Tuesday, 27 September 2016

#TOOCOOLTUESDAY FOR A BIRTHDAY : AMICUS FILMS MILTON SUBOTSKY


#TOOCOOLTUESDAY: TODAY SEPTEMBER 27TH, WE REMEMBER MILTON SUBOTSKY, one of the co-founders of Amicus Productions along with Max J Rosenberg, he produced his first horror film in 1960, City Of The Dead. He would go one to produce such classics as Dr Terrors House Of Horrors (1965), Tales From The Crypt (1972) , From Beyond The Grave (1973) and many more.



Peter Cushing made a total of 15 films for him, 5 of which co-starred Christopher Lee...


#TOOCOOLTUESDAY: Here is a short clip from a whole interview we shot with Milton at his home back in 1981! This extract appeared in the 'Amicus Vault of Horrors' documentary, that was released last year. Milton and his wife were the perfect hosts, he was the friendliest of people, a real fan at heart, creative with the excitement of a child, when telling you about his ideas ! Here Milton explains about how he rewrote the script for City of the Dead, and why he changed the title


Imageat the top: Milton Subotsky and his family with Vincent Price during the filming of The Monster Club at Elstree studios 1980 — with Peter Cushing, Milton Subotsky, Vincent Price and Amicus Films.


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GRAND MOFF TELSA : THE ARCHITECT OF ULTIMATE POWER AND REVENGE : STAR WARS STEAMPUNK


IT'S ALWAYS A TREAT to receive emails and messages about how some of you out there, build and care for your collections, let me know about new items of memorabilia you have recently purchased or found. For many, their dvd's, vhs cassettes, blu rays and box sets, are thing of eminence value, and not just monetarily. Many, many hours are spent collecting, filing, examining and researching. Collections and artifacts that go back many years, press books, posters, photographs. lobby sets, press cuttings. All items lovingly curated and often displayed, are the bricks and mortar of many fans, hobby. In recent times, there has developed an exciting and wildly imaginative extension to the arsenal for 'the lover of fantasy cinema, literature and comic art'... COSPLAY.  And it is into this world, that I have recently dipped, to become aware of one young man, his love of all things Peter Cushing and Star Wars, who along with amazing support from his highly creative and talented mother, have designed a jaw dropping 'Alternative-Cosplay- Background' to a character called, GRAND MOFF TELSA.


Those emails, I mentioned at the opening of this feature? Well, one day I was busy trying to un-stick some press cuttings from an old scrapbook, when my lap top, announced the arrival of an email. The sticking power of 60 year old glue was trying my patience, so I needed a break, and opened up the mail. After I had read the first email, I KNEW I had to share its contents with everyone at PCAS. . . .  and what I read, now forms this feature . . . 


Dear Friends-

I came across your website doing research for my son's cosplay. He is part of a group called Star Wars steampunk Empire. Being a fan of Peter Cushing and old Hammer Horror movies we picked Grand Moff Tarkin to cosplay as. His back story is that he is Nicola Tesla's younger brother, fed up with all the attention his brother got, he was driven to be the fastest ascending officer in the force. He now commands the Death Star. He is the highest ranking officer in the whole Star Wars series. My son is now obsessed with Peter Cushing & so thrilled they are bringing him back for the newest Star Wars movie. 

I will soon have more professional photos available. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

In peace

Stori Nagel


Grand Moff Tesla is on Facebook, Twitter and instagram


Hi Stori,
My very best wishes to you and your son! Thank you so much for getting in touch and telling me about your son's interest and passion for Peter and his work. It all sounds like enormous fun! The whole Cosplay world is so diverse, and it's wonderful that your son, has made Peter part of that world with role of Grand Moff Tarkin! That is a pretty AMAZING costume by the way. I have a friend who works in the industry, that... I hope you don't mind... I shared your splendid photograph with. He was really very impressed. We both agreed that Peter would have been extremely happy with your attention to detail, as he too, I am sure you know, had a passion for getting right and just so. . . .

I think the back story you have devised for your character is very clever indeed, and shows again the careful consideration you have given. Using Nicola Tesla, as a younger brother is a master stroke, that any script writer at Hammer films, would have been very pleased with!

