Filmography details linked to in the film titles on these pages are all courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.

 

 

 

Gothique Film Society

 

FILMS FOR THE CONNOISSEUR OF THE MACABRE

 

 

 

Filmography details linked to in the film titles on these pages are all courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

 

 

Season 50 October 2015-March 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 16 October

#32-35

SON OF KONG (1933) 

THEM (1954)  

 

 

Friday 20 November

#28

DARK CITY (1998) 

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). 

 

 

Friday 18 December

#38-40

ALIAS JOHN PRESTON (1955) 

TOPPER RETURNS (1941)

 

 

Friday 15 January

#42

DOCTOR X (1932) 

CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA (1940)

 

 

Friday 12 February

HOUSE OF FEAR (1945) 

THE PREMATURE BURIAL (1962) 

 

 

SEASON 50                                                  FIFTH SHOW                                         12 FEBRUARY 2016

 

THE HOUSE OF FEAR                                                               Universal/1945                                                              69 minutes                                 

 

Producer/director: Roy William Neill; Screenplay: Roy Chanslor; Photography: Virgil Miller; Editor: Saul Goodkind; Music: Paul Sawtell

 

Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes), Nigel Bruce (Dr. John H. Watson), Aubrey Mather (Bruce Alastair), Dennis Hoey (Inspector Lestrade), Paul Cavanagh (Dr. Simon Merrivale), Holmes Herbert (Alan Cosgrave)

 

THE PREMATURE BURIAL             American International Pictures/Santa Clara Productions/1962                          81 minutes

 

Producers: Roger Corman and [uncredited] Samuel Z. Arkoff; Director: Roger Corman; Screenplay: Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell; Photography: Floyd Crosby; Editor: Ronald Sinclair; Music: Ronald Stein

 

Ray Milland (Guy Carrell), Hazel Court (Emily Gault), Richard Ney (Miles Archer), Heather Angel (Kate Carrell), Alan Napier (Dr. Gideon Gault), Richard [Dick] Miller (Mole)

 

THE HOUSE OF FEAR opens the second of our 50th anniversary ‘Better Late than Never’ double bills, showcasing films that were programmed over the years, but then not shown. Tonight’s opener was advertised in Season 25 (December 1990), and no doubt many of you have been anxiously waiting for it since then! Perhaps more correctly known as SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE HOUSE OF FEAR, this was the tenth in the series of fourteen films based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories that were released between 1939 and 1946. The first two were produced by 20th Century Fox, and released in 1939. When they lost interest in the series, due to problems with Doyle’s estate, Universal Studios soon acquired the rights and produced a further twelve films. Although the Fox films had big budgets, high production values and were set in the Victorian era, Universal updated them to the modern wartime era (enabling Holmes to tackle the Nazi menace in several of them) and produced them as ‘B’ pictures with lower budgets. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce continued their lead roles. THE HOUSE OF FEAR is loosely based on ‘The Five Orange Pips’, first published in The Strand Magazine in November 1891. It was released on a double bill with THE MUMMY’S CURSE (1944). Eventually, Basil Rathbone became frustrated with the role; he left the series in 1946, remarking that his first Holmes film “was, as it were, a negative from which I merely continued to produce endless positives of the same photograph”. Universal considered replacing him with Tom Conway, but instead decided to end the series, despite still having the rights for the next three years. A bit of trivia to look out for: Towards the end of the film, as Watson notices the tobacco urn is empty, the wolf's head cane from THE WOLF MAN (1941) can be seen leaning against the back wall!

 

THE PREMATURE BURIAL has produced an even longer wait, as this was originally scheduled for Season 18 (February 1984). Based on the 1844 short story by Edgar Allan Poe, it was the third in the series of eight Poe-themed films directed by Roger Corman for American International. The first two – THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM – were extremely successful, but a disagreement arose between Corman and AIP over the division of the profits. So the director spoke to Pathe. They did AIP’s lab work, but wanted to expand their distribution company and they offered him more attractive terms than AIP. Corman wanted to use his regular ‘Poe’ star, Vincent Price, but AIP had him under exclusive contract, so Ray Milland was cast instead. However, the director was then surprised when, on the second day of shooting, AIP heads James Nicholson and Sam Arkoff  turned up, announcing that Corman was working for them: they had threatened Pathe with the loss of their business if they did not bring the film to AIP! But it all ended well for the director, as AIP honoured his deal with Pathe. There was not such good news for scriptwriters Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell who, when they finally read the source story, realised the extent of the work that faced them. Russell explained: “We were shocked. Unlike the stories that formed the basis of the two earlier Poe films, this was really not a story at all, [it was] more like a formal essay on the disadvantages and general undesirability of being buried alive. And so we had to build the whole structure from the ground up – plot, characters and dialogue – while retaining the essential elements of Poe’s piece, namely, the obsessive terror of premature burial.” They did at least keep one Poe passage intact when, during Guy Carrell’s tour of his family crypt, he makes a speech about “the unendurable oppression of the lungs…” The critics were not terribly impressed: Variety said it was “too familiar to generate much shock… By this time, many film fans are as familiar with Corman’s downstairs dungeon as they are with their own basement…” Although The New York Times, while finding the film “static, slack and starchily written”, did find praise for its “compelling music, rich color décor and eerie atmosphere.”  

                                                                                                                                                                                         Dave Simpson

 

Our next show is on 4 March, when our double bill of ‘Great British Mysteries’ will be THE MAN IN BLACK (1949, dir: Francis Searle) and HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1961, dir; Vernon Sewell).

 

 

Friday 4 March

THE MAN IN BLACK (1949) 

HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1961) 

 

 

Friday 18 March

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) 

THE UNCANNY (1977) 

 

 

Most of the text from the programme that is mailed out to members is reproduced below.  Comments on the films directly below the credits are by Robin James, Dave Simpson or Simon Davies.

 

 

j_s_davies@hotmail.com

 

For members unable to attend screenings, copies of Dave Simpson’s programme notes (for the current season) are available from Simon Davies:

j_s_davies@hotmail.com

 

Newcomers to the Gothique are always welcome.  Note that for each programme the screening order will not necessarily be as shown here.  Also, the society is really for people interested in the films being shown rather than those who enjoy a perfect cinema experience.  The screening facilities at Conway Hall could be described as basic – unraked seats that some may find uncomfortable, occasional intrusive noise from other people using the building …. 

 

The cost of membership for the whole season is £17.50 (£7.00 for guest tickets for a single show).

 

Send Robin a cheque (see below for his address) – we don’t do anything sophisticated like payment by Paypal or credit cards.  Let him know whether you are happy to collect your membership card when you first attend a show or would like it posting (obviously enclose a stamped self addressed envelope for this).

 

Or turn up early and join on the spot when you first attend a show.

 

 

Season 50 October 2015-March 2016

 

Made it!  Who would have thought, when Jim Kearley and I set up the first screening way back in September 1966, that the Gothique Film Society would reach its 50th season?  Well, it has, and to mark this momentous achievement, many of our screenings in this programme refer back to earlier shows, or rather 'no-shows'.

 

We start by going back to where it all began, with two varieties of monster from the very first two shows.  America may have been enjoying ‘The Summer of Love’ but for us it was 'Son of Kong' and 'Them'.

 

Next we have a special Sci Fi evening, one relatively new (by Gothique standards!) film 'Dark city' and the classic 'Bride of Frankenstein', previously shown at the Gothique but well worth another look.  We hope that this evening will be introduced by a Gothique Film Society member, who may well be offering discounted - and signed - copies of his two published books (not yet filmed yet but who knows?)

 

Then we have the first of three shows of films that were advertised as 'Coming soon' in the Gothique programme but were not actually screened, for various reasons.  In this first 'Better late than never' show we have former Gothique honorary president, the late, great Christopher Lee, in a Danziger thriller 'Alias John Preston' with ghostly comedy 'Topper returns' as a bit of light relief.

 

Another special night follows, this time we hope that author and Gothique member, Neil Pettigrew will be on hand to introduce Lionel Atwill for us.  Starting with the classic 'Doctor X' (so good we have already shown it twice) then the less well known 'Charlie Chan in Panama'.

 

Then we have two more films where the Gothique Film Society apologises for their late running and regrets any inconvenience caused: the Sherlock Holmes goody 'House of fear' and the Roger Corman classic 'Premature burial'. 

 

This season's British oddities night has no obvious references back to earlier shows.  'The Man in Black' is a Hammer film but from long before they struck gold with 'Curse of Frankenstein' and filmed at Oakley Court, before they moved to Bray Studios.  'House of mystery', the Vernon Sewell haunting film, tends to get lumped in with the 1960s Edgar Wallace films, for example on TV screenings and in the recent DVD releases.  In fact it is not Edgar Wallace and Merton Park: it was made by Independent Artists.

 

The final 'better late than never' double bill, 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'The Uncanny' seems such perfect Gothique material it is amazing that we have not persevered with them long before now.

 

Anyway, that's it folks.  Enjoy our 50th season - and here's to the next 50.

 

Robin James

 

(Please note that this season all shows start at 7.00.  Also, due to circumstances beyond our control, from now on we will no longer be able to provide refreshments during the interval.) 

 

'OTHERS CREATE WE IMITATE'

 

 

 

 

 

Better Late Than Never Part 2

 

Friday 12 February

 

HOUSE OF FEAR (1945)  dir.Roy William Neill.  69mins.  Basil Rathbone  Nigel Bruce

Originally scheduled for Season 25 (1990), in this entry in the popular series Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of deaths at a castle, each one foretold by the delivery of orange pips to the victims.

 

 

“This is a first-rate treatment of Conan Doyle's Five orange pips, despite some careless slips in the continuity and some rather cavalier treatment of clues or sometimes the absence of them.  But the atmosphere of the clifftop mansion and the elements that rage about it,the changing suspicions of one character after another and the final surprise are presented with smooth efficiency.  Rathbone is heavily unexcitable as Holmes and Nigel Bruce pleasantly unimaginative as Watson.  In a good supporting cast are Aubrey Mather, Paul Cavanagh and Sally Shepherd - who gives an impressive almost wordless performance as the gloomily fatalistic housekeeper at the mansion.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin June 1945.

 

"Basil Rathbone was every inch that great detective and representative of the more eccentric wing of the British upper middle classes, Sherlock Holmes.  In two A features for Fox, The hound of the Baskervilles and The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Rathbone gave perhaps the definitive screen performance as Holmes.  Subsequently he played in a series of twelve Holmes adventures for Universal accompanied by his Fox partner, Nigel Bruce, as Doctor Watson.  Much to the horror of the purists all of them were updated and in some, particularly Sherlock Holmes and the secret weapon, Rathbone sported a strange and singularly un-Holmesian haircut.  The early adventures in the series were given wartime settings, complete with the Axis spy-secret formula plots which invaded all the genre Bs of the period.  Unfailingly they concluded with a stirring address from Rathbone about the joys of democracy while Watson burbled away in the background.  Four of the series had a distinct horror element - The scarlet claw, The house of fear, The pearl of death and The spider woman - the last two launching the Rondo Hatton and Gale Sondergard respectively on independent B horror careers.." according to Cross.

 

"Sherlock Holmes and the voice of terror started the Universal series featuring the sleuth - pardon, THE sleuth - and his venerable aide Dr Watson in 1942.  Who else but Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce?  Who, indeed.  They had modernized Holmes and Watson, brought the setting up to modern times and given Holmes Nazi spies to combat in the first one.  But there was little real complaining done, because Rathbone and Bruce personified their characters and although the production was B in calibre, it was plain that attention had been paid to production details, more so than in ordinary low-budget production.  ... The Holmes series was entrusted to Roy William Neill to direct, after John Rawlins had done the opener.  Neill gradually made himself at home in the series, which improved steadily.  Between 1943 and 1945, between Sherlock Holmes faces death and The house of fear, each Holmes entry was manna for mystery aficionados, and good entertainment for those not enamoured of the genre because of the superior production and the trouping by Rathbone and Bruce. ... In The house of fear Holmes investigated the decimation of an exclusive club.  Neill directed all of the foregoing.  Bertram Millhauser wrote some, Roy Chanslor and Edmund Hartmann others, all adhering to the tradition set by Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Holmes.  Thereafter the series had its ups and downs and was culminated upon the death of Roy William Neill, but otherwise it remains one of the more sturdy film series, B or not, mystery or not." according to Miller.

 

"A knotty problem for Sherlock Holmes, but rather tediously unravelled.  Despite the orange pips, it owes virtually nothing to Conan Doyle." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

 

"HORROR stalking its halls!"

 

 

THE PREMATURE BURIAL (1962)  dir. Roger Corman.  81mins.  Ray Milland  Hazel Court

“Within the coffin I lie…ALIVE!!” screamed the ads – as, presumably, did our hero, as his dread of being buried alive seems to be coming true.  For all those disappointed to miss this in Season 18 (1984) here’s your chance to see whether Guy Carrell’s fears are justified.

 

 

“The third in Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe cycle , The premature burial relies rather too heavily and uninventively on the vocabulary of gloomy graveyards, Gothic mansions, swirling ground fogs, bats, candelabra and opulent spider-webs culled from The fall of the House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum.  The outlandish horror of Poe's story is never really caught, and Corman obtains most of his effects from rude shock-cuts rather than from intelligent exploitation of the situations and settings.  All the same, Floyd Crosby's photography is often attractive, and there are some sequences well worth watching,  ...  The acting ranges narrowly from the stolid (Ray Milland) to the sweetly incompetent (Hazel Court), but Heather Angel, wandering sinisterly in the background manages to give sister Kate a genuinely ambiguous ambience.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin November 1962.  Suitability: A (Adults only) Rated II - Average

 

"Then, in 1960, Corman picked up Edgar Allan Poe.  Gathering to him a few reliable collaborators, such as the veteran photographer Floyd Crosby and the novelist Richard Matheson, he invested more time and money than ever before and turned out The House of Usher, a ponderous drawn-out movie that seemed the antithesis of his earlier work.  This was the first Corman movie to get extensive critical coverage and, although found wanting by most reviewers, its box-office appeal indicated to Corman that the way to the big-time was through Poe.  Corman decelerated his output, dropped the swift bold touch of his juvenile melodramas, and embarked with a splash on his new career as Edgar Allan Poe 's on-screen voice.  Through his next Poe adaptations, ..., Corman began to develop a new manner if not a style.  Constrained by larger but still limited budgets, the director has extracted the last ounce of effect from Daniel Haller's eye-deceivingly vast but far from spacious sets by his use of free camera movements.  And with Crosby's assistance, he has exploited to their limit the possibilities of Pathecolor, obtaining sensuously sepulchral tones of blue, puce, green, and mauve. ...Corman had little more than a title to work with: The premature burial had an original story by Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell, ..." according to Clarens.

 

"Immediately after The Pit and the Pendulum, Corman began shooting what was eventually to turn out to be the most one-dimensional film of the whole series: The premature burial.  There are several reasons for this: Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell's script works on a straight, and fairly conventional melodramatic level, borrowing bits of dialogue, and some ideas, from Poe, but never, like Matheson, uniting these into a universe.  Moreover, Hazel Court's excellent performance, as Emily Gault, cannot prevent one from missing Vincent Price, who is replaced for this one picture, by Ray Milland.  In retrospect, perhaps, (for Price was to appear in the next five Poe films), it is too easy to compare Milland unfavourably with Price, yet one never feels that the former comes anywhere near to attaining the stature that is required for this kind of role; in a way, this is almost a compliment to him, for no realistic actor possibly could.  One of the main intentions of the films, in Corman's own words is to 'show that much reality is unreal,'  And it is on this level that The premature burial remains simply a conjuring trick.  The obvious attempts to introduce red-herrings into the plot, and the emphasis given to the explanation at the end, make it clear that the scenario has been written more as a kind of atmosphere detective story, than anything else.  And this is something that could hardly be said of The Pit and the Pendulum or any other Corman Poe film for that matter.  One can only add, in its favour. that at least The premature burial, especially the dream sequence, contains in abundance the sort of fin-de-siècle, Romantic imagery, in which Corman excels, and this includes among other things, the rather extraordinary painting, whose title I have used to head this chapter." according to Pirie

 

“The macabre melancholy of Edgar Allan Poe had attracted American movie-makers for fifty years.  The lure of Poe's poetics may have been the desire to create a genuinely native horror film, the challenge to translate his imaginative imagery into movie visuals, or the fact that he was out of copyright.  To 1960, the most successful movies, as horror movies, had been the Universal series, which had simply taken a Poe title and theme and let Karloff and Lugosi take it from there.  Suddenly Poe found a new interpreter in, of all people, Roger Corman.  The king of the quickies was tired of making back-to-back movies. ... Suddenly, it's Poe!  Having run his monsters, teenagers, rock' n ' rollers, and dragstrippers into the ground, Corman embarked upon a cinematic campaign to do the same for poor Poe.” according to Gifford (1973).

 

"The long-running series of Roger Corman "adaptations" were more seriously intended - but they were horror films first, Vincent Price vehicles second, showcases for Corman's tired and repetitive techniques third, and of only negligible interest as adaptations of Poe." according to Everson

 

"This is the third and weakest film in Corman's Poe cycle.  Imagination plays happily with the idea of Vincent Price, as the man driven by a terror of premature burial, proudly showing off the efficiency of the do-it-yourself coffin-kit he has thoughtfully provided to ensure every conceivable  escape route should the worst happen.  Milland simply does not have the necessary flamboyance (or the vulnerability) Price would have brought to the role.  ..." according to Hardy (1985)

 

"Corman's third Poe picture and the only one not starring Vincent Price. ...  A moody, serious movie ..." according to Weldon

 

"Corman's Poe films, like their source material, do not hold much hope for the future of the nuclear family.  The director continued to chart the course of familial disunity with The premature burial.  Ray Milland took the lead, while Ray Russell and Charles Beaumont (both talented short story writers) assumed scripting duties from Richard Matheson.  The film is well mounted but suffers from familiarity since it revolves around premature entombment and a beautiful but scheming wife (Hazel Court), elements which figured prominently in the earlier Poe adaptations.  " according to Hogan.

 

"(from the pressbook): 'The vivid imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, set in words by the master of the terror tale and brought to the motion picture screen by AIP in The premature burial, receives added dimension in the motion picture through the efforts of a brilliant young California artist.  An integral part of AIP's filmization of the famed Poe story ... are the weirdly terrifying paintings seen in the film.  They are the product of the imagination and skill of Los Angeles painter Burton Shonberg whose four beautiful works for the terror tale took almost three months to complete.  Shonberg was first 'discovered' and commissioned by Roger Corman to paint portraits of the Usher family for his first Poe picture, The House of Usher.  Shonberg's work caused so much favourable comment that Corman commissioned him again to do the art work for The premature burial.  The young artist lives and works in Los Angeles.  His product covers a wide range of subjects, with a preference for portraits.  He is a studious young man whose main interest are painting and philosophy." according to McGee.

 

"The third of Corman's adaptations from stories by Edgar Allan Poe - slightly more talky than the others, but also much more faithful.  Corman wanted Price for the lead but since he was producing the film independently, he couldn't get Price out of his contract with AIP.  Later, AIP bought out Corman's partner and got the film anyway." according to VideoHound.

