with unconvincing wolves--probably the exception rather than the rule. I've seen some American ones where they clearly sent someone out the back to record the local coyotes and there are plenty where it's probably some of the cast or crew howling. Anyway, I think the genuine sound of wolves howling is beautiful, which kind of defeats the object of that particular scene. Though the sound does slightly raise the fur along my spine, too. That does fit it to Edmund Burke's idea of the Sublime, so I may be wrong in saying it defeats the object, but I'm unsure whether Stoker meant the sound that way or as just horrific. Stoker's original readers didn't watch so many wildlife documentaries, of course.

Edited for lack of clarity.

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 9:26am

>153 Rembetis:

... a changing world 'of technology, of motion, of women's rights' is a notable feature of the novel--or would have been for the original readers. The contrast between the 'modern, technological world' and Dracula's medieval background is important in it. Badham seems a little awry in claiming to be adding a twist to the story.

ETA - Again, I'm giving too much importance to the novel--Badham probably had previous films in mind.

Dec 15, 2019, 9:34am

>157 alaudacorax:

That post had me thinking about the periods Dracula films get set in. That's a whole vast subject in its own right! I'm sure I remember Dracula films for every period from the 16thC on (I've an image in my mind of Peter Cushing in Puritan garb).

Dec 15, 2019, 10:27am

>139 housefulofpaper:

You touched on at least three things that gave me a low opinion of the film. You mentioned a feminist stance: towards the beginning, some chat between the two young women seemed to set up an idea of one of them (really can't remember which, offhand) as a bit of a suffragette. Then the film seemed to do nothing further with it. You described Harker/Eve as 'boorish': towards the beginning, at the scene of the wreck, some chat between Harker and Renfield set up the idea of Harker as a bit of a shyster, if not a straightforward crook. Then the film seemed to do nothing further with that. And then I think I saw at least three versions of Donald Pleasance--Seward struck me as inconsistent as a character.

Anyway, I've still got it, so I'm going to watch it again this evening, before posting it back. Despite my reservations on it, I really do think it's a significant entry in the genre.

Dec 15, 2019, 10:37am

>152 LolaWalser:
I think Lee did have both the physical presence (and sense of menace) and the aristocratic bearing to play a very effective version of the Count even if it doesn't precisely tally with the description in the book.

Even for Hammer, it wasn't exactly the same performance in all the films. Scars of Dracula in particular (the extras on the Blu-ray confirm my suspicion on stylistic grounds that it was written as a reboot for the series, mainly because Hammer weren't sure that they could coax Lee back).

>153 Rembetis:
That's very interesting and clearly I need to be getting that magazine!

>156 alaudacorax:
Gah! how did I miss that?

>158 alaudacorax:
That would be Twins of Evil - vampires, but not Dracula.

Edited: Dec 15, 2019, 2:09pm

>160 housefulofpaper:

I never meant that Lee's Dracula isn't effective, only that he, like most other cinematic Draculas since Lugosi, is hardly the monster as Stoker describes him--ugly, deformed impossibly old man, physically repulsive above everything else. And not that I mind! The occasional Nosferatu is fine, but sexiness is moar fine. (A category of "fine" extant only in standards of vampire bonkability.)

>159 alaudacorax:

I have to say I always enjoy Pleasance and his quirks but I did wonder a little whether he was portraying here an especially distracted character, or, er, he didn't give a damn. I'd think he was too much of a professional for the latter, though.

>155 alaudacorax:

Oh yes, it was a funny episode, but half the humour was in Dracula being so pompously "the legendary vampire".

>153 Rembetis:

If you get a chance, it's worth it for seeing Dracula cast glamour over Xander alone... :)

Btw, I love what Langella said about Nelligan--I know actors tend to be nice about other actors to the media, but it's so right it has to be true.

I thought the movie did signal a "happy undead ever after" for the two of them.

Edited: Dec 16, 2019, 3:50pm

Although vampires/witches/ghosts are intriguing, my reflex preference is werewolves. I found an online black/white film The Undying Monster (1942) during my hunt for The Wolf Man (1941) with Lon Chaney Jr. I haven't seen the Wolfman (2010) remake yet, but someday.

