Thursday, 31 July 2014


...Meanwhile, I am not going to be so polite about it....So, enough. I am SICK and TIRED of hearing about blu ray releases that fans aren't happy with, and to be fair,  it's not just the classic Cushing and Lee Hammer films. Out of sync, bad prints, grainy images, lack of extras on discs asking bonus prices,... I can't support it anymore, until something changes.. So no more pre release reviews, no more competitions.. until people get their act together... I mean, how hard can it be? It's simple... If it's naff, has a problem...DON'T release it until it's corrected... OR if you do release, don't expect us to pay for it!
I'm done...
Marcus Brooks.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


#LISTSTUESDAY : Earlier today,  over at our facebook fan page we asked you, how many times was DRACULA staked in the Hammer Dracula series... by stake we mean, in the tradition vampire mythology-sense, a short, sharp, pointy wooden stake! THEN...count how many times he was staked, pieced, impaled, cut or stabbed with other objects. These were the findings.... SO, How MANY?

Saturday, 26 July 2014


Have you entered our competition yet? There are THREE copies of ODEON ENTERTAINMENT'S 'NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT' BLU RAY  up for grabs...and just one question between you and the chance of owning this Terence Fisher classic! Here's a link to the competition. Good Luck! COMPETITION HERE!


Here's your chance to win one of THREE copies of the Odoen Entertainment blu ray NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT!

All you have to do is answer the competition question, and EMAIL your answer to us HERE at PCASUK! EMAIL your answer to:

ALL entries must be in by the closing date of this competition: 9PM GMT SATURDAY 9TH AUGUST 2014. The winners names will announced here on the pcasuk website, the UK Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Fan Page and the Odeon Entertainment Facebook Page on SUNDAY 10th AUGUST 2014 at MID DAY! GOOD LUCK!

Odeon Entertainment's Region Free NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT BLU RAY IS RELEASED ON MONDAY 28th JULY 2014. You can purchase your copy HERODEON ENTERTAINMENT

Thursday, 24 July 2014


#throwbackthursday #hammerfilms  Twelve black and white promo and behind the images on a vintage contact sheet. Each one, if you crop them and give them a bit of a contrast tweak, gives you a great vintage promo shot from #draculaad1972 starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Caroline Munro, the groviest Dracula movie, ever!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


NEWS: Peter Cushing Part of The BFI Sci-Fi 'Days Of Fear and Wonder' Season: The season will also include the long awaited DVD Premiere of Nigel Kneale’s 1954 BBC adaptation of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, starring Peter Cushing, Andre Morell and Yvonne Mitchell. Cushing's 'Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD' is also part of the seasons very impressive line up of classic sci fi screenings. Click here for a terrific preview / trailer:HERE

Find out MORE:HERE 

Sunday, 20 July 2014


Here's your chance to win a set of the limited issue, Royal Mail 'Great Briton's Postage Stamps' that were issued last year. We have THREE sets to give away as prizes!


1) Director Terence Fisher shot test footage of the Hound with children performers in smaller versions of Christopher Lee's and Peter Cushing's costumes, to try and make the appearance of the 'Hound' look bigger! TRUE OR FALSE?

2) The 'HOUND' was played by a Great Dane. His name was:
a) Trooper
b) Colonel
c) Major
d) Bonzo

3) Complete this line of Sherlock Holmes dialogue from the film: ' My professional charges are on a fixed scale, I do not vary them, except.....

4) The 'HOUND' wore a prosthetic mask, to enlarge his head and make his appearance more frightening. WHO made that mask?

5) Location work for the climax of Hammer films, The Hound of the Baskervilles, was actually shot on the moors of Dartmoor. TRUE or FALSE?

6) Actress MARLA LANDI played Cecile Stapleton, and was recommended for the role by Peter Cushing, after he spotted her in a film. TRUE or FALSE?

7) Hammer films, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' was the second version of the film to be shot in colour.

8) THE interior set of Baskerville Hall is actually the redressed set of Castle Dracula from 'Dracula , Prince of Darkness'. TRUE or FALSE?

