Aug. 13, 2008, 2:54 a.m. CST
this is my favorite horror movie no joke. over at ymdb it's #3 in the top 20 movie list. great atmospheric stuff. amicus at its best
Aug. 13, 2008, 2:58 a.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
Saw a few Cushing films lately, and I ain't been to wow'ed.
Aug. 13, 2008, 3:16 a.m. CST
Billy Bob Thonrton has been tapped to play Freddy in the new Nightmare on Elm Street. I shit you not!
Aug. 13, 2008, 3:17 a.m. CST
I meant Thornton. Damn big fingers!
Aug. 13, 2008, 3:54 a.m. CST
I remember watching a clip of this movie on TV when I was a kid and being scared out of my mind.
Aug. 13, 2008, 4:33 a.m. CST
I loves me some Hammer / Amicus / Tyburn old school horror. This, Hollywood, is the way to do it - with conviction.
Aug. 13, 2008, 5:44 a.m. CST
Or is it Fred Bob Kruger? My understanding is that's not confirmed by any damn body, but a juicy rumor. In my direct and indirect talks with the dudes at Platinum Dunes I'm under the impression that their deal isn't even locked into place yet, so I'd take any casting treated as fact with a giant lump-o-salt.
Aug. 13, 2008, 6:15 a.m. CST
It's not as bad as some of the other Amicus Hammer knock offs, but it's still not on the level of Cushing and Lee's Hammer collaborations - especially the ones helmed by Terence Fisher. Francis isn't half the director Terence Fisher was.
Aug. 13, 2008, 6:44 a.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
I've seen a lot of these old movies, but never with them together. I should check this one out.
Aug. 13, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST
I'm not sure if you've seen these, but for me the must see Cushing/Lee films are: 1) The Curse of Frankenstein 2) The Hound of the Baskervilles 3) The Horror of Dracula 4) The Gorgon (they switch hero and villain roles) 5) The Mummy 6) The Satanic Rites of Dracula 7) The Creeping Flesh 9) I, Monster There are others, but those are the best featuring both actors. Whatever you do - skip The Horror Express. I also recommend the following Cushing films: 1) The Brides of Dracula 2) The Revenge of Frankenstein 3) Frankenstein Created Woman 4) Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed 5) The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires 6) The Masks of Death Feel free to skip The Evil of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell And I also recommend the solo Lee film The Devil Rides out - directed by Terence Fisher. It's one of Fisher's best films.
Aug. 13, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST
So Quint, how was Mr. Magee in this film? I look forward to seeing it. Another interesting connection between he and this film is his involvement in Marat/Sade where he plays Marquis de Sade in an insane asylum. Very weird flick you should check out.
Aug. 13, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST
The Skull is a gem, trust me. If you haven't seen it, watch it. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee at the top of their Horror game here. Old British Horror ruled, bottom line.
Aug. 13, 2008, 8:38 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
I'd add Cushing's segment in the Amicus, Tales From The Crypt Movie. (Also, directed by Francis). Cushing delivers a really moving performance in that as the wronged Mr Grimsdyke. <p>I love both the tales movie and Vault of Horror Amicus adapted in the 70's, between them they have just about every great British character in there and are surprisingly faithful to the EC comics.
Aug. 13, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST
by Tom Cullen
Man I love me some Hammer Horror, and Cushing and Lee are amongst my cinematic Gods, as are directors such as Terence Fisher. In fact recently I just watched all of Hammer's Dracula related films back to back, and I intend to do likewise with their Frankenstein series next. Just great stuff.<p>Now I don't think Freddie Francis was ever close to being in the same league as Fisher, however he did make quite a few good flicks (along with quite a few really, really bad ones). Along with this (The Skull), highlights include The Creeping Flesh, the under appreciated and lesser seen gems Paranoiac, Dr Terror's House of Horrors and Nightmare, his german spy film Traitor's Gate (aka Das Verratertor) with Klaus Kinski in the lead, plus Amicus' anthology horror Torture Garden, and his contributions to the Hammer Dracula and Frankenstein series, with Dracula Has Risen From The Grave and The Evil of Frankenstein, all being well worth a look. The 70's on were not kind to him though for the most part, although the horror musical Son of Dracula starring the likes of Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson has to be seen to be believed, in all it's traffic accident like truly bizarre awfulness. However his take on the story of Burke and Hare, The Doctor & The Devils, in the mid eighties, was a nice return to form, and had a great cast to boot - Timothy Dalton, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Rea, Jonathan Pryce, Julian Sands and, uh, Twiggy. Another one that's well worth a look.
Aug. 13, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST
Cushing does give a great performance in the Tales From the Crypt movie. I just wish he was in more of it. That goes for a lot of his later work - he's always good, but often in smaller roles.
Aug. 13, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
You're right. Maybe it was his age. I always thought it was a shame he went down with the Death Star and couldn't come back in the sequels.