>8 alaudacorax: Which reminds me, I saw mention of Bitten. Although I have not seen that tv series, it was based on books by Kelley Armstrong, who lived about 40km away, and it was produced in Toronto as her first experience with movies or television. She let them do whatever they wanted with it, since her books are suited to the YA market. I assume the East End witches were aimed at the same target. I try to avoid getting embroiled in series fiction. I might try Omens.

Kelley attended a writing workshop in London, ON a few years before I did, and had her sample work snapped up by the Ryerson (Toronto) creative writing teacher who presented that workshop. Within a short time she had a literary agent and countless NYT bestsellers before the tv show attempt. I have not read any of her books, since I am not 15 and my sons were not interested, but I am thrilled for her personal writing success. She now frequents those mobile workshops presenting alongside her mentor. I've attended three I think, but none with her present. She lived in Aylmer, ON back then.

>19 alaudacorax: Incidentally, clowns/dolls/puppets don't creep me out in the least, and I've always enjoyed mimes. =D Isn't there one in The Conversation (1974)? Someone wrote that it might have been Robin Williams. One of the Charlie Chan oldies had a ventriloquist puppet with a deadly blow dart hidden in its mouth. Not scary but a novel plot point. A relative presented my daughter with a china face doll in flowing gothic white fabric and I had to put it away, none of my three sons could tolerate it, day or night.

Maybe something to do with white face paint?! Aren't albinos supposed to be menacing in mystery thrillers? Subliminal sabotage.

( ** saunters off humming 'Clap for the Wolfman' by The Guess Who ** )

Dec 16, 2019, 9:05pm

>162 frahealee:

When this thread gets overgrown I'm actually going to miss the image in the OP. It's the same process every time: my eye is immediately drawn to the two men talking--especially the old chap's fantastic hat; then my eye is pulled across to the puppet on the right with the huge hay-rick hairstyle, but, every time, before my attention properly settles on her, I get ambushed by the little dark evil one glaring at me round her neck. By the way, the puppet we can see between the two men--I'm sure that's Prince Charles.

... I've always enjoyed mimes
I've nothing against mimes, but Terry Pratchett in one of his Discworld novels has the Patrician of Ank-Morpork disliking them and dumping any found in his city into a pit of snakes with 'Learn the words' written on the walls. The Conversation is yet another of my 'always meant to ...' films, so I've never seen that particular specimen.

Yep! I'm with your sons ...

Dec 16, 2019, 9:10pm

>159 alaudacorax: - Anyway, I've still got it, so I'm going to watch it again this evening, before posting it back.
Getting old is a pain in the ****--two evenings in a row I've had my evening meal, sat down in front of the telly and promptly fallen fast asleep. Which is why I'm posting on LT at two in the morning--just woken up!

Dec 16, 2019, 9:18pm

I've got a DVD of The Conversation to watch ..but what am I doing at 2:17 am with work tomorrow? Listening to the commentary track for Paganini Horror...I'm going to bed to think about my life choices...

Dec 16, 2019, 11:28pm

Enjoy your passions, people! We shall have none of this guilt-tripping.

Have you heard they are remaking Black Christmas? I saw it for the first time only this year...

Apparently it will be a "turning the tables" sort of thing, with a female killer terrorising men this time.

Could be great; could be awful.

Dec 17, 2019, 8:02pm

>167 housefulofpaper:
Ah,but Paganini Horror just isn't very good. Donald Pleasance is in it - briefly - but his voice isn't! Off to the next job and not available for the English dubbing session, evidently.

Actually, the footage shot in Venice with him looks very nice...but it only lasts a couple of minutes. Daria Nicolodi has a bigger role and apparently had a hand in the script, but it's a long way from Suspiria.

