I’ve lapsed with the blog but the last year has been a pretty rough time, loads of upheaval in my life. However that’s all over now and things are starting to smooth out so I’ll be getting things going around here pretty soon. I’ve got a lot to talk about – The Walking Dead’s just finished it’s fourth season and , Stephen King’s delivered a follow up to the Shining. There’s much to talk about…hopefully I’ll find time to do so.
This is the second title in the massive Ultimate Hammer Collection and out of the 21 films contained in the set it is the only one in black and white. Made in 1965, the studio made a good choice in deciding to make the movie in old school black and white – there are some effectively blocked shots here, shadows dancing over Bette Davies’s face, caressing and highlighting her bone structure, that just wouldn’t be the same in colour, especially the blood red tones Hammer are known for.
The movie is not the standard horror picee that Hammer became famous for, but rather a clever psychological thriller that will keep new viewers guessing right up to the very last reel.
“Is it Master Joey who is actually mad? Or is he right about his seemingly gentle nanny? Is she actually a barmy fruitcake with murder in mind?”
When I placed the disc in the player, I was of the impression that I’d never seen this movie before but a few minutes in and I realised that I had seen the film before, though long ago on a TV viewing and I’d not realised the film was done by Hammer who I associated with Dracula, Frankenstein and other gothic chillers. Mind you I didn’t really remember that much, just had the vague impression that I’d seen it somewhere. sometime. And so I was not sure how things would turn out and then cleverly laid aura of mystery completely enveloped me.
When we are first introduced to Master Joey (William Dix) we are shown a troubled, though clever little boy who has a very black sense of humour. He scares one of the teachers at his home for disturbed children, by rigging up a device that makes it look as if he has hung himself, within the first few minutes of the movie. And as soon as he returns home to his family he is shows as cheeky and incredibly naughty, while his nemesis, the titular Nanny, comes across as all sweetness and light. If anything the old woman, played by Bette Davies, comes across as having the patience of a saint in the way she deals with the boisterous Joey.
The movie contains a commentary from Jimmy Sangster, Marcus Hearne (author of The Hammer Vault) and Rene Glynne and for a commentary recorded 41 years since the film was made, the anecdotes come thick and fast – it seems both Sangster and especially Glynne who possesses an incredible memory. Sangster tells us that Greer Garson was Hammer’s first choice for the role of the Nanny but when the actress turned the role down, Bette Davies was approached.
Besides the Hollywood weight of Bet Davies, we have British actress Wendy Craig as Joey’s mother. I found it unusual to find Craig in such a dramatic role since I was brought up watching her playing variations of a dizzy middle aged mum in sitcom after sitcom. And although her part isn’t that substantial, she seems to spend most of the movie lounging about half wasted, she certainly comes across well – through subtle use of her eyes she clearly shows the anguish of the woman who is still mourning the accidental drowning of her daughter. The young actor playing Joey is William Dix and the Internet Database tells us that he made one more film in 1967 and then didn’t make another until 2001. The rest of the cast are made up those familiar British faces that often turn up in old movies or TV shows.
I really enjoyed this movie – Bette Davies and her young co-star William Dix are particularly good, and the plot is paced so the suspense runs right up until the final denouncement.
A creepy movie, excellently directed, written and acted…and you can’t really ask for more than that.
This is the first film in Hammer’s massive 21 movie box set, The Hammer Collection – this 1965 movie was by Hammer’s standards big budget with a lot more location shooting than was usual for the studio. This results in a lavish looking movie that looks particularly good thanks to the DVD remastering.
The movie plays as a boy’s own adventure and is far removed from the horror pics Hammer were known for during this period, mind you Hammer’s two biggest horror stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee lead the cast, which includes support from the beautiful Ursula Andress as She Who Waits, John Richardson and the always wonderful Bernard Cribbings providing light comic relief.