I wonder if you be happy for me to share some of the details and maybe the photograph at our facebook fan page and website?? The demographics of our society show we attract people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures... Peter Cushing is still extremely popular. It really does make me extremely happy when young people join us. Some of here, are really getting up there in years now and the role of PCAS is really about nurturing younger people to join us too, hopefully the 'next generation of Peter Cushing and Hammer film fans'. We have been here since 1956, so it's our 60th anniversary this year. I have been on board since 1979, with a break for a few years until 2010, and it's a real joy meeting such a diverse collection of people from all around the world. Peter Cushing has always had such friendly fans.

Well please DO keep me informed about your cosplay outings, any conventions you and your son are attending, and how it all goes for you. We have a vast archive of Peter Cushing images and memorabilia, that you are more than welcome to access. I have attached a few images to this email, which I hope you'll enjoy looking at. Maybe you can print them off and 'nail them' to your bedroom wall??? lol I did just that when I was your age!

Again, thank you so much for getting in touch!

My very best wishes to you and your Mum,
Marcus



Marcus-

Boy, I was not expecting so much love from your end, I am completely honored.


Me, whom is writing, I'm Wyatt's mother, Stori. Wyatt is Grand Moff Tesla. I made the story up as part of the biography required to join The Star Wars Steampunk Empire. I have been obsessed with Nicola Tesla for over 10 years. My kids all admire him too. So when I went to write the backstory I just had to include him, since Tesla is included in the Steampunk world. Thank you for the compliment on my writing skills, I have a big imagination, surely spurred on by the Hammer Horror I watched at my Grandmother's house as a kid. The first time I saw him I was just 4, my parents took me to see the first Star Wars movie and my imagination blew up! Nothing real was good enough, I wanted vampires and werewolves to be real! I think Hound of the Baskervilles was my favorite, but I also loved Top Secret, Shock Waves, Creeping Flesh and oh how I love Tales From the Crypt. My children have seen so many old movies, they watch them when my husband and I have date nights. 

When my son expressed interest in being in the Star Wars steampunk society, I knew right away Tarkin was who we were going to embody. We customized an old military dress uniform. I am a seamstress and worked hard to make it an amalgamation of Tarkin and the steampunk culture. Tarkin has no weapons, others do his dirty work, he is that high in rank. So to add more flair we added arm lanyards, a belt buckle featuring over 75 small watch gears. My older son Garret helped us design a special amplifier for the music box mechanism that plays "a new hope" from Grand Moff Tesla's hip. We even got new prescription glasses with gold filigrees with which we added gears. This weekend we are attending our first big convention. I will have professional photos of Wyatt soon after this convention to share with you.

I know exactly what you mean about needing to share movie culture with youth. I was grateful that my uncle shared his old movies with me and so I love sharing with whomever I can. My oldest son Garret is 17 and his favorite all time actor is Vincent Price, my daughter Ruby is 16 and loves Buzby Burkley dance numbers and swoons over James Cagney, Wyatt is just 12( tho he looks older) he loves anything with Kurt Russell and is educating himself on all things Peter Cushing. We would be so honored as a family to be featured on your website and social media. 

Thank you so much for all these great photos. I will share some on my son's instagram. Thank you again, your graciousness has just blown us away. I'm so excited to read your email to the family. I'll be in touch soon.

In peace
Stori


Dear Marcus
 . . . .Wyatt has not yet been accepted into the SWSPE just yet, but odds look good.  He still has to do a few more events, some of them are Justice Jog ( which raise funds for Foster Children in Los Angeles County) September 25th, and Deaf Awareness Day in San Diego on October 8th. There are fun things like The Gas Light Gathering and Oxnard Steampunk Fest not to mention conventions like Comikaze and The Long Beach Comicon. . . . 


  . . . This photograph was taken at Nerd Con in Escondido. In the photo are ( from left to right) Captain Nathan Seekerman, Sabe Sprocket, Lando and Lance Chronos, Steam 3-PO, Grand Moff Tarkin & Dude Vader. Photo by Theresa Blackbird. . . .