Dec 17, 2019, 8:35pm

>160 housefulofpaper: 'Little Shoppe of Horrors' magazine has been a Hammer bible for decades. The editor Richard Klemenson, sometimes dedicates issues to other studios and films. Issue 36 is dedicated to Badham's 'Dracula'. Some 96 pages, covering, in depth, all aspects of the making of the film, and it's genesis from stage to screen. There is even a couple of pages on the Dracula toy theatre that was produced based on Gorey's designs. Bruce Hallenback writes an interesting piece on the 'onstage' Langella Dracula - including the info that he first saw Langella playing Dracula in 1967 in Stockbridge, Mass., way before he played Dracula in the Gorey stage version.

>139 housefulofpaper: It's funny you noticed Donald Pleasance's eating habits in 'Dracula'. In LSoH issue 36, Sylvester McCoy says that Pleasance was 'a lovely witty man' and that he loved working with him as 'it was a joy to watch him upstaging. In everything he did he invented a 'tick', which he tried to employ in every scene. In 'Dracula', eating was his 'tick'.' Badham confirms Pleasance's upstaging through eating in the film too. Jan Francis says Pleasance 'was delightful, very funny, so experienced and a joy to have on set really. Kept things light if things got fraught'.

>155 alaudacorax: >161 LolaWalser: Thanks. I will seek out the youtube clips of the Dracula Buffy episode!

>157 alaudacorax: I agree with you that Badham does seem a little awry in claiming to be adding a twist to the story.
Badham also seems wrong in saying that having motor cars 'injected added tension and excitement in two chase scenes that couldn't have been done in Victorian times'. There are key chase scenes in Hammer films using coach and horses that were dynamic, and stuffed with tension and excitement, for example, the race to Castle Dracula at the end of 'Dracula Prince of Darkness'.

>166 LolaWalser: The new 'Black Christmas' opened here last Friday. A reliable friend said it was one of the worst horror films he's ever seen.

Dec 17, 2019, 9:46pm

>168 Rembetis:

A reliable friend said it was one of the worst horror films he's ever seen.

haha!--why am I not surprised...

My list of "worst horror" is currently topped by something called Blood Suckers (it was posted recently on that Flick Vault channel I've mentioned here a few times now!) and the reason for the distinction is that it boasts appearances - to say nothing of splashy credits - of Cushing, Edward Woodward, Patrick Macnee, plus William Mervyn and Patrick Mower and probably other notable British actors... and also one of the awfullest scripts and directions I've ever seen. What a waste. They even got to film in Greece a bit...

>167 housefulofpaper:

No voice, no deal for me. :)

I'll never understand how people can forgo those gorgeous actorly voices. That's where more than half of "acting" goes! I once had to BEG a German friend to let me play something with Bogart for her just so she could finally hear what he sounded like.

Dec 18, 2019, 9:51am

>165 housefulofpaper:, >167 housefulofpaper:
I've just watched a near-three-minute trailer for Paganini Horror. If they picked the best bits for that the whole thing must be pretty lousy ...

Dec 18, 2019, 10:31am

>169 LolaWalser:

I was sure that we'd discussed Blood Suckers aka Incense for the Damned (1971) here. I have a vague memory of writing about it, but searches here and in my private files turn up nothing. I'm remembering it as noteworthily bad, perhaps partly because of the presence of those high-profile actors. I remember it, for some reason, quite annoying me--as opposed to being one of those 'so bad it gives a perverse pleasure' jobs.

Quandary: I'm really curious about it but fairly sure re-watching to refresh my memory would be a singularly fruitless waste of ninety minutes.

Dec 18, 2019, 11:04am

>169 LolaWalser:

Every time you mention Flick Vault I've intended to hunt it up when I've finished on LT and, of course, forgotten. Found it, impressed, subscribed. There seems to be a lot of intriguing, obscure stuff on there.

Dec 18, 2019, 11:23am

>172 alaudacorax:

Glad to hear that, love the company. I hope they manage to stay around a while... Have you noticed The Honeymoon Killers?--great low budget no star movie, pure raw filmic energy.