Hammer take a lot of liberties with Haggard’s original novel but in doing so they do manage to provide a pretty enjoyable, if a little daft adventure movie. the story is updated to post-First World Wae Palestine, its explorers recast as demobbed soldiers uprooted by the war.
An enjoyable enough romp then but the opening titles tell us that this film was shot in “Hammerscope” which means 2.35:1 . However this edition suddenly converts to Anamorphic 16.9.
I’ve just picked up the amazing box set, The Ultimate Hammer Collection – this impressive set contains 21 films on 21 discs. That’s a lot of hours from the house of horror – expect reviews here as I watch each and every movie, some of them for the first time. Stay tuned, fright fans…ghoulish fun comes your way.
Weekly Stats Report: 10 Dec – 16 Dec 2012
Project: Scary Motherfucker
|First Time Visits||78||97||83||117||74||57||84||590||84|
|Returning Visits||2||2||2||1||2||2||1||12||2Weekly Stats Report: 10 Dec – 16 Dec 2012
Project: Scary Motherfucker
The mid-season climax of AMC’s, The Walking Dead has just aired over here in the UK, and what an ending it was, leaving viewers eager for next February when the final six episodes complete the season.
AMC certainly realized the mistakes made from the previous season when the first six or so episodes became bogged down in the, “let’s find Sophia” storyline which alienated fans and found the show losing viewers. However season 2 sprung back to form after the mid season break – this time though the season hit the ground running and never let up, ending with a great climax which saw our favourite rednecks, the Dixon brothers runited.
We also lost several major characters during the first half of the season – T Dog went, as did Lori while new characters were introduced. One of the criticisms aimed at the show is that there is a lack of black characters but the mid season climax episode introduced the character of Tyrese and of course the super sexy Michone is already a firm favorite in the show.And speaking of Michone, she must represent the finest piece of casting ever, the actress really brings the comic book character to life.
“I get excited seeing women in dire situations transform into what they have to be. It’s about time we saw more characters like Michone.’ Danai Gurira
Another huge addition to the cast this season was David Morrissey playing the Governor – a truly evil comic book creation and if his arc follows that of the comic book then he’s gonna’ end season three as a truly hated character. I must admit I was skeptical when the actor was cast in the iconic role but the actor’s made the role his own. And the mid season climax where Michone gouged one of his eyes out was excellent – the Governor had arrived.
So this all leaves us with the award winning Prison/Woodbury arc from the comic book, and it’s anyone’s guess where it goes from here -
Season three of The Walking Dead is proving to be magnificent and the latest episode was a stunning action fest with the loss of two major characters -SPOILER- Of course having read the original comic books I was expecting Lori to go but not in the way it happened here. Mind you she was one of the most annoying characters in the show and her death may give a better dynamic – Rick breaking down at the climax of the episode was a wonderfully acted moment and will likely have big ramifications for his character arc. We lost T-Dog too but I’d mostly forgotten about him as the character’s not really been used since the first season.
This episode was the first to split the storyline down the middle – half in Woodbury, and half in the prison. It is within the prison that most of the action takes place after a routine morning of dragging out bodies turns into a full scale zombie attack. Elsewhere in Woodbury we see that Andrea, Michonne and even Earl are gearing up to leave the seeming paradise of a town, and we saw hints of the Governors true nature when he refused to give Earl permission to go and look for his brother, Daryl. Michonne especially doesn’t trust the Governor and suspects he had something to do with the death of the National Guard unit in last week’s episode. Will Michonne’s arc follow the pattern set in the comics? If it does she is going to become one of the favorite characters – she’s also stunning looking, easily the hottest chick in the show and I would most certainly smash her back doors in.
I’m also pleased with the way the writers have jiggled things around from the comic books because even long time fans are not sure what is coming next.
After a poor start to the second season, the show picked up towards the latter half of the season and continued running well into season three – and the best is yet to come. The battle for the prison is just around the corner and then we’ll see just how bad the Gov can be.