Archive for the ‘Watching’ Category


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013


Monday, January 7th, 2013

Dracula, Prince of Darkness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

An enjoyable 90 minutes was spent at the IFI last Saturday watching 1966’s Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Probably my least favourite of Hammer’s Dracula efforts but it’s not like you can turn down a chance to see any Hammer film on the big screen.

It was the last of the Hammer Dracs that I saw when I was a boy. It never seemed to be on tv and I couldn’t track it down in the big HMV on Grafton Street where I would buy all my Hammers and Universals and B-Movie SF films. When I say “all” we’re talking about twelve VHS cassettes bought over five or six years, though I had a much larger library taped from the tele. I’m kind of sorry that I binned the VHS tapes as I replaced them with DVDs – there would be a reassuringly nostalgic quality to watching them again. Even now, when watching it on DVD, I still expect the tension of the climactic scenes of Quatermass 2 to be broken by the sudden appearance of Frank Bruno flogging bottles of HP Sauce.

For a long time the only thing I knew of Drac PoD was the iconic black and white photo featured in Alan Frank’s HORROR MOVIES book.

Dennis Gifford-Horror Movies - Dracula Prince of Darkness

And the equally striking image contained in Denis Gifford’s A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF HORROR MOVIES.

Alan Frank - Horror Movies - Dracula Prince of Darkness

The film is just about okay. Barbara Shelley is always good, and Christopher Lee can’t be beat, even though he doesn’t actually say a word and is on screen for all of about 3 minutes. His hissing is impressive though. The second act drags along at a painfully slow pace, I think that’s what kills it. The opening act and the final ten minutes are really rather good.

I’m not sure how much the other patrons enjoyed it: a sweaty-browed pillock behind me fell asleep and started to snore loudly until his friend woke him up. I’ve admitted that the second act drags a little, but come on. Then the woman sitting two seats over casually kicked her shoes off and dangled her fetid feet over the backrest of the empty seat in front of her. What’s that about? I don’t mean to sound like Dean Tavalouris here but seriously, what is wrong with people?

The cinema was all but sold out, and nearly everyone was polite enough to keep their shoes on. They should show more of these old horror films.

A Journey to Avebury

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Derek Jarman. 1971. Music by Coil.

The Twemlow Mechanical Pike

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Further to Cliff Twemlow’s The Pike, here’s some archive footage detailing 1982’s sadly aborted movie version featuring Twemlow, Joan Collins, and the brilliantly awful mechanical pike.

In this documentary Twemlow informs us that “the largest pike ever caught was nineteen foot.” A statement so wrong I am going to pretend that it is true from now on.

Blood from the what?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I just watched Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb for the first time in maybe ten years. A great film, one of my favourites from Hammer, even if it does expect us to believe that a suburban semi has a basement large enough for full scale replicas of Egyptian tombs and an incinerator capable of disposing of a human body with plenty of legroom to spare. But what the hell, that’s not really the most far-fetched thing in the film. I’d only ever seen it on murky VHS, taped from a late night Channel 4 broadcast from around 1990, so it was nice to see it on a decent DVD transfer.

Through the extras I was reminded that Peter Cushing had originally been cast as Fuchs, but had to pull out after only one day of filming due to his wife becoming gravely ill. Andrew Keir replaced him.

So I thought I’d fire up google and see if I could find any further info. Autocomplete’s top result turned out to be much more frightening than the film itself.

Blood From The What

More people are bleeding from their anuses than are searching for information on this fine film. What hope for the world? Anyway, here’s a nice picture of Peter Cushing and Valerie Leon taken on the first day of filming, and a trailer.

Peter Cushing & Valerie Leon in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb

Experiments In The Revival Of Organisms

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Techfilm Studio, Moscow 1940.

Still lots of debate as to whether this one’s real or not but a good’un nonetheless.

It was mentioned in Time magazine in November 1943. “The autojector can also keep a dog’s heart beating outside its body, has kept a decapitated dog’s head alive for hours—the head cocked its ears at a noise and licked its chops when citric acid was smeared on them.”

Catty and the Major

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Some kindly soul has put up several old clips of Jeff Lint’s seminal but often misunderstood cartoon Catty and the Major on youtube.

