Wednesday, 16 August 2017

THE CAPTAIN, THE MARQUIS, THE COUNT AND THE LAST DANCE GIFS AND STILLS


#SILENTBUTDEADLYWEDNESDAY! The  weekly requested selection: 'SILENT GIFS BUT VISUALLY SCREAMING!' 

Here's #VINCENTPRICE as Vampire Eramus, boogieing-on-down in 'hit-miss-that-hit-miss' 1980 fun flick, 'THE MONSTER CLUB' produced by Milton Subosky, one half of the, by then defunked Amicus films. Amicus the one time, only serious contender to the Hammer films crown. It's a little sad to see how far Milton had strayed from the track with this one, although no one..myself included , would have ever told him that. Sitting in on the set, I remember seeing the 'costumed' dancers and clientele of 'The Club' in their fancy dress costumes and joke shop rubber masks, and thinking..'Maybe it will look ok, when the film is edited?' It didn't. 


THE ONE THING the film did achieve was give the crew, many of whom had worked with Amicus, some of the cast, Vincent Price and co, a last chance to have some fun. In this shot, the sound was added later in post production. The music was playing for the dancers, the band, Price, Carradine and Frau Viking-Helmet to have that last dance before for the camera, as the credits role ...but what you didn't get to hear, was the crew and extras laughing and supporting Vincent Price and his strut! It was fun, it was the last train out, that would have even made Dr Terror smile . ..  (requested Gif for J Mahon-Potter )  


#SILENTBUTDEADLYWEDNESDAY: AS BUDGETING FOR MONSTERS GO, it's pretty neat deal and very cheap too! There was a problem that beset most of the Hammer films, though not so much at the Amicus HQ, because they didn't really do 'Monsters of the Gothic kind'. The flicks that were the money earners at Hammer, had a 'Thing', a 'Grotesque', a Frankenstein Creation, an 'Ancient and dusty Mummy'. . . .or a 'Very Hairy Oliver Reed as Leon the Werewolf'... that something took time to make, usually make up artists built it onto the actor, HOURS before sun-up, when the majority of the studio crew still hadn't turned up for work. 



ROBERT BLOCH'S CONCEPT for Amicus films, 'THE SKULL' was just what Rosenberg and Subotsky's balance sheet ordered, a Monster, a focal point of terror, that wouldn't cost a fortune to assemble or have a make up man maintain every five minutes on the studio floor, where time was money. Once the Marquis de Sade was dead, and only his Head / Skull remained to stalk and terrorise Peter Cushing's Christopher Maitland, it was a 'no brainer'. In the morning, just a little powder to the cheek-bones. No tantrums, no agents, no trouble and pop him into the box, at the end of the day. It floated on command, and every performance was good to the bone, no strings attached!! Oh no. Wait a minute  . . . . .  


#SILENTBUTDEADLYWEDNESDAY!: Peter Cushing and Milton Reid as pirate Clegg and the traitor he left for dead, tongue-less and stranded on a desert island . . . 'We Meet Again' has never been more unwelcome. Captain Clegg / Night Creatures is a joy to watch, chiefly because we are in the make believe land of pirates, excise men, yo-ho-ho-taverns and lots of swash with the buckle, the kind that Peter Cushing loved. It's plain to see he is having a ball here. It's all high drama living and dying by the sword. Milton Reid is great too as the mute heavy with a grudge. Reid despite his frame, and heavy reputation on screen, actually had a soft high pitch to his own voice! He played many small roles in Brit films, when the industry had many for the picking. There is a fascinating features all about Milton Reid elsewhere on this website, and here is a quick link to find it: HERE! 


 

#SILENTBUTDEADLYWEDNESDAY!: DESPITE ALL THE fouls deeds and murders that Peter Cushing's GUSTAV WEIL carried out in the name of a greater cause, no matter how much I hated him, his comeuppance, more than slightly cheats me of a private moment of pay back. It's a nasty death, where COUNT KARNSTEIN gets to silence nagging Gustav for good and Damien Thomas, makes it all work like clock-work.  But it doesn't sit right with me. I'll explain. Had Weil just been toppled over that balcony, fallen through the air and then had we cut away to the shocked face of long suffering wife, Kathleen Byron, that would have been fine. BUT no. 


DIRECTOR JOHNNY HOUGH, knew exactly what he was doing, when Cushing himself volunteered for that, impact fall on the top step, and the limp, lifeless slide down the remaining eight........! There is something terribly unsettling and moving about Cushing's shattered and frail frame rattling down those steps, the axe clattering before him, as his head gently lolls in that, familiar loose neck, very effective Cushing style. It wasn't a technique as such, because he came at it differently every time... it's just THIS time it looks all the more final and tragic. Cushing did a very good job as Gustav, right up to the final few feet of the last reel  . . . and that fall, of a different kind of Vampire Hunter.  



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