Hammer had some very poor quality control and for every classic
there was often a bunch of clunkers. And this box set maintains
the ratio in a fairly representative balance.
Devil Rides Out is a classic of the occult and serves
up a good screen adaptation of the Dennis Wheatley classic
novel. And Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, although clearly
rather silly, still manages to create tension and suspense
from an everyday tale of mystic possession and an ancient
mummy curse set in modern suburbia. It's just a shame that
these two winners should be boxed up with such utter dross.
Lee refused to speak the lines written for him in Hammer's
second outing for the Count because they were so bad [apparently],
a conviction that the actor also seems to have held for Scars
of Dracula - the studio's fourth Lee/Dracula vehicle.
Why he continued to play the part if he disliked the role
so much has never been clearly explained although you have
to feel for Lee here as Scars is plotless nonsense
of the first order made just about bearable by Patrick Troughton's
fake eyebrows. Angry villagers ahoy!
you can't think of a new version of an old yarn then recast
it as a comedy seems to have been the thinking behind Horror
of Frankenstein. The late Ralph Bates builds a monster
that has a passing resemblance for the Green Cross Code man
while a serving wench, played by Kate O'Mara, struggles with
her cleavage-spilling bodice. Plot? You want a plot? Sorry,
there's nothing to see here. Move along...
dear... Lust for a Vampire. Can't get Christopher Lee
to play Dracula, can't get a script? How about marrying a
tired vampire yarn [about a different vampire count] with
a girls' finishing school? Evil and sexploitation - sounds
like a good idea. Blood and nipples in Victorian Europe -
it's a winner! Sadly not. Instead of a heady mix of sex and
death we get bad acting and lots of running around intermixed
with shots of teenage girls showing off their cleavage which
isn't half as entertaining as it might at first sound. And
although the fire sequence at the end of the movie is actually
very impressive it hardly makes up for the preceding 90 minutes
of tosh, but the real highlight of the disc is a brief shot
in the original trailer of Christopher Lee's bloodshot eyes.
Now how did he get in there?
set of five discs contains one genuine classic, one very entertaining
movie and three examples of how Hammer could get things very
badly wrong which unfortunately outweigh the quality content
of the box.
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