Sunday, 29 April 2018

CALLUM MCKELVIE: PART ONE OF DOUBLE FEATURE ON SCI FI AND HORROR : ISLANDS OF TERROR AND HEAT!


WHEN ONE THINKS OF PETER CUSHING'S  Science Fiction output, what usually springs to mind? Star Wars and the two Dr Who movies are the most obvious candidates. Aside from that the choices are somewhat limited. Horror Express (1973) and Biggles (1986) contain ostensibly science fiction elements (the monster being an alien in Express and the time travel plot in Biggles) but their feet are firmly rooted in other genres. Scream and Scream Again (1969) is another obvious candidate but sadly it has to be the film in which Cushing is the MOST wasted, barely appearing at all. 


THAT LEAVE JUST The Abominable Snowman (1957) and the films involved in this two-part feature; Island of Terror and Night of the Big Heat. This last pair are not only a sample of Cushing’s relatively small science-fiction output, their also two of famed Hammer Director, Terrence Fisher's four contributions to the genre (along with Four Sided Triangle (1953) and The Earth Dies Screaming (1964).




BOTH FILMS WERE MADE by the short-lived ‘Planet Films’ and share many of the same cast and crew. Both also belong to that curious, somewhat forgotten form of British sci-fi, pioneered by the likes of John Wyndham and Nigel Kneale. Namely, they feature small isolated intrinsically ‘British’ communities menaced by mysterious creatures. Night in particular sees much of its action take place in the local pub, a well-worn trend in British Science-Fiction films. However they’ll be more on that film next week, this time I’m tackling it’s predecessor- Island of Terror.


THE PLOT INVOLVES a cancer research establishment off the coast of Ireland where the locals are turning up dead. With the local Doctor having very little idea as to what is causing the mysterious deaths, enter Dr Brian Stanley (Peter Cushing), Dr David West (Edward Judd) and the wealthy jet-setter Toni Maerill (Carole Gray). The Scientists soon discover that creatures they dub ‘Silicates’ are loose on the island, created accidentally by the experiments. Bone sucking creatures, they multiply at an alarming rate and soon endanger the entirety of the Islands population…


OF COURSE THERE IS ONE MAJOR difference between the two films. Namely Cushing’s role. In Island of Terror, he’s an integral part of the film and one of the three main characters. Not only that but his character is given some genuinely interesting moments, for example a hero loosing his hand (or receiving any other sort of lasting damage) isn’t something we really see in a Cushing film. However, it defiantly works here and manages to ramp the tension up significantly, after all if one of our three leads can have his hand chopped off, why can’t one (or all of them) die? It’s an interesting tactic and Fisher doesn’t shy away from showing the whole thing. The effect might be a little cheesy, but the intent is there and it still works as a shocking moment. 


IN HEAT, CUSHING is given a substantially smaller role and essentially plays a victim- an interesting position to see him in at this point in his career. His character is friendly and affable, but that’s all. Cushing lays on the charm HARD and it certainly works when he reaches his demise, a scene which is easily the highlight of the film and one that is thick with tension throughout. However it’s clear which role is superior and it’s a shame the Planet Films team didn’t consider a direct follow up, re-using the character of Dr Stanley.

 
THE SILICATES THEMSELVES ARE . . . oddly effective. For the first portion of the film Fisher decides, wisely, to keep them off the screen. This builds the feeling of a menace that can be anywhere and strike at any time. Wonderfully, this isn’t just atmosphere for atmosphere’s sake and is actually used to provide genuine shocks (for example the aforementioned sequence involving Cushing's hand) when one appears out of nowhere. 



WHEN THEY ARE EVENTUALLY REVEALED When they are eventually revealed, the design is one that despite it’s cheapness, works wonderfully to compliment the films visual style and has a unique charm about it. One has to give the team credit as well for avoiding the tired clichรฉ of a man in a suit and attempting something that’s a little more unusual, resulting in a striking (if admittedly not always convincing) design. 



THE CREATURE'S SLOWNESS doesn’t make them any less threatening and indeed helps in the slow menace that makes the film so effective. One rather spectacular sequence with the creatures features one on a glass skylight, as it smashes through and drops onto a hapless victim below.
 