9) According to uncredited producer Kenneth Hyman, from Warner Brothers, The Hound of the Baskervilles was made with a budget of approximately:
a) £35,000
b) £56,000
c) £92,000
d) £73,000

10) Andre Morell who played Dr Watson, appeared in how many feature films with Peter Cushing?

As with ALL our PCASUK competitions, this competition is open to everyone! Even if you are not a 'follower' of this website.

PLEASE SEND your answers to ANY entries posted onto the comments feed will be deleted and not counted as an entry.

ALL entries must be in by the closing date of this competition: 9PM GMT TUESDAY JULY 22ND. The winners names will announced here on the pcasuk facebook page on WEDNESDAY JULY 23RD 10PM GMT.

Have Fun and Good Luck!

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Your next film was Gawain and the Green Knight.  When did your interest in the King Arthur legend begin?

I had been working on Gawain since immediately after ‘1917’ in 1969. We even made a 10-minute test sequence [in 1970] starring David Leland (later a director) as Gawain – he would have been far better than Murray Head.

Was it a difficult film to make on such a low budget?
Not particularly – my choice of locations (castles restored in the 19th century) gave the film a huge budget look…

The film was the last of actor Nigel Green, who plays the Green Knight.  What do you recall of Green?  He is dubbed in the film by Robert Rietty....
Nigel Green was amazing. I didn’t know he was having emotional troubles; they didn’t surface… then, while we were cutting the film, Nigel killed himself. We still needed him to post-synch [dub] certain lines. These were done by Rietty. It was painful in finally dubbing [mixing] the film – in having to go round and round many, many times – to watch Green going through the ritual suicide of the Green Knight on the screen.

You had some other fine character actors in the film, including Robert Hardy, Ronald Lacey, Geoffrey Bayldon and Murray Melvin... any memories of them?
Lots of memories of all of them. I later went on to work with all but Geoffrey Bayldon (liked him and his work, just never the right part came up).

How did the film perform when it came out, critically and commercially?
The film was recut by United Artists as part of a row between Carlo Ponti and UA. The wonderful music which was to have been finished by Gryphon was replaced by Ron (633 Squadron) Goodwin – which ruined it. I disowned it.We had made a medieval ‘Easy Rider’ which would have been really successful; UA ruined it.

It has become a very difficult film to see in recent years... is there any chance of a proper DVD or blu ray release?
I have a deal to make a collector’s edition of both ‘Sir Gawain’ and ‘Sword of the Valiant’ with the original 1970 test sequence too. But MGM/UA won’t play – the bastards.

Your next film is, I think, your finest: Ghost Story.  How did this project come about?
I had already developed the script. I wanted to get away from Studios, from control, and from the grip of the Unions…

The film, like I MONSTER, is interesting for its emphasis on the bric a brac and minutiae of the dΓ©cor... is this something you were consciously looking to evoke?
For some of this, I have to thank Peter Young – who I got to art direct ‘Ghost Story’. He had been the set-dresser on ‘I, Monster’ – and neither of us particularly liked Curtis’ sets, so my instruction to Peter had been to cover them over with pictures, furniture and bric-a-brac so we couldn’t see them! Also, we were making a film with scenes in the 19th century… so lots of stuff in any household.

Barbara Shelley plays a small role in the film... how did she come to be cast and what are your memories of her?
Ronald Lacey was originally to play the lead, Talbot – but he was too ill to come to India (doctor’s orders). He helped the production a lot, especially in casting. He had met Barbara. She liked the script and project and came on board. She got on well with everyone – and her memories of the film are on an interview with her on the Nucleus DVD.

Leigh Lawson would go on to appear in Polanski's Tess - do you have any recollection of him?
He is a great actor – and he had to deal closely with Marianne Faithfull… I really liked his work, and cast him for a major part in ‘Sword of the Valiant’.

The film has an eerie ambience, much is left ambiguous and/or unexplained... do you prefer this approach in horror films?
Yes – your own imagination… that’s you, the reader… is probably far better than we can make on film. That’s why radio plays have the best visuals… if you understand me!

