The pre-war years, Great Britain was hardly note worthy when it came to film production and she certainly didn't merit mention in the field of cinema fantasy at a time when the entire genre was dominated by that American giant, Universal Pictures. But England's film industry would have the last laugh. She would live to see the great Universal deity topple and a new, British idol rise in its place. At this time, before the world was cast into its second terrible war, a man named James Carreras was working as an assistant manager with the ABC circuit of theaters throughout Great Britain.

He was destined to build a film empire upon the ashes of Universal Pictures, for it was in the fates that James Carreras would create Hammer Film Productions. Carreras was literally born into the entertainment business. His father, Enrique, had previously founded the Blue Hall circuit of British theaters, then had sold it to form Exclusive Films. But before James could rival his father's success, his growing career with ABC was suddenly interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. After the fighting, Carreras was demobilized under the impressive rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Artillery.

He had been honored by the late King George VI with Membership of the British Empire for extraordinary services in the defense of London Upon demobilization, James joined his father and Will Hammer at Exclusive Films, then doing minor featurettes.

This wasn't enough for Carreras and, displaying the initiative that would make him a very wealthy man, he pioneered new production trends by adapting to film such popular English radio series as Scotland Yard, PC 49 and Dick Barton. With producer Anthony Hinds, Carreras eventually branched out in his productions, concentrating on the low bud get B-feature market. The result was the birth in the late 1940s of a new motion picture company, Hammer Films.

To save money on studio rentals in order to keep his young company alive, Carreras filmed in rented country houses a tact which lent a realistic atmosphere to his programmers while at the same time allowing him to do his pictures more cheaply than his competitors.

Carreras also formed a deal with U.S. producers whereby he would acquire the services of American "name" stars in return for the rights to distribute his pictures in this country. Hammer had gone international! While Universal Pictures had all but completely ceased production of the horror films whose popularity had died with the end of World War II.

It would still be a few years yet before Hammer would do their first science-fantasy effort, The Quatermass Experiment, and revive the cycle. Meanwhile, Carreras had purchased an estate on the banks of the picturesque Thames River near Bray, not far from Windsor Castle. Here he shot his films in every room and from every angle the Bray manor house until he was forced to enlarge the building. From these additions grew today's Bray Studios, whose four sound stages continue to be the base of all Hammer operations, guided by the executive offices on London's Wardour Street.

One day in 1955, James Carreras was delightfully surprise to find that an obscure little production made by his company, The Quatermass Experiment had grossed an exceptional amount of money. American fans flocked to see the picture under its dubious title ofThe Creeping Unknown upon its release in this country by United Artists.

Carreras had used the formula he founded when filming radio series in the old days "Give 'em what they're familiar with" and had adapted the Quatermass story from the television shows seen in Great Britain. Anthony Hinds was assigned by Carreras to do a sequel just to be sure the success of the first Quatermass wasn't simply a "flash in the pan."

Brian Donlevy was brought back as the two-fisted space research scientist (a role he played excellently) and United Artists again bought the distribution rights here in America. As it happened, Enemy From Space (Quatrermass II) proved an even bigger hit than the first Quatermass epic. James Carreras saw the light.

The public wanted fantasy and what they were willing to pay to see, Carreras was willing to give them. But first an entirely new concept of horror pictures had to be formulated and brought up to date with the times no more of those stale Universal melodramatics!

Perhaps Carreras called an impromptu executive conference . . . and he could have asked something like this: " What is certain to horrify the viewers every time without fail?" Blood and Dripping Gore, came the answer. "And how can this gore be made shockingly effective?" The More Realistic the More Chilling. "And the way to acquire realism? "Impressive Production Values- Tight Scripts- Good- Writing!

Above Right - Scene From the Terence Fishers "Revenge Of Frankenstein"

Whether or not the people at Bray actually formulated their new fright concept in this way doesn't matter. The important thing is that Hammer did somehow create a unique horror formula. But the true test was yet to come: Would the public buy it? The monster most intriguing to the general audience remained Frankenstein's creature, a natural choice for the gruesome Gothic shocker Carreras hadin mind for testing his company's new horror formula.

Carreras' partner and aid, producer Anthony Hinds, recalled: "In 1956 it was suggested that we re-make the Frankenstein story. But we were given the tip by our lawyers that we might land up with a writ if we put anything in the film that resembled the original Universal production. So we had the challenge of creating what was virtually a new story from the Shelley characters." All the producers at Hammer, Anthony Hinds, Anthony Nelson-Keys and Michael Carreras (James' brother) then set to work on the filming of an 83 minute script by writer Jimmy Sangster, entitled The Curse Of Frankenstein.

Right - David Peel and Yvonne Monlaur in Terence Fisher's "Brides of Dracula" -1961

Everything in this 1956 production had to be Gothic even the film's credit titles were lettered in blazing red Gothic script. Terence Fisher, who had previously directed a fantasy picture, Four-Sided Triangle, was hired to make this new, unique horror film.

Left - Christopher Lee Being Made up for "The Brides of Fu Manchu."

A tall, gaunt actor named Peter Cushing, famed for his role in the British television version of George Orwell's "1984," was chosen to enact the part of the mad Baron Victor Frankenstein. And to portray the monster, a monster completely different in appearance and personality Hammer signed a relatively unknown actor who had been working since 1947 without success: Christopher Lee.

Recalling the day he was asked to play Frankenstein's spastic, homicidalcreation, Lee said: "When the creature in Frankenstein was offered to me, I knew it was a wonderful challenge. I thought to my self, 'Well, I can begin to make people think, to make them wonder what I really do look like!' From then on, after playing parts in different films all over the world without attaining any degree of particular satisfaction or international fame, my name started to mean something to the public."

In late spring of 1957, Warner Bros. released Hammer 's The Curse of Frankenstein in this country, tinted in "Warner Color,"and broke box office records. For the first time, audiences actually saw Frankenstein's monster being built from dripping severed hands, eyeballs, a brain and other juicy odds and ends.

The extra money spent by Hammer to make their gory film the first color horror picture produced in England paid off for them as cash registersrang the world over. But what really lured people into the theaters was the first appearance of a totally original Frankenstein monster. Hammer had made their initial attempt at doing exactly the opposite of what was expected a technique that would prove to be their trade marking the future.

Left - Scene From "The Mummy" starring Christopher Lee"

Makeup artist Phil Leakey, who left Hammer after completion of Horror of Dracula in 1958 and was replaced by Roy Ashton, had created the most striking and unique creature to come along for quite some time, completely catching the public off guard. No longer did anyone snicker at a huge, lumbering, square-headed brut ewith bolts in his neck. Here was a thin, scarred, lizard-like fiend, mutilated by deep gashes tearing his chalky, corpse-like face.

Ragged stitches could be seen snaking across its forehead beneath a fringe of shaggy hair. With their new Frankenstein monster, Hammer were on their way to fame! For actor Christopher Lee, playing Frankenstein's creation was a physically painful ordeal but his excellent characterization won him immediate stardom.Said Lee about his "monstrous" role: "The make I wore took 1/2 hours to get on. I hardly move my head, or eat, or do anything.

Right- Peter Cushing as Dr. Baron von Frankenstein in "Curse of Frankenstein."

I had all sorts of things glued to my face, undertaker's wax, plastic, all sorts of horrid things. It was most unpleasant. But I just took refuge behind my face and' tried to forget it all."

