Posts Tagged ‘Hammer Horror’

Gentlemen Ghouls

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Morning, creeps. I’m very happy to announce that I’ve got a new story launching in David Lloyd’s digital comic Aces Weekly.

Gentlemen Ghouls.

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London, 1972. An unholy cesspit of crime, vice and diabolical villainy. And that’s just the good bits.

When a girl winds up dead at the first Ziggy Stardust gig at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth, it falls to two hard-talking and harder-drinking London coppers to crack the case. But Jack Pike and Paddy Roach are out of their depth, at a loss to explain the strange bite-marks on the dead girl’s throat. And when handcuffs and truncheons just won’t do the trick, the Flying Squad in the experts. The Gentlemen Ghouls to be precise, England’s greatest and most reclusive occult investigators.

A high-camp mash-up of Hammer Horror and gritty seventies cop shows. Lush, lurid, lively, and lecherous. All the L-words, basically.

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Gentlemen Ghouls will run for seven weeks, launching in Aces Weekly Volume 21 on Monday, March 14th 2016. Subscribe at

Written by Aces Weekly veteran Martin Hayes, whose previous projects include the graphic novels Abominable Glory and Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste. @martinhayes and

Art by Alfie Gallagher, who has illustrated for FutureQuake, Zarjaz, and Charlatan Tales. and @AlfieGallagher

Letters by Bram Meehan, who has worked on titles such as Abominable Glory and Older Than the Hills. and @BramMeehan



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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.

Thanks Matt!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Look what the postman just handed me.

Peter Cushing by Matt Soffe.JPG

A gift, and much appreciated. Peter Cushing by the brilliant Matt Soffe.

It’s based on a publicity still from Hammer’s The Abominable Snowman. Always one of my favourite Hammer films – I taped it on VHS from a Channel 4 late-night showing, probably sometime around 1990. I think I was around 12 or 13 years old. It was a Friday night, I remember that quite clearly because I got up really early on the Saturday morning to watch it. It’s a really great film, written by Nigel Kneale (based on his earlier BBC drama The Creature, also staring Cushing), and features one of Cushing’s finest performances. I wish I had kept a count of how many times I have watched the films that obsess me.

Matt and I have been discussing the possibility of working on a comic together – a joyously monstrous horror book. A love letter, of sorts, to Hammer and Universal monster movies. If schedules allow we might start working on it towards the end of this year/start of next.

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

D.D. Denham – Electronic Music in the Classroom

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Last Friday I bought Electronic Music in the Classroom, the new album from Jon Brooks, released under the assumed identity of D.D. Denham. It’s a bloody gem of a record.

I’ve heard and liked Jon’s The Advisory Circle stuff but I must admit that the main reason I bought this album was simply down to the fact that it’s been put out under the name D.D. Denham. Even before clicking on the preview samples I knew that I was going to like this, as it was obvious that the composer has been influenced by the same films as myself.


I don’t know why but this record makes me feel like it’s 1984 and I’m six years old and off sick from school, watching British kid’s tv in the mid morning and feeling like I’m getting away with something.

Available via iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.

This week I have been mostly listening to . . .

Friday, May 16th, 2008

All tracks on the first cd are by Hammer legend James Bernard who liked to incorporate the syllables of the movie title into his soundtracks, so the main theme to Dracula went Daaaa . . . Duh . . . Dahhh and the theme to Taste The Blood Of Dracula went Daaa . . . Daaa . . . well, you get the idea. This first cd includes soundtrack excerpts from five Dracula titles, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Devil Rides Out and Kiss Of The Vampire.

Best of the bunch are probably Dracula, Taste The Blood Of Dracula and The Devil Rides Out (renamed The Devil’s Bride in the US because the distributor was worried that people would think it was a western).

The second cd is by Bernard and a variety of others. It has tracks from One Million Years B.C., Hands Of The Ripper and She amongst others. I’d have liked more of the Quatermass II soundtrack, and The Abominable Snowman – only the one minute thirty second main theme is present.

It should be noted that these aren’t the original recordings (some of which are available but becoming hard to track down on cd) but new recordings by The City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. For the most part they do a fine job and these new versions are almost indistinguishable from the originals. The Romance: The Young Lovers theme from Taste The Blood Of Dracula does sound quite different though and is not a patch on the original.

But that one small gripe aside, this is a great and readily available selection of Hammer’s best soundtracks and well worth a listen.

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