ONE TRULY WONDERFUL SEQUENCE, occurs in the films climax (spoilers ahead be warned) in which, trapped with the creatures advancing, Edward Judd prepares to shoot Toni in order to save her from death by silicate. It’s a surprisingly dark moment for a film of this nature, all the more so given the nature of her character and how she came to be on the island. For a character that’s so innocent and outgoing, this fate seems incredibly troubling.


TO SHOOT TERI OR NOT???

INDEED ONE OF the enduring appeals of Island of Terror, is that what starts as an enjoyable 60’s sci-fi adventure- becomes progressively darker. The opening sequences in which we meet our characters, then see them journey to the island are far lighter in the tone, than the latter half of the film. Fisher allows his audience to let their guard down and then strikes when their at their most vulnerable.





ISLAND OF TERROR, really is something of a gem in Cushing’s output and for my money stands as his best Sci-Fi feature alongside The Abominable Snowman. This film may not have the intelligence of that earlier classic, but it has genuinely shocking moments and an atmosphere that oozes dread and menace. The question is, does Night of the Big Heat match it’s predecessor?
 

I’ll be finding out next week, so PLEASE JOIN US!
If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback about this or ANY of my features here at PCAS you can contact me HERE at spookycallum58@gmail.com


REMEMBER! IF YOU LIKE what you see here at our website, you'll  love our daily themed posts at our PCAS FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.  Just click that blue LINK and click LIKE when you get there, and help us . . Keep The Memory Alive!. The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society website, facebook fan page and youtube channel are managed, edited and written by Marcus Brooks, PCAS coordinator since 1979. PCAS is based in the UK and USA

Friday, 27 April 2018

CASH ON DEMAND WRAPPED 57 YEARS AGO TODAY!


FIFTY SEVEN YEARS today Peter Cushing just wrapped with shooting one of his least expected, successes with Hammer films. A neat, tight and dramatic bank robbing saga, that started life as a BBC tv play just twelve months previously called, 'The Gold Inside'. Cushing plays a bank manager called Harry Fordyce, Andre Morell who had played Cushing's Watson just two years before, plays a foxy confidence trickster, called Colonel Gore-Hepburn. 


'CASH ON DEMAND' (1961) is quite a marvel really. With an almost penny-halfpenny budget, it holds the suspense and drama, through out it's 90min duration . . . which is real pay-off, when the plot, the nuts and bolts of the crime are revealed. It's a credit to Hammer films, who sometimes did not do as well, with their non horror movies. Cushing and Morell are superb. I know it's a favorite here, and this little GIF just about shows you, the spins and traps that Cushing's up-tight manager is put through. . . Recommended, wouldn't you say?




REMEMBER! IF YOU LIKE what you see here at our website, you'll  love our daily themed posts at our PCAS FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.  Just click that blue LINK and click LIKE when you get there, and help us . . Keep The Memory Alive!. The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society website, facebook fan page and youtube channel are managed, edited and written by Marcus Brooks, PCAS coordinator since 1979. PCAS is based in the UK and USA

Thursday, 26 April 2018

NEWS : COMPANY STRUCK BLU RAY RELEASE DEALS ON TYBURN FILMS TITLES!


NEWS: WE HAVE DISCOVERED SOME VERY INTERESTING news, from a very reliable source, that a reputable dvd and blu ray distributor has sealed the deal on several TYBURN film releases . . the titles and regions we can not release right now, but as soon as we are given the OK and authority to do so, you'll see it here first ๐Ÿ™‚ LOTS of interest on our PCAS FACEBOOK FAN PAGE  today with this great news! Which Tyburn titles would you like see released from their movies? Great news . .or what?


ONE OF MANY  features and galleries on THE GHOUL 
GIFS STILLS and YOUR FACEBOOK COMMENTS CLICK HERE!










FULL PCAS FEATURE WITH STILLS GIFS AND 
COMMENTS FROM FACEBOOK  HERE!