Dec 18, 2019, 5:59pm

>169 LolaWalser:
I remember sitting up late on Friday in the late '80s watching Incense for the Damned as the late night film on BBC1. As the artier channels regularly served up arthouse and experimental works in the same sort of time slot, I suppose I was better disposed to a film that is "a terrible mess, apparently cut together with a lawnmower and featuring some very stiff acting plus even stiffer dialogue. But some of {Robert} Hartford Davis' demented directorial technique survives in several wild sequences" (Jonathan Rigby's verdict in English Gothic. If I knew and liked the source novel (Doctors Wear Scarlet) the film would probably enrage me!

>170 alaudacorax:
Well, in fairness the trailer doesn't include any Venice location work, but there's only a bare handful of minutes of that. I have to say word in favour of the Blu-ray package. The commentary and two interviews give plenty of background info about this film in particular and the state of the Italian film industry at the time.

Edited: Dec 19, 2019, 2:11pm

>174 housefulofpaper:

I did bail pretty early, around 15 minutes or so (omg that interminable "psychedelic" sex scene... much as I admired the kaleidoscopic boobies, my eyes were starting to sting), so I might go back yet...

I forgot to mention that I watched Burke & Hare (1971) and enjoyed it very much.

Yes it's "theatrical"--the blood is orange, the makeup anachronistic, the scenery fake etc.--but it zips along nicely, the dialogue is robust (surprisingly there are some "arses" and "shits" included), Harry Andrews as Dr. Knox memorably fierce (eyepatch! quips!) and the scenes in the brothel hilarious.

Ooops, sorry, I mixed up my older "Are You Being Served" gents: Alfie Bass James Hayter is in it, and yes he's credited (Dr. Selby). IMDB lists Brian Croucher as one of the clients in the brothel--must go back and see which one he was, the "hero of Waterloo" in a kilt or the Cossack role-player. :)

The theme song is great, as is the art accompanying the title and the credits. Great expression of a past aesthetic, just like the Hammer films.

Dec 20, 2019, 6:59am

>175 LolaWalser:

Burke & Hare: I can't remember seeing that one, but, looking at the cast list, there's a whole host of old British comedy stawarts. Ah! Read some of the quotes and a review or two (IMDb)--it sounds FUN. And The Scaffold doing the theme song--loved them and, for a young Brit of the time, setting the scene for something not to be taken too seriously, I think (largely a comedy group, a perplexing question of my teens was whether The Scaffold were cool enough to admit to liking).

Dec 22, 2019, 8:04pm

Someone uploaded Barry Norman's (withering) review of Hellraiser (from Film '87, I presume) to YouTube. The short clip (of the daughter in her hospital bed is left with the puzzle box, she opens it, there are some quite crude lightning optical effects over it, and the wall of her room opens to another dimension) make me reflect that there are actually similarities in the set up, the look, and the technical limitations between Hellraiser and quite a few roughly contemporary Italian horror movies including Paganin Horror.

It surprised me because I remember how Hellraiser was lauded (in some quarters, not by Barry) as a renaissance in British horror when it was released - based on Clive Barker's post Books of Blood acclaim.

I guess the Italian films were harder to see - either cut or banned outright as "Video Nasties" in the UK - so comparisons were less likely to be made.

I suppose the differences are the psychological depth (or at least attention to motive) in Barker's screenplay, the Pete Walker style '70s grimness of the scenes where Clare Higgins' character seduces men back to the attic to kill them (to provide blood to rebuilt her lover Frank's body), and of course the unexpected success of the Pinhead character (which pulled the sequels towards US style Jason/Freddie/ etc slasher movies built around one big monster).

Dec 22, 2019, 8:38pm

I took the plunge and ordered 3 issues of Little Shoppe of Horrors, one of them the issue covering the Frank Langella Dracula. Lots of new information (to me) in there.

The latest issue has an archive interview with Vernon Sewell and he touches on Burke and Hare. He says he was aiming at the feel of Belle de Jour (but funny). I've got DVD's of both films still to watch - and an earlier version of the Burke and Hare story, The Flesh and the Fiends.

I discovered that most Severin Film releases are region free and have been looking at my first order direct from their website. Blu-rays of the Jess Franco Dracula and And Now the Screaming Starts. Herbert Lom is in both films, coincidentally.

