Something of a flop on its initial American release (although doing somewhat better here in Britain, supposedly breaking House records at the Capital Theatre in London), time has been kind to The Old Dark House, having since become something of a classic for fans of Gothic Horror Cinema, not to mention a rediscovered Gem for lovers of the work of James Whale. It’s rather sad then that after its pathetic box office takings it spent the next Thirty to Forty years sat forgotten on a shelf in the Universal Vault, gathering dust and unseen by anyone, considered a lost film despite its phenomenal UK takings. Perhaps spurred on by its continued British reputation as a classic, Hammer and William Castle in 1963 chose to remake the film leading to even more interest in the forgotten original. Eventually in 1968 Curtis Harrington was able to track the negative down and convinced Kodak to attempt a restoration- causing an immediate revaluation. Almost fifty years since it’s rediscovery it’s a reputation that still persists amongst horror fans and is often hailed as the best of its type giving birth to an entire sub genre of horror entitled ‘Old Dark House’ Movies. Despite all that though, personally I think it’s important for another reason- it’s one of the first Horror Comedies and even after all this time it somehow manages to be one of the few to get the balance just right.
Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door
A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.firstname.lastname@example.org. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.
Friday, 19 December 2014
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Ritual is something of an odd novel, but one with a very colourful and slightly bemusing history. Originally receiving only a very short print run, the book later became highly sort after when a connection was revealed between it and the 1973 film The Wicker Man, with copies known to have sold for up to £600. Now, being a student, I’m saddened to say that I do not own an original copy and indeed were it not for a marvellous little company called ‘Finders Keepers’ (cult movie soundtrack lovers you should defiantly check them out) then it’s doubtful if I would of been able to read this little oddity at all. Admittedly my interest in the novel only came about because I happen to be something of a Wicker Man fan, indeed I would probably go so far to say it’s the most well made and artistic (even if it’s not my personal favourite) British Horror Movie ever. Despite that though I was always aware that Ritual was supposedly a very different beast from its predecessor, and although having bought the film rights to the book, all those involved in the making of the Wicker Man constantly state that its influence was very limited. Which if true, I admit I am somewhat grateful for.
Saturday, 22 March 2014
Recently I’ve been going through a little bit of a 1960’s ‘Spy’ obsession which began after I started watching The Prisoner. Since then I’ve been trying to get my hands on anything from the Genre, consuming as much as I can. Of course one show that immediately came towards the top of my list was the 1960’s Avengers series. Whenever anyone mentions ‘The Avengers’, people immediately think of John Steed and Emma Peel, even though that characters era only consisted of three years of the shows nine year run. As such my original intention was to watch one episode from each ‘era’ and only one from the Peel seasons, however finding episodes online proved rather difficult and Season 4 (Diana Riggs first season) seemed to be the only one with episodes readily available. When I started watching this failed to bother me anymore as I was immediately swept away with the sheer charm and magic of the thing but just for contrasts sake I did seek out the surviving 20 minutes of the first ever episode ‘Hot Snow’. Its pointless me giving this a mini review of its own, as I said only the first 20 minutes survive, but I do feel like it’s worth mentioning just how different it all is. Steed is partnered with a man and it is this male character ‘Dr David Keel’ (played by the always brilliant Ian Hendry) who is the primary focus. The tone is gritty and dark and we are shown how Keels perfect life is ruined by an underground Drug syndicate. It’s realistic in tone and lacks anything that the public would come to associate with later episodes of the series even Patrick Macnee does not turn up until (I’m guessing anyway) much later in the episode. When comparing this to the whimsical feel of the episodes I viewed from season four it’s difficult to believe it’s the same show...
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Of all of Batman’s rogues Two-Face is easily my personal favourite although I confess that my interpretation of the character owes more to his portrayal by Richard Moll in ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ than any of the comic books. However of the few comic appearances made by the character that I have read, I must say that the story ‘Half an Evil’ is certainly one of my favourites and one that I come back to time and time again. Originally published in 1971 this was during the now famous run of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, the men who brought Batman back from the depths of camp that the 1960’s Adam West show had taken it to and to new, strange but brilliant Gothic territory. The stories had much more of a supernatural flavour and Batman took on the role of the ‘Dark Detective’ that the animated series would perfect in the early 90’s.
Monday, 24 February 2014
I admit that I was rather fortunate when it came to the recent discoveries of Missing Episodes, in that both of the stories discovered (This and ‘Enemy of the World which I reviewed here) happened to be at the very top of my own personal ‘Most Wanted’ list. I confess however that if I could have chosen any story to be recovered ‘Web of Fear’ would have been first choice every time and I was not alone in my belief that this story was the ‘Holy Grail’ of missing Doctor Who (usually being in the Top 5 of ‘Most Wanted Missing Stories’ Polls). So like ‘Enemy of the World’ this story had some pretty big expectations to live up to and perhaps has more of hard time doing so since the majority of its story takes place in one setting, the tunnels of the London underground, and is a much more ‘talky piece’ where as its predecessor switched from place to place with ease and had some very impressive action sequences. Having Pre-Ordered the DVD it arrived slightly ahead of time and so last night I tentatively put it in the player and sat down wondering whether I was going to end this night with an air of disappointment or praising one of the all time greats of Doctor Who....
Thursday, 23 January 2014
I must confess that I find it rather sad that ‘Quatermass II’, seems to have taken the title of the ‘weakest link’ in the original Quatermass Trilogy. Personally, I fail to understand why, as despite having some weak moments I think it stands up well next to ‘Quatermass and the Pit’ (Easly the best instalment) and in many respects betters ‘The Quatermass Experiment’. Reasons as to why ‘Quatermass II’ doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves includes the facts that since ‘Quatermass and the Pit’ is undoubtedly the best and ‘The Quatermass Experiment’ was not only the first, this is often forgotten. Also the serials leading man, John Robinson, was nervous about taking over from Reginald Tate and so has been accused several times of giving a stilted and wooden performance. The final episode in which Quatermass journeys to an asteroid in a rocket has also been accused of being incredibly fake and difficult to watch. The last issue especially was corrected in the 1957 Hammer Films adaption which most people count as being superior. Whilst I do admittedly prefer the Hammer film and can understand some of these arguments, there are many reasons why I still love Quatermass II and I think it’s about time it is viewed in the same light as it’s peers.
Sunday, 5 January 2014
Few independent horror movies can be said to have gained as much prestige and respect as The Blair Witch Project has, earning a 20,000% return on its original cost whilst systematically causing critics worldwide to sing its praise. 15 years later and it has spawned slews of imitators, most notably the Paranormal Activity franchise (2007-) and whilst some of these have been extremely inventive and used the ‘found footage’ style of filmmaking to great effect, others seem to do so out of pure laziness, barely managing to explain why their characters have cameras watching them constantly. Despite having seen many of these imitators, some good some bad, I subconsciously seemed to avoid seeing ‘Blair Witch’ for reasons I can’t quite explain. I suspect though that perhaps this was not the best idea because after years of having the film explained to me as nothing short of a masterpiece, I came away strangely disappointed. Whilst not slow, the film did in places appear boring particularly when all the cast seemed to do was wander round and round in circles arguing and whilst I understand the film is designed not to create its scares from jumps, I think the end could have packed a bit more of a punch.