All the family are busy right now, kids going back to school and my calendar is out at the publisher. Our family works together to photograph breast cancer survivors as sexy pinups to promote positive body awareness not just with survivors but across the board. Check it out when you get a second! Here's the link:  HERE 

In peace

Stori Nagel



Dear Stori and Wyatt,
Thank you very much for sending all those amazing photographs.. oh and the gif of Truffles! It certainly looks like you have all had a very busy Summer. I have now built the feature about Wyatt and Grand Moff Tesla, including the background biography, which you kindly provided. I am sure there are many lovers of Cosplay and Star Wars, who will find Wyatt's superb costume quite something, and history of the character, very interesting! Plus Wyatt's quest to officially join the Star Wars Steampunk Empire (SWSE)! It's something I would be very interested in keeping in touch about and following. When he gets there, it will certainly be something to celebrate! Can I also thank you for bringing my attention to the really quite amazing work you do with the breast cancer survivors and positive body awareness , your calendar pics and the link. I have made sure to include the link in the feature, and will place it prominently at the end of the feature too. My wife and I spent quite some time, checking out the HOUS OF VOLTA WEBSITE, the photography is really, really excellent, terrific pin ups! The clothes are beautiful too. It's a truly very powerful message you are sending out. I applaud your efforts, and if there is anything I can do to help, promote, shout-out, you only have to say the word.

I have the feature on hold, for you to check it out first, before it goes live and posted. Anything you are not happy about, want to change, or if you have any suggestions to improve what I have done, don't be shy to let me know. I really do want to support Wyatt and your VOLTA WEBSITE too!

Well, settling in the US, is proving to be quite a jolly ride!, but all is good! It's HOT, very hot, much hotter than the UK. I think I have shrunk in the heat, and what is left of me has been attacked by the mosquitoes! What an adventure!
Love to you all!
Marcus 



AND THERE THE FEATURE ENDS . . . What else is in store for Wyatt and the passionate charity and raising awareness work both he and his Mum, carry out through out the year, I hope to report on here at this website and our Peter Cushing Appreciation Society Facebook Page... SO STAY TUNED! Many thanks to Wyatt and his Mum for sharing their story and the many great images they have shared with us. I think Peter Cushing would have been amazed to have read this too!
A REMINDER OF STORI'S WEBSITE AGAIN: JUST CLICK HERE



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Monday, 26 September 2016

IT ALL COUNTS! DO THE CUSHING CLICK!


OUR PETER CUSHING FACEBOOK FAN PAGE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT! EVERY CLICK COUNTS! CLICK LIKE AND JOIN US. VOTE...ooops! DO THE CUSHING CLICK!


LITTLE PET SHOPPE OF HORRORS : HAMMER HOUSE : MARTIN BLUECK


#MONSTERMONDAY : Requested 'Monster' by Lexi Conroy .Twisted Tormentor? Visionary? War Criminal and Murderer? ... nice old guy, who owns a pet shop?? You decide! Peter Cushing's performance for me personally was the highlight of Hammer films return to the small screen 1980, after an absence of some ten years, when they made another classic tv series, 'Journey Into The Unknown'. The Silent Scream is the standout episode, with some real suspense, and a real twisted plot, and killer lines! A young Brian Cox also stars!


UPDATE: At the FACEBOOK FAN PAGE, the vote is in : MONSTER! #monstermonday : When one usually thinks of an 'evil' role Cushing played in his long career...Frankenstein in 'Must Be Destroyed' and Tarkin in Star Wars come to mind... but here is someone who because it was a tv series, many may not be aware of? As featured in our earlier #monstermonday post.... Peter Cushing as Martin Blueck... if you were undecided about his credentials to be pure evil, take a look at this gif..... what a monster! 


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Sunday, 25 September 2016

GLOWS AND FLUTTERS: DRACULA AD 2015 REVIEWED GIFS AND GALLERY


SEVERAL YEARS AGO in another life, wearing a different hat, I was often called upon to be a guest on a panel, judging competition entries for national and international films and documentaries. Many of the films and programmes were produced by amateur film makers and enthusiasts. Some were made by students from universities and film schools . . . The entries were of varying standards and levels of competence, but all had been produced with enthusiasm and passion. For over twenty five years I had worked in television, managed my own production company and had the pleasure of nurturing and helping young people and adults, in theatrical performance (performing arts) and the visual arts. It was a unique job, and a very rewarding time. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than to meet someone who had spent, months and months shooting and editing, shaping and creating, that flickering image, their story on that big screen! It's true, as I have said, many fell short of a standard to win a prize, or to maybe show promise of the first steps of what could be a promising career. But occasionally a warm glow would start in the pit of my tummy, a flutter, followed by a smile of recognition, when a zinger came along that DID tick all those boxes. Joshua Kennedy's 'Dracula AD 2015' IS one of those zingers...


Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832)  an English cleric and writer of some note once wrote, "Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery". Colton was at times  brilliant in the pulpit, and could have been a successful and charismatic force in the church. Unfortunately he was more than a little eccentric, even though he had at one time considerable wealth, he gambled it away and was in debt until the end of his life...and that end came, when he required surgery. An operation he dreaded so deeply, that he eventually killed himself rather than undergo the procedure! But, if what Colton wrote, is true, Hammer films should be bursting with pride! 'Dracula AD 2015' is a love letter, a beautiful filmatic quilt, not patches, but scenes, sounds and emotive sequences sown together, to warm the bones, hearts and souls, of anyone who still blows the dust off their VHS broadcast recording, of a Hammer films 'double -bill' courtesy of BBC2 in 1981!


I knew writing this review would be tough, because so much of Kennedy's homage to Hammer's Dracula films, is emotionally charged. It's hot wired into the memory bank of any Hammer-aficionado who loves those films. However, that is not to say, this production can only be enjoyed by a cliche, romantic fan boys or Hammer die-hards. No, there is much here, even for someone who has never heard of Dracula, Peter Cushing, or 'that bloke in the cloak, Christopher Lee. And what there is, I'll happily share with you . . .but without giving  too much away . . .


DRACULA AD 2015 is probably the Dracula film that Hammer films would be making now, if they were still around as the old gang, I guess. A film with drama, imagination, suspense and the age old 'everything works out in the end' plot, all produced by the cozy family of people who cared about the films and the quality of what they produced. It's one thing that is evident in Kennedy's film too. This a group of young people, who love what they do and do it well. They know Joshua and each other well, and actors always take risks and give great performances when they are with a director and team they can trust.


Which brings me, to those actors. Josh has 'cast' the film very well, using some of the same templates that Hammer used too. I am not sure if it was sheer luck or divine intervention that  provided Josh with actors that nearly all, project some either physical or spooky degree of nuance, of the actors and characters who appeared in the original  Dracula Hammer films! And it's not just Hammer's plots and iconic set pieces that get the nod, there's much enjoyment to be had for any horror film buff here, picking out the scenes and characters from a dozen or more references, among them Chaney Jnr, Bela Lugosi, Dwight Frye and quite a few more. Se if you can spot them!


In every Dracula film, it's the guy who plays the Count, that bolts the whole structure together. When Hammer made their Dracula series, Lee was the draw. Powerful, sexy and feral. When he wasn't in a few of the productions, it was like a cart without it's horses. The vehicle was sound, but had no way of getting anywhere! Not so with Dracula AD 2015. Dracula is played with a delicate touch by Xander Pretorious, and he is well supported by a multi textured cast. Another thing that Kennedy got right, actresses that sound, act and look believable. . .  something that Hammer often got really wrong and casting that still makes some uncomfortable and cringe-worthy viewing. 


Bessie Nellis is someone to watch, in the film and in the future. With a role like Ingrid Stensgaard..there it is again, the temptation to play big and busy is where many a female vamp has 'stuck a stake in the cred department', before they've even started. Nellis understands the gift of stillness in front a camera. Focus and concentration is all. It takes guts and maturity to use that rule as your guide, but the reward is a performance, that all eyes are drawn to, when you are on screen. Her seduction scene with the Count, crackles with electricity. Her haunting and truly 'other-wordly' scene with Madelyn Wiley, was sheer animal magic. Wiley gets some great scenes too and plays Diana Farmer's exit, with a performance that Barbara Shelley, would certainly be proud of.