James Carreras saw to it that Hammer became dedicated to the advancement of horror films mainly because they were making money for his company! Calling back the two actors he had so much success with in his Frankenstein epic, Carreras hired Lee and Cushing to co-star once again in the second of Hammer's new series of Technicolor re-makes. The most ghastly, horrifying scare film ever made!'' shrieked the Daily Mirror. "Quite possibly the most horrendous and fearful of all the Dracula vampire-bat tales ever unreeled in film!" chimed Que magazine.

Hammer's second excursion into Gothic horror had been loosed upon the unsuspecting world. Within two years, James Carreras saw his company get back eight times their production costs on the greatest fright film ever produced by any company: the legendary Horror of Dracula.Filmed in six weeks at Bray Studios in 1958, this gruesome shocker was released in England in May of that year, and in America a few weeks later.

Right- Scene from the "Revenge of Frankenstein."

Chris Lee and Peter Cushing were teamed once more in 1959 for The Mummy (Universal) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (UA) both top notch productions. Also in '59, Hammer made a new version of Paramount's The Man in Half Moon Street for that company, entitled it The Man Who Could Cheat Death. Anton Difering starred with Christopher Lee.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde soon got the Hammer over-haul, with Jekyll Paul Massie becoming handsome as Hyde instead of ugly in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. Columbia pictures, who had bought distribution rights for this film in America, relinquished control to American International, who then proceeded to change the title from Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll to Jekyll's Inferno and, finally, to House of Fright (1961). Chris Lee was featured in a supporting role. Hammer some how missed the mark when they gave The Phantom of the Opera the remake treatment for Universal release in 1962.

Chris Lee was to have starred, but luckily he got out of the deal, leaving Herbert Lom to take the rap. Lom, an outstanding actor, just could'nt overcome the surprisingly dull story of Phantom.Hammer, in an apparent effort to give the film a shot in the arm, had the Phantom's dwarf side-kick lunge a dagger into the eye of the Opera house rat-killer in one of the most shocking scenes ever done at Gray. But one sequence does not a thriller make, and Phantom sank slowly intomediocrity. The co-feature, Peter Cushing's Night Creatures, was far better, presenting Hammer at their swash-buckling best. The only film property not to go before the cameras at Bray Studios is The Invisible Man. Perhaps Hammer simply can't think of any new twists to ring in on this old stand-by.

Left - Christopher Lee in "The Pirates of Blood River."

If you've seen one invisible man, you've seen 'em all! Werewolfery was explored by Hammer in 1961 when they did a lycanthropic episode even better than Lon Chaney 's The Wolfman, entitled Curse of the Werewolf (Universal).

The British censor again stepped in, snipping a number of grisly close-ups of Oliver Reed, his mouth drooling scarlet Technicolor blood. Roy Ashton'smake up work was outstanding presenting the werewolf as being gray in the color of actual timber wolves. Curse of the Werewolf ranks as one of Hammer's very best and shot Oliver Reed to fame for his beastal portrayal. Hammer Films wasn't strictly a horror company, however, the majority of their resources were channeled in that direction.The realism they had long ago become renowned for was also applied to a number of gripping war films and to some " straight " programmers.

Right- Peter Cushing about to have his Brains Smashed Out in "Revenge of Frankenstein."

Michael Carreras who handled actual production along with Anthony Hinds and Anthony Nelson-Keys while James Carreras kept tabs on the company's progress directed and produced The Steel Bayonet (UA, 1958), which deals with the 1943 British campaign against the Germans in the African desert. Carreras also did a film on the Japs in Burma, Yesterday'sEnemy (Col., 1959) and a spy thriller, Break in the Circle (20th-Fox, 1957). At last we come to the question asked by film enthusiasts the world-over: Just why is Hammer so popular?

Left - Christopher Lee is "The Mummy" -1959.
Right: Breaktime on the Set of "Plague of the Zombies."

Why have they gotten where they are today on the strength of their horror pictures? Perhaps the reason is summed up by saying that Hammer has somehow stumbled upon the secret of "Shock /Shock": film sequences as sure every horror filmmorbidly fascinating as the battle between Christopher Lee and Valerie Gaunt in Horror of Dracula. . . or Michael Wynn's sudden transformation into a blood-lusting fiend in The Revenge of Frankenstein . . . or Peter Cushing burning the vampire's bite from his throat in The Brides of Dracula . . . or Tallulah Bankhead shooting Peter Vaughan in the face in Die! Die! My Darling!

Such film sequences are classics in the Hammer tradition of motion picture making, being visually intriguing ,extremely realistic hence believable and dramatically forceful. Actually,"realism" is the key word and Hammer productions are certainly realistic. There is a staggering amount of importance placed on minute detail at Bray which would normally be ignored by any other company. Hammer usually makes a point of researching the sets and furnishings of a given script, striving for accuracy in every item.

In this respect, the work of Bernard Robinson, Hammer 's production designer and art director, looms above all else. His is the genius behind the marvelously atmospheric sets seen in all of Hammer's efforts Baskerville Hall, Castle Dracula, Frankenstein's laboratory, and many others. Through the settings originates the over-all atmosphere of the motion pictureas a whole, and results obtained by Bernard Robinson in the barn-like studios at Bray are a decided factor in the success of Hammer's films.

A few of the sets are literally built into the Bray manor house, which is one of the blessings of having a small, compact studio. There are little things seemingly unimportant to the casual viewer which make the films of Hammer outstanding little things like a ceiling over an interior set. By shooting up from low angles, an experienced director, such as Terence Fisher, can create a claustrophobic affect during these interior sequences. This very affect leads to the sensation of viewing, lasting, solid structure srather than delicate and at times hastily assembled sets.

The money Hammer saves by rarely having to go on actual location is most likely applied to the construction of these first-rate sets and to the purchase of fine acting talent. However, Hammer moved toward the big-budget "super productions,"and with such films, unfortunately, by-passed the solid production values synonymous with the Hammer name. Michael Carreras did She (MGM, '65), traveling on location to Israel, and filmed 1,000,000 Years B.C. (20th-Fox), traveling to the Canary Islands. Hammer slowly but sure went "Big Time," but that distinct flair for atmosphere in their productions became becoming less and less apparent and eventually proved Hammer 's down-fall.

Right- Montage From "The Man Who Could Cheat Death" -1959. Left - Hammers "Phantom of the Opera" Directed by Terence Fisher.

No matter what short-comings may appear in their production values, Hammer will always entertain audiences with the very best of acting talent. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, two fine artists capable of performing the works of William Shakespeare as impressively as the works of Jimmy Sangster, were both started off to fame by The Curse Of Frankenstein. Subsequently Hammer productions laid stardom at their feet. Lee especially owes his popularity to the wide variety of characters offered him by Hammer.

For producers Carreras, Hinds and Nelson-Keys he has played Dracula,Frankenstein's monster, The Mummy, a Chinese Tong leader (Terror of the Tongs, Col.,1961), Rasputin (Rasputin The Mad Monk, 20th-fox, 1966), a Spanishpirate captain (Devil-Ship Pirates, Col., 1963), and many, many others. Aside from the far-famed stars like Lee and Cushing, there are character actors, just as diversified in their talents whose faces are familiar to every Hammer fan, yet whose names are obscured by the top stars billed over them. Actors like George Wood bridge, Michael Ripper, Charles Loyd-Pack and Miles Malleson are brought back again and again by the producers at Bray Studios because of the invaluable, but underrated, service their talents render to the quality of films. George Woodbridge can easily run the gamut of emotions and play a sadistic bully (Revenge of Frankenstein) and a naive, cheerful police officer(Peter Seller's comedy, Two-Way Stretch) with equal ease.

