Blood Feast his best remembered now for being a landmark in horror films as been the first film to really capitalise and show off great amounts of gore by the bucketful. The film was shot on a low budget of $24,000 over 4 days with cast mostly amateur actors and without a finished script. the film is pretty inept and shows signs on the speed it was made with actors not given time to learn their lines (last minute replacement Scott Hall can clearly be seen reading his lines off his hand in two scenes!) and the acting pretty appalling with widely over the top Mal Arnold and half decent William Kerwin coming of best. The completely wooden but attractive Connie Mason comes off worst. the films plot and characters are generally daft but serve the purpose of getting to the point of showing the gruesome gore. Hershel Gordon Lewis would go on to make many gore films the best been Two Thousand Maniacs and The Wizard of Gore.
The BBC made two Sherlock Holmes series in the 1960's. The first was shot in black and white starred Douglas Wilmer. The second was made in colour and starred peter Cushing. In both series they were ably supported by Nigel Stock as Dr Watson. Both series closely followed Conan Doyle's original stories and made with the period atmosphere the BBC is renowned for. In the first series Wilmer makes a terrific Holmes arrogant, witty, sardonic, and with a mischievous charm. He also looks the part and has the perfect voice for the role. Nigel Stock is great as Watson and has the right chemistry with both actors. Cushing who had already excelled in the hammer version of the hound is excellent as ever working hard to make sure that every bit of his characterisation matched that what Doyle had intended.
Sergio Corbucci's 1968 masterpiece is in my opinion the best non Leone spaghetti western. while the film for its downbeat ending and the usual dark and grimy feel its contrasting shot in beautifully snowy locations.
the story revolves around a town where the justice of he peace Pollicut has but a price on a group of Mormon bandits who have been refused work in the village. Pollicut has hired bounty hunters led by loco to pick them off so he can give them reward money then claim plus interest repayment from the government. Pauline, wife of one of the victims, hires the mute hero Silence to get revenge. the films mute hero Silence is brilliantly portrayed by Jean Louis Trintignant who can only use facial expressions and body movements to show the emotional conflicts the character suffers during the film. While Klaus Kinski is fantastic as Loco the polite and smiling, but utterly ruthless villain. The likable frank wolf plays the sheriff sent to fix the town and his probably the most decent character in the film which means in this film means he's not going to be sheriff for very long. Vonetta McGee is excellent in her film debut as the doomed heroine. Spaghetti western favourite Luigi Pistilli is slimy perfection in the role of the Pollicut the film other primary villain while Mario Brega is great in his usual role of the chief henchman. The rest of the cast do well in their small roles.
Sergio Corbucci made many spaghetti westerns and is best remembered for the classic film Django but this is his best film.
This much underrated horror classic marked the first screen pairing of horrors finest Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The film also marks the only time Edgar Ulmer worked for a major studio although it was made on fairly low budget although it was the studios biggest money maker of the year. the film is easily one of the darkest of its era dealing with Satanism, necrophilia, sadism, incest, and the aftermath of the first world war. Bela Lugosi plays the heroic but deeply unhinged Dr Werdergast who out for revenge. While Karloff plays Satan worshipping architect who sacrifices women to Satan and keeps them in glass cases so he can admire them. Lugosi give one of his top 3 performances at last been given a chance to show his full range. Karloff with the easier role is evil personified and uses his awesome voice to full effect. The rest of the cast do well especially Egon Breecher as Karloff's sinister butler although David Manners is again stuck with the thankless part as a limp hero. All in all this is not to be missed.
The most infamous film of Lucio Fulci (at least in the UK that is)
The most infamous film of Lucio Fulci (at least in the UK that is) The New York Ripper is also one of his best. The film is infamous for its violent murder scenes separated by a number of sleazy ones. The film is the giallo at its darkest with a number of unsympathetic and debauched characters. The film stars British actor Jack Hedley as tough New York cop lieutenant Frank Williams. He is investigating a number of violent crimes against women in New York City. The killer frequently calls the police to boast speaking in the voice of a duck. He is helped by a mathematician and psychiatrist played by Paolo Malco. The films heroine survives an encounter with the killer and follows a lead of her own. The film was made in the early 80's during Yorkshire ripper murders and the video nasty scare that effected Britain and the time. This may explain why censor chief James Ferman refused the film a certificate without even viewing the film. When the film was released on DVD in this country it was still shorn of 19 seconds for a scene involving sexual violence.
The Brides of Fu Manchu is the first sequel in the 60's Fu Manchu series and the only one that matches the original for quality. This is mainly due to the retaining of the first director don sharp who keeps things moving at a fine pace and keeps period setting and action scenes to the standard previous film. Christopher Lee reprises his role of the 'evil oriental master' while Douglas Wilmer replaces Nigel Green in the role of Nayland Smith. Wilmer had made an excellent Sherlock Holmes on TV and brings charm and determination to the role. Tsi Chin and H Marion Crawford return as Lin Tang and Dr Petrie respectively The plot of the film is standard with the evil doctor trying take other the world by threatening the daughter of a respected scientist therefore forcing him to give him the secrets of his potentially destructive invention or discovery. It ends as always with Fu Manchu seemingly destroyed only for his disembodied voice to say the world will here from me again.