Hammer fans have lost another familiar face, that of actor John Carson. He may have only made three appearances in a Hammer Film, as well as one episode of their TV series, every time he came on the screen, he made his presence known. Of course, my personal favorite of Carson’s performances was as the evil squire, Clive Hamilton in John Gilling’s 1966 film The Plague of the Zombies, where he is slowly taking control over this small village. The evilness just oozes from him. With his James Mason-ish voice, his presence is always authoritative and imposing, as well as damn entertaining to watch.
But it wasn’t just this role, but also in Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974), that put smiles on the faces of Hammer fans when we’d see them appear on screen, even if it was in one episode of their TV series, Hammer House of Horror, Guardians of the Abyss (1980).
Carson passed away yesterday at the age of 89. I never had the opportunity to meet this great man, but reports state nothing but kindness and a friendly person, something so opposite of what he usually played on screen for Hammer. As sad as this news is, I know because of the countless Hammer fans out there, that he will be kept alive in our memories each and every time we revisit one of these classic films. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.