I think we've discussed this version of Dracula when I found it (or I was directed to it, sorry I can't recall) on YouTube. There's always interest to be found (for me at least) in what gets kept from the novel, what gets jettisoned, and what's added. Clearly some decisions in this version were dictated by the budget. Van Helsing (Lom) suffers a stroke - evidently so he doesn't have to be present at the climax in castle Dracula. On the commentary track Maria Rohm says that she never cared to do the post-production dubbing for her films. That she wasn't good at synching up with her lip movements on screen after the fact, was happy to let another actor do it. Interesting in light of LolaWalser (and my) disappointment at Donald Pleasence not dubbing himself for Paganini Horror.

She also says at one point that Jess Franco lacked a sense of humour - which might explain why he thought he could get away with the scene where a roomful of stuffed animals come to life and menace the vampire hunters as they search Carfax for Dracula's tomb. A stuffed owl shakes (with rage?), a stuffed weasel darts into frame from stage an online review says, it's like something from The Goodies.

Still on the subject of Dracula, there's a Canadian TV version on YouTube from the early '70s. I haven't watched it myself yet, but did watch the introduction by Robertson Davies, in which he explicitly says Dracula is the Devil (a character, he reminds us, who has been a stock figure in European drama since the Medieval mystery plays). That would have annoyed Christopher Lee no end, he resisted Hammer's attempts to "up the ante" and say that Dracula was the Devil in the two modern day Dracula films.

Here's the link:

Dec 23, 2019, 11:41am

>176 alaudacorax:

Since everything old is hip again, no harm in liking them now. :)

>178 housefulofpaper:

What an excellent find, thanks.

I can't see Dracula as THE Devil but I suppose any demon, any incarnation of evil, is (tautologically?) devil-ish.

A stuffed owl shakes (with rage?), a stuffed weasel darts into frame from stage left..

Well you brave people may scoff, but this would make my hair stand on end.

Dec 23, 2019, 4:35pm

>178 housefulofpaper:
Did you really mean to write Belle de Jour? It sounds rather unlikely.

Dec 23, 2019, 5:29pm

>180 alaudacorax:
I've watched half of Burke & Hare since I wrote that, and I can sort of see it. It's a bit of stretch, though. Mind you, it's years and years since I've seen Belle de Jour.

Dec 23, 2019, 7:24pm

Finished watching Burke & Hare

It's a bit of an odd film--uncertain tone. For about two-thirds it's quite jokey, almost a sort of spoof of the story, then it turns straight and dark. And the end seemed oddly truncated, as if they ran out of time or money or something.

I did like the look of it. Despite looking as if it was all filmed in the studio it worked. It had a sort of closed-in, almost claustrophobic feel to it, redolent of tenements and overcrowded backstreets.

Dec 23, 2019, 7:39pm

>182 alaudacorax:
And having watched it on YouTube and then written that post, I checked my CinemaParadiso account and found there's a blu-ray of it on its way to me. Forgot I'd stuck it on the top of my wish list.

Dec 24, 2019, 11:44am

I too thought the Belle de jour reference odd--but who can know the mind of another...

Off topic but since we mentioned sci-fi in the past--and this is too remarkable not to share--I come to praise Creation of the humanoids, an unexpectedly thoughtful story about becoming/being human.

Made with the budget of a kettle and a piece of string (please decide to find that charming :)), I am so enthused I shall link a copy I found on YT, fuzzy edges and all:

The Creation of the Humanoids (1962)

I got a two-fer DVD with something called "War between the worlds"--cheap!

Dec 26, 2019, 4:15am

>81 alaudacorax: - ... or even playing a love-scene.
I was wrong there. In The Curse of Frankenstein: the unusually nasty baron (Cushing) has a short love scene with his French maid, whom he later offs by locking her in with the monster (Christopher Lee)..

Dec 27, 2019, 9:53pm

Just watched the Christmas Carol miniseries by BBC with Guy Pierce as Scrooge. It definitely had a much more eerie and ghostly spin on it, to points that felt like outright horror stuff, compared to the other versions that I've seen. I'm trying to remember what I read in the book about Scrooge's past or if it even came up. One detail I was wondering about was Marley's chains. I mostly remember from movies those chains being the weight of the gold he coveted, but in this series it represented the people that died in the factories they ran.