 

"After the critical success and commercial failure of The intruder, Corman profitably returned to Poe and Gothic horror with The premature burial.  'That's one of my favourites.  There was a mood to it, a strangeness and a mood.' - Hazel Court.  Corman was tired of flipping a coin with Samuel Z Arkoff as a cavalier way of settling their disputes over profit shares on previous pictures and decided to go with Pathe Laboratories who had put some money into The intruder and were keen to become involved in film production.  Corman cast Ray Milland.  'I went with Ray,' he claimed 'because I thought he was very good and right for the role but also Vincent had in his contract with AIP that he couldn't do a horror film for anybody but AIP.  They wanted to make him their star so since the picture started out not being AIP - that's why I went with Ray.'  Then Arkoff and Nicholson turned up on the set of The premature burial.  'Well, at first I was surprised and didn't like it', Corman told me.  'Then I thought it was funny because they came on the set on the morning of the first day of shooting and they came in to wish me well.  I thought that was nice of them.  Then Sam who was a funny guy at times said, 'Roger we are happy to become partners again.' and I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'We have made a deal with Pathe.  We have bought 'em up, we are all working together again.'  For a moment I was startled, but within a minute, within a few seconds actually, I laughed.'...Hammer horror star Hazel Court made her first (of two) Hollywood pictures with Corman before returning to England to star in his Poe classic The masque of red death in 1964.   Visually Corman is on top form: he uses his by now 'traditional' Gothic trappings of mists and moody mansions effectively to create a telling atmosphere of claustrophobia, and excellent sound design heightens the suspense, but the screenplay contains too many familiar elements from his previous Poe pictures and Milland, while good, lacks the larger-than-life dimension that Price brought to his roles.  ...  .Variety:-..'Well-acted but horror film buffs may find the plot, sets and treatment too familiar to generate much shock.  Okay exploitation.  Producer-director Roger Corman seems to have run a bit thin in imagination on this third trip to the same literary well.  Not only is the plotting in Premature burial discouragingly predictable, but its gloomy and cavernous interior setting is peculiarly similar to those in the first two.  By this time many film fans (and at least one  reviewer) are as familiar with Corman's downstairs dungeon as they are with their own basement hobbyshops.  The picture obviously has hefty exploitation potential via its title and Poe's rep.  However, it's unlikely that its appeal will reach beyond the circle of the horror buffs to attract those patrons who were so delighted by ghoulish fustian of the Usher and Pit.  Ironically, it may be that the extremely competent cast, headed by Ray Milland, plays too honestly in situations which require a certain amount  of unrestrained flamboyance ... screenplay, though short on the kind of plot surprises which create suspense and interest, is cleanly dialogued with a minimum of verbal clichés.  And Floyd Crosby's camerawork (in colour and Panavision) is effective as ever, although he and Corman might try eschewing those blue-and-purple dream sequences next time out'  New York Times:-..'While this frank horror yarn is static, slack and starchily written, it does have the same visual attributes as last season's The Pit and the Pendulum: compelling music, rich colour decor and eerie atmosphere.  This time, however, the fusion isn't so successful in sustaining the suspense.'  CEA Film Report:-..'Poe's classic story has been padded out with plenty of swirling mist, thunderstorms, a creepy family vault, colour dream tricks and a 'gimmick' which consists of blacking out the screen entirely to the sound of heartbeats.  Some of the dialogue and situations may raise an unintentional laugh or two, but the cast enter with gusto into the bogey-bogey thrills of the old-fashioned kind of 'chiller' - and the masses will do the same.'  New York Herald Tribune:-..'Mr Corman's production group, the only outfit in Hollywood with a spider under long-term contract, has made several handsome horror pictures in the past.  The premature burial is no less attractively designed or tastefully coloured.'  " according to Frank (1998)

 

"Gloomy Gothic horror based vaguely on Edgar Allan Poe: the ultimate in graveyard ghoulishness." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"The premature burial featured Ray Milland in the lead but struggled without Price's histrionics." according to Marriott and Newman.

 

 

"Within the Coffin I Lie...ALIVE!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great British Mysteries

 

Friday 4 March

 

THE MAN IN BLACK (1949)  dir. Francis Searle.  75mins.  Sidney James  Betty Ann Davies

Sorry, this is not the Johnny Cash story, rather an early Hammer before they settled down as horror specialists.  Adapted from the popular radio series narrated by Valentine Dyall and featuring Sid James in a straight role for once.

 

 

“Preposterous melodrama from the radio series.  Betty Ann Davies and Sheila Burrell, as the most transparent villainesses since Lady Audley, are good for a number of laughs, but this was not, presumably, the intention.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin January - February 1950.  III (Poor)

 

“Ridiculous chiller at least moves along at a fair rate.” according to Quinlan.

 

"By August 1949, Exclusive Films had moved into their new house studio, Oakley Court, Bray, situated on the River Thames half-way between Maidenhead and Windsor.  ...  Hammer would use Oakley Court for exteriors in their later horror productions, but their first films shot here would utilise the building for interiors and exteriors.  ...  Rented at £60 a week in 1949, the house was fully fitted with elaborate Victorian furnishings.  The interior walls were laden with trophies and masks, while the rooms contained an assortment of old books, together with cases of fossils, coins and seals.  Rich hangings, curtains, panelling carved woodwork, secret panels and ornate furniture gave the house a heavy museum-like atmosphere, and the perfect setting for the films that would be produced there.  As with their previous house studio, Dial Close, the presence of existing furnishings meant that set construction could be kept to a minimum, ... Shooting itself would be confined mainly to the ground floor and down the large staircase, as well as in the surrounding grounds with its lush green lawns stretching down to the River Thames. ... The potentials of filming in the gothic manor were something not lost on writer/ director Francis Searle, who wrote an original story based on BBC Radio's 'The man in black'.  Francis then brought in future Hammer director John Gilling to work the story into a screenplay,  Production began at Oakley Court on August 6th, 1949 with Betty Ann Davies taking the lead role, supported by Sheila Burrell and future 'Carry in' star Sidney James in  a dual role.  On the other side of the camera, Jimmy Sangster was promoted to first assistant director, while production manager Arthur Barnes handled 2nd unit exteriors." according to Murphy

 

"... Sid has gained 'something of a reputation of an English Humphrey Bogart' for his portrayal of numerous tough, drawling heavies.  The similarity with Bogart had also been spotted by American studios.  By the end of June Plantagenet Films had offered Sid a part in the Brooklyn drama, Give us this day.  Based on the story 'Christ in concrete' , it was renamed Salt to the devil for US cinemas. This time Sid appeared ninth in the list of thirteen credits.  His third film that year - a spin-off from a BBC radio series by John Dickson Carr - would give Sid his first joint lead.  The man in black was an early Hammer chiller. ..." according to Goodwin.

 

"The man in black was yet another screen adaptation of a popular BBC serial and was Hammer's first production at Oakley Court.  The man in black began production on August 8, 1949.  Reprising his role from the radio serial as "The storyteller" was Valentine Dyall. ... Sidney James made the first of his seven Hammer appearances and was described by Phil Leakey as being "great company and full of fun ... Called back after directing Celia , Francis Searle was Hammer's most prolific director between 1949 and 1952, with nine films to his credit.  Despite minor setbacks, including a noisy tractor and a constantly chiming clock, Searle brought the picture in on schedule.  Reviews, following The man in black's January, 1950, release were sparse but positive.  The Kinematograph Weekly: "Ingenious and thrilling, good characterization, surprise climax, elegant staging"; and The Daily Film Renter: "Excellent thriller and entertainment."  The man in black does not seem to have been released in America ..." according to Johnson and Del Vecchio.

 

“Crime.  Yoga expert fakes death and poses as gardener to stop his wife driving his daughter insane.” according to Gifford (2000).

 

HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1961)  dir. Vernon Sewell.  56mins.  Jane Hylton  Nanette Newman

Superior support feature from veteran director Vernon Sewell.  He returns to his favourite theme of couples with haunted property, as seen in his earlier Gothique outings 'Latin quarter' (1945) Season 38 (2003) and 'Ghost ship' (1952) Season 41 (2007), based on the same play.

 

 

“Though far less stylish in presentation than another of Vernon Sewell's grand guignol exercises, Latin Quarter, this is nonetheless a gripping little film, with a fairly unusual plot and some good touches - mainly in the séance, nicely underplayed by Colin Gordon and Molly Urquhart, and in its revelation, made visual, of the murders.  Not all the pitfalls of the flashback device have been avoided, so there are occasional longueurs, and one or two of the supporting performances are weak.  But in the main the narrative is ingeniously worked out, giving full credit to the supernatural, and is full of satisfying yet unsensational surprises.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin June 1961.  Suitability: A, B [age 13 and older]  II (Average)

 

“This is Sewell's fifth and final version of the plot with which he had made his directorial debut - in The medium - and after the uneven Ghost ship, here he goes back to the more appropriate haunted-house setting.  ...  Sewell handles the complex flashback structure with considerable skill, and there is no padding to divert attention from the gradual intensification of the suspense up to the unnerving ending.  Sewell's subsequent work (The blood beast terror, The curse of the crimson altar) was both more ambitious and less successful, although both films extended the thematic motif of neurotic but still sane men being driven over the edge by perverse, insatiable women.  The picture's title is, to say the least, unoriginal , having been used before for entirely different stories, in 1934, 1938 and 1939.” according to Hardy (1985).

 

“Fantasy.  Ghost tells couple how medium uncovered murder of previous tenants.” according to Gifford (2000).

 

"Effectively spooky little thriller, a story of jealousy and murder." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"A cautionary little tale that shows a grim side to prospective property purchasing, House of mystery is a brief but gripping marvel from the era of the British quota quickie.  Its director, Vernon Sewell, did much of his most notable work under the restrictive conditions dictated by that particular form, and if such a supposed journeyman can be said to have enjoyed a golden career period, then the 1961-62 season, which spawned his startling hat trick of The man in the back seat, Strongroom, and this slant on cursed / haunted abode shtick, is surely it.  Dare we compare the screenplay of this throwaway to the revered output of Nigel Kneale?   ..." according to Buxton.

 

"Based on L'Angoisse, a play by Pierre Mills and C Vylars, which director-writer Vernon Sewell filmed several times; before this, his best stab at the story, he'd made The medium (1934), Latin Quarter (1945) and Ghost ship (1952).  With Peter Duneley (Jeff Tracy on Thunderbirds ), Colin Gordon (a Number 2 on The Prisoner) and Nanette Newman (The Stepford Wives)." according to Newman (2012).

 

 

 

 

 

Better Late Than Never Part 3

 

Friday 18 March

 

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960)  dir. Roger Corman.  72mins.  Jonathan Haze  Jackie Joseph

This double bill was announced for Season 16 (1982), so thanks for waiting patiently for 34 years!  This classic early horror comedy from legendary director Roger Corman features a man eating plant – and Jack Nicholson (whatever happened to him?!) as a masochistic dental patient!

 

 

“For some reason never previously released in this country, The little shop of horrors may perhaps be less compulsive than A bucket of blood, from which its plot clearly derives, but it still remains the best full-length horror comedy ever made in two days.  Not to be taken seriously for an instant with its snappish cries of "Feed me!" and its delicate digestive habits (gunmen go down well but guns are regurgitated with a reproachful belch), the monster plant is irresistibly tatty, starting life as what looks suspiciously like two halves of an avocado potted with a fringe of greenery, and ending it unashamedly as a thing of shreds and patches. ... The little shop of horrors is no masterpiece, but it is fun.” according to Tom Milne in Monthly Film Bulletin April 1973

 

"Roger Corman is the American director whose work is probably most often described as 'faceless'.  Throughout his early career in the mid- and late- 1950s and early 1960s at Allied Artists and American International Pictures, Corman toiled to produce 'the quickies' - the cheap, sci-fi extravaganzas rushed through small studios on small budgets to fill the 'selected outlying theatres'.  Corman's work has often been dismissed with ease by most critics as a lowbrow derivative of the dying Hollywood studio system, which demands raw 'product' devoid of any personal stamp or unique vision.,  Indeed. Corman's reputation in Hollywood rests on his cheaply made and extremely lucrative series of Edgar Allan Poe 'adaptations' that were produced in the early 1960s as vehicles for Vincent Price.  Critics who attack Corman's filmology for its seeming vacuity are evidently overlooking two of his late 1950s productions that. although shot on minuscule budgets at breakneck speed, display an astonishing, even prodigious, exploration of black humour, coupled with a personal theme that reappears in many of Corman's other films.  A bucket of blood and The little shop of horrors must rate as two of the strangest anomalies ever produced in Hollywood .  Corman states that Bucket was shot in five days, and Little shop was filmed in two.  Both run under an hour and ten minutes.  The above production figures smack of the 'product' mentality, but the films are plotted in such an unusual, nay irrational, manner that the chances for audience understanding and appreciation were marginal at best.  The two films are virtually identical in plot and character development; Corman's frequent collaborator Charles B Griffith scripted both.  They are identical in another fashion: they work most poorly on their own purported level, as horror films.  Both A bucket of blood and The little shop of horrors function primarily as social satire of the most violent sort.  A particularly apt, though not readily apparent, comparison would be with the English feature Kind hearts and coronets, which is thematically quite similar.  The conflict in both films is between WASP society and the archetypical unassimilated Jewish schlemiel.  Corman visualizes is Jewish protagonists as slight, quiet (though prone to monologizing) and inarticulate.  ... Both protagonists arrive at the same conclusion as the bourgeois English hero of Kind hearts and coronets: if success through the normal societal channels appears impossible, then it is worth killing for it. ...  The little shop of horrors deals with the same themes and motifs as A bucket of blood, but has a special flavour lacking in its predecessor.  The film is set on the Lower East Side of New York; the parodies of Jewish characters (particularly Mel Welles's turn as the Shylock-like florist Mushnik) crystallize a theme that might get lost in the broad monster-movie shenanigans. ...  Absurd?  Certainly.  No audience could be expected to take either A bucket of blood or The little shop of horrors seriously as horror films.  They are instead social comedies of the blackest order." according to Morris.

 

"New World films are full of jokey references to Corman's low budget triumphs of the past.  The carnivorous plant from The little shop of horrors turns up behind a locked cell door in Eat my dust, still plaintively crying 'Feed me!' " according to Cross.

 

"Ironically, both American films that were invited top be shown "out-of-competition" at Cannes in 1960 were about Jewish people.  Otto Preminger's Exodus was about Jewish refugees and freedom fighters trying to establish a Jewish homeland.  Roger Corman's The little shop of horrors dealt with a miserly Yiddish businessman, his slow-thinking Jewish princess daughter, his schlemiel employee, ... Preminger's film was set in Israel and was seen all over the world; Corman's was set on Skid Row and played on Skid Row (or within walking distance).  Today Exodus is considered an overblown spectacle; The little shop of horrors is considered one of the most efficient pieces of filmmaking ever accomplished. The story Corman tells is that he made The little shop of horrors because he had the opportunity to utilize sets left standing, temporarily, from another film, - worth gold to the low-budget producer - and was excited by the challenge of trying to make a picture before the sets were torn down.  This meant working round the clock, but filming took only two days to complete, breaking Corman's personal five-day shooting record set with Bucket of blood.  What is remarkable is that despite the minuscule shooting schedule and budget (estimates range from $22 000 to $100 000), Little shop is inventively written, ... spiritedly played, and professionally made.  It is not sloppy at all, and, unlike Bucket of blood, it is consistently amusing. ...  Little shop  is a send-up without pretensions of relevance or artistic merit; if it had turned out to be a disaster, Corman likely would have released it anyway.  Fortunately everything on this film clicked, due to a combination of good writing, energetic direction and performance, and, while it is no masterpiece, Little shop is a low-budget gem." according to Peary (1982)

 

"Corman's cult-classic comedy was a follow-up to Bucket of blood and used the same music and same scriptwriter. ... Every time it is on television, schoolkids go round yelling "Feed me!  I'm hungry!" the next day.  Not to be missed.  In 1982, it became an Off Broadway musical in New York.  Scriptwriter Charles Griffith had to sue for credit." according to Weldon

 

"[The man with X-ray eyes s] possession of forbidden knowledge is his undoing.  Corman explored similar themes in  Bucket of blood and The little shop of horrors, minibudgeted horror comedies that established the director's underground reputation in the seventies.  Both were written by Charles B Griffith - then in his late twenties - an immensely clever writer with a penchant for zany dialogue, absurd situations, and improbable heroes who exist unappreciated and unloved on society's fringe.   [The little shop of horrors]'s nighttime exteriors, shot on location in the slums of Los Angeles, are straight out of Nathaniel West, and contribute to the aura of surreal hopelessness.  Winos lie sprawled in doorways and young men shoot craps on the sidewalk.  The depressing garishness of the neon signs and sleazy bars provides a curious complement to the bizarre zaniness of the script.  At the climax, Seymour is chased by police through a tyre and bathroom fixture graveyard.  Budget forced Corman to shoot with a minimum of illumination, so the sequence is as darkly menacing as similar moments in any of the classic film noirs of the forties and fifties.  Seymour, unloved and alienated, is very nearly a tragic hero.  The little shop of horrors played drive-ins and neighbourhood theatres in its original 1960 release, made a few dollars, and was forgotten about by all except a handful of film buffs.  Its popularity slowly grew with local television broadcasts throughout the sixties and seventies. ... In 1982 a musical comedy play based on the film opened off-Broadway and grew into a major hit.  ... Film director Frank Oz successfully brought the musical to the screen in 1986.  So The little shop of horrors, by coming full circle, is a sort of vindication for Roger Corman and Charles Griffith, both of whom toiled for years without recognition in the ghetto of B-movies.  Seymour and Audrey Jr have made the big time.  In the play, the girl Audrey is as much an emotional waif as Seymour.  The gambit expands the play's focus but dulls much of the story's edge.  Tragic heroes do not remain tragic if they share their misery.  Both Seymours amuse us but only Corman's touches us." according to Hogan.

 

"Roger Corman's genuinely funny cult classic,  ...  is a spoof of every mad-scientist picture in which blood is needed to keep some experimental creature alive, and of every fifties sci-fi film in which there is a giant mutation, and of numerous horror films.  It's also a take-off on Jerry Lewis comedies, with Seymour as the man-child with an IQ of seven, a good heart, a lousy personality, and work habits that drive his boss crazy; fifties television comedies in which everyone faces the camera (I truly think a laugh track would have made the picture funnier); and Dragnet (the terse, unemotional dialogue between Smith and Fink, the two detectives investigating missing persons, is hilarious).  Picture is also a satire: the use of Jewish stereotypes will offend few because they're too ridiculous to be taken seriously. ..." according to Peary (1987)

 

"The sneak audiences loved the picture and caught on to the weird humor right away. ... Nevertheless, in its initial release, the film was only a moderate success, which was a sort of anticlimax.  A movie that wild and strange shouldn't be only a moderate success.  It should either have been a hit or a flat-out failure.  It was a letdown to make back the $30,000 negative cost with just a modest profit.  But over the years, The little shop of horrors caught on as a cult item and just kept going and going and going, generating rentals on campuses and at midnight shows in art houses through the years.  It became a phenomenon much like The rocky horror picture show, where people who have seen it dozens of times and memorized the entire film shout lines in the theater." according to Corman.

 

"This is the ultimate Roger Corman super-low budget cult favourite, also one of the funniest black comedies ever made. ...  While its story doesn't make for very funny reading The little shop of horrors is a hilarious (and yes, quite silly) film filled to the brim with enough little vignettes and character quirks to sustain laughter throughout its brief 70 minute running time.  Shot in two days by Corman, who was challenged by a studio employee to come up with a script and shoot a movie in the brief time remaining before the storefront set was torn down (it had been left standing from another production).  The little shop of horrors is surprisingly well shot and performed.  Corman contacted screenwriter Chuck Griffith from his other camp hit, A bucket of blood, and together they hacked out the killer plant story in less than a week.  Aided by on-the-set-inspiration, Corman, his crew, and the cast ... threw together a small masterpiece of taut, economical filmmaking. ..." according to Monaco.