My first exposure to Lint was around fifteen years ago when a work colleague loaned me a tattered, weather beaten copy of Lint’s début novel One Less Bastard, along with a “like new” copy of 1966’s Prepare To Learn.

And learn I did.

My friend refused to take them back, and that was fine by me.

Unfortunately, both books were lost in a fire some years ago.


Monday, October 20th, 2008

I went along to see Eraserhead at the IFI on Thursday evening.  Good to see that there was a decent crowd there, maybe 100-120 people.  We were very close to the screen, only three rows back, and during some of the more claustrophobic scenes it began to feel like I was actually inside the film, which, if you’ve seen Eraserhead, isn’t an entirely good thing.

They were showing the remastered version, which looked great and sounded incredible.  The soundtrack was, at times, almost oppressive – full of mechanical clangs, gusting wind, the low guttural groans of subterranean industry and the hiss of high pressure steam lines.  Some years ago I worked occasionally in a sprawling industrial fertilizer plant and there were points during the movie where I felt like I was back there.  Constant noise like that can sometimes feel as though it has it’s own mass or pressure, pulsing against the sides of your head and swelling in your ears.

The whole experience left me feeling a little strange and off-kilter but nine pints of Guinness and a kebab soon brought me round.

Pints – Films – Kebabs – More Pints

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Was up in Dublin on Saturday for a day of pints and films with my brother, Gerry. Went to the IFI to see an incredible 70MM print of Vertigo at 2.15. I’ll never understand why so many people hate Jimmy Stewart, he’s brilliant, and he’s really on top form in this movie. Was great to see the crazy, trippy, bad acid dream sequence on the big screen.

Went to JJ Smyths afterwards for a few pints, then a lamb shawarma in Iskanders (best fucking kebabs in Dublin), then a bit of a stroll to try and beat the bloat.

Back to the IFI at 7.00 for Sean Meadow’s new film, Somers Town. Wasn’t sure what to expect, had heard some dodgy rumours about blatant product placement in this one (it was entirely funded by Eurostar). Really enjoyed the film, had some genuinely hilarious moments, and never tripped over the bittersweet edge into cheesy saccharine territory. There was some product placement but to be honest, I don’t think I would have noticed if not for the rumours. The mid-afternoon pints and kebabs did mean I almost fell asleep at one stage but that was down to me being a greedy bastard, the film was thoroughly excellent.

A quick jaunt over to Reeds then for a few more pints. Not a bad Saturday all told.

It’s been a good couple of months at the IFI: got to see Dead Man’s Shoes with a Q&A by Paddy Considine, a 70MM print of the three and a half hour version of Lawrence Of Arabia, then Vertigo, Somers Town and in a few weeks we get the finest comedy available to humanity. . . Withnail and I.

The fucker will rue the day!

Some questions regarding the remaking of The Prisoner

Monday, August 18th, 2008

So, it seems there are plans to remake The Prisoner.

1. Why would anyone want to remake the most perfect show in the history of television?

2. Why would anyone want to remake the most perfect show in the history of television and cast Jim “I am Jesus really” Caviezel in the lead roll?

3. Why would anyone want to cast Jim “I am Jesus really” Caviezel in the lead roll of anything, ever?

Behold The Prisoner as it was meant to be, bask in the coolness of Patrick McGoohan.

Dead Man’s Shoes

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Was up in Dublin for the weekend, went to see Dead Man’s Shoes at the IFI. I’ve seen this six or seven times but it was good to see it on the big screen.

They also showed Paddy Considine’s new short film, Dog Altogether, which was excellent. Considine did a Q&A afterwards, seems like a good egg.

Even the three borderline-retarded mooks sitting across the way from us who laughed a little too loudly at the violent bits and then sprayed deodorant on themselves halfway through the short couldn’t spoil what was a thoroughly pleasant afternoon. There was a technical hitch with the sound system that meant the short film had to be started again after about thirty seconds, the largest and most stupid looking one opined loudly that “Paddy Consintine won’t be happy with that!”

As we left they were discussing the sound Considine’s hand gun had made, apparently, because of the distinctive “whoop” it could only have been a “.22” They also agreed that one of the executions had been “text book.” Stupid fucking twats.

Here, have a clip . . .

Copyright © 2024 Martin Hayes – All Rights Reserved.