Dec 28, 2019, 10:19am

>186 WeeTurtle:
I quite enjoyed the supernatural elements in it. Elsewhere, in places, I felt there was an odd mix of prurience and political correctness that I found a little discomforting.

Edited: Dec 28, 2019, 10:19am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 28, 2019, 7:24pm

>186 WeeTurtle:
"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?"
"I wear the chain I forged in life", replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"

Dec 28, 2019, 8:07pm

I was laid low by a cold again this Christmas, and missed the new version of A Christmas Carol.

I did catch Mark Gatiss' adaptation of M. R. James' short story "Martin's Close". This is the one where the unique selling point, as it were, is the recreation of a 17th Century trial transcript, "the hanging judge", Judge Jeffreys presiding. The dramatised equivalent, inevitably I guess, has to be rather "actorly" depending on the interplay between Jeffreys and the Prosecuting counsel (the defendant was supposed to offer his own defence, back then). It's unfortunate that the climactic scare is almost identical to that in Gatiss' original ghost story from last year.

Dec 29, 2019, 1:41am

>190 housefulofpaper:

Condolences, Andrew. I think it's the Christmas shopping--so many people out and about swapping fresh loads of germs. I'm almost afraid to write this, but I've been leading a charmed life: every one around me seems to have been sneezing and coughing and croaking (their voice, I mean, not the slang meaning), but it just seems to be bouncing off me ... so far.

Dec 29, 2019, 2:07am

>190 housefulofpaper:
Note to self to catch up! Didn't catch 'Martin's Close' (damned if I can remember what I was doing Xmas Eve) and your post reminded me I didn't catch last year's effort, either, so I'll binge-watch the two one evening soon (oddly, 'The Dead Room' is not on the iPlayer, but is on YouTube).

Dec 29, 2019, 2:39am

>187 alaudacorax: Does is say what the chains were made of, or represent? That's the part I was wondering about. I gave my copy away so can't look it up handily. I also wonder if the bits about Scrooge's past are in there as well, or if that's something that was put into the films to give him a reason for being "Scrooge."

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 2:58am

Has anyone seen The Lighthouse? (new movie with Willem Defoe). It looks like it's meant to be more Weird and Lovecraftian. I was wondering if it related at all to the short story I read recently. Still trying to find the author though. Two men who don't like each other man a lighthouse together, and after an accident, one haunts the other.

Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 4:00am

>193 WeeTurtle:

In Dickens' version, Andrew's quotation in >189 housefulofpaper: says it all, really. The narrator does say, a little later, "... and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel ..." and, a little later again, where Scrooge is shown other, similar spirits, their chains are implicitly linked to their inability to extend charity to figures to whom they had refused charity in life.


Edited: Dec 29, 2019, 4:13am

>195 alaudacorax:

And while I'm posting links on Charles Dickens, I can't resist this bit--absolutely love it--almost as good as the bit where he takes Van Gogh to the art gallery.

ETA - Especially where he refers to 'The Signalman' as "... the best short story ever written ..."

Dec 29, 2019, 10:53am

>191 alaudacorax:. Thank you! In my case, working in an open-plan office that was starting to sound like a TB ward by early December is at least as likely a source of infection as shopping. I hope the germs continue to bounce off your force-field!

Dec 29, 2019, 11:00am

>196 alaudacorax:
That put a smile on my face. I read somewhere that the production team hoped that story might become the Doctor Who Christmas story, maybe played on DVD by fans (ha!) every year or repeated on a digital channel like Dave. This was before they turned out to be successful enough to get actual Christmas episodes.

Dec 31, 2019, 2:03pm

>191 alaudacorax: - I'm almost afraid to write this, but I've been leading a charmed life: every one around me seems to have been sneezing and coughing and croaking (their voice, I mean, not the slang meaning), but it just seems to be bouncing off me ... so far.

Had to open my big mouth, didn't I?

Dec 31, 2019, 2:07pm

>199 alaudacorax:

Oh no. Stay warm, lots of rest, lots of fluids (I'm sure you know the drill) and get well soon!