 

"Undoubtedly the best movie ever made in two day, The little shop of horrors is possibly also the funniest Science Fiction horror film ever.  Directed with gusto by Corman and acted with aching delight by its cast ...however tatty the sets are, however silly the plant's angry cries of 'feed me, feed me' are on further reflection, our commitment to the film as been secured.  Unlike many of the really bad Science Fiction films (such as the infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space) that have become cult classics in recent years because their ineptitude and total lack of imagination invite laughter, The little shop of horrors invites us to laugh with it,   An amazing film." according to Hardy (1995)

 

"... 'We stole a lot of time - we did 15 minutes of exteriors for a total of $1,100,' said Mel Welles, who claimed to have had to speak 98 pages of dialogue in two days and none of it ad-libbed and who also doubled as producer of the second unit Skid Row footage directed by Griffith with a pick up crew.  Griffith also turned up in front of the camera in three roles as well as providing the peremptory voice ('Feeed meee!) of the man-eating plant Audrey.  Corman changed the shooting title from The passionate people eater to The little shop of horrors; it made its money back and then built up its cult status over the years.  ...  Fast, funny and arguably the best of Corman's horror-comedy trilogy, The little shop of horrors zestfully revamps the plot of A bucket of blood to produce a macabre B film masterpiece with a snide satirical take-off of Jack Webb's Sergeant Joe Friday from Dragnet, and is light-years ahead of the floridly over-decorated 1986 musical remake. .Variety:-..'Lower-berth comedy relief for horror twin-bills.  The comedy is low.  ... limited fiscal resources haven't deterred Roger Corman and his game, resourceful little Filmgroup from whipping up a serviceable parody of a typical screen horror number.  It makes a handy supporting attraction for shock features, supplying both comedy relief and offbeat diversion.  Actually, The little shop of horrors is kind of one big 'sick' joke, but it's essentially harmless and good-natured and there's an audience for it ...  the percentage of parody is less than 50 - 50, but the film comes up with several good laughs via its wild disregard for reality and its wacky characterization ... in short, the film is a sort of rowdy vegetable that hits the funnybone in about the same way as seeing a man slip on a banana peel does.  It's absurd but different.  Considering the minimal expense and time allotment, a high degree of technical proficiency is exhibited.  The acting is pleasantly preposterous... comic support is broad, sick and low, but it plays.  Horticulturalists and vegetarians will love it, particularly on Arbor day.'  Motion Picture Herald:-..'Horrifically funny ... if Charles Griffith intended tongue-in-cheek story treatment, he's admirably succeeded.  The deft production-directorial touches of the resourceful, redoubtable Roger Corman are very much present ... exploitation tie-ups are seemingly endless.'  Fangoria:-..'You can't exactly call the picture a sophisticated satire but it still holds up as ... unique and endearing adventure in shoestring filmmaking.'  " according to Frank (1998)

 

"A Corman quickie, allegedly shot in two days, that is a lively, if occasionally ramshackle, comic delight with a notable cameo from Nicholson as a masochist." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"The producer/ director Roger Corman managed a gentler strain of horror comedy, albeit less in his superlative spoof quickies The little shop of horrors and A bucket of blood than the long line of Corman alumni." according to Marriott and Newman.

 

 

"The flowers that kill in the Spring TRA-LA"

 

"The funniest picture this year!"

 

"The store with more."

 

 

THE UNCANNY (1977)  dir. Denis Héroux.  89mins.  Peter Cushing  Ray Milland

In this macabre compendium, one of our finest genre actors stars as a horror writer who has stumbled upon a terrible secret: that cats are supernatural creatures who really call the shots.  In a desperate attempt to get others to believe him, he relates three tales of feline horror.

 

 

“Feline revolutionaries need have no fears; despite all the suppressive efforts made by their movie brethren, no conspiratorial secrets are in danger of being given away by this drearily routine confection.  Revealing no instinct whatsoever for the inherent menace of cats, so that his feline villains look as threatening as a collection of neutered toms purring by the fireside, Denis Heroux resorts to the feeble expedient of turning them into tigers (innumerable shots of cats, all too clearly launched by human agency off-screen, springing on to their victims), ... (the special effects here aren't a patch on The Incredible Shrinking Man). ... Impersonating the traditional dumb blonde with a touch of secret amusement that is wholly delightful, Samantha Eggar alone escapes the general air of deja vu” according to Tom Milne in Monthly Film Bulletin July 1977

 

"Another horror anthology, with three stories linked by appearances of Ray Milland, Peter Cushing and some killer cats. ... Not released to American theaters." according to Weldon (1983)

 

"An oddball addition to the ranks of the omnibus horror movie, The uncanny is a stolid attempt to exploit the potential menace of cats, a theme better treated in The shadow of the cat and Il gatto nero.  ... The flat-footed handling fails to achieve the tongue-in-cheek tone presumably being aimed for and treats the cats essentially as props, springing (or more accurately being thrown) toward their victims.  The overall effect is of good actors wasted in laborious, under-written roles." according to Hardy (1985)

 

"Below par horror compendium with crude effects failing to bolster a sagging script." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"... With Cushing in place, Subotsky assembled a considerable display of thespian talent ... including Susan Penhaligon, Donald Pleasence, Samantha Eggar and Ray Millan.  Budgeted at 1.1 million dollars, the film - retitled The uncanny - went into production on November 16th 1976 in Montreal.  It was the fourth film made under the Quebec Cinema Act of 1975.  After four weeks in Canada, the unit returned for a further two weeks of shooting in Pinewood on the 4th of December.  As was so often the case, Subotsky decided the finished film was a disaster and that it was his duty to 'rescue' it in the cutting room. ... Not even one of Subotsky's rush editing jobs could save The uncanny.  Released in April 1877 the film was barely screened anywhere, and those who bothered to review it were less than impressed: "A run of the mill mixture of straight and camped up horrors that read better than they play" observed Screen International, while Variety claimed "There's nothing to recommend this beyond its cheapness."...  " according to Bryce.

 

"Amicus dissolved in the mid 1970s, but Subotsky has since produced two entirely terrible anthologies: The uncanny, about homicidal cats and The monster club, a dire farce padded with instantly dating rock music." according to Newman (2011).

 

 

"They prowl by night...lusting for human flesh!"

 

"Cats aren't always cute and cuddly!"

 

"A trilogy of feline terror!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How it all began

 

Friday 16 October

 

SON OF KONG (1933)  dir. Ernest B. Schoedsack. 69 mins.  Robert Armstrong  Helen Mack

Yes, folks, way back in September 1966, Robin James and Jim Kearley, the Carl Denhams of the Gothique, started their journey into the unknown with this much-loved adventure fantasy.  Flared jeans are optional, but do join us as we recall where it all started. 

 

 

"The contribution of this sexual element to the success of King Kong was demonstrated by default in the all-but-forgotten sequel, Son of Kong, released later the same year and in which the purported offspring, a great white gorilla, is little more than an emasculated version of the great Kong - funny and endearing as a big teddy bear.  Already the dazzling visual effects begin to look like pointless virtuosity." according to Clarens.

 

“The incredible success called for a sequel and Cooper and Schoedsack rushed Son of Kong into the cinemas for Christmas.  Shorter by thirty minutes than the original's one hundred, the replay gave full rein to O'Brien's humour.  Where he had given the father moments of charming humanity, he made the son such a clown that the film had to be subtitled 'A serio-comic phantasy'.  Both Kongs were scripted by Ruth Rose (Mrs Merian C Cooper) and directed by the ex-cameraman Ernest B Schoedsack, but only the funny son was considered horrific enough to notify the Home Office.  This was the current treatment given to the horror film by the British Board of Film Censors when they felt that their 'A' for Adults Only certificate was insufficient warning.  One other Kong spin off upset them too: King Klunk makes its niche in history as being the first cartoon film branded 'Horrific'.  It starred Pooch the Pup.” according to Gifford (1973).

 

"King Kong's success was assured from the very first.  A rapid follow-up was certain to be a fool proof investment, so Cooper and Schoedsack, quick to take advantage of the fact, rushed into production of a sequel.  In contrast to the three years spent on King Kong, Son of Kong, from conception to release took nine months and was made on a third of the budget.  ...  King Kong made up for what it lacked in plot with style; Son of Kong did not.  It was played strictly for laughs, complete with English sounding monkey gibberish, and although it opened to massive crowds on the strength of its predecessor's fame, its popularity soon waned.  There was considerable friction between O'Brien and his producers on Son of Kong.  He and his crew had been left pretty much to themselves on King Kong, primarily because no one else knew much about the process, and the work had gone smoothly.  By the time Son of Kong went into production, however, Cooper and Schoedsack were familiar with the details of the process and there were many lengthy debates over simple matters which O'Brien felt he could resolve on his own.  Rather than push his protests too far O'Brien went to the opposite extreme and washed his hands of the entire project, refusing to contribute his creativity to the film.  The situation deteriorated to the point where O'Brien seldom even put in an appearance at the studio, and Buzz Gibson finished the animation work by himself.   O'Brien thought that a bit disloyal of him, but kept his opinion to himself.  He finally requested that his name not be included in the film's production credits, but Cooper refused." according to Shay.

 

"Even King Kong isn't much good until the last half hour; and it isn't great until the last 10 minutes.  Not that King Kong qualifies as a B picture, Son of Kong qualifies but not King Kong itself.  One might say that King Kong is the heroic night before, and Son of Kong the hung over morning after.  But I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the ratty fatalism of Son of Kong.  In its depressing way, the last tramp-steamer two-shot of Robert Armstrong and Helen Mack on their way to no place in particular is every bit as memorable as Kong's last anguished  expression atop the Empire State Building.  Still, we can stipulate that the progression from an original to a sequel is often from A to B, not always, but almost always." according to Sarris

 

“Subtitled "A Serio-Comic Phantasy", this hour-long sequel bears all the unfortunate signs of having been rushed into production and hurriedly edited for Christmas release.   there are odd tell-tale signs of shooting on the cheap (notably a couple of unconventional, ill-executed panning shots between talkers in a group which are clearly intended to save on extra camera set-ups).  Curiously the feeble spirit of parody extends beyond King Kong to the strangely contrived scene of mutiny:  on seeing the crew come towards them, Denham remarks to Englehorn "We must be in Russia, here comes a committee of the workers"; when Helstrom is put ashore, a crew member shouts "Bourgeois!" and adds that every captain should be put overboard.  All of which seems to be intended as a send-up of The battleship Potemkin, released in the US in the late Twenties.” according to Martyn Auty in Monthly Film Bulletin December 1979

 

"This instant, light-hearted sequel to King Kong was made in a rush, on half the original's budget.  ... It was nowhere near the hit the original Kong was, sealing the fate of animated fantasies for years. ..." according to Weldon

 

"The commercial success of the original Kong was enormous.  Directors Cooper and Schoedsack and Willis O'Brien rushed a sequel into production, and managed to release it in the same year as its inspiration.  Unfortunately Son of Kong backpedalled; its animation sequences are few and relatively unambitious, its story unnecessarily cute.  Baby Kong (nicknamed Nikko) is an asexual albino who seems more taken with hero Robert Armstrong than with heroine Helen Mack." according to Hogan.

 

"Bargain basement sequel to King Kong is a curio devoid of the original's Freudian implications, mythic and dream elements.  ... Picture is so rushed that one can't even savor Willis O'Brien's special effects. ..." according to Peary (1987)

 

"Hasty sequel to the splendid King Kong; the results were so tame and unconvincing that the film was sold as a comedy but it does have a few moments after four reels of padding." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"RKO had their own monster in the works, though King Kong doesn't seem to have been an attempt to get in on the Dracula - Frankenstein business and probably owes its inspiration to the 1926 film of Arthur Conan Doyle's The lost world , which had proved that Willis H O'Brien's hand-animated prehistoric creatures could carry a picture. ... It was followed by a sequel. Son of Kong and two bloated remakes (1976, 2005), none of which achieved the mythic resonance of the original.  ... After Zaroff and the awe-inspiring Kong, RKO rushed out Son of Kong, the genre's first disappointing sequel, and quit the horror business until the '40s." according to Marriott and Newman.

 

 

"The Twelve Foot Ape Befriended them On the Island of King Kong!"

 

"SEE! The cannibals! The earthquake! The sea serpent! The fighting monsters of ages past!"

 

"Laughs! Thrills! Pathos!"

 

 

 

THEM (1954)  dir. Gordon Douglas.  94mins.  James Whitmore  Edmund Gwenn

After unleashing 'Son of Kong', the Gothique’s second show, in October 1966, included this classic monster movie.  Atomic tests cause ‘something’ to mutate into giant, man-eating beasts that threaten civilisation…if you don’t know what ‘they’ are, you’re about to find out.

 

 

“The science-fiction film has not been with us very long, yet already the genre has its recognisable sub-divisions: the other-worldly, the primeval-monstrous, the neo-monstrous, the planetary-visitant, etc.  Them!, a well-built example of the neo-monstrous, is less absurdly sensational than most, quite persuasively documented, and pleasantly traditional in trimmings (brilliant fuddy-duddy scientist and attractive daughter) and development ... .  The ants themselves are reasonably horrible - they do not entirely avoid the impression of mock-up that is almost inevitable when over-lifesize creatures have to be constructed and moved, but they are considerably more conceivable than those prehistoric remnants that have recently been emerging from bog and iceberg.  Again, like most science-fiction, Them! is on the whole serviceably rather than excitingly cast.  But Edmund Gwenn is quite acceptable as the entomologist, and there is nothing much wrong with any of the other performances.  The direction is smoothly-machined, and the writing decent; though more short cuts might have been taken.  The start especially is too slow.” according to L.G.A. in Monthly Film Bulletin September 1954.  Suitability: A, B [age 13 and older]

 

"The monsters of the nuclear age are all creatures of the Bomb.  Since The beast from 20,000 fathoms was accidentally re-awakened from its lethargy of a million years by the underwater testing of atomic devices, the screen has been overrun by all manner of re-animated prehistoric colossi and raw biological mutants (the atom affects both past and future).  The larger, supposedly extinct creatures whose millennia of hibernation are disrupted by nuclear explosions, usually emerge from such remote parts of the globe as the polar regions  or the bottom of oceans.  They invariably thunder off first to smaller communities where they are seen by witnesses whose reports are dismissed as unreliable by the more enlightened, more sceptical authorities (who live somewhere else). ... This reliable pattern was first established by Ray Bradbury, who wrote the original story for The beast and by Ray Harryhausen who conceived and executed the special effects.  The success of     assured its lineage.  No sooner had the dust settled on the ruins of Coney Island than it was time for Them!.  ...  Part brisk documentary, part outrageous fiction, Them! is probably the most successful example of its class.  It was followed by the enormous octopus of It came from beneath the sea, the stupendous spider of Tarantula, the gargantuan mollusc of The monster that challenged the world, The deadly mantis and Behemoth the sea monster.  These creatures, however imposing, were surpassed in bellicosity by Godzilla, king of the monsters ..." according to Clarens.

 

"... atomic radiation produced lethal giant ants in Them!  This film provided all the horror the audiences could desire, along with intelligent direction by Gordon Douglas, and convincing 15-foot ants loose in the New Mexico desert, killing their victims with mauling injections of concentrated formic acid!  The horror of these monsters was accentuated by the almost documentary handling of the story, ..." according to Frank (1974).

 

“A second side-effect of the nuclear explosion was enlargement.  Them! were ants,  atomically expanded to fifteen-foot lengths, who came jingling out of the New Mexico desert with lethal injections of formic acid at the ready. ... The monsters were proportionate to their budgets, not so much in size as in concept.  If Harryhausen animated his magnified monsters, chances were the film would be good.  At the other end of the scale was Bert I Gordon and his back-projected insects.” according to Gifford (1973).

 

"The feverish activity of the 50s was bound to alarm extra-terrestrials reluctant to allow earthlings to horn in on what was obviously a fairly crowded market.  By now, however, scientists were creating the potential for sufficient havoc on earth itself to make the lonely efforts of Nyah the Devil Girl from Mars or The Man from Planet X seem relatively puny.  Nuclear power fuelled the fantasies of science fiction film makers as powerfully as the triumphs of steam had pumped drama onto the pages of Victorian penny dreadfuls.  The atom-bomb test provided the perfect catalyst.  It raised a monster from the deep in The beast from 20,000 fathoms.  Its fall-out nourished a race of monster ants in Gordon Douglas' Them!   " according to Cross.

 

"Them! reflects the new prestige of science by placing scientists at the centre of world-shaking events.  Dr Medford meets with the president, lectures top public officials and is able to command the full resources of the state. ... here the general has to take orders from Dr Medford.  In fact, he flies Medford around in his Air Force plane like a chauffeur, and Pat Medford observes, 'It's like a scientist's dream.'  ... Often, in films like Them!, the military was not able to use its big guns because it was fighting on its own turf.  Even the army, eager to bomb the ants in the desert, hesitated to nuke Los Angeles, so that the search for the appropriate weapon, more discriminating and selective than the H-bomb, became a major theme in corporate-liberal sci-fi, a distant echo of the fight  within the defence establishment over big bombs or tactical nuclear weapons.  The search for a flexible, limited response to the alien threat reflected corporate liberals' uneasiness with the all-or-nothing strategy of massive retaliation championed by conservatives like Dulles.  In Them! the appropriate weapon is gas, not guns;  " according to Biskind.

 

"This classic science-fiction film was the first of the oversized-bug movies. ... The movie's great but the fun of spotting the supporting players makes it even better. ... After Them's success we were quickly offered Tarantula , The black scorpion , The deadly mantis etc.. ..." according to Weldon

 

"The vulnerability of children and their dismay at the occasional helplessness of their parents has been a recurring motif in horror cinema.  A viewer may remember the little monsters of The bad seed or The nanny with special clarity, but with none of the poignancy reserved for young victims like the little girl (Sandy Descher) in the opening momenmts of Gordon Douglas' Them!, who catatonically wanders the New Mexico desert (pathetically clutching a baby doll) after her parents have been devoured by giant ants.  Later in the film, police and military authorities search for two little boys whose father was dismembered before their eyes as the group flew a model plane in the Los Angeles 'River', the barely damp concrete reservoir that runs the length of the city.  Hero James Whitmore eventually finds the kids cowering in a dark sewer tunnel, and rescues them at the cost of his own life.  Them! proposes that children are the most valuable human resource: before the boys are discovered, a military official suggests that they should be sacrificed in order to insure the safety of the rest of the city.  'Why don't you tell that to their mother?' demands FBI agent James Arness.  'Yeah,' adds Whitmore, 'she's standing right over there.'  The official takes a look at  the fraught woman and softly replies 'Yeah, I see what you mean.'  "according to Hogan.