He was probably with Hammer for more than a decade, and was last seen in The Reptile (20th-Fox, 1966). The credits of Michael Ripper, Charles Loyd Pack and Miles Malleson are equally impressive, although it's doubtful that they have ever been mobbed on the streets by enthusiastic fans.

Ripper has appeared in The Mummy (1959),The Plague of the Zombies (1966), Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) Loyd-Pack in Enemy From Space (1956), Revenge of Frankenstein(1958); Terror of the Tongs (1961); Malleson (usually as comic relief) in Horror of Dracula (1958), Hound of the Baskerville (1959) and Brides of Dracula (1960) . They all of course have other Hammer credits too numerous to mention here. So it's obvious, then, that the executives at Bray recognize the value of excellent character support. They don't make the mistake of concentrating on the ability of the top stars to carry a film, which is another of the many reasons for Hammer's success. Every part is played well right down to the most meager "walk-on."

Eventually, Hammer seemed to have fallen upon a new motto: "When in doubt, do a sequel!" After being unemployed since 1958, Baron Frankenstein suddenly set up shop again in 1964, causing The Evil of Frankensteinto annoy villagers in Carpathia.

What annoyed film-goers, though, was the fact that Evil wasn't a sequel to anything. While Curse and Revenge (both by Jimmy Sangster) blended together smoothly, Evil simply found the Baron on his own, with the mustache he had sported at the conclusion of Revenge completely shaved off and his assistant, Kleeve (Francis Matthews) mysteriously replaced by a new helper, Hans (Sandor Eles).

John Elder, an unfamiliar name among the Hammer ranks, wrote the unimaginative screenplay for Evil as well as for Kiss of the Vampire (Universal,1963). At the same time "Elder" popped up out of nowhere with his scripts, Anthony Hinds disappeared from the active production scene.

The reason is that producer Hinds is reportedly moonlighting: Hinds and Elder are said to be one and the same man. In looking over Hammer productions, one sees that Anthony Nelson-Keys has replaced Hinds as the most active producer at Hammer.

And whose stories is Nelson Keys producing? Why, " John Elder 's," of course! A similar story is told concerning the scenarist ofDracula, Prince of Darkness, the long-awaited sequel to Horror ofDracula which Hammer filmed in April of 1965. "John Sansom"is credited with the screenplay, "based on an idea by John Elder"(there he is again!). "Sansom" is in reality Jimmy Sangster,and the script of Dracula, Prince of Darkness is the story Sangster had written long before called Disciple of Dracula. Why he didn't want his name linked with this new Hammer vampire epic isn't known. Sangster's writing genius is actually the very nucleus of Hammer's productivity. He has worked long and hard creating scripts of consistently high quality whose successes at the box office made Hammer what they are today.

Starting with the blockbuster The Curse Of Frankenstein, and its co-feature, X, The Unknown,Sangster proceeded to turn out in rapid succession Horror of Dracula, (1958), Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), Bridesof Dracula (1960), Terror of the Tongs (1961), and many, manyothers. Aside from his work with Hammer, Sangster has also done Bloodof the Vampire and The Crawling Eye for Eros Films and a straightprogrammer for 20th- Fox release, Intent to Kill.

Stories dealing with insanity and murder seem to be Jimmy Sangster'spersonal favorites, such as : The Snorkel (1957), Scream of Fear(1961), Paranoiac (1963), Maniac (1963, Nightmare (1964),and Hysteria (1965). Sangster has also recently gone into the executivebranch of film-making in addition to writing by producing his own scriptsunder the Hammer banner. He did just that with Hysteria (MGM) and ,The Nanny (1965), bringing Bette Davis back in another nasty role for 20th-Fox.In 1961, Sangster did a swash-buckler, The Pirates of Blood River (Columbia), which starredChristopher Lee and proved a big hit. Inspired by his own screen play, he then did another pirate epic especially for Lee entitled Devil-Ship Pirates (Columbia, 1963).

Left: Death by Quicks and from "Hound of the Baskervilles"-1959.

Lee played the part of Capt Robeles, a Spanish cut throat. Simila rto the pirate thrillers written by Jimmy Sangster was The Scarlet Blade(1963), created by John Gilling for producer Anthony Nelson-Keys.

Gilling, a free-lance writer/director, directed his own script which was to have featured Chris Lee, but the popular actor had to bow out dueto previous commitments. A writer since the end of World War II, Gilling began directing in 1947 at the age of 35 and eventually wandered into the Hammer camp.His script, Supernatural, became The Gorgon in 1963 and reunitedtwo good friends, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who hadn't worked together since four years before.

Aside from directing Hammer's Plague of the Zombies, The Reptile,and Secret of Blood Island, among others, Gilling has written forother companies such costume thrillers as Flesh and the Fiends (re-released as The Fiendish Ghouls) and Fury at Smugglers Bay. But when speaking of directors like John Gilling, one must recognize the best of Hammer's artists, Terence Fisher. Fisher returned to the Bray Studios to do Dracula,Prince of Darkness, prompting memories of the old days when he had directed every one of the remakes to come out of Hammer.

Right- Christopher Lee as "Rasputin, the Mad Monk".

French fans actually consider Fisher's thrillers as works of art and idolize him. Said Fisher of his profession: "Horror films are the most vulnerable and the most cinematic of all films. And believe me, they're awfully hard to pull off. I must say, though, they're twice as rewarding as any other kind chiefly because even the highbrow critics take them seriously surprised by what they sometimes real into my intentions."

To defray the costs of filming, the Bray executives have signed a pactwith Seven Arts Pictures through which they jointly produce motion pictures for distribution in America by 20th-Fox, as has been done with Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Rasputin The Mad Monk and The Reptile, among others. Through this new partnership, such blockbusters as She and1,000,000 Years B.C. have come out of Hammer's cutting rooms.

The latter production, produced by Michael Carreras from his own screenplayin Wide screen and Color by DeLuxe, and directed by Don Chaffey, is the most costly film in Hammer 's history and there is a very good possibility that this "remake" will be even better than the original! Colorful production, special animation by Ray Harryhausen, the impressive charms of leading lady Racquel Welch and handsome new-comer John (She) Richardson shape up as top box office entertainment. As was mentioned earlier, Hammer has begun in the past three years to turn out sequels of former success rather than delve too deeply into originality.

Then made The Camp on Blood Island, then waited seven years before doing a sequel of sorts, The Secret of Blood Island (Univ., 1964).Horror of Dracula,was a tremendous success in 1958, yet Hammer didn't do a direct continuation of the film until 1965 (Dracula, Prince of Darkness).The "Mummy" theme was left dormant after 1959, only to be revived in 1964 as The Curse ofThe Mummy 's Tomb. And of course Baron Frankenstein returned in 1964 after a six-year absence.

At that time , Hammer had decided against doing any more vampire pictures, and It would be intriguing if Hammer had presented the Baron horribly scarred in the fiery climax of Evil as having to hide his mutilated face beneath a flesh-mask in the manner of House of Wax. That moldy old Egyptian who never seems to stay dead wreaked havoc again in The Mummy's Shroud. News which would make those who saw Curse of the Mummy's Tomb wince in painful remembrance of that Hammer fiasco.

Left - Set Doctor Cleans Wounds Left After Filming a Rape Scene in "Rasputin,the Mad Monk."

The sad thing, though, is that these re-hashes weren't really worth the wait. Hammer began to ride on their past accomplishments, selling each of their films more and more on name value alone and this can be a dangerous situation. It's so easy to slip down-hill when you're at the top.