Aug. 13, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST
--and extremely underrated. Check-out his performances as "Osric" in HAMLET (comic relief that pretty much eclipsed Olivier). I admire Chris Lee (disputably the best Dracula) but he always added an aristocratic panache to his performances--Cushing, however, was entirely flexible (ever notice that, later in the Frankenstein series, he incrementally turns more obsessive--more insane--with each subsequent movie?). I'm afraid that films like THE SKULL, REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (which I humbly submit is the best in the Hammer series) and CURSE OF THE DEMON will be lost upon the douchebags who prefer to be spoonfed carnage, sans script, in junk like FRIDAY THE 13TH. By the way, don't forget that Michael Gough (HORROR OF DRACULA and a legion of Brit B-films) plays a small supporting role in THE SKULL (Tim Burton hired the actor, no doubt as homage, for SLEEPY HOLLOW). By the way, I was amused by defenders of BARRY LYNDON--most of whom, no doubt, never actually screened the movie or fast-forwarded between chunks of Adult Swim. It's Kubrick's most narcoleptic indulgence--and decidedly anti-cinematic. I appreciate some of Kubrick's work (PATHS OF GLORY, DR. STRANGELOVE and, most especially, THE KILLING). But BARRY LYNDON was a dull conceit and Kubrick's later work devolved into near-student filmmaking (EYES WIDE SHUT, esthetically Kubrick's equivalent of the sophomoric NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Ollie Stone blows). As for Bill Bob--yep, it's official, he's Freddy in the NIGHTMARE remake. Check-out IMdB.
Aug. 13, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST
Along with Torture Garden and DR Who and Daleks this is one of my favorites from Amicus.
Aug. 13, 2008, 11:46 a.m. CST
by La Frog
To quote the man : "Cushing is fantastic and once again his partnership with Christopher Lee is a memborable one". It's treu.
Aug. 13, 2008, 11:51 a.m. CST
TORTURE GARDEN may be Amicus' best anthology (certainly validating Freddie Francis' aptitude as a viusal director). The late Robert Bloch (PSYCHO) has mixed feelings about the adaptation of his script (told me that "Columbia cut some significant footage" and that "Jack Palalnce and Francis took liberties with the ending of the 'Man Who Collected Poe" installment). Would you believe that I still have my package of TORTURE GARDEN seeds? (free at the boxoffice!).
Aug. 13, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST
Aug. 13, 2008, 12:02 p.m. CST
Does anyone know of any great books, documentaries, etc. on Lee and Cushing's relationship? I'm really interested in those two and especially the time they spent working together. Thanks a bundle.
Aug. 13, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST
I'm not aware of any documentaries specifically on Cushing and Lee's friendship. Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror is a nice documentary about Hammer and the various movies. It's narrated by Cushing and Lee and has some behind the scenes info. There's an interview with Christopher Lee on The Hound of the Baskervilles DVD in which he talks about his friendship with Cushing. That's probably your best best - at least that I can think of. There are some nice quotes from Lee about Cushing on Lee's IMDB bio page and on the Wikipedia page for Cushing.
Aug. 13, 2008, 1:03 p.m. CST
by El Borak
i'd like to see this.
Aug. 13, 2008, 1:26 p.m. CST
by El Borak
that i recall seeing was, i believe, "house of the long shadows"? i saw it when i was a kid and it freaked me out. can't remember much about it except tarkin was in it and some chick got her faced burned off. can any of you experts confirm or deny?
Aug. 13, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST
Man, I love "The Devil Rides Out." I was actually reminded of it for some reason while Quint was talking about "The Skull." Christopher Lee was great as Duc de Richleau. Quint, if you haven't seen "The Devil Rides Out" do yourself a favor.
Aug. 13, 2008, 3:07 p.m. CST
Got to agree, The Devil Rides Out is brilliant. Stands up well today, and Lee is excellent in a fab cast. But Charles Gray steals it as Mocata. I've never seen The Skull to my shame, but generally think Amicus produce atmospheric and creepy films that always seemed to be filmed at twilight in October... shiver... See TDRO Quint if you haven't already! :)
Aug. 13, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST
might be called The Devil's Bride in the U.S.
Aug. 13, 2008, 6:34 p.m. CST
about 4 months ago I burned through every Lee & Cushing and/or Amicus flick that Netflix has and it was a hell of a lot of fun. Like the chocolate and the peanut butter, they are two great tastes that taste great together.
Aug. 13, 2008, 6:49 p.m. CST
Is terrific. I liked it so much from my Netflix viewing that I bought it.
Aug. 13, 2008, 8:22 p.m. CST
August the 11th, to be precise.<br><br>An unbelievably gifted actor, and a very pleasant, gentle man. Oddly enough, he didn't like horror films, but was resigned to the fact that that was want his public wanted, and so those are the roles he played.<br><br> The was very lonely, having lost his wife in 1971. She was the center of his life, and he never really recovered from that loss.<br><br>trivia: In Star Wars, his boots were too small for him, and so he performed most of his parts wearing slippers.<br>I always wondered how much he was paid to play his various roles. Whatever it was, it wasn't enough.
