Wednesday, 17 August 2016


The above titled image is a caption that would I am sure, upon reading it, would have Shane Briant allowing himself a titter! As the title of his autobiography tells us, not only is he is always 'the bad guy', but today on his birthday, he stands as the only remaining lead male actor, from the the final days of that most treasured British institution and regal house of horrors, Hammer studios, still working. 

Looking at the titles of many of Shane's  films and characters, you quickly begin to understand that, he may be still standing, but often he has left our nerves on the floor,  shocking us with his young and deranged Peter Clive in 'Straight On Til Morning', Simon Helder in 'Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell', all for the Hammer studio, but Norma in the landmark BBC production of 'The Naked Civil Servant' in 1975, Sir Clifford Chatterley in Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1980, and Dr. Trayso Talnell / Kaarvok in tv's 'Farscape', prove that Shane is no stranger to the tormented and the slightly skewed and has brought us a feast of 'fabulous fiends', that often stand, hold rank and quite comfortably keep company , with some of cinema's best! 

We invited Uwe Sommerlad, to take a step back and take an over view of the man who has brought us many chilling chaps in the black hat, but in life, couldn't be a more charming, friendly and sensitive man. Shane Briant

Happy 70iest Birthday to Shane Briant! The British actor studied law before he decided on a, hm, less theatrical career as an actor, making his professional debut as Hamlet in Dublin. He then played in London with the splendid Yvonne Mitchell in "Children of the Wolf", winning the Best Newcomer Award.

He played several small parts on the screen before Hammer took him under contract, hoping that he would become a new major Hammer star. Alas, Hammer was going commercially downhill by then, and the four movies Briant did for them - the underrated psycho thriller STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING (1972; dir. Peter Collinson), the strange Freudian Gothic DEMONS OF THE MIND (1972; dir. Peter Sykes), the experimental CAPTAIN KRONOS - VAMPIRE HUNTER (1974; dir. Brian Clemens, with Horst Janson) and Terence Fisher's last movie, FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1973, with Peter Cushing) did not do very well at the box office.

In between Briant went to Hollywood and played Dorian Gray in the TV adaptation THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1973; dir. Glenn Jordan), but no horror stardom followed (with Briant not really suited for the "slashers" and Zombie movies to come), but a solid career as a character actor in various movies and on TV. He was a killer in John Huston's THE MACKINTOSH MAN (1973, wiith Paul Newman and James Mason) and Jack Palance's evil son in the trash classic HAWK THE SLAYER (1980; dir. Terry Marcel).

He played a cross-dressing homosexual in the Quentin Crisp biopic THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT (TV 1975; dir. Jack Gold, with John Hurt), not LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER (1981; dir. Just Jaeckin, with Silvia Kristel) but her wheelchair-bound husband, and was suspicious in the Agatha Christie adaptation MURDER IS EASY (TV 1982; dir. Claude Whatham, with Bill Bixby). 

Briant went to live in Australia in the Eighties, where he continued to appear in movies and TV shows, including the horror movies CASSANDRA (1986; dir. Colin Eggleston) and OUT OF THE BODY (1989; dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith), thrillers GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM (1988; dir. Mark Joffe) or TUNNEL VISION (1995; dir. Clive Fleury, with Patsy Kensit) and episodes of SF series TIME TRAX (1994) and FARSCAPE (2001 - 2003). He also became the main villain in children's TV series, namely MISSION: TOP SECRET (1994 - 1995) and SEARCH FOR TREASURE ISLAND (1998 - 2000).

Shane Briant has also turned to writing and had seven novels published between 1994 and 2011. His short film A MESSAGE FROM FALLUJAH, loosely based on Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge", won the "Best of the Fest" award at the 2005 Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and was in the final mix of ten shorts for consideration for an Academy Award. In 2013 he played Major Lawrence Miller in seven episodes of the HBO serial, Serngoon Road and last year competed work on the tv mini series GALLIPOLI as Sir Frederick Stopford.


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