Aside from their release of the fantastic One Million Years B.C.-20th Century Fox will put out Bray's Prehistoric Women, starring Hartine Beswick and Michael Latimer, in CinemaScope and Technicolor. Also, another psycho-type romp starring a female veteran of the screenwill be The Witches (formerly The Devil's Own), with Joan Fontaine attempting to rival Bette Davis and Joan Crawford for the title of Queen of the Hags.

There was talk among film fans of a sequel to the 1965 spectacular, She -which was among the top ten money-makers in England that year, but once that She star Ursula Andress had become a much-in-demand box office personality, and she did not want to exert her "talents" in a mere fantasy film. All in all, it appears that the executives at Bray intended to keep busy concocting new studies in mayhem to shock and delight their millions of fans.

Right: Director Terence Fisher and the the Cast of "Frankenstein Created Woman".

In conclusion, a word from producer Anthony Nelson-Keys should be sufficient: "We're in the horror business because we believe the vast majority of audiences find it entertaining and fun. If they didn't, nobody would pay to see our motion picture theaters would refuse to show them, and, we would be out of business."

The moment you put out the light, man reverts to the primitive . . . What is the cinema? It's the place where the lights are put out. Enjoyment of horror is one of the deepest things. Electric lights can 't kill horror anymore than it can kill nightmares. And do you know what the worst kind of horror is?

Above - The Grave Robbers Have Struck Again in Terence Fisher's "Revenge of Frankenstein" -Micheal Gwynn Portrays the Frankenstein Monster. Left Cristopher Lee Claims Another Victim in "Brides of Dracula".

It 's when you switch on the light and the ghost is still there. In our world, of Hiroshima and Belsen, there are plenty of waking horrors. If you dig into peoples minds, you'll find belief in ghosts, in vampires, in a great many things they don't believe in.

We're not as materialistic and income-tax conscious as we think. At the moment our superstitions are tucked away, but come out sometimes in strange ways sex crimes, black masses. Sometimes they 're the results of genuine lunacy but usually they're an attempt to escape from society which is too well-ordered.

So well ordered that as soon as somebody like Hitler rebels against it, out come all the hidden hatreds and fears. Continental film critics acknowledge the English are the world experts in horror. It's because we're timid. Shyness breeds shadows and shadows breed vampires. The Americans are different, they're brash; and their audiences don't like ghosts, they like monsters. The written word is the basic of everything. Most important, the idea, and after that, the dialogue. You can rehash the dialogue as you go along, it 's disgraceful to have to do this, but now and again you have no choice.

Basically I say: All right, this is, within its formula, a picture I can probably make something of. I've never accepted anything I couldn't believe in. I favor a rather slow pattern to the story. Werewolf goes through three generations. One ought to plan a film with costume and set designers before shooting; but I've never had the time or the money.

Right- Dr. Van Helsing -Peter Cushing- Examines Dracula's Latest Conquest in Terence Fishers "Brides of Dracula."

There is the danger of over preparation, of loss of spontaneity; over rehearsal is the most terrible thing you can imagine. We do have a very close association between costume and set designer, though. And the cameraman is very important, of course.

The cameraman of Phantom prefers what he calls natural, neutral color, whereas Jack Asher likes to go for strong color effects. And then you really have to stylize and discipline the color.

Right- Director Fisher "Uncle Terence" is reading to a little girl who was featured his greatest film, Horror of Dracula (1958 Universal).

One blob of red in the wrong place and the audience isn't looking at the hero, they're looking at a patch of curtain (or something similar) and your whole effect is lost. A director has a very loose control in low-budget pictures, and Hammer 's are comparatively low budget Bernard Robinson is a genius at revamping sets; color brings the price up a little, not much.

We shoot in from six to eight weeks, say 50 days. Robert Aldrich quoted 28 days for Baby Jane and they had a week of rehearsals before that. We had a one-day reading of Jekyll when it so happened that the artists were available and Michael Carreras wanted one. Otherwise one character may kill another but the actors never meet !

I must work with the make-up artist on the monster's faces. It's one sketch after another. He does any additional experiments on the face and we test on that. The werewolf makeup is based on the traditional conception. But the Frankenstein Monster with his do it yourself Monster stitches is very different from Karloff's nuts and bolts. We refused to have anything to do with anything mechanical. We wanted the monster to fit Chris Lee's melancholy personality.

Left - Frankenstein, Finds a Fresh Corpse Suitable for Re-Animation

We wanted a thing which looked like some wandering, forlorn minstrel of monstrosity, a thing of shreds and patches, but in flesh and blood and organs eyes and brains and arms and so on. The one case where I was afraid we'd gone too far was in Werewolf, with the syphilitic who gets stabbed over his chessboard. It's horrid when you see those warts with the hairs growing out of them, isn't it? But his face had to be an image of his soul. He was evil, rotting away. The censor allowed everything about that man's appearance, but for one little detail.

On the set the actor was fiddling about, just getting into the part, and I saw him scratch a flake of skin off his nose, and I said, 'That's it do that when we shoot, ' and he lifted a flake of skin off his nose and flicked it away with his fingers. And this one detail was not allowed to stand. Film making is quite unlike the stage. There things can be ironed out during your period of rehearsal. But on the screen you can't sit down and predict exactly what you are going to do. I know Hitchcock says he does, but I don't believe him for a moment. Even your actors go in cold.

In Revenge of Frankenstein there's a man in a hospital bed, with no legs because the Baron has cut them off to put them on his Creature. So the man sits with his arm coiled round just where his legs were, as if he would have like to rest his elbow on his knee but couldn't anymore.

We only saw this on the floor. And did you notice the scene where Frankenstein lights the bunsen burner in front of the eye balls in the tank? He wants to demonstrate the movement of the dismembered arm in the adjoining tank.

Right - Frankenstein Examines Body Parts in Fisher's "Revenge of Frankenstein."

The reflection of the flame in the glass seems to be touching the hand. And you feel the helpless fear of these dismembered parts. This sort of thing can hardly be visualized at the script stage. I start from the basis of the master scene. First there's a rehearsal and before I'm halfway through I know what we're going to do, because the physical movements of the actor determine the camera position. I don 't thing preplanning is any good except for certain very fixed effects.

First see how the people react and move to the decor and to each other, and then before you know what's happening the thing is beginning to mold itself. After all, you've talked to the actors beforehand and let them know what you're out to do. But after they've brought their personalities to it, then you control and break the scene into dramatic set-ups and start punching and punctuating where you must.  I find personality so important; I like a more the artificial style than this realism. I like the Victorla period especially. Most of what I learned film wise was in the cutting rooms. That gives you a great sense of the pattern of a film, the overall rhythm. This dramatic rhythm is the basis of technique, of style. For example I've al ways involved the monster in the frame, planted him in the decor. I've never used the conventional style, where you keep harping on reaction shots and cutting away from him.

Right -Christopher Lee In Terence Fisher's "The Mummy"

I believe in building things up, naturally, but I've never isolated the monster from the world around, or tried to avoid showing him. Carol Reed The exception is Phantom; there was no reason to show his face, you'd seen the acid go into his face, you knew how pitifully he was in agony all the time. But in Dracula of course we had to show the face and the fangs. And we did. But most of my films aren't horror films, you know. They're macabre, which is a little different. Stranglers of Bombay went wrong. It was too crude.

The basic idea was the absolutely true story of thugee. The producers felt it was better in black and white because it was a documentary story rather than a myth. But in the written word there was too much Frankenstein and Dracula and I was still with the previous approach. I saw most of the original versions of my monster films when they originally came out, but I no longer had any clear recollection of them.They were reshown at the studio but I wouldn't see them. I did see three reels of the Claude Rains Phantom, which I loathed.