ABOVE: THE JOYS OF THE UK POSTER MAGAZINE 'MONSTER MAG' AND THEIR
COVERAGE OF THE RELEASE OF 'LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF' BACK IN 1975




REMEMBER! IF YOU LIKE what you see here at our website, you'll  love our daily themed posts at our PCAS FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.  Just click that blue LINK and click LIKE when you get there, and help us . . Keep The Memory Alive!. The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society website, facebook fan page and youtube channel are managed, edited and written by Marcus Brooks, PCAS coordinator since 1979. PCAS is based in the UK and USA

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

QUESTIONS AND GIFS! TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE ON THE WORLD OF CUSHING AND HIS CAREER!


FOUR NEW GIFS WITH TESTING QUESTIONS for you to try and answer! LAST WEEKS ANSWERS, you will find at the bottom of this feature! HAVE FUN!


QUESTIONS ONE : SHARPENING A STAKE and a busy BRITISH road, where is this and NAME the FILM TITLE! Can you also name  the ORIGINAL shooting title of this film?


QUESTION TWO : THAT'S A NASTY looking chap with some bad eating habits! Can you NAME this film, the ACTOR and THREE PETER CUSHING films he appeared in...and ONE with VINCENT PRICE?



QUESTION THREE : ONE OF THESE ACTORS is celebrated in a US Cartoon series, name that series! They also appeared in a very popular Western-cowboy series, can you name that series too and the TITLE of this movie?


QUESTION FOUR : CAN YOU NAME THE TITLE of this film and the city in which it is based? PETER CUSHING stars, but TWO of his CO STARS appeared in over THREE films that CUSHING starred in too! NAME THE TWO ACTORS and THE SIX FILMS!

IF YOU CAN ANSWER all these questions, send ALL your  answers to our email, petercushingpcas@gmail.com and we will use your ANSWERS and give you a credit next week!

LAST WEEKS ANSWERS:

GIF ONE: WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THIS FILM? I MONSTER THE FILM ENCOUNTERED A PROBLEM DURING PRODUCTION, WHAT WAS THAT PROBLEM? A FAILED PROCESS OF SHOOTING IN 3D. THE CAT IN THE FILM WAS ACTUALLY, a) CHRISTOPHER LEE'S b) STEPHEN WEEKS THE DIRECTOR'S c) PETER CUSHING'S? 

GIF TWO: THOMAS was born in a) WALES? b) LONDON c) EGYPT d) FRANCE.  The film  is part of the KARNSTEIN TRILOGY. IS IT THE SECOND OR THIRD ENTRY IN THE TALE? There were quite a few RATS on the floor of the set on THIS CRYPT. HOW DID THEY GET THE RATS TO STAY IN SHOT? a) WITH STRINGS? b) THE RATS WERE ANIMATED AND NOT REAL? c) WITH PEANUT BUTTER? d) WITH CHEESE?

GIF THREE: JAMES VILLIERS and CHARLOTTE TRAMPLING in AMICUS FILMS ASYLUM in 1972. VILLIERS was quite a prolific actor, who nearly always played sardonic and upper class gentlemen. He worked for both AMICUS and HAMMER FILMS. HOW MANY FILMS DID HE APPEAR IN FOR HAMMER FILMS? THREE: THE DAMNED, THE NANNY, AND BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB. VILLIERS appeared to be of aristocratic background, BECAUSE HE WAS A DESCENDANT OF THE EARLS OF CLARENDON. TRUE or FALSE?  Descendant of the Earls of Clarendon. 

GIF FOUR: CHRISTOPHER LEE as COUNT DRACULA being assisted by Hammer films regular actor, THORLEY WALTERS as  Ludwig in DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966). WALTERS MADE HOW MANY FILMS IN WHICH PETER CUSHING APPEARED TOO? FOUR THE RISK FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS (IN THE INTRO) FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED IN HOW MANY SHERLOCK HOLMES FILMS DID WALTERS APPEAR? TWO : SHERLOCK HOLMES SMARTER BROTHER and  SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DEADLY NECKLACE 



REMEMBER! IF YOU LIKE what you see here at our website, you'll  love our daily themed posts at our PCAS FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.  Just click that blue LINK and click LIKE when you get there, and help us . . Keep The Memory Alive!. The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society website, facebook fan page and youtube channel are managed, edited and written by Marcus Brooks, PCAS coordinator since 1979. PCAS is based in the UK and USA
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