Dec 31, 2019, 2:34pm

Sorry to hear about both of you suffering with the lurgies. I hope the blahs dispel ASAP.

Jan 1, 2020, 6:51am

Now how can we turn the Lurgies and Blahs into something suitably Gothic to afflict upon the world? New virus film perhaps? Affliction by melancholy! Beware the fainting darkness and dire unsettling of the humors!

Jan 1, 2020, 7:43pm

Happy New Year everybody!

>190 housefulofpaper: >199 alaudacorax: I am so sorry to hear you are both unwell. I hope you both feel better soon.

>173 LolaWalser: Agree about 'The Honeymoon Killers'. First saw this in my youth, in an eye-opening double bill with John Water's 'Female Trouble'. Once seen, never forgotten!

>186 WeeTurtle: There was tons of artisitic license in the BBC adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol'. The original story was somewhat lost in this adaptation - even Bob Cratchit was sour - though I can see to some degree what the makers were trying to achieve by way of contemporary relevance. In the Dickens original, no one dies as a result of anything Scrooge and Marley do in business. The only details about Scrooge's past is his father disliked him for some time; he was miserable and lonely as a child, and he quickly turned to avaricious money grabbing as a young adult, in the process losing the love of his life and turning his back on charity and family. He was not sexually abused at school in the book; neither did Scrooge sexually debase Mrs Cratchit. But no doubt the rich and powerful did do such things in Victorian London, and still do to this day. I didn't like how the BBC sucked all the joy out of this story - even the redemptive end wasn't redemptive but depressing. The characters were so distanced from the characters in the book as to be almost unrecognisable to me.

>190 housefulofpaper: I also caught this year's Ghost Story for Christmas - 'Martin's Close'. Well acted, but I wasn't very impressed - not scary!

>146 alaudacorax: I watched the first episode of the Moffatt/Gatiss 'Dracula' tonight. The 'Stoker eye' had to be firmly buried with the mountain of artistic license. I enjoyed it though. I thought it was very stylish and atmospheric, subversive, scary in places, great effects, and Bang makes a good Dracula. The main negative is too much humour - a wisecracking Dracula dilutes the horror somewhat! Loved the outspoken character Sister Agatha.

Jan 2, 2020, 4:50am

>202 WeeTurtle:
Oh, my humors are definitely unsettled!

Jan 2, 2020, 5:00am

>203 Rembetis:

Well I'll be damned! I completely forgot about the two Gatiss efforts (>192 alaudacorax:) and then I completely forgot about Dracula: I was reading something while waiting for the time to switch on for it, and, of course, became completely absorbed in what I was reading (non-Gothic, John Le Carré). Didn't cross my mind again until reading your post. MUST have an evening with the iPlayer soon ...

Jan 2, 2020, 5:20am

>203 Rembetis:

... and I forgot to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

It's weird, I haven't quite got my head around living in the 2000s and now it's 2010! I have this memory that's always stuck in my mind and crops up on these occasions: I was sitting on the wall outside my junior school on New Year's Day 1960, and I couldn't get my head around the idea that I was now living 'in the future'. I think I'd been reading my older siblings' old books set in a then future 1960 when we'd travelled to other stars and planets, etc.

Jan 2, 2020, 9:25am

>206 alaudacorax: I remember that whole Y2K thing, so I'm in that camp of perpetually thinking the 90s was ten years ago. Yeaaahhhh nope. At least 2020 seems to roll out better than 2019 with a pen. For something 2019 just feels like it didn't really last that long.

>203 Rembetis: Yeah, it seems every adaptation wants to put in a reason for him to be a despicable person, I guess so that we can see and feel a redemption for him instead of just appreciating the general message of Christmas being a magical time and no humbugs! (But perhaps with a little more seriousness). It's my Muppet Christmas Carol remains my favourite, though my mother and I did watch the 1951 Alastair Sim version just the night before, so I was willing to just take the new adaptation as a dark rendition. The housekeeper taking off down the stairs in hysterics because she think's he's gone mad is still one of my more remembered film scenes.