Someone has to play the 'girl in peril' and Kit Kennedy thank goodness takes the role and makes it more than a scream fest. Like everyone here, Kit has a relaxed and natural presence before the camera. She makes Jennifer Fordyce real, in the moment, fresh and believable. I felt the same about Hannah Rose Ammon performance, as I did about Caroline Munro's in Dracula AD 1972... gone too soon! I would have loved to have seen more! Everyone loves the 'slightly pushy, but dizzy character, who comes unstuck' in a horror film and Ammon, never gives away, what is around the corner and her fate. Next, the suspicious sounding, Thorley Ripper! I am sure Universal fans are going to love what Jeremy Kreuzer does with this. It must be hard to play 'crazy' without tipping into 'crazily over the top', Kreuzer hits it just right, spot on. Crazy as a fox!



Director Terence Fisher believed, every audience had to have breathing time. After a shock, give them time to recover, before you lull them into the next shocker. And with stories like this, someone must play, well.... normal! It may feel like a thankless task, but no build up, results in no tension or climax. Here Cody Avord and Jake Williams, provide the stability of, the reliable boy friend and his buddy, but they certainly get a lot to do, some classic staking scenes re-enacted and a face off with a vampire too. Actors Philip Miller and Michael Kitchen in Dracula AD 1972, provided the same service. Except Miller's 'Bob' death scene never made the edit, despite being shot and Kitchen...remind me again? Finally, Claire Daniels, plays 'nightmare seduction with a certain trademark style', the stamp of a Freddie Francis seduction scene, from Dracula Has Risen From The Grave', complete with the sepia filters, and manages to give Veronica Carlson a run for her money too!


It would be unfair to give away key moments of the plot here, as some come as genuine surprises. It's not a straight follow the numbers, remake of Dracula AD 1972, Joshua Kennedy has been cute to key in some of the best elements of what made Hammer and Universal fantasy flicks great. The staking, the resurrection, the passion, the bite, the glamour and the sex. It's all here, and delivered with such confidence. Kennedy makes a great vampire hunter, in the Peter Cushing mold. He has the energy, authority and credibility of an actor and director many years older. His stamp can be seen throughout all his films. That wicked sense of humor and fun, that has brought the likes of actresses Martine Beswick and Caroline Munro, to come on board several of his productions. Munro actually has a voice-cameo in Dracula AD 2015 . .  playing the Mother of Hannah Rose Ammon, who plays Munro's daughter, Caroline Monlaur. See what he did there! 


I have watched Dracula AD 2015 several times, in order to get the full picture, and on one such screening, watched with a group of Hammer fans. Many a lead up to a scene was met with, 'They aren't going to do that scene are they?'...which was followed by, 'That was great!' 'Well done' and ' pulled it off. . ..wow!'. Also quite a few scenes were given a cheer or chap of appreciation. Dracula, cloak flapping striding through New York and running for his life across a subway platform, made quite a few very happy. As did the opening prologue to the film and THAT title sequence. Back in 1972, I am sure Drac Buffs almost choked on their popcorn and coke, when the film zipped into a dutch tilt  to the sky, and revealed a passenger plane and a hip and trendy London skyline with Chelsea hot pants and Trafalgar Square to boot!





In Dracula AD 2015, that theme tune, still has a punch, as Kennedy acknowledges the power and emotional connection to the music, in particular Mike Vickers soundtrack from the opening to Dracula AD 1972 and James Bernard's classic Dracula theme and incidental arrangements from the Hammer Dracula series. It's a technique that is used throughout the film and because of it's connection to the original films, works amazingly well, setting the atmosphere and tone of the entire film.


Last, but not least... when watching the film, take note of the lighting. Beautiful blues and throbbing rosey reds, if I didn't know better, I would think I was watching an Eastman colour print! Lighting camera operators were unsung heroes, back in the day of Hammer films. Kennedy has the lighting and shades, nailed too. He multi tasks, it's his script, editing, direction and camera work. And, it all works very well indeed.


If I was Kennedy, I would be entering every film festival and competition from here, across the Atlantic and back. This film needs to be seen and enjoyed, but also it needs the opportunity to win the praise it deserves...well done to everyone involved you made my viewing full of many warm glows and flutters! 

Marcus Brooks: Peter Cushing Appreciation Society : petercushingpcas@gmail.com 





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