Left - Terence Fisher's "The Mummy" -1959

There are certain key scenes in The Mummy which you can't get away from, but the similarities are in the script only.I think Carol Reed once said that he doesn't see any films because he's terrified of being influenced, which I can understand. I'm terrified of seeing my own films, or I have been.

Chris Lee and Peter Cushing I can't speak too highly of them. In fact to my mind the best films were those in the early days, with Cushing and Lee. Lee is a mime expert; he studied ballet at one time, and he can express emotion eloquently in the simplest physical movements, just in his walk. This is the secret of his Mummy and his Frankenstein Monster. The Mummy is swathed for the best part of the film, and yet, when he recognizes the girl whom he thinks is a reincarnation of the Princess he once loved, you can feel with him, even though he's dumb and his face is swathed. He never menaces her at all; he's saying, 'Come to me . . ." I like working with Miles Malleson. Give him two lines and he'll work throughout the scene.

Left - Christopher Lee is the Mummy in Terence Fisher's "The Mummy."
Right - Oliver Reed as the Wolfman in "Curse of the Werewolf" -1961

With real actors like him you sometimes have to say, 'Oh for christ sakes your over the top a bit aren't you, but still, an amazing number of film actors really do think that if they're not speaking they can just go dead on you until their next line.

In some ways though I like those days, the film , in a period frame, when people had more time than they do now . . . and the era was damn good, because it was so full of hypocrisy. You can't make a modern Frankenstein because it's all happening anyway. They 're making Frankensteins out of those blighters whom they're sending up in rockets and space capsules they 're the modern Frankensteins. I go for basic things in drama. Fire is a pictorially very exciting thing, isn't it .

And it 's a very complete form of destruction. It has a certain spiritual sense. People talk about the purifying flame. And physical destruction makes a nice contrast with supernatural things. They 're destroyed by the basic elements, earth, fire, water. Dracula is killed by a stake being hammered through his heart, or burned up by the sun. And after all, mental destruction makes physical destruction look mild, doesn't it? Baron Frankenstein wants to create something.

Right - Hammer's The Phantom of the Opera -1962

He has a great ideal, to create a perfect human being with a perfect brain and a perfect physique. He was after perfection the tragic pursuit of perfection. He 's ruthless only because of his ideals. Unfortunately he doesn't succeed. The thing fails and gets out of hand and takes charge of him. Idealism is the only excuse he could have and it's a great excuse. Maybe I didn't plug his idealism enough. But he had only one aim in life, and he didn't care whether he lopped somebody's arm off or took a couple of eyeballs out, because he considered the end justified the means. Jekyll is indeed an idealist but Hyde is a complete brute from beginning to end. There's no redeeming feature in him. He loved every second of his crimes, and when he finally had an excuse to kill Jekyll 's wife, he was delighted.

Personally I would have written it differently . . . made him more horrible and given him some redeeming features. But that was the written word. The monsters must outrage innocents or semi-innocents, because it wouldn't mean so much if they wronged hard-boiled people. Or maybe it could . . . actually that might be interesting.

Cushing was very conscious of all this. Cushing and Lee are very intelligent men. Cushing particularly is a very deep thinker. In Curse, which started out as a bit of a giggle almost, the great temptation was for the actors to send it up, to overdo things. That's al ways the danger with these films. But once I'd told them to take it straight, they knew exactly what I was after. Sex? Certainly Dracula did bring a hell of a lot of joy to a hell of a lot of women. And if this erotic quality hadn't come out we'd have been very disappointed. We tried to make the vampires a bit more human than they usually are. In Brides, they have the possibility of repenting even after death, or undeath.

The process is very gradual, you see. At first there's the tainted stage; they know what will eventually happen to them if they go on but they say, 'Oh God, don't do it to me do it again, please, please.' Actually the French titles are better, Mistresses of Dracula or Fiancee of Dracula because they're not actually married to him. They can still break off the engagement. Cushing is the rationalist, the moralist who is trying to break an unholy pleasure. But a pleasure. There is a redeeming feature in the Frankenstein Monster.

Right - Terence Fisher's "Revenge Of Frankenstein."

It is brain is damaged; he can't control him self. Christopher Lee didn't want to kill the old blind man. Lee was pleased with him, quite friendly. Then the silly old man got frightened and poked at him with his stick. Suddenly the monster's mind went wrong and he killed the old fellow. But he wasn't evil in any way at all.

Do I believe in the supernatural ? Oh yes, certainly. I can't believe, I can't accept that you die and that's the end. Physically maybe it is a fact. But there's something about the mind that's more than that. It goes on, it must go on, in some other form perhaps. Immorality isn't a particularly Christian thing. I wouldn't claim to be very much of a Christian. Some people criticize the morality of my work. I've never been worried that my daughter's seen my films, although She was only 13 or 14 when Revenge of Frankenstein appeared. I'd rather she saw mine than some others. Films are still frightening when you know your father made them. You don't connect the two. From a recorded interview with RAYMOND DURGNAT and JOHN CUTTS. (FILMS & FILMING)

Miraculously escaping death in a fiery explosion set by Nayland Smith, Dr. Fu Manchu again takes time to try and conquer the world in this, the second of the Seven Arts series starring Christopher Lee . Eventually, six Fu adventures will come out of Hallam Productions, guided by producer Harry Alan Towers. Dr. Fu Manchu this time plans to become Ruler of Earth by kidnapping the daughters of powerful world leaders. All the girls, by the way, just happen to be ravishingly beautiful!

Right - Christopher Lee is Fu Manchu

Unfortunately for dear old Fu, his arch nemesis, Nayand Smith (Douglas Wilmer), is still around and sees to it that Fu's plans go awry. The featured instrument of mass destruction in BRIDES is a lethal death ray machine ala Ming the Merciless of those old Flash Gordon serials.It seems that the poison gas used in FACE OF FU MANCHU just isn't effective any more. Of course, Nayland Smith and his side-kick, Dr. Petrie arrive at Fu's desert Temple hide-out and divert the death ray machine in the nick of time. The Temple and (supposedly) Fu himself go up in smoke in a cataclysmic finale.

THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU has been done in the same high-spirited, tongue-in-cheek manner as the first of the series and began filming on November 22, 1965. The third Fu epic, VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU, was made in Hong Kong with Christopher Lee again in the title role.Strange enough, Nigel Green returns as Nayland Smith in VENGENCE after being replaced by Douglas Wilmer in BRIDES.

Wilmer, though, is reported to be just as effective as was Green, though this mix-up in Nayland Smith's identity will probably be an annoyance to those fans who remember THE FACE OF FU MANCHU. Nonetheless, the Fu series is gaining in popularity all the time and, like Fu himself, it may never die.

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN
A Hammer/Seven Arts Production,
Produced by Anthony Nelson-Keys.
Directed by Terence Fisher
From a screenplay by John Elder.
Released by Twentieth Century-Fox.

CAST
Baron Frankenstein.PETER CUSHING
Christina .SUSAN DENBERG
Dr. Hertz .THORLEY WALTERS
Hans .ROBERT MORRIS
Johann .DEREK FOWLDS
Anton .PETER BLYTHE
Karl .BARBY WARBEN

At the conclusion of Hammer Films' THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN(1964), the good Baron finally met his doom amid an exploding hell of flames and crumbling masonry.  Or did he? Could the man who had escaped the dreaded guillotine -and the very jaws of Death itself-ever really die ? Of course not! And so now the Baron is letting everyone know that FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN was shot at Bray Studios for 20th Fox release.