 

"Ranks with The thing and Invasion of the body snatchers as the best of the countless fifties science fiction films. ...  Picture has been labelled a right-wing fantasy (despite Gwenn's final anti-bomb warning) in which the ants are the Red menace and it's perfectly all right for LA to be placed under martial law and for an innocent man to be kept in a psycho ward so that what he knows won't leak out.  You'll also find elements of Dragnet, the classic fifties TV police show (also set in LA) ..." according to Peary (1987)

 

"Them! is the best of the monster movies of the 1950s which were rooted in concerns that arose due to the advent of the nuclear age. ... The giant ants do look a bit phony, but they are never on screen long enough to become bothersome.  In fact, the image of dozens of giant ants in their underground nest is unforgettable.  There was no stop-motion animation used in the film.  Instead, two actual-sized models were constructed by prop man Dick Smith (one entire ant, and another front section for closeups).  Special effects supervisor Ayres was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film.  The film is produced and performed with such seriousness that one becomes engrossed in the machinations of dealing with such creatures and forgets about plausibility.  Them! was Warner Brothers highest grossing film of 1954 and inspired countless imitations, all of which were inferior to the original." according to Monaco

 

"Directed by Douglas in semi-documentary style Them! is one of the best American science fiction films of the fifties.  So confident were Warners in its success that its content was kept secret during production and even the posters did not give much away. ...Although the film has been described by some commentators as an anti-communist tract, with the ants as communists and Arness as the FBI man cleaning up America, it lacks the paranoia of such films.  ... the fear of Them! is wholly external; they, the ants, are finally on the march.  In short, the film contrasts the artificial havens of man's cities with the hostile world of the desert where nature reigns supreme.  Them! was the largest grossing Warner film of 1954 and was quickly imitated ..." according to Hardy (1995)

 

"... The first of the big-bug movies, far surpassing the rest, this is a classic fun flick. ... Throughout, the focus is more on characters' reactions to the situation rather than on the critters themselves.  That's fine because they are not particularly convincing and the real point is audiences' fears of the then new "atomic age".  See how many names you can spot among the supporting cast, including Leonard Nimoy." according to VideoHound

 

"Among the first, and certainly the best, of the post-atomic monster animal cycle, this durable thriller starts with several eerie desert sequences and builds up to a shattering climax in the Los Angeles sewers.  A general air of understatement helps a lot." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"... when Them! blames its giant ants on A-bomb tests, we are assured that a little tightening up of safety precautions at the Atomic Energy Commission will prevent further mishaps.  After all, the giant ants are swiftly and efficiently dealt with by the army and the scientific community, the very forces whose weapons research programmes created them.  ...Since Them! and The deadly mantis spoilsports have pointed out that big bugs are zoologically unfeasible: the size of insects is limited by their respiratory systems, so a truck sized cicada would not be a viable life form." according to Newman (2011).

 

 

"The Amazing New Warner Bros. Sensation!"

 

"FANTASTIC MONSTERS ATTACK EARTH!" (original ad - all caps)

 

"You've never seen the like of THEM!" (Newspaper ad).

 

"The horror-horde of crawl-and-crush giants you've been hearing about on TV and radio!" (Newspaper ad).

 

"A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!"

 

"Kill one and two take its place!"

 

"This city is under martial law until we annihilate THEM!"

 

"An Endless Terror! A Nameless Horror!"

 

"The Sci-Fi Classic of the Atomic Age"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sci-fi night

 

Friday 20 November

 

DARK CITY (1998)  dir. Alex Proyas.  100mins.  Rufus Sewell  Kiefer Sutherland

We hope that Gothique member, John Love, who has recently had his second Sci Fi novel published, will be introducing a Sci Fi show for us. The first film is seen by some as a modern dark sci fi classic.

 

 

“During a lengthy production, Alex Proyas' second feature film metaphorically drew in its horizons: announced as 'Dark universe' and shot under the working title 'Dark world', it has finally arrived as Dark city.  This last title is as apt as the others, and perhaps less of a give-away of the film's final revelation, while it also evokes numerous films noirs (The dark past, The dark corner, Night and the city) particularly William Dieterle's Dark city.   The strangest thing about the noir-science fiction setting that this latest Dark city adopts is that it has become such a familiar backdrop for recent movies.  There's Blade runner, of course but also The crow, Proyas' debut, which was set in just such a city of dreadful night, a small-scale imitation of Batman's Gotham City.   Dark city shifts its allegiances slightly, taking much of its visual style from Terry Gilliam's Brazil.  The underside of the city, where vast clanking machines work huge changes in the upperworld and bald-headed aliens float around in black leather robes, is equally indebted to Fritz Lang's Metropolis (with Kiefer Sutherland's psychiatrist Schreber standing in for Rotwang) as well as to Clive Barker's Hellraiser and its first sequel. ... So although Dark city is a definite improvement on the paper-thin posing of The crow, this is nevertheless not quite as achieved a film as it might have been.” according to Kim Newman in Sight and Sound June 1998

 

"There is, however. a second and more affectively engaged mode of imagining the science-fiction city in the 1990s.  This urban imagination borrows heavily from the film noir roots and urban mise-en-scene of Blade runner, but its poetic resonance is less eroticized and much bleaker; and, in at least one of its latest expressions, Dark city, the entire narrative explicitly foregrounds and visually concretizes the rootless, vertiginous and insecure sense that the city is groundless in time and place.  The cinematic experience of the city is not of the free fall or giddy displacement of 'going over the top', of campy exaggeration or nostalgic pastiche.  No longer merely 'on the edge', this urban imagery takes us literally 'over the edge'.  The city's inhabitants (if, indeed, they still can be called such) are increasingly dislocated in space - and, dislocated, their very identities shift and become displaced and ungrounded.  Thus, it is not coincidental that this mode of urban science-fiction film is as concerned with time and memory as it is with space and place.  Its correlations between the ungrounding of urban space and the ungrounding of identity begin with Blade runner and are followed by The terminator, Robocop, Total recall and more recently Strange days and Twelve monkeys.  In these films, we see the city of the future as what Roger Ebert has succinctly described as 'a grunge pit'.  The word 'pit' here is telling.  Increasingly, urban science-fiction space seems not only grungy but also bottomless and, in various ways, unfathomable.  ...these unstable, boundless, and yet hermetic qualities become the very stuff of narrative in the aptly named Dark city.  Through the use of digital morphing and warping, the very ground of urban and cinematic space and time is destabilized by digital effects and the effects of the digital.  Both literally and metaphorically, the city's premisses no longer hold.  Dark city is some perpetually nocturnal and hermetic metropolis that combines the urban visions of German Expressionism, Edward Hopper and film noir; and its human inhabitants never seem to know where they are, where they are going or how to get anywhere. ..." according to Sobchack

 

"Paranoid fantasy that owes its visual style to graphic novels such as 'The Crow', and its tone to film noir; its narrative, though, is more muddled and, ultimately, somewhat forgettable." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"Towards the end of the twentieth century, we lost confidence in reality.  Everything - identity, morality, time, space, gender, political alignment, relationships, memory, history - became provisional.  Consider the premises of these turn-of-the-millennium films:  In crime movies ... [The usual suspects, The blackout, Memento, Femme fatale].  In children's films ... [Toy story, Harry Potter, Spirited away].  In historical/ biographical drama ... [Titanic, A beautiful mind, Confessions of a dangerous mind].  In science fiction ... [Strange days].  A cityscape of perpetual night turns out to be an artificial world where humans are experimented on by aliens (Alex Proyas' Dark city), [Thirteenth floor, eXistenz, Cypher, Inception].  In artier, more satirical science fiction  [The Truman show, Donnie Darko, Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind].  In American art movies ... [Being John Malkovich, Eyes wide shut, Mulholland Dr, Big fish].  In comedy ... [Bruce almighty, The league of gentlemen's apocalypse, Bewitched, Stranger than fiction, The hangover].  Something is going on here, manifesting across such a wide range of cinema that it's inescapable." according to Newman (2011).

 

 

" 'Blade runner meets The Crow' - Total Film; 'A hyper-stylish thriller' - The Face; 'Visual feast' - Daily Mail; 'A great blend of sci-fi and crime thriller ... it's a winner' - Daily Star; 'The finest science fiction film in years' - Time Out New York" according to the cover.

 

 

"They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off."

 

"Forget the Sun. Forget Time. Forget Your Memories."

 

"Darkness Falls Soon"

 

"A world where the night never ends. Where man has no past. And humanity has no future."

 

"You are not who you think you are"

 

 

 

 

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)  dir. James Whale.  67mins.  Boris Karloff  Elsa Lanchester

This fascinating, humorous horror classic, follow up to the original Universal Frankenstein, was shown in Season 6 (1972).

 

 

“This production has to contend with all the difficulties which inevitably confront sequels, and it is by no means completely successful in overcoming them.  Though there are moments of real horror there are others when the thrills fail to thrill.  The monster is less terrifying, partly because the dawning in him of human qualities arouses sympathy for him.  The final scene is reminiscent of the similar scene in Frankenstein.  The technical side of the film is extraordinarily good, and there are some extremely effective episodes, while the eerie and fantastic nature of the theme is emphasised by the excellence of the acting.  Suitability: A.  This film is one for adults only, and is quite unsuitable for children, or for nervous people of any age.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin January - July 1935

 

"If Universal expected Whale to deliver the formula as before, they got more than they bargained for. The bride of Frankenstein is the high point of his career, a baroque exercise in the fantastic that periodically succeeds in parodying itself.  For once, the sequel improves on the original.  Where Frankenstein had hardly any music - a few snatches composed by David Broekman and heard under the opening credits - The bride has a full score by Frank Waxman, which includes a leitmotiv for the Monster and his bride.  The rather austere photography of the original is replaced here by the fluid, elaborate travellings of John D Mescall.  ...  The bride was to be Whale's last venture into fantasy.  During the filming, he met with some opposition from Universal, on the grounds that he had made the Monster too human to be frightening. ... Later, the studio was to revive the Monster periodically, but as far as James Whale was concerned, this film brought the Frankenstein saga to an end" according to Clarens.

 

The bride of Frankenstein was a sequel, yet it came closer to the original novel than did the original film. ... The bride of Frankenstein remains the biggest-budgeted, best dressed, highest-polished, finest-finished horror film in history; a first-class Hollywood product made with all the artistry and technology a top studio normally lavished upon only its most commercial ventures.  It was Whale's best work - and his last in the genre; he felt he could not top it.  With it he established himself as the master director of horror - although there are many who feel his sense of humour dilutes rather than enhances the whole.” according to Gifford (1973).

 

"Whale made The bride of Frankenstein very much a personal film characterised by his quirky sense of humour, notably in the gin-sipping Praetorius of Ernest Thesiger and the too idyllic episode with the blind man, which bordered on parody.  Karloff himself considered it a mistake to allow the monster to be too human, too sympathetic.  The film was as much parody as horror, but while the macabre gothic touches make for humour, they also weaken the horror.  That is not to say that there should be no humour in screen horror - humour plays a most important part in the structure of horror films, especially when it is inserted deliberately to 'unwind' an audience after a climax of terror.  But The bride of Frankenstein succeeds more perhaps on a level of parody than on the level of pure horror achieved by Frankenstein." according to Frank (1974).

 

"The bride of Frankenstein and The son of Frankenstein, however were every bit as ambitious as the original Frankenstein." according to Sarris

 

"By late 1933, the sequel for which Universal had been agitating ever since the returns started coming in on Frankenstein had been definitely slated as a vehicle for Karloff and Lugosi to follow The black cat , with Lugosi in a mad-doctor role that eventually became Thesiger's Dr Praetorius; the title had been changed from The Return of Frankenstein to Frankenstein lives again; and R C Sheriff had turned down an invitation to work on the script ('It was dreadful stuff.  I should have spent the summer writing pulp and been ashamed of every page I wrote.') after completing One more river.  Whale himself, unable to prevaricate any longer, had resigned himself to the inevitable in the hope that he could wring a little more mileage out of the characters by going back to Mary Shelley's storyline and her conception of Frankenstein's creature as more sinned against than sinning.   Matching the black humour with which Whale kept his boredom at bay, and excelling even his makeup job for the monster, Jack Pierce created a weirdly compelling figure out of  the bride simply by including grisly reminders of her origins in the shroudlike floor-length robe (designed to conceal the huge shoe-lifts Lanchester wore), the mummy-wrapped hands and arms, and the hair frizzed out in electric shock and shot through with lightning streaks of silver.  Since the monster had been burned alive in the windmill at the end of Frankenstein Pierce also took the trouble to resuscitate him with his hair singed off, and one side of his face and a hand burned by the fire: a meticulous piece of craftsmanship that was rather undercut by the fact that Universal, concurrently re-releasing Frankenstein and touchingly worried in case audiences wondered how the monster came to be alive, excised the final scene in the burning windmill from the new prints.  ...The bride of Frankenstein is closer to The old dark house than to Frankenstein." according to Hardy (1985)

 

"As is well known, Frankenstein was a tremendous box office success, and. along with Dracula, established Universal as Hollywood's preeminent purveyor of horror.  James Whale returned to direct The bride of Frankenstein. as a precocious example of the sort of black comedy that would not become fashionable until the sixties.  ...  Lanchester's female Monster is nearly as familiar an image as Karloff's.  With her Nefertiti hairdo electrified with platinum waves, and her skittish, bird-like demeanour, she's the ultimate in soured blind dates.  Though the film brims with mordant humour (Praetorius is a particularly vivid eccentric), we can empathize with Karloff's Monster, who time and again comes agonisingly close to establishing familial relationships, only to have them snatched away.  ...  The Monster seems doomed to a lonely, miserable life as a misunderstood outcast.  The grim parallel with the life of Christ is not accidental; much of the film's cleverness lies in Whale's impudent religious symbolism." according to Hogan.

 

"James Whale's stylized, stunningly imaginative, wickedly funny horror masterpiece was made four years after his Frankenstein.  It is surpassed only by King Kong among the all-time best monster movies, and not even that film has as much "class".   There are many reasons the film is better than the original, not the least being that it deals with the monster's need for female companionship, which is central to the second half of Shelley's novel.  It is not cold, bleak or depressing like the original.  It has a higher budget and the production values breathe life into the story.  ... Neither Whale nor cameraman John Mescall strove for realism: this film is meant to be visualization of a story.  Whale displays a bold, macabre sense of humor throughout   ." according to Peary (1987)

 

"One of the seminal achievements of Hollywood cinema, this brilliant sequel to the original Frankenstein is one of the greatest films of its genre and remains a lasting tribute to the unique genius of director Whale.  A splendid combination of gothic horror and impish wit, The bride of Frankenstein is a Whale masterpiece.  The film is an unforgettable visual experience with its expressionistic sets, costumes and makeup; striking special effects, chiaroscuro lighting and bold camerawork.  Waxman's magnificent score adds greatly  to the overall effects ... A film whose black humour and sense of self-parody made Mel Brooks' delightful send-up Young Frankenstein quite unnecessary. The bride of Frankenstein  transcends even the excesses allowed by its genre to become one of the oddest and most memorable films ever made in America." according to Monaco

 

"The sequel to Whale's Frankenstein, The bride of Frankenstein is even more impishly perverse than the earlier film.  Where before Whale had used irony as a distancing effect and means of keeping at bay the gothic excesses of Mary Shelley's novel, excesses that Terence Fisher would excite in his Frankenstein films for Hammer commencing with The Curse of Frankenstein, in The bride of Frankenstein he indulges in a peculiar mix of morbidity and devastating black humour.   The movie has been widely praised as both Whale's best and the best of the thirties monster films.  Certainly it is more stylishly mounted than the somewhat awkwardly constructed Frankenstein and the further sequels bear no comparison to it.  However the cost of Whale's morbid playfulness is a further decrease in the primitive vigour of the material at his disposal.  In short, what Bride represents is what can only be seen as the decisive step in the creation of the monster genre; as such, it marked a retreat from the ferocious, analytic quality of Karl Freund's Mad Love which represented a tradition that only resurfaced in Roger Corman's cycle of films derived from the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the sixties.  On its own terms, however, the film was an undoubted success.    " according to Hardy (1995)

 

"The bride of Frankenstein is not merely a very bizarre but a very black fantasy (though never recognised as such).  Between men and women there is nothing but incomprehension and repulsion, but the dream of a world without women proves untenable.  Checkmate. ...  Nevertheless, it is suggestive, funny and subversive enough (in embryo) to have provided, forty years later (and mixed in with The old dark house). the starting point for the film that most ecstatically sets out to break down all the boundaries and structures of sexuality by and through which most of us are forced to live - The rocky horror picture show ." according to Jenks

 

"The classic sequel to the classic original. ... More humor than the first, but also more pathos, including the monster's famous but short-lived friendship with a blind hermit, who teaches the monster to speak. ..." according to VideoHound

 

"Frankenstein was startlingly good in a primitive way; this sequel is the screen's sophisticated masterpiece of black comedy, with all the talents working deftly to one end.  Every scene has its own delights and they are woven together into a superb if wistful cinematic narrative which, of its gentle mocking kind, has never been surpassed." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"What Universal really wanted weren't just follow-ups but sequels: James Whale was given carte-blanche - along with a dream cast, including Ernest Thesiger and Elsa Lanchester - to make The bride of Frankenstein, which is at once a genuine expansion of his original and a deconstructive parody of it.  Waspish, sly, charming, perverse and emotionally devastating, Bride shows how far Hollywood had come in only four years: already, the 1931 film with its lack of music and dull, drawing room chats, seemed antique, while Bride has a full score by Franz Waxman, no patience at all with boring characters (Valerie Hobson barely gets a look-in, though she officially has the title role) and enormous visual sophistication to go with its bare-faced cheek.  If it had been up to Whale, the horror cycle would have ended with Bride - he certainly had no more to say on the subject (like Browning, he didn't really work after the mid '30s). ... Whale, initially reluctant to helm a sequel, insisted on a framing device that clearly marked the film out as a fantasy, narrated by its author, and allowed him to dispense with the bleak realism of the first film in favour of a peculiarly sophisticated mixture of acid satire, tenderness and horror. ...Heterosexual relationships are ridiculed throughout ...; the only successful relationship is between the Monster and the blind violinist, society's rejects, and many have interpreted the film as a subversive celebration of Whale's own homosexuality.  ... Christianity is also mocked by Pretorius, who exhorts Henry to "follow the lead of nature ... or of God, if you like your Bible stories", and parallels are drawn between the Monster and Christ: he is put on a cross and stoned by villagers and shares a meal of bread and wine with the violinist. ... Whale manages to walk a tightrope between poetic intensity and parody that finally succeeds magnificently." according to Marriott and Newman.

 

 

"WHO will be The Bride of Frankenstein WHO will dare? "

 

"A BRIDE FOR THE MONSTER COMES TO LIFE IN A SCIENTIST'S LABORATORY! " (original print ad - all caps)

 

"She breathes, sees, hears, walks -- but can she love?"

 

"WARNING! Not for the young, the scary, the nervous, BUT if you enjoy thrills, chills and spine-tingling sensation, while your hair stands on end -- SEE "The Bride of Frankenstein." "

 

"Warning! The Monster demands a Mate! "

 

"I Demand A Mate! "

 

"Coming! Universal's Shiveriest Sensation! "

 

"A Mate... For The Monster! "

 

"The Monster Thriller"

 

"Created in a weird scientist's laboratory... from the skeletons of two women and the heart of a living girl!

 

"The Monster Talks and Demands A Mate! "

 

 

 

 

 

 

At first it was thought that our copy of Alias John Preston was completely unplayable but it turned out to be OK (at least until the last 2 minutes).  Hence the notes below on last minute substitute Paul Temple - not shown.

 

Better Late Than Never Part 1 – Farewell Sir Christopher

 

Friday 18 December

 

ALIAS JOHN PRESTON (1955)  dir. David MacDonald.  66mins.  Christopher Lee  Betta St. John

Over the years, several films have been advertised but not shown. Proving the adage that if you stick around long enough they will turn up we present this eerie mystery, originally scheduled for Season 47 (2013).  The poster asked “Is this man a devil in the flesh?”.  Well, we can find out now!  Sir Christopher always objected to being pigeon holed as the Hammer Horror man.  In this British Poverty Row production he has more of a straight dramatic role.