Aug. 14, 2008, 1:22 a.m. CST
Try "Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and Horror Cinema: A Filmography of Thie 22 Collaborations" by Mark A. Miller (McFarland Books). Definitely good reading...
Aug. 14, 2008, 1:34 a.m. CST
I'll never forget Cushing's appearance at NY's Famous Monsters convention (Ingrid Pitt was also in attendance). He was so damn communicative and funny. God, he recounted stories about Laurel and Hardy (Cushing played a minor supporting role in A CHUMP AT OXFORD. I mean, the cat actually worked with Laurel and Hardy). By the way, I love ALL of Cushing's work but his performance as CAPTAIN CLEGG is seriously underrated (Hammer's NIGHT CREATURES, a film that deserves re-discovery; Disney produced his own version, THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH). Another good Cushing book: "In All Sincerity...Peter Cushing" by Christopher Gullo (not great, but the writer's hubris is pretty damn infectious).
i wish i could've been at the convention. i've liked cushing over lee as well. lee plays villains waaay too much to the point where it becomes a bit monotonous, with cushing he played good and evil so there was more of a dynamic and contrasting freshness to whenever he went a different route.
Aug. 14, 2008, 3:38 a.m. CST
I agree with you on Clegg - great movie and a wonderful performance from Cushing.
Aug. 14, 2008, 6:47 a.m. CST
I'll definitely check that one out.
Aug. 14, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST
I don't know why I forgot about Night Creatures. It's a little strange, but it's a lot of fun. It's great to see Cushing buckling some swash.
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST
The book is well worth the purchase. And I agree with you 100%, bmkz. By the way, JuanSanchez, did you ever notice that Cushing performed his own stunts? No body doubling for the swashbuckling stuff--or equivalent thereof--in the likes of NIGHT CREATURES (CAPTAIN CLEGG), EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDES and HORROR OF DRACULA, et al. My favorite Hammer film is BRIDES OF DRACULA, which defected from the more provincial scripts (introducing Freudian, Oedipal and sapphic concepts that pre-dated THE VAMPIRE LOVERS). Lee was not cast as Drac but Cushing effortlessly carried the film. The bottom line is that Cushing was actually a gentleman and a helluva nice guy; he never challenged his status as a "horror actor" but if anyone is dumb enough to doubt his credibility, compare his sympathetic portrayal of the elderly Grimsdyke (TALES FROM THE CRYPT) to his cold, calculating Puritan in TWINS OF EVIL. Cushing, like Karloff, appended a shade of grey to his bad guys. I've never seen his match (Clooney, Pitt, et al comparatively negotiate only generic performances--absolutely none of Cushing's intricate exploration). The death of Cushing's wife handicapped the man (the photo of Grimdyke's deceased wife in TALES was, indeed, a snapshot of Cushing's beloved Helen. He "couldn't wait to join her in Heaven." The reunion was prompted by Peter Cushing's own demise in 1994). And, by the way, Cushing's compatriot--Vincent Price--was equally cool (I rushed backstage after Price's performance in "Diversions and Delights" [Baltimore]; an usher cautioned me, "Sorry, Mr. Price isn't seeing anybody"--but Mr. Price spotted me an we engaged in a 2-hour dialogue. I miss both of them and still grieve the loss. Today's horror "actors" are stuntmen. It just ain't the same. One more thing before I pull the plug on my blathering; check-out another book, aptly titled "Peter Cushing: The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films" (Deborah Del Vecchio and Tom Johnson, McFarland Books). Very well researched.
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST
Unlike today's (so-called) horror "icons", Cushing and Price patiently signed whatever volume of stills that you submitted. Never charged a dime, it would have been beneath their dignity. But today's genre-related "actors" (even the chumps who play minor roles in SAW movies and Romero's DEAD franchise) charge $20 a pop. Cushing and Price appreciated their public. I hope their respective legacies will survive indefinitely.
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST
Yeah - the great thing about guys like Cushing and Price is that they took their shit seriously even if they didn't take themselves too seriously. Sure, it wasn't Shakespeare, but I've never seen either of them phone in a performance. I love seeing them together in Madhouse. Gotta love the bizarro ending. On The Beast Must Die DVD the Director talked about Cushing's prep and how he even sketched out the clothing and haircut for his character so he would look more wolf-ish. A total pro.
Aug. 14, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
Cushing never phoned-in a performance, I agree with you 100% I really loathed MADHOUSE (a missed opportunity) but the "transformation" ending--and Price warbling a song at the concluding credit crawl--were pretty redemptive. Cushing was the consummate actor--Price's tongue-in-cheek flair was a safety net of sorts, but you gotta love the guy (critics panned his hammy performance in COMEDY OF TERRORS but--fuck 'em--I loved it. Ditto his eat-the-scenery tactics in "The Black Cat" segment of TALES OF TERROR [w/ Peter Lorre). Just a total joy). Thanks, amigo.