As a movie fan, the older we get, the more names and faces we lose that have helped entertain us throughout our lives. Whether they are directors, actors, makeup artists, cinematographers, or set designers, they all helped create something magical to entertain us, whether it was scaring us, making us nervous or filled with anxiety, laugh, cry, or even enlightening us, making us want to be better people. For those brief moments of their work, we are forever grateful. Thankfully, most of those memories are permanently recorded and can be experienced time and time again, whenever we want, as well as them being there to do the same thing for newer audiences every single year. While we are bound lose such great talent through the passage of time, as movie fans, we can rest assured that we will help keep their memory, and their work, alive for decades to come.Continue reading
Another one lost from the Hammer Family. One that I had always hoped to meet at a convention, but no more. Shane Briant recently passed away at the age of 74, after battling a long illness. He was one of the actors that the studio hoped would take them into the next era of Hammer Horror, giving them new blood and new faces (along with Ralph Bates). He appeared in four pictures inside of three years, the first two being in 1972, Straight on Till Morning and Demons of the Mind. The following year, he had a small role in Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, and in 1973, was the assistant to Cushing’s last appearance as Dr. Frankenstein, in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. He also appeared in the title role for a TV movie adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, produced by Dan Curtis.
In 1983, he moved to Australia and worked in over a dozen films there and New Zealand, as well as starting to write, publishing eight novels.
Looking at his filmography, the last title that just has “announced” after it, even though it looks like there are plenty of photos, is a film called Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein. The interesting part is that Briant’s character name is listed as Simon Helder, the same name as his character in the last Hammer Frankenstein film. Interesting …. hope that comes out at some point.
The older I get, I realize that the people that I admire from the famous studio that stopped production over forty years ago, are also getting older and the chances of being able to meet them are getting slimmer by the day. But as I always try to point out, the films that Briant appeared in, are still around for us to enjoy, being once again memorized by the performance, looking at this youthful face with the golden blonde hair. So like Dorian Gray, he will never age in our minds.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Born Aug. 17th, 1946
Briant had studied law at Trinity College Dublin, but felt the calling of another profession: that of the actor. He started acting at a young age, even nominated by the London Theatre Critics in 1973 for The Most Promising Newcomer from his performance in ‘Children of the Wolf’. He had signed a contract with Hammer Films and made 4 films for them back to back. They were Straight on Till Morning (1972), Demons of the Mind (1972), Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974), and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974). He also appeared as the title character in a TV movie remake of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973).
In 1983, Briant moved to Australia and has worked in both film and television over there since. He also has become an accomplished writer, publishing 7 novels so far, as well as publishing his autobiography, entitled Always the Bad Guy, in 2011.
Granted, for me, Briant will always be known as one of of the actors that Hammer was trying to use as the next generation of Hammer stars, once held by Cushing and Lee (even though they both continued to work for the studio). Unfortunately, the end of the studio was already on the horizon so as good as Briant was in the few pictures he appeared in for Hammer, it was too late for the studio that once dripped blood.
How to make the beginning of the week better? Easy. Hearing a slew of great titles announced from Scream Factory that will be hitting Blu-ray last this fall!
Of course, anytime a Hammer title is release, there should be much rejoicing! No matter the title, to have these in a nice Blu-ray edition, with the blazing colors and clarity, it will be great to see these titles looking their best. Being release on Sept. 10th is Scars of Dracula (1970) starring Christopher Lee and Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1972) starring the stunning Valerie Leon! I know these titles don’t have a lot of fans, compared to maybe Hammer’s earlier titles, but they are still fun and entertaining.
Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1973)
Directed by Brian Clemens
Starring Horst Jansen, Caroline Munro, John Carson, Shane Briant, John Cater, Lois Daine, and Ian Hendry.
Trying to come up with a new series with a different kind of twist to it, Hammer gave us a swash-buckling vampire hunter. This is not your ordinary vampire movie, or vampires for that matter, as Kronos and his faithful companion Prof. Grost, travel the countryside seeking out and destroying vampires, in all of their varying guises. They are called on by an old friend for help. It seems that some of the local girls are being found basically drained of their youth, left dead as an old withering hag. But what is underneath the black cloak that stalks them?