 

 

“Edward and Harry Danziger were expatriate Americans who were making films in Britain by the late 1940s.  For fifteen years they turned out scores of second features and TV series as cheaply as possible.  Conditions at their New Elstree Studios were too primitive to allow for adequate sound-proofing, so shooting would halt when ‘noisy’ traffic passed by on the road outside.  Since the studios were near a dairy, this must have been fairly frequently.  Not overly prolific in the horror / SF field (their usual stock–in–trade consisted of standard thrillers like Escort for hire, starring DJ Pete Murray), they are worth noting for two films: Devil girl from Mars and The Tell-tale heart. …”  according to Wathen.

 

“This static and stagey melodrama is unimaginatively handled, finishing with a trick ending which explains remarkably little.  Alexander Knox, as the psychiatrist, brings some degree of plausibility to the proceedings, but the playing generally is characterless.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin August 1956.  Rated III - Poor

 

"Christopher Lee, in an early psychological horror film, stars as a man troubled by nightmares who becomes a Jekyll - Hyde type. ..." according to Weldon (1983)

 

“Dreary, turgid drama: seems much longer than it is.” according to Quinlan.

 

“Crime.  Psychiatrist proves schizophrenic’s nightmare of murder was true.” according to Gifford (2000).

 

"... but for the time being [the Danzigers] settled for more standard second-feature crime fare such as Alias John Preston, starring Christopher Lee, who claims to have been paid the princely sum of £75 for his leading role, a 'by no means atypical Danziger fee.' ...  David Macdonald directed the Danzigers' only film at Brighton:    Alias John Preston,   ...  It was a pretty botched job, over-played and under-plotted, but To-Day's Cinema judged it 'Palatable fodder for the masses'.  ... Another Danziger alumnus, Hungarian Paul Tabori (1908 - 1974). naturally worked for Alexander Korda for several years (1943 - 8) as a contract writer.  Apart from writing the ponderous romantic melodrama, Star of my night, he wrote several pre-horror Hammers.  ....  After Hammer, he opted for the swift and sure, if not munificent, returns of the Danzigers, where his record is less extensive than Clemens' or Grantham's, although the psychiatric melodrama Alias John Preston at least provides an early opportunity for Christopher Lee to reveal his charismatic contact with the camera. " according to Chibnall and McFarlane

 

"Alias John Preston is a scarcely referenced film, yet has much to recommend it, with a screenplay by Paul Tabori, author of lurid tomes such as Crime and the occult and The social history of rape, and the first lead role for horror maestro Christopher Lee.  It's easy to see why the film slipped between the cracks, however.  While a perfectly well accomplished film, with strong acting and a tight storyline, it lacks any hint of action or intrigue, and has a conclusion that is obvious about halfway through the short running time of sixty-six minutes.  ... This was one of four Danziger brothers' productions that Lee appeared in during the space of one year, also taking roles in TV drama series The vise (The final column, The price of vanity and Strangle hold).  The Danzigers' high speed production accounts for the short running time of Alias John Preston, which , according to Lee, had as much to do with budgetary constraints as artistic considerations.   One estimate puts the Danzigers' output at a staggering 351 TV shorts and around 55 cinema features.  Geoffrey Helman, who worked as assistant director on some of the Danzigers later films, recalled that shooting schedules typically ran to 'two and a half days for one TV episode, and maybe a couple of weeks for a feature film,' with any running behind schedule occasionally remedied by ripping a page or two out of the script.  In the context of such whistle-stop production, Alias John Preston is an impressive feat, and in no way a bad film per se.  Its tightly compacted plot and self-conscious intensity though tire the viewer before becoming somewhat infuriating in their transparency. ..." according to Upton.

 

 

"Why Did His Devilish Dreams Persist?" (original US poster)

 

"An Unusual Picture That Carries An Dynamic Wallop!" (original US poster)

 

"The Story of a Strange Man...Who Had Dreams of Death and Murder!" (original US poster)

 

 

 

TOPPER RETURNS (1941)  dir. Roy Del Ruth.  88mins.  Joan Blondell  Roland Young

Taking a break from all-out horror, we present this charming comedy fantasy, originally scheduled for Season 8 (1974).  A sassy girl winds up dead after trading bedrooms with her heiress friend.  Can Cosmo Topper help her ghost unlock the circumstances of her demise?

 

 

"Joan Blondell as Gail Richards gives a very good performance and so do H B Warner as Ann's father, Carole Landis as Ann and Roland Young as Topper.  The trick photography is excellent and gives one a sense of "ghostliness" which, although horrific in reality, is made fantastically amusing in its presentation by the director, Roy Del Ruth." according to Monthly Film Bulletin June 1941

 

"Topper and a new ghost solve a murder mystery in an old house." according to Weldon

 

"Spirited supernatural farce which spoofs murder mysteries, spooky houses, frightened servants, dumb cops etc in a pacy, accomplished and generally delightful manner." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

 

"Topper's having girl trouble again!"

 

 

PAUL TEMPLE RETURNS (1952)  dir Maclean Rogers.  71mins.  John Bentley  Christopher Lee

Crime novelist and amateur sleuth Paul Temple attempts to solve the bizarre ‘marquis murders’.  A good cast and a fair share of thrills keep this British B penny dreadful on the rails.

 

“This slickly-made, American style thriller concerns the adventures of Paul and Steve Temple in tracking down a triple murderer, The Marquis.  ...  By a not too brilliant process of deduction and a fool-hardy trap Temple manages to expose the murderer and to prove his trite, oft-repeated assertion that "crime does not pay".  On the whole, the somewhat thin and bloodless story does hold together, even if it often just misses being convincing.  The camera tends to be over-suggestive, especially in indicating the murderer, but this fault may lie with the editing rather than the direction.  Competent acting ensures this inoffensive thriller some measure of success.” according to Monthly Film Bulletin October 1952.  II (Average)

 

“Good cast, but lack of professionalism in technical departments ensures mediocrity again; the film brought the Temple series to a close.” according to Quinlan.

 

“Crime.  Novelist unmasks 'The Marquis'.” according to Gifford (2000).

 

"Butcher's Film Services, ... was by far the oldest company regularly producing low-budget first and second features in the post-World War II period.  ...  From its production base at Nettlefold Studios, Walton -on - Thames, where Ernest Roy directed operations, Butcher's output in the late 1940s and early 1950s trod the line between first and supporting feature.  Its market had always been the small independent cinemas in the industrial heartlands of the country, and their aging audiences continued to be addressed in explicitly nostalgic featurettes  ...  But the days of those cinemas and their patrons were numbered and Butcher's began cautiously to branch out from its accustomed mix of music, mirth and sentimentality in search of new audiences.  ...  Continuity among this pot-pourri was provided by a series of co-features directed by Maclean Rogers and featuring the popular radio sleuth Paul Temple.  By 1952, however, the series had lost a little of its lustre, and Butcher's looked to replace it with a new series starring John Bentley, this time based on John Creasey's character, The Toff ...  The series launched with Salute the Toff (1952), directed by Maclean Rogers.  Its story of insurance fraud hardly broke new ground, but the trade critics recognised a tried and trusted formula that would appeal to Butcher's core audience: the 'industrialites and the provincialites'.  Hammer the Toff (1952) followed almost immediately, but bookings must have been disappointing, because Butcher's turned back to their earlier series with the appropriately titled Paul Temple returns (1952), again in the hands of Maclean Rogers.  It also retained John Bentley as Francis Durbridge's sleuth, in a tale of multiple murder centred on docklands.  As well as Patricia Dainton as Mrs Temple, the cast also included Valentine Dyall and the still largely unknown Christopher Lee.  It went out as a second feature on the Gaumont British circuit." according to Chibnall and McFarlane.

 

 

 

 

Lionel Atwill: The Maddest Mad Scientist!

 

Friday 15 January

 

DOCTOR X (1932)  dir. Michael Curtiz.  76mins.  Lionel Atwill  Fay Wray

We hope that Neil Pettigrew, author of a biography about our favourite mad scientist, will introducing this tribute double bill.  We start with a classic of early 30s horror in which The Moon Killer is at large and lovely Fay Wray is threatened (yet again!).  Originally shown in Seasons 4 (1969) and 11 (1976).  This is the restored Technicolour version.

 

 

"Universal had experimented with colour by releasing a few prints of Frankenstein tinted a bilious green, 'the colour of fear', which reportedly increased its eerie quality.  Warners, which had employed Technicolour - at that time a simpler, less perfect process involving only two negatives - in a few musicals, had both Doctor X and Mystery of the wax museum shot in that early process.  The first of these dealt with a series of 'moon murders' committed in the neighbourhood of a medical college by an obvious maniac who kills only during the full moon.  Even if Doctor X is closer to a thriller than a horror fantasy ... Throughout the movie runs a salutary vein of wise-cracking humour that very deftly places the horror element in modern Manhattan of the thirties, even though a good deal of the action takes place in the usual Teutonic old house perched on top of a Long Island cliff.  Unfortunately, Warners decided that the film was effective enough in black and white and so they limited the distribution of Technicolour prints, at least in America, to the first theatre engagement." according to Clarens.

 

"From his first major screen incarnation in 1931, the screen's prototype evil genius was Baron Frankenstein.  But he had his rivals, among them the club-footed Dr X.  This role was the horror film debut of dapper British mad-doctor stalwart, Lionel Atwill, ... Fay Wray supplied the perfect menaced heroine, and director Michael Curtiz deftly paced the horror in the standard old dark house, emphasizing it with the snappy Thirties humour of some of the dialogue." according to Frank (1974).

 

“Dr Xavier, club-footed red-herring, marked the horror film entrance of Lionel Atwill, starchy architect from Croydon.  His brisk and British ways suited the genre.  Clipped of speech and moustache. his fierce face and sly eyeballs bridged a curious gap between Mittel-European police inspectors and mad doctors.  Atwill continued a tradition that had begun with Karloff: in Hollywood horror, British was best.  Karloff, Clive, Atwill; shortly Banks and Rains and Rathbone; then Hardwicke and Zucco and even Skelton Knaggs.  Was there something especially sinister built into the British accent - it even echoes in the speech of Vincent Price from Missouri - or was it that to German-born movie-makers English was foreign? ” according to Gifford (1973).

 

"For years Doctor X was one of the most elusive of all the major horror films of the early 30s, steadfastly refusing to turn up either on television or in theatrical reissue.  Because one always expects too much of the apparently unattainable, it would be easy to be disappointed by Doctor X, but when it did become available again, it held up surprisingly well.  It remains one of the most enjoyable thrillers of its period, and if it doesn't have quite the Gothic style or the comic subtlety of James Whale's films, it nevertheless has the slickness, pace and recognizable visual style (with its stress on shadows and sharp, angular images) that distinguished all of Michael Curtiz' work ... In any event, Doctor X is a grand chiller of the old school, replete with clutching hands, a weird laboratory, a hooded killer, gas jets, secret panels, a wonderful group of suspects - and, on the debit side of the ledger, the inevitable wisecracking reporter-hero, tiresome in concept, but at least amusing in execution, thanks to Lee Tracy's verve and seemingly impromptu dialogue delivery." according to Everson

 

“Originally shot in the two-strip Technicolour process, which reproduced attractive brown, red, yellow and green but no blue, Doctor X was intended by Jack Warner as an answer to Universal's successful series of shockers.  Only shown in first-run cinemas in the United States, the colour prints have apparently all been lost.  In contrast to the Universal films, but typical of Warner's later products, the emphasis here is placed on suspense rather than the supernatural: everything is explicable in terms of 'science' with nary a monster or occult being in sight.  The plot remains dottily unconvincing throughout, and the suspense is, to put it mildly, muted ... Perhaps the film's weakest element is the inclusion of some lame slapstick comedy, mostly revolving round the reporter's cowardice.  Curtiz's signature, however, is evident in the expressionistic lighting and the occasionally arresting camera set-ups.   Although showing signs of a niggardly budget, Anton Grot's sets - the morgue in the opening sequence and Xavier's cliff-top home in particular - are suitably lowering ...  Curtiz, who had a taste for ghoulish humour, finds an able lieutenant in Lionel Atwill, who brings a nice mock-serious delivery - prefiguring Vincent Price's tone in Corman's Poe adaptations - to the lurid, pulp-magazine descriptions of the Moon Killer's exploits. ...” according to David Badder in Monthly Film Bulletin December 1978

 

"... A great horror movie with dated comic relief, originally in "gorgeous Technicolor" (an early two-color process). ...." according to Weldon

 

"A rare excursion into horror for First National (later Warner Brothers), Doctor X became one of the great 'lost' films after its initial release and developed a reputation as a masterpiece of early talkie horror during the 30 years it went unseen.  When a black and white print of this two-colour Technicolor landmark was finally discovered, some found the film a disappointment.  Now that enough time has passed and viewers can forget all those long-cherished expectations, the film proves to be a delightful product of its period.  ...  Talented studio craftsman Curtiz (Casablanca) shapes the material well, showing particular flair in his semi-expressionistic handling of the haunted house trappings of the story.  If he doesn't have quite the flair for grotesquerie or black humour of James Whale, he does use the wisecracking of Tracy and the glowering of Atwill to good effect.  Atwill especially shines when called upon to casually discuss topics from cannibalism to depravity.  ... Finally, the two-colour Technicolor techniques (involving the processing of two negatives rather than the three which became standard after 1935) are extremely effective." according to Monaco

 

"Fascinating, German-inspired, overblown and generally enjoyable horror/ mystery whose armless villain commits murders by growing limbs from 'synthetic flesh'." according to Walker/ Halliwell.

 

"Warner Brothers, who specialized in rattling, contemporary, torn-from-the-headlines dramas (even their musicals are realistic) had Michael Curtiz direct a pair of twisted whodunits in lovely Technicolor, Doctor X and Mystery of the wax museum.  These introduce Lionel Atwill as another British horror face, voice and leer (Paramount would snap him up for Murders in the zoo and he would inevitably gravitate to Universal's stock company), employ Fay Wray as a leggy beauty ... and mix disfigured fiends, mad geniuses, "moon murders" and "synthetic flesh" with snappy reporters doing self-aware gags ("he makes Frankenstein look like a lily") and complaining about Prohibition.  Warner never really committed to horror ...Early horror cinema, when it dealt with cannibalism at all (Doctor X , Sweeney Todd) was discrete enough not to show the consumption of human flesh on screen." according to Marriott and Newman.

 

"Atwill started working on his second sound film on March 2, 1932, and it would turn out to be one of the key films of his career; it saw him star for the first time in a full-blown horror film.  Doctor X is regarded by many today as one of the classic horror films of the 1930s.  It is also the first cinematic appearance of Atwill as a mad doctor, and he filled the role superbly. ...His appearance in Doctor X begs the question: Why did Lionel Atwill, the revered Broadway star, so readily accept offers to star in lurid horror films?  His legion of fans today are all grateful that he did, ...  Doctor X is one of the highlights of Lionel Atwill's film career.  His first horror film is also among his finest, featuring some of his most spectacular mad doctor scenes.  He is a commanding presence throughout, appearing in virtually every scene.  He looks magnificent.  Ray Rennahan's glittering two-strip Technicolor makes the most of the photogenic star, and even the costume department rises to the occasion, providing Atwill with some good costumes, including a lab coat snappily offset by shoes adorned with white spats and a heavy-duty overcoat with a huge furred collar.  The film is full of memorable sequences, in particular two frantic, high-tension laboratory episodes that rank among the best moments of 1930s horror cinema.  ...  The film does have its faults.  At the time, most reviewers were full of praise for Lee Tracy's comic performance as a wisecracking newspaper reporter.  Today, however, it seems just like an unnecessary distraction from the real business of the film, full of cheap unfunny devices such as a handshake buzzer and an exploding cigar,  The film makes a major misjudgement in one of Tracy's early scenes, in which the Moon Killer sneaks up behind him only to be frightened when Tracy's cigar explodes.  In this scene, the frightful face of the killer is revealed in a very drab, unimaginative way which, considering Curtiz' skill in the later laboratory scenes, is a major disappointment.  ...  Some horror purists may prefer the creepy stylishness of the black-and-white version, but there is no denying that the colour version at times looks breathtaking.  Doctor X is crying out to be remade as a modern horror film.  The concept of synthetic flesh is still a novel one and, with CGI effects, some amazing sequences could be created.  But who would play the Lionel Atwill role?" according to Pettigrew.

 

"Is there a (mad) doctor in the house?  "Yes!" shrieks Doctor X, filmed in rare two-strip Technicolour.  An eminent scientist aims to solve a murder spree by recreating the crimes in a lab filled with all the dials, gizmos, bubbling beakers and crackling electrostatic charges essential to the genre.  Lionel Atwill is Doctor Xavier, pre King Kong scream queen Fay Wray is a distressed damsel and Lee Tracy snaps newshound patter, all under the direction of renowned Michael Curtiz.  ... Out-Thrills Them All!"  according to the cover.

 

 

 

CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA (1940)  dir. Norman Foster.  67mins.  Sidney Toler  Lionel Atwill

One of our favourite detectives investigates a plot to destroy part of the Panama Canal and trap a Navy fleet.  Could sinister Clivedon Compton, played by you know who, be involved?  You’ll have to come along to find out!

 

 

"The Warner Oland Charlie Chans are either A or high B, the Sidney Toler Charlie Chans are all B." according to Sarris

 

"Between 1931 and 1942 Fox produced 27 Chan adventures, the first 16 featured Swedish actor Warner Oland.  When Oland died in 1937, Sidney Toler took over the role and with it Chan's inimitable stock of sub-Confucian aphorisms: 'Bad alibi like dead fish - cannot stand test of time', or 'Insignificant molehill sometimes more important than conspicuous mountain.'  In 1944 the series moved to Monogram, where a combination of poverty-row budgets and Toler's increasingly obvious lack of interest led to a sharp decline in quality.  Toler died in 1947 and the series staggered to an end with Roland Winters in the Chan role in six films, the last of which Sky dragon, was released in 1949.  Despite the efforts of veteran directors Derwin Abrahams, Lesley Selander and William Beaudine, and the appearance of such seasoned players as Evelyn Brent, Robert Livingston and Lyle Talbot, the series declined during this period from the bad to the virtually unwatchable.  The development of a Charlie Chan feature always led to the gathering of the suspects in a room and the unmasking of the guilty one by Chan explaining in his fractured English, 'You are the murderer!".  This blunt denouement invariably elicited an instant confession from the villain or failing that, a desperate attempt to escape.  Why the wretches never chose to brazen it out with the frequently bluffing Chinaman must remain one of the great mysteries of cinema.  The 'instant confession' syndrome still afflicts assorted character actors thrust into this invidious position and can be observed at work in the farfetched courtroom shenanigans of the TV series Petrocelli.  Sidney Toler and Warner Oland may have been as authentically Chinese as chop suey, but ..." according to Cross.