Baron Victor Frankenstein -Peter Cushing, saved from death by Dr. Hertz (Thorley Walters), has become bored with simply transplanting brains and is now working on the transference of human souls from one body to another.

Left - Frankenstein and His Latest Creation

He soon sets up shop again in his Balkan castle home. Meanwhile, Victor's young assistant, Hans (Robert Morris), falls in love with Christina (Susan Denbery), the ugly, crippled daughter of a village innkeeper (Alan MacNaughton). When three thugs taunt Christina, Hans comes to her aid and drives them off. The thugs, Anton (Peter Blythe); Johann (Derek Fowlds); and Karl (Barry Warren), get their revenge by brutally murdering Christina's father and framing Hans for the crime.Unfortunately, justice does not triumph, and Hans is beheaded for the murder he didn't commit. Christina, driven mad with remorse, throws herself into the river, where Frankenstein and Dr. Hertz find her.

Frankenstein operates on the girl and makes her incredibly beautiful. He then "borrows" the corpse of Hans, her lover, from the grave and begins his first soul transference operation . . .Frankenstein succeeds in his experiments. However, Christina, now "taken over" by Hans' soul, begins slipping out at nights to horribly mutilate the thugs who had attacked her. It's not long before en raged villagers march uponFrankenstein 's castle to destroy the Baron and his evil experiments once and for all . . .

Left - The Female Frankenstein Goes on a Killing Spree. Above Right -The Female Frankenstein Prepares to Bash in Victim's Head.

Fans will be happy to learn thatPeter Cushing once again returns in the role made synonymous with his name, that of Baron Frankenstein -and he looks better than ever!That old sparkle of days gone by is back in Mr. Cushing 's eyes, although it 's been rumored he wasn't in the best of health during filming of the picture. Mr. Cushing's presence is in itself enough to make FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN a memorable addition to the film vaults at Hammer.

New-comer SUSAN DENBERG plays Christina, the ugly cripple who is miraculously transformed into a perfect woman by Baron Frankenstein.  Miss Denberg, a 21-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed beauty from Austria recently won a contract with Warner Bros. after starring as a Bluebell Girl in Las Vegas and playing in Warners ' AN AMERICAN DREAM. The English title was SEE YOU IN HELL, DARLING. Hammer saw photographs of Miss Denberg and immediately signed her to play the first female Frankenstein monster since Elsa Lanchester's classic portrayal of 1935.( FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER, Astor 1958, is to be ignored in this respect.)

Left - Susan Denberg with Director Terence. Right - Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Anthony Nelson Keys, and Director Terence Fisher.

The supporting cast includes portly THORLEY WALTERS as Baron Frankenstein 's bumbling colleague, Dr. Hertz. In films for thirty years, WALTERS is best remembered by fantasy fans as Ludwig, a disciple of Horror of Dracula, in Hammer's HORROR OF DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS , (20th-Fox, 1965), and as Dr. Watson in the German Sherlock Holmes thriller done by CGC Films, VALLEY OF FEAR.

Other cast members are PHlLIP RAY (The Mayor) PETER MADDEN (Police Chief); JOHN MAXIM (Police Sergeant); KEVIN FLOOD (The Goaler); and DUNLAN LAMONT (The Prisoner). Director Terence Fisher returns to the House of Hammer for FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN a big plus in the film 's favor. It was Fisher 's expert hand which molded Peter Cushing's unique portrayal of Baron Frankenstein into a contrasting personality of Good and Evil. If the Baron appeared a bit too kindly in EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN, it can be partly attributed to director Freddie Francis. But now that Fisher is back with the series he helped create, fans can expect to see this Baron they enjoyed so much in the first two Hammer shockers.

Fisher, incidentally, caught the film bug while on shore leave from the Merchant Navy during the last war when he was taken by a friend to see the famous Gaumont British Studios at Shepherd's Bush. He was then to edit a few Will Hay comedies. After the war, he returned to directing, this earliest efforts being Noel Coward 's THE ASTONISHED HEART . For several years, he directed television films for Walt Disney and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Fisher's association with Hammer goes back to The Curse Of Frankenstein, made in 1956.

Anthony Nelson-Keys, a member of the Hammer team ever since he met in 1956, has produced John (Anthony Hinds) Elder's screenplay in Color and Wide Screen. Keys, born in London, began as a clapper boy and after World War II joined producer Sydney Box as a production manager.

He was working with Daniel Angel as Associate Producer when Michael Carreras offered him his present position at Hammer in '56. Production Designer Bernard Robinson has again created marvelously atmospheric sets with the help of Art Director Don Mingaye, and Arthur Grant handled the color photography. Ian Lewis is Production Manager. We're sure every horror film fan will want to say that he was there when FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN.

One Million Years B.C.

Directed by Ray Harryhausen

THE CAST
TUMAK. John Richardson
LOANA. Raquel Welch
SAKANA. Percy Herbert
ANHOBA. Robert Brown
NUPONDI. Martine Beswick
AHOT. Jean Waladon
SUBA. Lisa Thomas
TOHANA. Mayla Nappi
ULLA. Yvonne Horner

Hammer Film Productions of England is a name well known by today's affectionados of fantasy films. The company in the past decade has given us such classics as The Curse of Frankenstein Horror of Dracula The Mummy and many others. Hammer has remade most of the classic films in this medium with the exception of The Invisible Man.

I was in London when I first heard the talk of Hammer producing a remake of 1,000,000 B.C. At first I felt a bit pessimistic about this because of my gross disappointment in She, which at the time was Hammer's biggest project. This feeling prevailed until Christopher Lee told me that Ray Harryhausen would be directing the special effects, and that he had just returned from the film's location in the Canary Islands with writer-producer Michael Carreras.

Art director Bob Jones works closely with Harryhausen and cameraman Wilkie Cooper to evoke the mood of the period through the settings and special lighting. Some of the largest and most unusual sets ever constructed at Elstree Studios will be used for the interiors. Ray Harryhausen is well known and respected in the field of special effects.

As I am sure all our readers know, he has been involved in this line for the past twenty-five years. He worked in Hollywood for twenty years on such fantasy film productions as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Animal World, and Twenty Million Miles to Earth Ray has worked in Europe now for some years creating his wonderful visual effects for The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, Mysterious Island and Jason and the Argonauts.

The first 1,000,000 B.C. was released in 1940 and starred Victor Mature, Carole Landis and Lon Chaney. It is the basic plot for the new Hammer production. It tells of life on earth during the period when gigantic dinosaurs, huge flying reptiles and enormous sea monsters fought an eternal battle for life.

The earth itself was still bubbling and boiling and the primitive people who lived on it were savages, fighting them selves as well as the monsters and the elements. The first production if nothing else, was different than the run-of-the-mill science fiction film of the forties.Some parts of it were really ridiculous, like the feast in the caves. Mature had killed some kind of giant gila monster with scotch tape fins, and the rock people began to eat it, after it had been cooked.

As Mature tore off a huge bone and began to chew the meat, tiny skeletons could be seen. The Studio probably had a giant chicken barbecue, for that is what the little bones looked like. Also the animation in that film was lacking, compared to that done by the great Willis O 'Brien for King Kong almost a decade earlier. It was mostly done with back projection of enlarged gola monsters, and was rather disappointing. At the time of this writing Hammer's epic had not been completed, but I have seen about twenty minutes worth of rushes. All I can say is that it is fantastic!

