Tag Archives: Terence Fisher

Book review: The Real Diana Dors

One of the reasons I was interested in reading Anna Cale’s recently released biography of the late British actress Diana Dors, The Real Diana Dors, is that I was curious to test out what I thought I knew about Dors and the reality of her life. What I was pretty certain about, and Cale confirms, is that Dors was stereotyped from the beginning of her career as either the sultry femme fatale bad girl or, as she herself once wrote, ‘the flighty, sexy little thing who pops in and out of the story whenever a little light relief seems to be called for.’

What I didn’t know, that Cale’s book taught me, was what a determined, serious, and hard headed performer Dors was. She accumulated a hundred screen credits in a career that began with her first bit part in the 1947 crime drama, The Code of Scotland Yard, to her last film role, Steaming, which appeared in 1985, a year after she died at the age of just 54. She resisted attempts to stereotype when she could, and no doubt like a lot of post war actresses undoubtedly had the talent and drive to be even bigger if not for various factors, of which beginning her career in the morally conservative, sexually hypocritical Britain of the late 1940s and early 1950s, was a major one.… Read more

Pulp Friday: The Brides of Dracula

Brides of dracula Monach 1960Halloween is almost upon us and to mark the occasion I’m going to be featuring a few horror themed offerings as part of my regular Pulp Friday posts.

Historically in Australia we don’t celebrate Halloween, and I’ve always been a bit iffy about what I consider to be an American cultural imposition. But Halloween actually originated with the Celts in parts of Europe. Specifically, it dates back to Celtic Festival of Samhain, which took place to mark the end of summer and the beginning of a long cold winter. The Celts believed on that night before the new year the boundary between the world of the living and the dead blurred.

Also, any excuse will do to post some horror themed pulp.

Anyway, a small Pulp Friday offering today, the 1960 paperback tie-in to the film released the same year, The Brides of Dracula. It starred Peter Cushing, David Peel, Martita Hunt and Yvonne Monlaur and was directed by Terence Fisher. The plot of The Brides of Dracula involves vampire hunter Van Helsing returning to Transylvania to destroy handsome bloodsucker Baron Meinster, who is conducted a reign of evil terror over the nearest village. I’ve re-watched it recently and think it is one of the better vampire films produced by Hammer.… Read more

The Curse of Frankenstein

The-Curse-of-Frankenstein-1957-posterThe death in June of Christopher Lee spurred me chase up his remaining films I haven’t seen. One of these was The Curse of Frankenstein, the 1957 film credited with starting Hammer’s wave of horror film production which lasted until To the Devil a Daughter in 1976.

Around about the same time, I received a review copy of a book of the same name, part of the Devil’s Advocates series devoted to examining classics of horror cinema. The Curse of Frankenstein, by Marcus K Harmes, a lecturerer at the University of Southern Queensland, is recommended reading for anyone interested in the history of Hammer films and British horror cinema.

The film begins with a priest visiting Baron Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) in the cell where the scientist is waiting to be guillotined for his crimes. Via flashbacks, director Terence Fisher establishes the Baron as a brilliant young man who, with the help of his tutor, Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart), begins a series of experiments aimed at restoring life to dead tissue. They successfully bring a dead puppy back to life. Krempe wants to halt the experiments there, but Frankenstein has bigger plans. He wants to bring dead human flesh to life and steals body parts, including the brain of an eminent scientist who the Baron invites to dinner at his mansion and casually murders, to make the creature, played by Lee.… Read more