Voluptuous vampire vixens, high society diabolists, meandering mouldy mummies, rapacious reptiles, and zillions of zombies …yes, it’s Horror Channel heaven as the UK’s number one television destination for all things scary presents Hammer Horror Halloween Season, which broadcasts from Oct 1 – Oct 31 @ 23.10pm.
Author, broadcaster and critic Kim Newman, who introduces the season said today: “I recommend everyone who loves horror to tune into the Horror Channel this October for their season of classic Hammer Films. Where else would you find proper British acting, low-cut nighties, Cushing and Lee, ripping excitement and a touch or two of proper creepiness. These films, forty years on, are endlessly rewatchable in a way that the contemporary product isn’t.”.
Sat Oct I @ 23:10
Scars of Dracula (1970) was Christopher Lee’s fifth Dracula picture and was directed by Roy Ward Baker who was determined to do it in as gory a style as possible. The film’s greatest innovation, however, was to present a surprisingly verbose Count as Lee had been given very little dialogue in the previous Dracula movies, Bereft of an American pre-sale, Scars of Dracula and its support feature, The Horror of Frankenstein, were both produced on relatively low budgets.
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), was one of the last films to be completed by Hammer at Bray Studios, and reunited Peter Cushing with director Terence Fisher. Although the title was a spoof of Brigitte Bardot’s And Got Created Woman the film was essentially a revenge thriller with some surprisingly brutal scenes, with the ill-fated Austrian actress Susan Denberg as the ‘Woman’ of the title, Martin Scorsese cites this as one of his favourite films.
Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971) was the swan song for director Seth Holt, who died just before filming finished. After the first day’s filming, Peter Cushing pulled out to be with his wife, who was dying of emphysema. He was replaced by Andrew Keir and replacement director Michael Carreras completed the film as best he could, it was released as the support feature to Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde but does boast a great performance from the erotically-charged Valerie Leon.
Plague of the Zombies (1966), directed by John Gilling, is Hammer’s sole foray into the Zombie genre and attracted the scrutiny of the British Board of Film Censors, who expressed concerns over the fire at the end and the scene where a lumbering corpse (Jacqueline Pearce) is decapitated with a spade. The support feature to Dracula Prince of Darkness may have been a B movie with no star names, but it is widely regarded to be a superior film.
Sat Oct 29 @ 23.10
The Reptile (1966) was filmed back-to-back with The Plague of the Zombies, and also set in Cornwall, The director – John Gilling – was so dismayed by Anthony Hinds’ script that he rewrote it more or less as he went along. The reptile make-up worn by Jacqueline Pearce and applied by Roy Ashton was also difficult to perfect, and Pearce was recalled for a number of reshoots. Subdued lighting and sharp editing saved the day, and the film was released as the support feature to Rasputin the Mad Monk.
Every Saturday @ 21.00 and 22.05 plus
Sun Oct 30 @ 21.00 & 22.05 and
Mon Oct 31 @ 21.00
Horror Channel presents all thirteen spine-chilling episodes of mystery, suspense and the occult from the classic Hammer House of Horror TV series, which made a huge impact on the public when first broadcast on British television in 1980.
Starring an eclectic mix of actors such as Peter Cushing (pictured left), Delholm Elliot, Prunella Gee, Brian Cox, Pierce Brosnan, Diana Dors and Christopher Cazenove, this is the scariest horror TV series you are ever likely to see.
TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138
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