THE STORY: The film opens in black and white, and gradually gains color. Over an extreme long shot of an approaching tidal wave we see the credits. As the tidal wave crashes over us the credits are swept away. (This is an extremely effective opening to say the least.) We then see before us the wastelands of earth's surface . . . the polar regions, vast desert areas, stormy seas, the Dead Sea, volcanic mountain ranges, sunsets, cloud formations, mists and fogs, hot water geysers, bubbling mud, and steaming jungle.There is no sign of any living thing. Both the picture and the sound have a weird restless frightening quality . . . as if the earth 's surface and the elements are in constant struggle.

A huge volcano in full eruption brings in the main title, One Million Years B.C. Shortly we meet Tumak who is the second son of the leader of the rock tribe, a primitive savage people living in caves near a huge volcano. When Tumak fights his father for some food he is defeated and banished from the caves. Wandering alone across a world alien to him Tumak encounters huge dinosaurs, giant lizards and ape-like gorilla people before arriving at something he never knew existed, the sea. There, on the shore, He meets the shell people and among them the beautiful Loana.

When an archelon, a giant turtle, attacks and is defeated almost single handedly by Tumak he is accepted by the tribe. But his savagery is too much for the peace loving shell people. When he viciously fights a young man for possession of a spear, he is banished. Loana decides to leave with him. Returning across the only world he knows, Tumak is followed by Loana. Through the country and caves of the gorilla people, into the land of the dinosaurs, and back to his own rock people. There he battles for power and leadership against his own brother and is helped by members of the shell tribe who have wandered from their land in search of Loana. It is then that the whole world is shaken by a gigantic explosion. The volcano erupts. The earth trembles and opens. And only a few people are left to struggle into the future. We at Monster Mania feel that the new One Million Year B.C. is destined to become a classic.

"THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES" A Seven Arts-Hammer Production, released by 20th Century-Fox, in Color by Deluxe.  Produced by Antony Nelson Keys, Directed by John Gilling, Screenplay by John Elder. Running time: 90 minutes.

THE CAST
Sir James Forbes. ANDRE MORETT
Sylvia. DIANE CLARE
Dr. Peter Thompson. BROOK WILLIAMS
Alice. JACQUELINE PEARCE
Clive Hamilton. JOHN CARSON
Harry Denver. ALEXANDER DAVION
Sergeant Swif. MICHAEL RIPPER
Constable Christian. DENNIS CHINNERY

"The Plague of the Zombies" is on the lower half of the "Dracula-Prince of Darkness" double feature bill, and justly so. Andre Morell as Sir James Forbes, leads the cast in ability and billingand is one of roughly three reasons the film doesn't  fall completely apart. The second is Jacqueline Pearce and the third is Michael Ripper. Morell and Ripper are two seasoned, very fine actors and are undoubtedly well-known to all Hammer buffs.

Jacqueline Pearce puts the lie to the saying that by the time a pretty, young girl knows how to act, she is no longer a pretty, young girl. Miss Pearce is convincing and handsomely suited to her role. We don't know where leading lady Diane Clare Cain from, but we wish she'd go back. Her barely adequate performance as Forbes' daughter was badly hampered by her unbelievable appearance. A kinder statement does not exist.Mr. Brook Williams tried very hard, but, unfortunately, suffers from the same malady as Miss Clare. The first portion of the film is fast-moving and interesting. Production designer, Bernard Robinson, offers the lavish and effective staging for which Hammer is justly famous.

Evidently, make-up artist Roy Ashton was rushed, for the quality of some very gruesome zombie make-ups varied from scene to scene. There are a few rather frightening scenes with zombies, in particular, Miss Pearce's horrifying transformation and death. Even so, the spotty Script and some miscasting make this film one of Hammer's lesser efforts.

"THE REPTILE" A Seven Arts-Hammer Production.
Released through 20th Century-Fox.
Produced by Antony Nelson Keys
Directed by John Gilling.
Screen play by John Elder.

THE CAST
Dr. Franklyn. NOEL WILLMAN
Valerie Spalding. JENNIFER DANIELS
Harry Spalding. RAY BARRETT
Anna. JACQUELINE PEARCE
Tom Bailey. MICHAEL RIPPER
Malay. MARNE MAITLAND
Charles Spalding. DAVID BARON

Welcome back to the Hammer Films of days gone by. Here at long last, is one of the most terrifying pictures that the company has made in quite some time. This thriller more than compensates for the severe disappointments of Hammer Films such as "The Evil Of Frankenstein," "The Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb," "She" and most notably "The Gorgon." We mention the last one specifically because the Hammer "creature" is also a young woman, but she is presented with far more credibility and a make-up job that defies description. We'd like to take this moment to warn you that the first glimpse you get of "The Reptile" will stun you.

It's the biggest jolt that Hammer has given the public since that unforgettable sequence in "The Horror Of Dracula" when Christopher Lee made his horrific entrance in the library just as the vampire woman was about to sink her fangs in the neck of the unsuspecting Jonathan Harker. Certainly it was a scene to match the unmasking of Chaney in "The Phantom Of The Opera". In "The Reptile" the opening sequence shows a young man named Charles Spalding crossing the open moor land near a remote Cornish village. Suddenly from the darkness of the night he hears the eerie sound of a reed pipe.

Listening for a moment, he disregards the ominous sound and proceeds to his small cottage on the other side of the moor. As he enters the house, he notices a letter 011 the table. After reading it, he rushes out in haste to the mysterious Well house nearby.  In entering, he notices that the place is unusually quiet and dark. He then goes to the upstairs room, evidently looking for someone.

Suddenly out of the shadows, comes the figure of Dr. Franklyn shouting hysterically for Charles "to leave this place of evil, before it's too late."Unfortunately, it IS too late, for at that precise moment Charles hears a loud and alarming hissing sound, as if from some kind of huge snake.Without warning, someone, or something leaps at him and bites him on the neck. Gasping in pain and shock, he makes his way to the stairs, trips and falls down.

When he reaches the bottom, we get a close-up of his face, and with horror we notice that his features have swollen, his complexion has turned a ghastly black and he is foaming at the mouth. He is DEAD. This all happens BEFORE the credits are done.When the picture opens, we meet Harry Spalding, the deceased's brothel, and his wife Valerie, coming to the small village to claim his brother's cottage which has been willed to him.

They are however, quite surprised to see that the villagers treat them with hostility, that is, all except Tom Bailey, the owner of the local pub, who in friendliness advises both Harry and Valerie to sell the cottage for whatever they can get, and leave town immediately.

Not heeding Tom's advise, they proceed to the cottage, finding to their dismay that the village vandals ransacked it and made the place a shambles. Knowing that this is just another sign from the villagers to tell them that they're not welcome, Harry furiously heads toward town to find who is responsible.

Meanwhile back at the cottage, Valerie, who is busy tidying up, receives an unexpected visit from the mysterious Dr. Franklyn, who states he is looking for his daughter Anna, claiming that she is a constant source of trouble to him.

Meanwhile, in the village, Harry finally ]earns the truth behind the villagers' hostility toward him and Valerie.Tom tells him that the people are a superstitious lot and that his brother was not the first victim of "The Black Death", as they've come to call it. That night on the way home, Harry runs into the old village eccentric "Mad Peter".

Thinking he might be able to shed some light on his brother's death, he asks the old fellow to have supper with him. After they finish with their meal, the frightening sound of the reed pipe fills the air, and Mad Peter runs out of the house yelling that death is near. True enough, later that night, the young couple find, much to their horror that the latest victim of the the plague.