 

"The Chan series had been in limbo since late 1937.  Warner Oland had died in mid-1938 and audiences were clamouring for more Chans.  The Mr Moto series, while popular in their own way, failed to fill the void.  After a rather well-publicized hunt for a new acceptable Chan, it was announced that Sidney Toler would assume the role. ... Toler fit the role in fine fashion.  He looked Oriental (actually Missouri born), had played many character roles on the screen and was a certified performer of resourcefulness and experience.  Missing was Keye Luke, who played Chan's number one son.  Number one son had too many numbers in his contract negotiations with the studio, and was unable to come to terms.  In his stead came (Victor) Sen Yung, number two son of Charlie Chan, and equally inquisitive about the art of detection.  Off to a good start, the new Chan series retained its hold on the followers of the Oland films.  There are those who claim that Charlie Chan at Treasure Island is the best of all Chan whodunits from the standpoint of mystification and story values.  Charlie Chan in Panama is no less clever in its surprise solution to the baffling crimes.  What is certain is that the standards of the series were kept on a high plane by its most commonly-used directors - Norman Foster, relieved of his Mr Moto series and transferring his talents to the Chans, and Harry Lachman, who had directed Warner Oland in the role, and whose penchant for dramatic closeups served him well; Lachman directed most of the Toler Chans toward the end of the 20th Fox series, when budgets were tighter, and squeezed a lot from the restricted outlay.  The studio failed to renew the series after the 1941-42 season." according to Miller.

 

"... Sidney Toler was brought in to replace Oland.  The eleven films he appeared in from 1938 to 1942 are the best of the Chans.  By this time Fox had the business of B-picture production down pat, and imaginative directors like Norman Foster were brought in.  ... Most Fox Chans are excellent little mysteries, enlivened by the presence of such luminaries as Ray Milland, ... and Lionel Atwill.  Of course the charm of the movies lies in Chan's imitable aphorisms ... and witty irrelevancies ...but the entries in which the screenwriters emphasised the mysterioso or bizarre elements also have many picturesque twists and creepily camp moments.  Among the best are ... Foster's Charlie Chan in Panama, about espionage in the canal zone, which features Chan's purchase of the panama hat which became part of his trademark costume ... ." according to Kim Newman in Phil Hardy (1997)

 

"Five of Atwill's 1940 films were at Fox.  Charlie Chan in Panama, starring Sidney Toler in the title role, was an enjoyable entry in the detective series, with Atwill as one of the red herrings.  ...  Finally, a closet is opened and Atwill's corpse tumbles out.  He has been shot.  His corpse stares upwards with open eyes.  Surely this is an occasion where we can sense that Atwill's contribution to the film went beyond just acting.  He may have suggested to director Norman Foster that the scene would pack an extra punch if he were to repeat a memorable device from The sun never sets and have his deceased character stare upwards with chillingly immobile eyes.  It's always delicious to see that wonderful Atwill stare being used to good effect and it certainly makes for a memorably macabre final shot of the actor," according to Pettigrew.

 

 

"Ingenious crime solver Charlie Chan is busily working undercover in the volatile wartime region of Panama - rife with spies and conspirators - when he uncovers a sinister plot to blow up the Panama Canal and destroy the US naval fleet!" according to the cover.

 

 

"Charlie Chan Defies the Enemies of America!!!"

 

"One puff from a deadly cigarette... and the fleet is marked for doom!"

 

 

 

Unattributed quotes above are film advertising/ trailer Taglines from IMDB.  Otherwise, the quotes are borrowed from the following:-

 

Peter Biskind Seeing is believing Pantheon 1983

Allan Bryce Amicus  The studio that dripped blood  Stray Cat 2000

Darrell Buxton Shrieking sixties  Midnight Marquee 2010

Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane The British 'B' film Palgrave 2009

Carlos Clarens Horror movies – an illustrated survey Panther 1968

Roger Corman How I made a hundred movies in Hollywood and never lost a dime Muller 1990

Robin Cross The big book of B movies Muller 1981

William K Everson Classics of the horror film Citadel 1974

Alan G Frank Horror movies Octopus 1974

Alan Frank The films of Roger Corman Batsford 1998

Denis Gifford Pictorial history of horror Hamlyn 1973/ 1983

Denis Gifford British film catalogue FD 2000

Cliff Goodwin Sid James Arrow 1995

Phil Hardy Aurum film encyclopedia Horror Aurum 1985

Phil Hardy Aurum film encyclopedia Science fiction Aurum 1995

Phil Hardy BFI companion to crime Cassell 1997

David J Hogan Dark romance McFarland 1986

Carol Jenks “The bride of Frankenstein: sexual polarity and subjugation” in Necromonicon Book 1 Creation 1996

Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio Hammer films: an exhaustive filmography McFarland 1996

James Marriott and Kim Newman Horror!  333 films to scare you to death  Carlton 2010

Mark Thomas McGee Roger Corman: the best of the cheap acts McFarland 1988

Don Miller B movies Ballantine 1973/ 1987

James Monaco Virgin film guide Virgin 1992

Chris Morris “'Roger Corman: the schlemiel as outlaw” in Todd McCarthy and Charles Flynn Kings of the Bs Dutton 1975

Mike Murphy "Life before the undead" in Dark terrors 10 (1995)

Kim Newman Nightmare movies Bloomsbury 2011

Kim Newman The Edgar Wallace mysteries Network/ Studio Canal DVD notes 2012

Danny Peary Cult movies 1 Vermilion 1982

Danny Peary Guide for the film fanatic Simon & Schuster 1987

Neil Pettigrew Lionel Atwill: the exquisite villain MMP 2014

David Pirie 'Roger Corman's descent into the maelstrom' in Roger Corman: the millenic vision EFF 1970

David Quinlan British sound films - the studio years 1928-1959  Batsford 1984

Andrew Sarris “Beatitudes of B pictures” in Todd McCarthy and Charles Flynn Kings of the Bs Dutton 1975

Don Shay " Willis O'Brien: Creator of the impossible" in Focus on film 16 (1973)

Vivian Sobchack “Cities on the edge of time: the urban science-fiction film” in Annette Kuhn Alien zone II Verso 1999

Julian Upton Offbeat – British cinema’s curiosities, obscurities and forgotten gems Headpress 2012

VideoHound Cult flicks and trash pics Visible Ink 1996

John Walker Halliwell’s film, DVD & video guide 2007  HarperCollins 2006

Mike Wathen “For adults only” in Stefan Jaworzyn Shock express 2 Titan 1994

Michael J Weldon Psychotronic encyclopedia of film  Plexus 1983

 

 

Season 51 onwards

 

For future screenings, if anyone has any suggestions they would be most welcome.  Whether suggestions for screenings will match Robin’s view of what is suitable for Gothique is another matter.

 

Please email me, Simon Davies or Dave Simpson. 

j_s_davies@hotmail.com

david.simpson399@btinternet.com

Or write to Robin, he doesn’t do email. 

 

 

 

 

 

All shows are held on Fridays at:
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

 

Shows start promptly at 7:00pm. (unless otherwise stated)

 

 

All correspondence should be addressed to:
Robin James, 75 Burns Ave., Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 9LX

email enquiries c/o:

j_s_davies@hotmail.com

or

david.simpson399@btinternet.com

but don’t expect an instant response.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMBERSHIP FORM

 

I wish to become a member of the Gothique Film Society and enclose a stamped self addressed envelope and a cheque/ postal order for £17.50.

 

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Address………………………………………………………………………………………….

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Please make cheques payable to ‘Gothique Film Society’.

 

Send to:-

Robin James, 75 Burns Ave., Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 9LX

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Simpson has comprehensively updated the sections which end this website “A History of The Gothique Film Society” and “Gothique programmes 1966-2014”.  Please note his appeal to any long standing society members who may be able to supply information to help complete his records

 

 

 

A History of The Gothique Film Society

 

by Dave Simpson

 

The Gothique Film Society is a specialised club for horror and fantasy enthusiasts, quite possibly the longest running specialist film society in the UK. It evolved out of genre fanzine Gothique, created in 1965 by an editorial collective comprising Stan Nicholls, Jean Dempsey, David Griffiths, Ernest Harris and David Stokes (and which continued for 10 issues until March 1970, with a 20th anniversary special being published in July 1985). One of the contributing writers and artists was Robin James, who, in 1966, founded the Gothique Film Society with Jim Kearley. Apart from allowing use of the name “Gothique”, and contributing artwork and programme notes for some of the early shows, Gothique magazine had little involvement with the film society.

 

Robin and Jim were a true ‘dream team’, able to utilise Robin’s extensive knowledge of the horror and fantasy genres and contacts in the world of 16mm film, and Jim’s long experience in organising and running film societies.

 

The society’s first meeting was held in September 1966 in the basement cinema at the London School of Film Technique (now the London Film School) in Shelton Street, Covent Garden. A modest audience of about 20 enthusiasts watched Son of Kong.

 

By sheer optimism, a lot of perseverance and positive word of mouth, membership steadily increased. It was very soon evident that a larger auditorium was required, and one was found in the hall on the top floor of Holborn Library, Theobalds Road, WC1. This is where the Gothique came into its own and presented some of its finest double bills of horror classics. Two of the first honorary Presidents were actor Christopher Lee and legendary Hammer director Terence Fisher, who both made regular visits, as did many other stars and personalities.

 

The Gothique’ seasons were hugely enhanced from January 1970, when Yeovil born, but New York based film writer, scholar and collector William K. Everson presented a show during his seasonal visit to London. He continued presenting his Christmas shows right up until shortly before his death in 1996. Especially in the pre-video days his shows, in which he introduced films from his extensive collection or rare prints borrowed from other US collectors, were the highlight of each season.

 

The other outstanding Gothique supporter and President was entertainer and comedian Bob Monkhouse, who first attended in March 1968 when he heard, from screenwriter Robert Muller (Billie Whitelaw’s husband) that The Raven (1935) was being shown. In spite of Fridays being the busiest time on the after dinner circuit, where Bob was in high demand, he managed to fit in further personal visits and his introductory talks showed his incredible knowledge of, and love of, the cinema. He was also a very accomplished artist and he drew many of the covers for the society’s programme brochures. A renowned collector, he was also instrumental in helping to track down some of the obscure and rare films that have been shown over the years.

 

Over the years many people connected with the 'Gothique' genre have popped in. An early visitor, at the October 1972 show, was DJ Mike Raven, who, in a brief acting career, made a name for himself as a sinister presence in Lust for a Vampire, I, Monster, Crucible of Terror (all 1971) and Disciple of Death (1972).

 

After the first few seasons the society fell into something very similar to its current pattern, with, at that time, shows running from October to April. A rare foray away from the Library Hall was a social evening, held on Saturday 17 March 1973 at the Barley Mow, Horseferry Road, SW1. My principal memory of that evening is being part of a quiz team, comprising young newcomers (I was then just 20), that was annihilated by a team of film enthusiasts of, shall we say, rather longer standing!

 

Due to work commitments, Christopher Lee resigned as a president in 1975. He was replaced by horror director and legendary cameraman Freddie Francis.

 

The society’s tenth anniversary was celebrated in appropriate fashion, if not a little early, on Friday 27 February 1976 at Holborn Library Hall. This was a separate occasion, not part of that season’s programme; the only film entertainment was the compilation Monsters We’ve Known and Loved. The many guests included Gothique Presidents Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis, actors Susan Hampshire, Nicky Henson, Jenny Runacre, Ingrid Pitt, Derek Francis and Dave Prowse, film historian John Huntley and genre historian, and Gothique regular, Denis Gifford. A highlight of the evening was a quiz between mixed teams of celebrities and members – and this time I was on the winning side!

 

During Season 13, on 27 April 1979, a new initiative, “Members’ Choice” was tested. Clive Bennett and I were given the opportunity to select the films and prepare the programme notes. In those pre-video days we were anxious to show something we hadn’t seen, so we presented “Two Corman Classics”: Dementia 13 and The Beast With a Million Eyes. Unfortunately, these are (of course) anything but classics – and after a rather more sensible “Members’ Choice” (Lewton’s Curse of the Cat People and The Leopard Man, chosen by author Stephen Jones) the following season Robin has never been brave enough to repeat this experiment!

 

Mention should also be made of Kim Newman, who joined the Gothique as a university student and was the one amongst us young fans who achieved his dream of forging a career in the movie business. He is now, of course, a renowned critic, author and media personality, but still pops in from time to time.

 

Freddie Francis resigned as a President after Season 13 (1978-79) and we sadly lost Terence Fisher a short while later, when he died on 18 June 1980. Season 15 (1980-81) was dedicated to him, with a special tribute screening on 5 December 1980 of Dracula and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.    

 

As Season 19 (1984-85) approached the Gothique reached another of its periodic ‘make or break’ moments, with declining attendances quite a concern. In response, and with attendances especially poor for the April shows, the decision was made to reduce the number of shows from nine to (usually) seven, with future seasons running from October to March. As it was, that season kicked off in fine style with an evening with special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen.

 

For the Gothique’s 20th anniversary season (1985-86), Bob Monkhouse penned a personal note for the programme booklet explaining his life-long fascination with the macabre and how, influenced in equal measure by Boris Karloff and the Marx Brothers, he fell into comedy, rather than horror, since telling jokes came easiest to him!

 

In 1986 Robin was pleased to announce the Gothique had won two awards, gold and silver, from the British Federation of Film Societies, for its contribution to the film society movement. The awards were handed out at a ceremony at the National Film Theatre.

 

During Season 27 (1992-93) a potentially fatal blow was struck when, in March 1993, it was announced that the Library Hall was to close, to be transformed into office space. The hunt was on for alternative premises, ideally in the same central area and, even more importantly, at a reasonable rate. Fortunately, with the assistance of the Holborn Film Society, a new home was found just around the corner, in the Brockway Room at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1. The Hall opened in 1929 and is owned by humanist organisation South Place Ethical Society.

 

Unlike at the Library Hall there is no separate projection box. Siting the projectors in the body of the room allowed another of the Gothique’s stalwarts, Roger Townsend, to take a more visible role. Roger was our trusty projectionist pretty much from the beginning (Jim projected the very early shows) but, hidden away in the projection box at the Library Hall he was well nigh invisible. At last he could be a part of the crowd!

 

The move to Conway Hall also saw David Smith join the team to organise the interval refreshments. For some years at the Library Hall my late wife Diane had undertaken this most important of duties, but David stepped in as part of the move and he has supplied members with coffee and biscuits ever since.

 

Despite settling in reasonably well at Conway Hall, Robin has always hoped that another venue, especially one better designed for cinema use, might be found. And, for Season 30 (1995-96) he found it in the Crown Preview Theatre, 86 Wardour Street, W1. This splendid mini-cinema had 16mm, 35mm and large screen video facilities and appeared to be ideal. At last, as Robin put it at the time, the Gothique was moving upmarket!

 

But it was not to be. Following a preview screening on 26 May 1995, Season 30 started as planned – and then it was announced that the Crown would be closing on 15 December! Fortunately Conway Hall was still available so, from January 1996 the society moved back into the Brockway Room, where it has remained ever since.

 

1996 also brought forth a double dose of sad news, with the death of Bill Everson on 14 April and Jim Kearley’s increasing incapacity, due to illness, preventing him from continuing with the society. Season 31 (1996-97) was dedicated to Bill; the situation was especially poignant as it was Jim who had introduced Bill to the Gothique.        

 

Season 33 (1998-99) heralded a technological revolution, with the introduction of large-screen video. This had been inevitable; the sources for 16mm prints were becoming scarcer, and so much rare material was available on the digital format. Not everyone was pleased, of course, but Robin was keen to reassure members that 16mm would still be the first choice, and video would be used sparingly. Happily, that has remained the case and, to this day, with much effort by Robin, many presentations are still on 16mm.

 

Following his long illness, Jim Kearley died in early 2000. Season 35 (2000-01) was dedicated to him. We also lost genre historian, and Gothique regular, Denis Gifford the same year.

 

On a brighter note that year, actress Janina Faye was interviewed by archivist and film historian John Huntley in connection with a screening of Never Take Sweets from a Stranger. Also on that bill was Green Fingers, a short film directed by Gothique member Paul Cotgrove. Other guest appearances in recent years have included actress Valerie Leon, interviewed by John Huntley when Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb was screened during Season 34 (1999-2000), screenwriter David MacGillivray (Frightmare, screened during Season 36 [2001-02]) and actresses Vera Day, for a screening of Woman Eater during Season 38 (2003-04) and Muriel Pavlow for The Shop at Sly Corner, shown during Season 43 (2008-09). 

 

Back in 2003, we sadly lost John Huntley in the August, followed by Bob Monkhouse in the December. Both men were fervent supporters of the Gothique, but it is impossible, in particular, to over-state Bob’s contribution; we can only hope he is looking down as the society he supported, pretty much from the beginning, marches on towards its fifth decade.   

 

Yet another stalwart member, Richard Batten, decided to call it a day during 2007. He had answered a call, way back in 1972, for someone to write the programme notes. His first were for Count Dracula in November 1972, during Season 7, and he continued until the end of Season 41 in March 2007!  Roger Townsend who, due to increasing ill health, was doing less and less of the projection work, took over the notes for Season 42, after which I was pleased to offer my services. I only hope I can follow Richard in compiling them for 35 seasons!

 

Sadly in April 2012 Roger's increasing frailty finally took its toll and he passed away. Fittingly, for someone who devoted a large amount of his life to the Gothique, he had at least managed to attend many of the shows in the season that had only just ended.  He will be sorely missed; the following season was dedicated to him.

 

Season 47 (2012-2013) might well have marked the end of 16mm shows.  Only one was scheduled, in December, but that had to be cancelled (it was replaced by an all-DVD show).  However, Conway Hall had acquired new (portable) sound equipment and front and rear wall-mounted speakers had been permanently installed in the Brockway Room.  This has substantially enhanced the projection of DVDs and, indeed, provides the best visual and sound quality we have had for many years.  So the move to wholly DVD, while unfortunate from a film purist point of view, has actually enhanced the viewing experience.

 

On Saturday 3rd October 2015, as a prelude to our 50th season, a special celebratory event was held at London’s iconic Cinema Museum. In true Gothique tradition, two double bills were presented, with each film being introduced by a special guest. In the afternoon, Murders in the Zoo (1932) was introduced by member Neil Pettigrew, author of ‘Lionel Atwill: The Exquisite Villain’, a biography about our favourite mad scientist who, of course, starred in the film as an insanely jealous zoo proprietor. Neil also delivered a 30 minute illustrated talk about this wonderful actor. The afternoon’s second feature was Satan’s Slave (1976), introduced by its director, Norman J. Warren. In the evening, author, critic and broadcaster Kim Newman introduced I Love a Mystery (1945), the first film he saw at the Gothique, back in 1977. Then director Paul Cotgrove introduced  Green Fingers (1999). That horror short co-starred Janina Faye, who was also with us to introduce  the restored version of Hammer’s Dracula (1958) in which she played young Tania. It was a wonderful occasion, with members adding to the event: Selene Paxton-Brooks designed and printed special commemorative t-shirts, Mark Williams brought along some of his astonishing models, including a life-size Frankenstein’s monster and a vampiress in a coffin, and Darrell Buxton signed copies of ‘Dead or Alive’, a compendium of reviews of 80s British horror films. A special presentation was made to co-founder Robin James of a wonderfully ‘gothic’ celebratory clock, sculpted by member Arthur Payn. Our grateful thanks go to Martin Humphries and his team of volunteers at the Cinema Museum, especially chief projectionist Dave Locke, for ensuring this was a fitting celebration of 50 years of the Gothique Film Society.

 

Still one of the few specialised film clubs in Great Britain, the Gothique Film Society is thriving, with no plans to slow down. New members are always welcome, thereby keeping the cinema of fantasy, mystery and horror alive. The philosophy of the Gothique has always been that every film should be judged on its own merits. People should make up their own minds. So please do join us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gothique programmes 1966-2015

 

Compiled by Dave Simpson

 

 

The society has not maintained an ‘official’ record of everything that has been shown over the years. However, from the programme booklets, Robin’s recollections, information from long-standing member Alan Kibble and my own notes (I’ve been a member since Season 6 [1971-72]) I’ve been able to reconstruct most of the programmes. However, there are still a few gaps. These are shown in red I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who can help with any of them.