Jan 2, 2020, 1:38pm

Happy new year, group!

>202 WeeTurtle:

The year the dreaded morbus gothicus laid waste to the land...

>203 Rembetis:

an eye-opening double bill with John Water's 'Female Trouble'.

Oh, lol! That's a clever bit of programming. Love Waters.

Jan 2, 2020, 6:49pm

>206 alaudacorax: I empathise with what you say about getting your head around it being 2020. What gets me is the anniversary of films that I saw on original release. When I see stuff like '45th anniversary edition of 'The Exorcist'' I feel so old!

>208 LolaWalser: Yes that was a clever double bill! There were so many fantastic repertory cinemas in London in my youth, particularly the Scala Cinema. They were an education in genre films - everything from old musicals to Sci-fi to Horror; but they also showed lots of foreign, obscure and subversive cinema that weren't on tv (Pasolini, Bunuel, Curt McDowell, Kuchar, Waters, Warhol etc) - very affirmative for anyone who felt 'different' in those days. Love John Waters films, and I saw Divine live a number of times - totally outrageous!

Saw the second episode of the new BBC 'Dracula' tonight. Almost a chamber piece, set almost entirely on the Demeter. Don't want to spoil it by saying much other than I would recommend. Thought it was excellent.

Jan 3, 2020, 8:00pm

So, the final episode of the BBC 'Dracula' tonight. Enjoyed it to a degree, but underwhelming overall. Very weak compared to episode 2.

Then, BBC2 showed a new Mark Gatiss documentary 'In Search of Dracula' which was good, especially interviews with the Hammer ladies (Caroline Monroe, Joanna Lumley etc), and with Susan Penhaligon (BBC 1977 Dracula) and Jan Francis (1979 version).

Jan 3, 2020, 8:11pm

>209 Rembetis:

I saw Divine live a number of times - totally outrageous!

I envy you so much! Amazing, incandescent performer--one can tell already from the recordings, but how much I'd have liked a live experience. Seems he was a sweet person too, people who knew him speak so lovingly.

Still waiting to catch the new Dracula somewhere... hopefully that documentary will show up too.

Jan 3, 2020, 9:33pm

>211 LolaWalser: Divine was interviewed (out of costume) a few times on tv, and he was as sweet as pie. But oh my, he was so outrageous and wild on stage. The first time I saw him, at the Scala Cinema in December 1982, as part of a film all nighter. he came on after the first film, 'Untamed Youth' (a Mamie Van Doreen Z picture). The jokes were hysterical, especially a whole string of them about the Royal Family and their sexual habits and hygiene standards! I'm laughing as I type! Divine was still crazy but not as outrageous when I saw him later on (he dropped the Royal family jokes). I will never forget him entering the Hippodrome nightclub on an elephant. Incidentally, the other films I saw during that all nighter that I first saw Divine were 'The Girl Can't Help It', 'Glen or Glenda' and 'Test Tube Babies'!

Hope you get to see 'Dracula'! Lots of film references in every episode to watch out for, they are a delight. Shame it fizzled out, for me anyway.

Edited: Jan 4, 2020, 11:47am

>207 WeeTurtle: For me, the crux of the book is depicted in the film by the look young Scrooge gives his brother-in-law as he leaves the bedroom right before his sister dies, missing Fan's final plea. Watching that moment, older Scrooge can feel his heart crack open and in rushes a lifetime flood of remorse. He was punished by his own father for being the reason his mother died and when Fan dies, Scrooge blames the husband and son for her demise. That is the only torture 'origin' story needed.

The silent acidic look seems to say, 'instead of protecting my sister as you promised to do, you killed her with your selfish need to have an heir'. A male heir is even worse because Scrooge sees Fred as his own father saw him. Not only does he recognize the feelings but also the action, mirroring the distance between both sets of men.

That lifetime of emotional erosion, intention, regret, is all present in the actor's face. Sim is exceptional! I watched it online after my George C. Scott version (1984). Those Muppet songs, honestly. Year-round!
This topic was continued by Gothic Films - episode seven.