Hammer’s Plague Hits Blu-Ray

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Plague BlurayYeah, I know this was all over Facebook yesterday, but damn if I’m not going to help spread the word a bit more! While I may be a huge Hammer fan, their 1966 film The Plague of the Zombies is one of my all time favorites of theirs. So I am more than thrilled to see this hit Blu-ray, thanks to Shout Factory!

This was Hammer’s only movie that dealt with zombies, though these are the voodoo type, not the flesh-eating type. Maybe because Romero didn’t unleash his until two years later. But this is a prime example of what Hammer did best. They had an great cast with two powerful leads, André Morell as Sir James Forbes and John Carson as Squire Hamilton. Morell is so much fun to watch, being so proper and the whole stiff upper lip, but yet still has a dark sense of humor. Carson, who plays the villain, was born to play this part. Whether it is his voice, which is very similar sounding to James Mason, or his evil stare, that can easily hide behind a smile. Of course, throw in Michael Ripper in a minor role, and it makes it even better!

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Jacqueline Pearce – Rest in Peace

Jacquline Pearce RIPOne of my favorites from Hammer Studios is one of their 1966 “Cornish Horrors”, Plague of the Zombies, made back to back with The Reptile. From the incredible look of the zombies, to the bad-ass villain played by John Carson, to the straight-laced hero played by André Morell, it always delivers the goods, each and every time I watch it. Another one of the reasons is the rest of the stellar cast, including Jacqueline Peace, who plays the doomed Alice. Pearce’s performance gives the viewer such a feeling of dread because we all know what is going to happen to her and we can’t stop it. And then in The Reptile, she gives another performance to draw the audience in with her pathos.

In both of these films, not only did she have to create these characters and grab hold of the audience, she also had to endure quite some time in Roy Ashton’s makeup chair. But she not only played a couple of iconic Hammer characters, she caught the attention of many fans. So we are very sadden to hear of her recent passing.

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Suzan Farmer – Rest in Peace

Susan Farmer - RIPThis is a name that might not be too familiar, but if you’re a Hammer fan, then you’ll know the face. Farmer appeared in several titles from Hammer, including two of their swashbuckling  movies, The Crimson Blade (1963) and The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964). But it was mainly for her role in Dracula, Prince of Darkness when horror fans took note. She followed that film up immediately with Rasputin: The Mad Monk, once again coming up against the sizeable Christopher Lee. Another non-Hammer picture that she made that I remember fondly is Die, Monster, Die! (1965), starring alongside Boris Karloff. This was one that I saw in my youth and really made an impact with me. While she might not have been as glamorous or as known as some of the other Hammer starlets, her performances always stood out and are very memorable.

She passed away on Sept. 17th. Our thoughts go out to her friends and family. Thankfully, like all of our movie heroes and heroines, they will live on for fans of their films, especially for Hammer fans!

Movie Review: Plague of the Zombies

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Plague of the Zombies (1966)
Directed by John Gilling
Starring Andre Morell, John Carson, Diane Clare, Alex Davion, Jacqueline Pearce, Michael Ripper

In a small Cornish village, strange happenings are a foot! Some sort of deadly disease is creeping through the town and the local doctor is clueless as to what is the cause. He sends a letter of distress to Sir James, his former teacher, for assistance in this grave matter. Cutting short his vacation, Sir James travels to the village with his daughter to see if he can be of any assistance, but has no idea the evil deeds he is about to uncover there.

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Michael Parks & Geoffrey Bayldon: Rest in Peace

The movie world has lost two incredible character actors this last week. While neither of them were household names, the characters they played over the years gave us many unforgettable performances.

Michael Parks - RIPMichael Parks had been acting for close to 60 years, first appearing on a TV series in 1960, and would appear in a ton of different programs over the years. In the horror genre, there were only a few titles in his long career, but like any role he took on, he was hard to forget. You can see him in films like The Evictors (1979), Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach (1989), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Planet Terror (2007), Kevin Smith’s Red State (2011) and Tusk (2014).

Parks had a way of delivering his lines that made it just so damn interesting to watch him perform. Whether it was his acting style, his delivery, or a little of both, but anytime you see him on screen, with that little sparkle in his eye, you were going to be in for a treat.

Parks passed away May on May 9th.

Geoffrey Bayldon - RIPIf you were are a fan of British horror films of studios like Hammer and Amicus, then you will probably recognize Geoffrey Bayldon. He usually was a character actor in smaller roles, but like Parks, he always shined in them. You can see his work in films like Hammer’s Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) or Amicus’ The House that Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Monster Club (1981). My personal favorite of these titles was in Asylum. So much fun there.

Bayldon actually turned down the role as the very first time traveling Doctor Who, which he regretted over the years. But he made decent career in his life, working in the theater for years, appearing on stage with the likes of actors like Sir John Gielgud, before moving on to television and movies, where he appeared in more than 200 series and movies. Bayldon excelled in character roles and was always fun to watch. And still is. He passed away on May 10th, at the age of 93.

Both of these incredible talents will be missed, but definitely not forgotten, kept alive by the countless movie fans that continue to watch their films. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family in this difficult time.

Movie Review: Hands of the Ripper

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Hands of the Ripper (1971)
Directed by Peter Sasdy
Starring Eric Porter, Angharad Rees, Jane Merrow, Keith Bell, Derek Godfrey, Dora Bryan, Marjorie Rhodes, Marjie Lawrence, Lynda Baron

A little girl named Anna, the young daughter of Jack the Ripper, witnesses her mother being murdered at the hands of her father, before he disappears into the night, forever gone and forever burning that memory into her psyche. Over a decade later, something triggers those memories in Anna and she becomes ‘possessed’ with some evil force and power, brutally killing the lady that had taken her in. When questioned by the police, she has no memory of it. Fascinated by her case, Doctor Pritchard decides to take her into his home and family to study her, trying to unlock the secrets in her brain, using the ‘newly’ discovered psychoanalysis techniques from a Dr. Freud. But before he can grasp what is going on inside this young woman’s mind, bodies start to pile up as something keeps triggering those memories and she becomes her father’s daughter again and again.

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Mystery Photo 11-23

It’s Monday, so that has to mean a new Mystery Photo, right? At least this should be ONE good thing to look forward for a Monday. At least I hope it is! Our last pic was from the Hammer thriller Nightmare. Don’t hear too much about this one for some reason, but it is a good one and worth checking out. In fact, I would recommend most of the black and white thrillers that Hammer made in the 60s, especially titles like Scream of Fear and Paranoiac. Kudos out to the following who sent in the correct answer: Hoby Abernathy, Doug Lamoreux, Michael Shields, Adam Rockoff. Well done!

So….this week’s photo is not black and white, but a nice color one that I thought was a great looking shot. Well done to the DP for this one! But take a look and see what you think. Just send us an email at jon@kitleyskrypt.com with your guess. Remember…Please don’t post your answer here, so everyone can have a guess. Good luck.

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