 

I can be contacted at david.simpson399@btinternet.com or see me on the front row at the meetings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember: ‘OTHERS CREATE, WE IMITATE’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season 50 2015 - 2016

 

Saturday 03 October

Cinema Museum special event

 

MURDERS IN THE ZOO (1932)

 

SATAN'S SLAVE (1976)  

 

I LOVE A MYSTERY (1945) 

 

DRACULA (1958)  

 

GREEN FINGERS (1999/short)

 

Friday 16 October

 

 

SON OF KONG (1933) 

 

THEM (1954)  

 

Friday 20 November

 

DARK CITY (1998) 

 

BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). 

 

Friday 18 December

 

ALIAS JOHN PRESTON (1955) 

 

TOPPER RETURNS (1941)

 

Friday 15 January

 

DOCTOR X (1932) 

 

CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA (1940)

 

 

 

Season 49 2014 - 2015

 

Friday 17 October

 

 

MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY & GIRLY (1970) 

 

FINAL APPOINTMENT (1954)  

 

Friday 21 November

 

DR CYCLOPS (1940) 

 

SHE (1935). 

 

Friday 19 December

 

FANTASTIC DISAPPEARING MAN (1958) 

 

INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (1977)

 

Friday 16 January

 

STRANGLER (1964) 

 

HAND OF DEATH (1962)

 

Friday 13 February

 

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972) 

 

CLUE OF THE NEW PIN (1961) 

 

Friday 6 March

 

DIABOLICAL DR Z (1966) 

 

AWFUL DR ORLOF (1962) 

 

Friday 20 March

 

VELVET VAMPIRE (1971) 

 

CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (1961) 

 

 

 

Season 48 2013 - 2014

 

Friday 18 October

 

 

SKULL (1965)

 

PSYCHOPATH (1966)  

 

Friday 22 November

 

 

LODGER (1944). 

 

FACE AT THE WINDOW (1939) 

 

Friday 20 December

 

 

7 MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD (1971)

 

WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976) 

 

Friday 17 January

 

 

BUSY BODIES (1933)

 

MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932)

 

KONGO (1932) 

 

Friday 14 February

 

 

SHOCK WAVES (1977)   

 

JACK THE RIPPER (1976) [Replaced OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1976)]

 

Friday 07 March

 

 

PROWLER (1951) 

 

M (1951) 

 

Friday 21 March

 

 

BURNING (1981) 

 

PIT (1981) 

 

 

 

Season 47 2012 - 2013

 

Friday 19 October

 

 

DIARY OF A MADMAN (1963)

 

NIGHT MONSTER (1941)

 

Friday 23 November

 

 

NAKED ALIBI (1954)

 

BLACK TUESDAY (1954)

 

Friday 21 December

 

 

BLACK DOLL (1938) 

 

THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939) 

 

[Replaced advertised 16mm screenings of GUEST IN THE HOUSE (1944) and THE BOOGIE MAN WILL GET YOU (1941)]

 

Friday 18 January

 

 

VENGEANCE (1962)

 

VOODOO WOMAN (1957)

 

Friday 15 February

 

 

DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (1932) 

 

MAD LOVE (1935)

 

Friday 08 March

 

 

NIGHTMARE (1956)

 

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES (1943) [Replaced ALIAS JOHN PRESTON (1956)]

 

Friday 22 March

 

 

DIAL 999 (1955) 

 

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1938) 

 

 

 

The season was dedicated to the memory of Roger Townsend.

 

 

 

Season 46 2011 - 2012

 

Friday 14 October

 

 

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) 

 

BLONDES FOR DANGER (1938)

 

Friday 18 November

 

 

BLACK LIMELIGHT (1938)

 

THE GOLEM (THE LEGEND OF PRAGUE) (1935)

 

Friday 16 December

 

 

DANCING WITH CRIME  (1947) 

 

LOVE FROM A STRANGER (1937) 

 

Friday 20 January

 

 

THE BLACK PIT OF DOCTOR M (1959).

 

CURSE OF THE DEVIL (1973) 

 

Friday 17 February

 

 

LADY IN A CAGE (1964). 

 

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN (1956) 

 

Friday 09 March

 

 

THE WARE CASE (1938) 

 

THE WIND (1987) 

 

Friday 23 March

 

 

IN THE LINE OF DUTY: THE FBI MURDERS (1988) [Replaced SANTA SANGRE (1989)]

 

CONDEMNED TO LIVE (1935)

 

 

 

Season 45 2010 - 2011

 

Friday 22 October 2010

 

 

THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (1964)

 

THE LAST PAGE (1952)

 

Friday 19 November 2010

 

 

BLACK MAGIC (1949)

 

THE HORROR OF IT ALL (1963)

 

Friday 17 December 2010

 

 

APPOINTMENT WITH CRIME (1946) 

 

MURDER IN SOHO (1938)

 

Friday 21 January 2011

 

 

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1956).

 

DEAD MEN ARE DANGEROUS (1939) 

 

Friday 18 February 2011

 

 

THE CABINET OF CALIGARI (1962). 

 

CURSE OF THE UNDEAD (1959) 

 

Friday 11 March 2011

 

 

FEAR IN THE NIGHT (1972) 

 

VIKING WOMEN (1957) 

 

Friday 25 March 2011

 

 

NIGHT MUST FALL (1937) 

 

THE PRICE OF VANITY (1955/Episode from “The Vise”) 

 

 

 

Season 44 2009 - 2010

 

Friday 23 October 2009

 

 

FACE THE MUSIC (1954) 

 

MEET SEXTON BLAKE (1944) 

 

Friday 20 November 2009

 

 

MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928).

 

BLACK MOON (1934)

 

Friday 18 December 2009

 

 

BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960) 

 

DEATH IN HIGH HEELS (1947) 

 

Friday 22 January 2010

 

 

MINE OWN EXECUTIONER (1947) 

 

DEAD MEN WALK (1943) 

 

Friday 19 February 2010

 

 

THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1960) 

 

OUT OF THE FOG (1962) 

 

Friday 12 March 2010

 

 

THE SNORKEL (1958) 

 

BLACK MEMORY (1947) 

 

Friday 26 March 2010

 

 

TOURIST TRAP (1979) 

 

SUSPECTED PERSON (1942)

 

 

 

Season 43 2008 - 2009

 

Friday 17 October 2008

 

 

CRESCENDO (1969)

 

BOSTON BLACKIE’S RENDEZVOUS (1946)

 

Friday 21 November 2008

 

 

THE SHOP AT SLY CORNER (1946)

Actress Muriel Pavlow was interviewed by film archivist John Huntley

 

COSH BOY (1952)

 

Friday 19 December 2008

 

 

Special surprise show:

 

MURDER AT THE GRANGE (1952/31mins)

 

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1949) (“Lights Out” TV series/30mins)

 

THE DARK LAKE (“Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents”/1955)

 

MONICA (“Thirty Minute Theatre”/1965)

 

THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH (“Late Night Horror”/1968)

 

Friday 16 January 2009

 

 

UNEARTHLY STRANGER (1963)

 

FIRE MAIDENS FROM OUTER SPACE (1956)

 

Friday 6 February 2009

 

 

COMMUNION (1977)

 

THE BLACK ROOM (1935)

 

Friday 6 March 2009

 

 

CAPTAIN KRONOS VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974)

 

THE DARK LIGHT (1951).

 

Friday 27 March 2009

 

 

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965)

 

THE HANGMAN WAITS (1947) 

 

 

 

Season 42 2007 - 2008

 

Friday 12 October 2007

 

 

TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961)

 

CAT GIRL (1957)

 

Friday 16 November 2007

 

MADONNA OF THE SEVEN MOONS (1944)

 

MUMMY’S BOYS (1936)

 

Friday 14 December 2007

 

GOTHIC (1986)

 

ANOTHER FACE (1935)

 

Friday 11 January 2008

 

MAN WITHOUT A BODY (1957)

 

THE RETURN OF PETER GRIMM (1935)

 

Friday 8 February 2008

 

THE WITCHES (1966)

 

THE PROJECTED MAN (1967)

 

Friday 7 March 2008

 

THE DEVIL COMMANDS (1941).

 

PAUL TEMPLE RETURNS (1952)

 

Friday 28 March 2008

 

THE FLANAGAN BOY (1953)

 

VOODOO MAN (1944).

 

 

 

Season 41 2006 - 2007

 

Friday 13 October 2006

 

 

THE CAMP ON BLOOD ISLAND (1958) [replaced FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1949)]

 

THE ECHO MURDERS (1945)

 

Friday 17 November 2006

 

IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958)

 

THE PHANTOM OF CRESTWOOD (1932)

 

Friday 15 December 2006

 

A STOLEN FACE (1952)

 

THE CRIMES OF STEPHEN HAWKE (1936)

 

Friday 12 January 2007

 

SO EVIL MY LOVE (1948)

 

SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE (1930)

 

Friday 9 February 2007

 

GHOST SHIP (1943)

 

GHOST SHIP (1952)

 

Friday 2 March 2007

 

THE UNINVITED (1944)

 

THE CASE OF CHARLES PEACE (1948)

 

Friday 23 March 2007

 

CLOUDBURST (1951)

 

THE LOST SQUADRON (1932)

 

 

 

Season 40 2005 - 2006

 

Friday 21 October 2005

 

 

A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945)

 

EXCESS BAGGAGE (1933)

 

Friday 17 November 2005

 

THE DARK MAN (1950)

 

THE BLACK ABBOTT (1933)

 

Friday 9 December 2005

 

SO LONG AT THE FAIR (1950)

 

FORBIDDEN (1948)

 

Friday 13 January 2006

 

THE AMAZING MR X (1948)

 

SHOCK (1946)

 

Friday 10 February 2006

 

MURDER IN REVERSE (1945)

 

THE SQUEAKER (1937)

 

Friday 3 March 2006

 

DOCTOR SYN (1937)

 

DARK SECRET (1949)

 

Friday 17 March 2006

 

DUAL ALIBI (1947)

 

CRIME OVER LONDON (1936)

 

 

 

Season 39 2004 - 2005

 

Friday 22 October 2004

 

 

HANGOVER SQUARE (1945)

 

THE TOWER OF TERROR (1941)

 

Friday 19 November 2004

 

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945)

 

THE MAN FROM YESTERDAY (1949)

 

Friday 10 December 2004

 

THINGS TO COME (1936)

 

THE SPHINX (1933)

 

Friday 14 January 2005

 

POISON PEN (1939)

 

DEAD EYES OF LONDON (1961)

 

Friday 11 February 2005

 

GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961)

 

CORRUPTION (1968)

 

Friday 4 March 2005

 

COUNTERBLAST (1948)

 

BLACULA (1972)

 

Friday 18 March 2005

 

HATTER’S CASTLE (1941)

 

MIDNIGHT AT MADAME TUSSAUD’S (1936)

 

 

 

Season 38 2003 - 2004

 

Friday 17 October 2003

 

 

THE FACE OF FIRE (1959)

 

THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR (1937)

 

Friday 14 November 2003

 

 

LATIN QUARTER (1945)

 

LADIES IN RETIREMENT (1941)

 

Friday 12 December 2003

 

 

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (1935)

 

SCROOGE (1935)

 

 

Friday 16 January 2004

 

THE GAUNT STRANGER (1938)

 

FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE (1952)

 

 

Friday 13 February 2004

 

CLAYDEN TREASURE MYSTERY (1938)

 

DEATHTRAP (1976)

 

 

Friday 5 March 2004

 

THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1949)

 

TANGLED EVIDENCE (1934)

 

 

Friday 19 March 2004

 

THE GHOST OF ST MICHAELS (1941)

 

WOMAN EATER (1957)

 

 

 

Season 37  2002 – 2003

 

Friday 18 October 2002

 

 

THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE (1959)

 

A GAME OF DEATH (1946

 

Friday 15 November 2002

 

 

MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND (1936)

 

THARK – THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1932)

 

Friday 13 December 2002

 

 

DERANGED (1974)

 

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943)

 

Friday 17 January 2003

 

THE PHARAOH’S CURSE (1957)

 

CURSE OF THE FACELESS MAN (1958)

 

Friday 14 February 2003

 

LOVE FROM A STRANGER (1947)

 

THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN (1946)

 

Friday 7 March 2003

 

TWICE TOLD TALES (1963)

 

CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS (1936)

 

Friday 21 March 2003

 

MASTER MINDS (1949)

 

DEAD MAN (1996)

 

 

 

Season 36  2001 – 2002

 

Friday 19 October 2001

 

 

FRIGHTMARE (1974)

Actress Sheila Keith had been invited, but was unable to attend so a videotaped interview was shown. Scriptwriter David McGillivray attended instead.

 

Friday 16 November 2001

 

 

COBRA WOMAN (1944)

 

CULT OF THE COBRA (1955)

 

Friday 14 December 2001

 

 

NIGHT STRANGLER (1973)

 

THE MONKEY’S PAW (1948)

 

Friday 18 January 2002

 

THE LOST CITY (1935)

 

THINGS HAPPEN AT NIGHT (1947)

 

Friday 15 February 2002

 

THE MAD MAGICIAN (1954/in 3D)

 

CHARLIE CHAN IN EGYPT (1935)

 

Friday 8 March 2002

 

THE TELL TALE HEART (1960)

 

THE MAGNETIC MONSTER (1953)

 

Friday 22 March 2002

 

SO DARK THE NIGHT (1946)

 

FLESH AND FANTASY (1943)

 

 

 

Season 35  2000 – 2001

 

Friday 20 October 2000

 

 

THE BAT (1959)

 

THE QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966)

 

Friday 17 November 2000

 

 

NEVER TAKE SWEETS FROM A STRANGER (1960)

Actress Janina Faye was interviewed by film archivist John Huntley

 

GREEN FINGERS (1999/short)

 

Friday 15 December 2000

 

 

UNKNOWN ISLAND (1948)

 

DANTE’S INFERNO (1935)

 

Friday 12 January 2001

 

 

THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1948)

 

THE DELUGE (1933)

 

Friday 9 February 2001

 

 

EXPERIMENT IN EVIL/THE TESTAMENT OF DR. CORDELIER (1959)

 

THE NORLISS TAPES (1973)

 

Friday 2 March 2001

 

 

DR JEKYLL AND THE WEREWOLF (1972)

 

CATMAN OF PARIS (1946)

 

Friday 24 March 2001

 

 

SOMETHING CREEPING IN THE DARK (1971)

 

WHISPERING GHOSTS (1942)

 

 

 

Season 34 October 1999-March 2000

 

Friday 22 October 1999

 

 

BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1972)

Actress Valerie Leon was interviewed by film archivist John Huntley

 

Friday 12 November 1999

 

I, MONSTER (1970)

 

BRIDE OF THE GORILLA (1951)

 

Friday 17 December 1999

 

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY (1934)

 

BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955)

 

Friday 7 January 2000

 

WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS (1971)

 

THE WEREWOLF (1956)

 

Friday 4 February 2000

 

THE VAMPIRE’S COFFIN (1958)

 

THE VAMPIRE (1957)

 

Friday 3 March 2000

 

THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1963)

 

THE GREEN SLIME (1968) [QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966) was unavailable]

 

Friday 24 March 2000

 

THE CORPSE (1970)

 

DEATH IS A NUMBER (1951)

 

 

 

Season 33  1998 – 1999

 

Friday 23 October 1998

 

 

THE BLACK SLEEP (1956)

 

THE BRAINIAC (1961)

 

Friday 13 November 1998

 

 

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971)

 

THE MYSTERIOUS DOCTOR (1945)

 

Friday 18 December 1998

 

 

FIEND WHO WALKED THE WEST (1958)

 

VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES (1946)

 

Friday 8 January 1999

 

 

BLOOD AND ROSES (1960)

 

TERROR IS A MAN (1959)

 

Friday 5 February 1999

 

 

NIGHT TIDE (1961)

 

BARON BLOOD (1972)

 

Friday 5 March 1999

 

 

THE MASK (1961/in 3D)

 

FACE OF MARBLE (1944)

 

Friday 26 March 1999

 

 

I BURY THE LIVING (1958)

 

THE MANSTER (1959)

 

 

 

Season 32  1997 – 1998

 

Friday 17 October 1997

 

 

DONOVAN’S BRAIN (1953)

 

TARGET EARTH (1964)

 

Friday 7 November 1997

 

 

CAULDRON OF BLOOD (1967)

 

HOUSE OF HORRORS (1946)

 

Friday 9 January 1998

 

 

TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE (1966)

 

DEAD MEN WALK (1943)

 

Friday 6 February 1998

 

 

PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE (1954)

 

MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1968)

 

Friday 6 March 1998

 

 

THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE (1963)

 

THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS (1942)

 

Friday 3 April 1998

 

 

HANNAH – QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES (1972)

 

SOUL OF A MONSTER (1944)

 

 

 

 

Season 31  1996 – 1997

 

Friday 18 October 1996

 

 

MURDER MANSION (1946)

 

CAT WOMEN OF THE MOON (1953)

 

Friday 15 November 1996

 

 

JUST IMAGINE (1930)

 

THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES (1940)

 

Friday 6 December 1996

 

 

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932)

 

INVISIBLE RAY (1936)

 

Friday 3 January 1997

 

 

THE MAZE (1953) [DONOVAN’S BRAIN (1953) was unavailable]

 

INNER SANCTUM (1948)

 

Friday 31 January 1997

 

 

THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)

 

TOWER OF LONDON (1939)

 

Friday 14 February 1997

 

 

DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961)

 

THE APE (1940)

 

Friday 14 March 1997

 

 

THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932)

 

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)

 

Friday 11 April 1997

 

 

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970)

 

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE (1961)

 

 

 

The season was dedicated to the memory of William K. Everson.

 

 

 

Season 30 October 1995-April 1996

 

Friday 6 October 1995

 

 

Billed as William K. Everson’s show, but he was too ill to attend

 

HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1961)

 

NIGHT WATCH (details/year?)

 

Friday 3 November 1995

 

 

FRANKENSTEIN 1970 (1958)

 

THE INVISIBLE GHOST (1941)

 

Friday 15 December 1995

 

 

UNNATURAL (1952)

 

QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE (1958)

 

 

 

 

The following shows were cancelled when the Crown Preview Theatre closed:

 

Friday 12 January 1996

 

DEATHTRAP (1976)

 

PROJECT MOONBASE (1953)

 

Friday 9 February 1996

 

CULT OF THE COBRA (1955)

 

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957)

 

Friday 8 March 1996

 

DOCTOR BLOOD’S COFFIN (1960)

 

THE MANSTER (1959)

 

Friday 29 March 1996

 

NIGHT TIDE (1961)

 

TERROR IS A MAN (1959)

 

Friday 12 April 1996

 

30th anniversary celebration

 

 

 

The following rearranged shows were held at Conway Hall:

 

 

 

Friday 12 January 1996

 

 

CAT PEOPLE (1982)

 

PROJECT MOONBASE (1953)

 

Friday 9 February 1996

 

 

NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (1979)

 

ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957)

 

Friday 8 March 1996

 

 

CAPTAIN KRONOS VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974)

 

CAPTAIN CLEGG (1962)

 

Friday 22 March 1996

 

 

DOCTOR BLOOD’S COFFIN (1960)

 

HOMICIDAL

 

Friday 12 April 1996

30th anniversary celebration:

 

 

THE LOST CONTINENT (1951)

 

 

 

This season saw the Gothique move to the Crown Preview Theatre but that closed in December 1995 and the society returned to Conway Hall.