"Black Death" is none other then Peter himself, swollen and foaming at the mouth. The next day, Valerie, coming back from the funeral in town, is startled to see a beautiful young girl arranging a huge array of flowers in the cottage.

Identifying herself as Anna, she invites Valerie and Harry over to the Wells house for dinner that night. As they enter the drawing room, they notice that it is quite hot and humid. The doctor explains that he and his daughter are accustomed to this climate, having lived in Borneo for so long. After dinner, Anna, who had been punished earlier, is invited to come downstairs and play some music for the guests.

Playing the weird looking sitar, Anna suddenly starts to play a tune that seems to please the Malay house servant, but not her father, who upon hearing it, becomes enraged, smashes the instrument, and orders his daughter out of the room. Shocked, Valerie and Harry excuse themselves and head for home.

Later that night, Harry receives a note from Anna, pleading for his help at the old house at once. Like his I brother before him, Harry goes up to the old house and searches for Anna. Instead, he finds the most horrendous sight his eyes have ever beheld. The face, if you could call it that is beyond comprehension.

Huge protruding eyes with no lids in sight, green, scaly skin, and fangs in place of teeth. THE FACE AND FEATURES OF A HUGE REPTILE. In a state of shock, Harry manages to escape , from the monster's grip, after being bitten on the I neck, and somehow finds his way back to the | house He tells Valerie to take a knife and cut I the poison from the bite on his neck.

Valerie I summons Tom for help, and together they pull I Harry through his terrible crisis. While he is recuperating, curiosity gets the better of Valerie and she decides to go to the Well house to get to I the root of all the trouble. We don't think it would be fair to you readers, as an audience, to divulge the exciting and terrifying climax. BUT BE I WARNED, it's a chiller, when you learn the entire secret behind the creature known as the "REPTILE". -Bill Mahon

"DRACULA-PRINCE OF DARKNESS"
Seven Arts-Hammer Production,

Released by 20th Century-Fox,
Produced by Antony Nelson Keys
Directed by Terence Fisher
From a screenplay by John Sansom.

We were quite excited when we heard that director Terence Fisher's contemporary classic, "Horror of Dracula" had spawned a long-awaited sequel, "Dracula-Prince of Darkness". This newest film, again featuring the terrifyingly proportioned (6'6") British star, Christopher Lee, opens with the exciting chase and death scene of the inhuman Count, from the last footage of the pre Slobbering over a bowl of bouillabaisse, Rasputin forces a handful of fish onto a street woman (Helene Christie) watched by her friend (Maggio Wrieht).

Unfortunately, this, coupled with Hammer's norm of an excellent cast, (notably Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir and Francis Matthews) is the solitary highlight of the film. The racing suspense and spidery terror inspired by "Horror of Dracula", appear only briefly in the new film. In one scene, Barbara Shelley, who plays Helen, a somewhat Puritanical and naggy wife, waits alone in a locked bedroom in Castle Dracula during a snarling thunderstorm, while her scoffing husband investigates the noises she heard. Miss Shelley is convincingly afraid, and manages to create at least a temporary lull in a generally tele graphed-next-move film.

There is, however, a shocking murder, per formed with "Psycho's" famous weapon, the knife. From that point on, things are more gory than frightening. Nevertheless, the next half hour contains some of the finest acting in the film. Andrew Keir, portraying Father Shandor, has a remarkable and unflagging stage presence It is a joy to see him work! Lee's reincarnation was a triumph in special effects that eventually silenced even the hooting 42nd Street audience.

It was nice to see that for once, clothing, socks, and neatly tied shoes did not also materialize on the body as it regained human shape. Curiously, Count Dracula doesn't speak a word during the entire film. Presumably, he has returned as a gaunt embodiment of evil, rather than the partly mortal creature he was previously.

The script was understandably vague on this point. At one time, Mr. Lee looks as if he's aching to do something more with his vocal cords than hiss, and we don't blame him. Unimaginative camera angles unfortunately rendered useless Christopher Lee's awesome height. The film 's D.P. has used some long, long up-shots of his haughty and cruel face !

His aristocratic profile and generally gaunt good looks suit him perfectly for his role.  Although the script was at times disjointed, again, the acting was quite good.Leading man Francis Matthews is a darkly good-looking and able performer, who emoted admirably when he stumbled onto the corpse from the aforementioned murder.  "Dracula-Prince of Darkness was a good effort but it relied a bit too much on blood and red contact lenses.

"RASPUTIN-THE MAD MONK"
Seven Arts-Hammer Production,
Released by 20th Cen tury-Fox,
Color by Deluxe.
Produced by Antony Nelson Keys
Directed by Don Sharp
From a screenplay by John Elder.

Rasputin, the most notoriously evil character of the century, is brought to violent life by veteran British actor, Christopher Lee, in an opulent staged English production It is Lee's 72nd film, and is undoubtedly his best role to date.

His fine talent is apparent in one of the best scenes in the film, in which Rasputin miraculously cures an inn keeper's wife of a fever. All the Allured attributes of the real Rasputin, who rose from a novice monk in Siberia to the tremendous affluence he enjoyed among St. Peters burg aristocracy, are woven into an adequate script-his wild drinking, lechery, violent moods, and strange powers of hypnotism and healing.

Since some of the people concerned with Rasputin's incredible life and death are still alive, all the characters in this screen version, apart from the royal family and Rasputin himself, are fictitious. The film has its full share of the horrific, in true Hammer tradition. There is a ferocious fight over an innkeeper's daughter between a jealous village youth and Rasputin. You can guess which one of them loses a hand in the fray. Another enemy receives ugly facial scars from sulfuric acid flung by Rasputin, and the final assassination scene, which took three days to shoot, is loosely based on the staggering newspaper accounts of the real Rasputin's death.  He allegedly survived poison, multiple bullet wounds, a violent beating, exposure, and drowning before being frozen into a solid block of river ice.

Co-star Barbara Shelley, a former top fashion model, plays Sonia, the Tsarina's lady-in-waiting, who is ruthlessly used by Rasputin as a stepping stone to the Tsarina. Miss Shelley, a beautiful and highly skilled actress, turns in a sterling performance in a difficult, emotional role. The Tsarina is portrayed by Renee Asherson, making a welcome return to the screen. There are hundreds of accounts of Rasputin's association with the Tsarina, but it is possible that their relationship did not extend beyond her complete obsession and faith in Rasputin as a healer and advisor.

In the film, Rasputin is shown to use hypnosis on the Tsarina to achieve certain ends, but the screen relationship is left as ambiguous as the real-life association appears to have been. The only woman who does not respond warmly to Rasputin in the film is Vanessa, played by Suzan Farmer, a pretty young blonde actress.

Since current movie depiction's of romance in reek of glamour and daintiness, it is difficult today to understand how a roaring, uncouth peasant like Rasputin could influence the vast number of women who did, in fact, readily come under his spell. Christopher Lee has his own theory: "Rasputin was a great, roaring bull of a man.Undoubtedly, he was gifted with hypnotic and healing powers, and this would have lent him an extraordinary magnetism. But the greatest factor in his attraction to women was, I feel, his very evil nature and reputation.

I think that the face of evil holds a special fascination for many women. They want to see what lies behind. Perhaps it represents a challenge to them: a wish to be tamed or a desire to try to tame!" The film on the most part is excellent. Unfortunately, the script is weak in several spots, but fine acting from a well-chosen cast carries it beautifully to the dramatic climax. Cover Page Index