Your next feature would be Sword of the Valiant.  It is, in essence, a higher budget remake of your earlier Gawain.  How do you feel the two films compare? 
I wanted to remake ‘Sir Gawain’ as UA had ruined it. My early Gawain was a kind-of peace-and-love knight, but by the time I made ‘Sword’ in 1981-2, my own vision of the middle ages had changed and Gawain was much tougher. But at least ‘Sword’ is basically what I set out to make, and it stands up well.

Did you have a hard time working with Canon - were Golan and Globus prone to interfering?
They didn’t interfere, but just wouldn’t pay. The film was stricken with strikes, walk-outs and delays. I spent 10 years suing them for my fees. The release of the film never took place as Cannon Films was operating a fraud at the time. In the not too distant future, you will be able to read two long books I wrote at the time, ‘Set-Up’ and ‘Stairs of Sand’ – these cover all the dirt about what really went on on ‘Sword’ and my uncompleted film ‘The Bengal Lancers!’. It makes chilling reading.

The cast is very eclectic and includes Peter Cushing in one of his last roles... did he seem different to you compared to I MONSTER?
No, dear Peter was just the same – his great careful work, attention to detail and costume and excellent relations with everyone. I wish I could have spent more time with him.

How did you fare working with Sean Connery?
Sean was also a consummate professional – one of the hardest workers I’ve worked with. No trouble with him!  We needed a plaster cast of his head for some Special FX. In the plaster shop at Elstree Studios, Sean was on the table, face covered with plaster and with two straws sticking out so he could breathe, when one of the plasterers told me that a few weeks before they’d been casting the hand of a famous actress, and she hadn’t been able to take a ring off. Due to swelling while casting and other complications that actress ended up losing a finger! I looked over at Sean and was shit-scared until he was back to normal…

Miles O'Keeffe was being groomed for stardom... did you find him to be good to work with?  Were you pleased with his performance?
He was difficult to work with because he had no confidence working with English actors and trying to act English. It was a nightmare – I ended up re-voicing him. However, I gave him another chance as an American on ‘The Bengal Lancers!’ – and in that he was beginning to be really shaping up…

Trevor Howard also appears in the film... do you have any recollections of him?
Trevor was a truly great actor – but better use him before lunch, before the alcohol starts to have its effect!

After this film, you stopped making movies... why?
Because of an enormous insurance fraud committed during the production of ‘The Bengal Lancers!’ in India in 1984. It took me until 1995 to recover from Technicolor trying to steal the film that was shot, bankrupt my company, steal my house – all to cover up the fact that the Technical Director of the lab had been bribed to sent false rushes reports to us in India! Finally, my book on all this – ‘Stairs of Sand’ – will tell all. I am giving away a pilot copy of the book in the PCASUK competition!

Can you tell use a little about the 'Avalon' story, which you at one time hoped to develop into a film. How far in development did this project get and what prevented it going into production?
‘Awakening Avalon’ is an extraordinary Arthurian story…. And recently I dusted it off and now it’s been published on Amazon. It’s a good read… in its development I was helped by Lorenzo Semple Jr, the great American screenwriter (who died aged 91 in March, sadly). The whole Technicolor drama killed the film. It was all cast – including what would have been Lee and Cushing’s last movie together.


Do you have any desire to get back "into the game," so to speak?
Yes, I am now working on my own adaptation of my novel ‘The Pain of Mrs Winterton’ – a dramatic story set in India 1938-41. Shooting next year. Novel will start in the USA this autumn.

Are there any films or filmmakers that are particularly inspiring to you?  Do you keep up with modern cinema?
Yes, of course I keep up. Oh, so many good directors… but I still like ‘Closely Watched Trains’ as one of my favourites, by Jiri Menzel (1968). I fell in love with it long before I knew anything about Czechoslovakia (I now live in Prague).

And lastly, how would you sum up your career as a director?
Not dead yet! My best work is coming out right now – novels, and my films will be great… new ones! 

Stephen, thank you for your time and for the interview!
My pleasure!

Questions: Troy Howarth
Images and design: Marcus Brooks
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