 

 

 

Before the main season there had been an introductory show at the Crown Preview Theatre:

 

Friday 26 May 1995

 

 

THE HITCH-HIKER (1953)

 

THE MYSTERIOUS MR. WONG (1935)

 

 

 

Season 29  1994 – 1995

 

Friday 21 October 1994

 

 

CRY OF THE WEREWOLF (1944)

 

DEAD MEN TELL (1941) [replaced CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955)]

 

INSOMNIE (short)

 

Friday 18 November 1994

 

 

THE MYSTERY OF THE MARIE CELESTE/PHANTOM SHIP (1935)

 

MADHOUSE (1974)

 

Friday 23 December 1994

 

 

BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957)

 

THE GAMMA PEOPLE (1956)

 

Friday 6 January 1995

William K. Everson presents:

 

 

THREE WEIRD SISTERS (1948)

 

THE MAD MONSTER (1942)

 

Friday 10 February 1995

 

 

THE ANGRY RED PLANET (1959)

 

THE DISEMBODIED (1957)

 

Friday 10 March 1995

 

 

THE CAT O’NINE TAILS (1970)

 

ONE BODY TOO MANY (1944)

 

Friday 7 April 1995

 

 

Members’ Choice, from a selection of titles provided on the night:

 

THE CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN (1955)

 

THE BLACK RAVEN (1943)

 

 

 

Season 28 October 1993-April 1994

 

Friday 15 October 1993

 

 

THE STRANGE DOOR (1951)

 

THE MONSTER MAKER (1944)

 

Friday 26 November 1993

 

RIDERS TO THE STARS (1954)

 

THE GIANT CLAW (1957)

 

Thursday 9 December 1993

 

 

ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY (1963)

 

THIRTEEN GHOSTS (1960)

 

 

Friday 7 January 1994

William K Everson presents:

 

JUNGLE WOMAN (1944)

 

THE UNKNOWN (1946)

 

Friday 11 February 1994

 

 

HORROR CASTLE (1963)

 

THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED LADY (1944)

 

Friday 11 March 1994

 

 

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1983)

 

THE PHANTOM CREEPS (1939)

 

Friday 15 April 1994

 

 

HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959)

 

 

 

This was the Gothique’s first season in its new home, just around the corner at Conway Hall in Red Lion Square.

 

 

 

Season 27  1992 – 1993

 

Friday 30 October 1992

 

 

THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1951)

 

GOG (1954)

 

Friday 20 November 1992

 

 

HELL NIGHT (1981)

 

MR WONG DETECTIVE (1938)

 

Friday 4 December 1992

 

 

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)

 

FLIGHT TO MARS (1951)

 

Friday 15 January 1993

William K. Everson presents:

 

 

DEAD MEN WALK

 

THE MAN ON THE TRAIN (c20mins/dir: Robert Florey)

 

THE PREDICTION (“Thriller”)

 

Friday 12 February 1993

 

 

GORILLA AT LARGE (1954)

 

GORILLA MAN (1943)

 

Friday 12 March 1993

 

 

THIRST (1979)

 

THE MAGIC SWORD (1962)

 

Friday 2 April 1993

27th anniversary celebration:

 

 

THE EVILS OF CHINATOWN (1962)

 

FLASH GORDON (US TV episode)

 

 

 

This was the Gothique’s final season at Holborn Library Hall, following the announcement in March 1993 that the hall was to be converted into office space.

 

 

 

Season 26  1991 – 1992

 

Friday 18 October 1991

 

THE SHOUT (1978)

 

SHE WOLF OF LONDON (1946)

 

Friday 15 November 1991

 

THE BEES (1978) [replaced NIGHT OF THE EAGLE, shown on 17 January]

 

THE STRANGE MR. GREGORY (1945) [replaced HOUSE ON MARSH ROAD, shown on 27 December]

 

Friday 6 December 1991

 

THE DAY THE SKY EXPLODED (1958)

 

SVENGALI (1954)

 

Friday 27 December 1991

William K. Everson presents:

 

BEWITCHED (1945)

 

THE HOUSE ON MARSH ROAD (1960)

 

Friday 17 January 1992

 

NIGHT OF THE EAGLE (1962) [replaced THE BEES, shown on 15 November]

 

SON OF DOCTOR JEKYLL (1951)

 

Friday 14 February 1992

 

THE SENTINEL (1977)

 

DOOMED TO DIE (1940)

 

Friday 13 March 1992

Members only 26th anniversary celebration:

 

THE ELECTRONIC MONSTER (1958)

 

 

 

Season 25  1990 – 1991

 

Friday 19 October 1990

 

THE MONSTER WALKS (1932)

 

THE MAN WHO TURNED TO STONE (1957)

 

DARK SHADOWS (“Crime Does Not Pay” short)

 

Friday 16 November 1990

 

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1916)

 

THE GIRL FROM SCOTLAND YARD (1937)

 

Friday 7 December 1990

 

DICK TRACY’S G MEN (1939)

 

THEATRE OF DEATH (1966) [replaced HOUSE OF FEAR (1945)]

 

Friday 28 December 1990

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS (1943)

 

THE BLACK CAMEL (1931)

 

SWEET SPIRITS OF NIGHTER (1941/only the second of two reels shown)

 

Friday 18 January 1991

 

SUDDENLY (1954) [replaced EVILS OF CHINATOWN (1962)]

 

THE LIVING DEAD (1934)

 

Friday 15 February 1991

Members only 25th anniversary celebration:

 

STRANGE ILLUSION (1945)

 

Friday 15 March 1991

 

WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968)

 

SHE DEMONS (1958)

 

 

 

Season 24  1989 – 1990

 

Friday 20 October 1989

 

TARANTULA (1955)

 

THE DEATH KISS (1932)

 

Friday 17 November 1989

 

ISLAND OF DOOMED MEN (1940)

 

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR RX (1942)

 

Friday 8 December 1989

 

NEANDERTHAL MAN (1953)

 

GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (1958)

 

Friday 29 December 1989

William K. Everson presents:

 

CATMAN OF PARIS (1946)

 

THE GLASS KEY (“Alfred Hitchcock Presents”)

 

THE PREMATURE BURIAL (“Thriller”)

 

Friday 19 January 1990

 

A STUDY IN SCARLET (1933) [replaced SHE (1935) *]

 

THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE (1958)

 

Friday 16 February 1990

Members only 24th anniversary celebration:

 

VOODOO MAN (1944)

 

CROONER’S HOLIDAY (1932/19mins)

 

THE CASE OF THE STUTTERING PIG (Warner Bros. cartoon)

 

Friday 16 March 1990

 

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925/Tinted red, finest print the society had seen)

 

ATOMIC SUBMARINE (1959)

 

 

 

* SHE was shown on TV around this time, so members were asked whether they wished a change of film. Evidently they did!

 

 

 

Season 23  1988 – 1989

 

Friday 21 October 1988

 

FLESH AND THE FIENDS (1960)

 

VAMPIRE’S GHOST (1945)

 

Friday 18 November 1988

 

THE BAT WHISPERS (1930)

 

INVASION OF THE HELL CREATURES (1957)

 

Friday 9 December 1988

 

SILENT SCREAM (1980)

 

THE SHE CREATURE (1956)

 

Friday 30 December 1988

William K. Everson presents:

 

FAHRMANN MARIA (1936)

 

THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET (1942)

 

Friday 27 January 1989

 

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1971) [replaced HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959)]

 

BLACK ZOO (1963)

 

Friday 17 February 1989

Members only 23rd anniversary celebration

 

CAT GIRL (1957)

 

Friday 17 March 1989

 

BLUE SUNSHINE (1976)

 

DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR JEKYLL (1957)

 

 

 

Season 22  1987 – 1988

 

Friday 30 October 1987

 

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983)

 

THE FLYING SERPENT (1946)

 

Friday 20 November 1987

 

DUNWICH HORROR (1970)

 

FACES IN THE DARK (1960)

 

Friday 11 December 1987

 

NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957)

 

MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL (1958)

 

Friday 30 December 1987

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE CLIMAX (1944)

 

JUNGLE CAPTIVE (1945)

 

Friday 29 January 1988

 

THE FUNHOUSE (1981)

 

THE BRIGHTON STRANGLER (1945)

 

Friday 19 February 1988

Members only 22nd anniversary celebration

 

[Rondo Hatton feature]

 

Friday 18 March 1988

 

THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES (1940)

 

DEVIL DOLL (1964)

 

 

 

Season 21  1986 – 1987

 

Friday 31 October 1986

 

THE KEEP (1983) [replaced SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES – shown October 1987]

 

MURDER BY TELEVISION (1935)

 

Friday 21 November 1986

 

KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977)

 

TERROR IN THE WAX MUSEUM (1973)

 

Friday 12 December 1986

 

BLUEBEARD (1944)

 

TERROR TRAIN (1980)

 

Friday 2 January 1987

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE NINTH GUEST (1934)

 

THE VAMPIRE’S COFFIN (1957)

 

Friday 16 January 1987

 

DARK INTRUDER (1965) [replaced THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST (1945)]

 

SWAMP OF THE LOST MONSTER (1957)

 

Friday 20 February 1987

Members only 21st anniversary celebration

 

THE DEVIL BAT (1941)

 

Friday 20 March 1987

 

THE RED HOUSE (1947)

 

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES (1943)

 

 

 

Season 20  1985 – 1986

 

Friday 11 October 1985

 

THE FLY (1958)

 

NIGHT OF TERROR (1933)

 

Friday 15 November 1985

20th anniversary celebration:

 

MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)

 

Friday 13 December 1985

 

RETURN OF THE FLY (1959)

 

I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958)

 

Friday 30 December 1985

William K. Everson presents:

 

DOUBLE DOOR (1934)

 

TORMENTED (1960)

 

Friday 17 January 1986

 

EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1960)

 

SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT (1944)

 

Friday 14 February 1986

 

CURSE OF THE FLY (1965)

 

THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK (1946)

 

Friday 14 March 1986

 

MAN WHO WOULDN’T DIE (1942)

 

THE DARK (1982)

 

 

 

Season 19  1984 – 1985

 

Friday 19 October 1984

An evening with Ray Harryhausen:

 

20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957)

 

Friday 9 November 1984

 

THE MAD MAGICIAN (1954)

 

FROZEN GHOST (1945)

 

Friday 7 December 1984

 

SHOCK/BEYOND THE DOOR II (1977)

 

THE SOUL OF A MONSTER (1944)

 

Friday 28 December 1984

William K. Everson evening:*

 

SHE (1935)

 

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR RX (1942)

 

Friday 25 January 1985

 

PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (1965)

 

BLACK SUNDAY (1977)

 

Friday 15 February 1985

 

THE DARK (1979)

 

PASSING CLOUDS (1940)

 

Friday 15 March 1985

 

CHANDU THE MAGICIAN (1932)

 

MIRACLES FOR SALE (1939)

 

 

 

*Unfortunately Bill was too ill to present this show

 

 

 

Season 18  1983 – 1984

 

Friday 14 October 1983

 

PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)

 

MASK OF DIIJON (1946)

 

Friday 11 November 1983

 

THE UNSEEN (1945)

 

HANDS OF ORLAC (1935)

 

Friday 9 December 1983

 

TOMB OF LIGEIA (1964)

 

DEAD MAN’S EYES (1944)

 

Friday 30 December 1983

William K. Everson presents:

 

MURDER IN THE BLUE ROOM (1944)

 

THE SILENT WITNESS (1932 version?)

 

Friday 27 January 1984

 

TALES OF TERROR (1962)

 

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1948)

 

Friday 17 February 1984

 

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1945)

 

THE BOSTON STRANGLER (1968) [replaced PREMATURE BURIAL (1962)]

 

Friday 16 March 1984

 

TOWER OF LONDON (1933)

 

TALES OF EDGAR ALLEN POE (1962)

 

Friday 6 April 1984

 

MAN WITH A CLOAK (1951)

 

BEFORE DAWN (1933)

 

Friday 27 April 1984

 

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN (1977)

 

SPACEWAYS (1953)

 

 

 

Season 17  1982 – 1983

 

Friday 8 October 1982

 

FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956)

 

MONOLITH MONSTERS (1957)

 

Friday 12 November 1982

 

MAD LOVE (1935)

 

FACE BEHIND THE MASK (1941)

 

Friday 10 December 1982

William K. Everson introduced the INVISIBLE MAN season and presented:

 

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)

 

SON OF DRACULA (1943)

 

Friday 7 January 1983

 

INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940)

 

BEHIND THE DOOR (1940)

 

Friday 28 January 1983

 

ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU (1977)

 

INVISIBLE AGENT (1942)

 

Friday 18 February 1983

 

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955/in 3D)

 

THE INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE (1944)

 

Friday 11 March 1983

 

CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1973)

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (1940)

 

Friday 8 April 1983

 

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN (1951)

 

THE NIGHT KEY (1937)

 

Friday 22 April 1983

 

REAR WINDOW (1954)

presented by John Huntley, including Hitchcock archive material

 

 

 

Season 16  1981 – 1982

 

Friday 9 October 1981

 

DARK PLACES (1973)

 

SECRETS OF THE FRENCH POLICE (1932)

 

Friday 13 November 1981

 

PATRICK (1978)

 

GHOST SHIP (1943)

 

Friday 11 December 1981

 

THE UNINVITED (1944)

 

MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET (1942)

 

Friday 8 January 1982

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE DEVIL’S PARTNER (1961)

 

MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1929)

 

Friday 29 January 1982

 

BLACK CASTLE (1952)

 

RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944)

 

Friday 19 February 1982

 

THE SCARLET CLAW (1944)

 

THE VULTURE (1967)

 

Friday 12 March 1982

 

FINGERS AT THE WINDOW (1942)

 

DEAD OF NIGHT (1945)

 

Friday 26 March 1982

 

THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975)

 

THE DEVIL’S HAND (1943)

 

Friday 16 April 1982

 

VERTIGO (1958) [replaced THE UNCANNY (1977) and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960)]

 

 

 

Season 15  1980 – 1981

 

Friday 10 October 1980

 

BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

 

SCARED TO DEATH (1947)

 

Friday 7 November 1980

 

THE BLACK CAT (1934)

 

YOU’LL FIND OUT (1940)

 

Friday 5 December 1980

Tribute to the late Terence Fisher, former Gothique President

 

DRACULA (1958)

 

FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1974)

 

Friday 2 January 1981

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE WOMAN WHO CAME BACK (1945)

 

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (1935)

 

Friday 23 January 1981

 

HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923) with musical accompaniment

 

Friday 13 February 1981

 

SARDONICUS (1961)

 

THE NIGHT WALKER (1964)

 

Friday 27 February 1981

 

THE BLACK ROOM (1935)

 

THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942)

 

Friday 13 March 1981

 

SQUIRM (1976)

 

THE GREAT IMPERSONATION (1935)

 

Friday 3 April 1981

 

HOLD THAT GHOST (1941)

 

DRACULA (1931)

 

 

 

Season 14  1979 – 1980

 

Friday 12 October 1979

 

THE ASPHYX (1973)

 

THE INVISIBLE MENACE (1938)

 

Friday 9 November 1979

 

THE MUMMY’S GHOST (1944)

 

GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)

 

Friday 30 November 1979

 

MAN IN HALF MOON STREET (1945)

 

THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933)

 

Friday 28 December 1979

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE MAD DOCTOR (1940)

 

THE GHOUL (1933)

 

Friday 11 January 1980

 

INVISIBLE RAY (1936)

 

REMEMBER LAST NIGHT (1935)

 

Friday 8 February 1980

 

SSSSNAKE (1973)

 

BOWERY AT MIDNIGHT (1942)

 

Friday 29 February 1980

 

WEIRD WOMAN (1944)

 

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)

 

Friday 21 March 1980

 

LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE (1972)

 

MIDNIGHT MYSTERY (1930)

 

Friday 11 April 1980

 

DOOMWATCH (1972)

 

CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA (1936)

 

Friday 25 April 1980

“Members’ Choice”:

Selected by Stephen Jones

 

CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944)

 

LEOPARD MAN (1943)

 

 

 

Season 13  1978 – 1979

 

Friday 13 October 1978

 

THE UNHOLY THREE (1930)

 

MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935)

 

Friday 10 November 1978

 

DAY THE WORLD ENDED (1955)

 

THE MAN WHO RECLAIMED HIS HEAD (1934)

 

Friday 24 November 1978

 

INVISIBLE MAN’S REVENGE (1944)

 

THE BELLS (1926)

 

Friday 29 December 1978

William K. Everson presents:

 

THIRTEEN WOMEN (1932)

 

THE LADY AND THE MONSTER (1944)

 

Friday 12 January 1979

 

THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943)

 

THREE CASES OF MURDER (1955)

 

Friday 9 February 1979 [show cancelled due to NUPE dispute]

 

FRIGHTMARE (1974)

 

INVISIBLE MENACE (1938)

 

Friday 23 March 1979

 

PEEPING TOM (1960)

 

BLOOD DEMON (1967)

 

Friday 6 April 1979

 

SPY SMASHER (1942)

 

DICK TRACY VS. GRUESOME (1947)

 

Friday 27 April 1979

“Members’ Choice”:

Selected by Clive Bennett and Dave Simpson

 

DEMENTIA 13 (1963)

 

THE BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES (1955)

 

 

 

Season 12  1977 – 1978

 

Friday 14 October 1977

 

DEATH LINE (1972)

 

I LOVE A MYSTERY (1945)

 

Friday 11 November 1977

 

BLACK FRIDAY (1940)

 

IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953)

 

Friday 9 December 1977

 

MYSTERY OF THE MARIE CELESTE (1935)

 

WHITE ZOMBIE (1932)

 

Friday 30 December 1977

William K. Everson presents:

 

THE MONSTER (1925)

 

THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG (1939)

 

NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (1941/excerpt)

 

Friday 13 January 1978

 

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)

 

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955)

 

Friday 11 February 1978

 

CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943)

 

BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1958)

 

Friday 11 March 1978

 

MUTATIONS (1974)

 

FREAKS (1932)

 

Friday 14 April 1978

"Surprise Show":

 

Presented by John Huntley, who interviewed guests Jack Gold (director), Dave Prowse (actor), Denis Gifford (author), Dick Vosbrugh (scriptwriter) and an actress from the "then latest James Bond film" (presumably THE SPY WHO LOVED ME [1977]), and introduced the film programme:

 

THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1953/in 3D)

 

CHARLIE CHAN'S MURDER CRUISE (1940)

 

THE MAD DOCTOR (1933/Mickey Mouse cartoon)

 

STAR WARS (trailer)

 

Friday 28 April 1978

 

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

 

THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957)

 

 

 

Season 11  1976 – 1977

 

Friday 15 October 1976

 

LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973)

 

THE LEGEND OF DRACULA (1975)

 

Friday 12 November 1976

 

NEITHER THE SEA NOR THE SAND (1972)

 

HOUSE OF HORRORS (1946)

 

Friday 10 December 1976

 

DOCTOR X (1932)

 

RETURN OF DOCTOR X (1939)

 

Friday 30 December 1976

William K. Everson presents: