Friday, June 15, 2012

Death Line (1973)




This review is as much a homage to the wonderful talents of one Donald Henry Pleasence (1919-1995) as it is a commentary to what is a fine piece of movie madness which was written and directed by horror auteur Gary Sherman whose next project, which came some nine long years after this masterpiece would also become a genre classic. The 1981 shocker, 'Dead and Buried' would later court its own piece of controversy by being given the ominous title of a considered 'video nasty' by the UK's BBFC. Though it was never outright banned as many may think. In actual fact The DPP - Director of Public Prosecution had placed it on a covert list that became the secretive 72 list during the 1980's. With many video rental outlets becoming jittery during the video witch-hunt many had become familiar with murmurings of this second list and therefore did not wish to take the risk of being prosecuted. Many video outlets chose sadly to take this title (though cut and rated 18 by the BBFC) off their video shelves. One day I imagine we will get to both the film 'Dead and Buried' and also work on a more in depth analysis and review of the 80's Nasties era. Such joyous and subversive times?

Firstly I would like to say this before we go any further, this film is a 'masterpiece' and one of the finest films ever made in the horror genre, end of! This movie encapsulates everything the genre should be and if handled correctly and this movie does perfectly, show what can be produced with great vision and hindsight. This film is a fine representation of the genre in thick juicy slabs of great horror entertainment. Though this movie has an American born director at the helm and US financial backing and one of its main stars David Ladd is also American and yes he is the son of the acting legend Alan Ladd but despite these influences, which may I add are very welcome and offer this film its uniqueness and defines its individual quality. The movie is in essence a British classic in every other sense of the word. I still believe strongly that this is one of the last 'true' great British horror films, that is how much I hold this film in esteem.

Biography: Roy Ward Baker


ROY WARD BAKER (1916-2010)

It was a very sad day for The Cult Movie Review and indeed the horror movie genre as a whole at the sad passing of director Roy Ward Baker on 5th October 2010. His influence and talent as spread across several decades and he leaves a legacy within television and films of great standing? Born Roy Horace Baker, on December 19th 1916 in London, his prolific career would span some of the most important moments in the genre’s history including his association with horror icons Hammer Films and later his dealings with the production company Amicus and his early association with none other than Alfred Hitchcock, Baker becoming his assistant director (uncredited) in Hitchcock’s ‘1938 classic, The Lady Vanishes.

The Burning








THE BURNING (1981)
"gather around the campfire to die!"

SERIAL KILLERS, BOGEYMEN AND MONSTERS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BIRTH OF THE 'SLASHER' MOVIE GENRE.

To make sense of why the film 'The Burning' makes The Cult Movie Review list, we firstly need a brief history lesson on what influenced and made this film possible in the first place and why this particular film is one of our favourite (slasher?) films almost 35 years after its first introduction to the world of horror cinema. We also need to understand why it went on to be a wake up call and caused much in the way of horror movie infamy for the right reasons. Trust me it will all make sense by the end of this review of a considered cult classic.
When Alfred Hitchcock created his masterpiece Psycho (1960), not only did he create a new and menacing genre within a genre [horror], he also introduced nay pioneered a new and terrifying way to scare audiences worldwide. Hitchcock changed the face and whole process of making a horror movie without the use of Sci-Fi creatures or olde worlde monsters of the imagination. Alfred Hitchcock gave us a monster with a human face, he introduced us to a killer that had no super powers nor changed into a beast of terrifying grotesque folklore proportions, what Hitchcock did was take Robert Bloch's novel (which was based loosely on the plainfield killer Ed Gain) and then offered us a new and much more naturalistic horror movie experience, he created a monster that looked just like you, me and everybody else. The broken human condition now took the spotlight and in taking centre stage entered the visual human psyche. It would be fair to suggest after Psycho we never really looked back. In latter years those influenced by this premise simply exaggerated and exploited the situation by extending its valuable asset to another horror fusion, cinematic dimension. Serial killers have become a staple diet ever since Psycho and a number of other films have made their own formidable impact but none more so than that of Anthony Perkins 'tour de force' portrayal of Norman Bates the one character that though not the first to portray insanity, in terms of making this part of horror cinema take serious note, influenced and started our cinematic fascination those many decades ago. The point I am tying to convey is as Psycho became the first original serial killer movie, what was to happen afterwards was directors would take such characters, who were already societies real monsters and then simply add a sprinkle of supernatural come bogeyman dust and make these killers beyond human. This mixture of a man being able to indiscriminately kill at his will and without a second of thought placed these perceived lunatics into our acknowledgement that such people do in fact of the matter roam freely and often with impunity in formal society. Film-makers in the genre merely added to the mystery and then simply give them additional tools in which to ply their dreadful trade of slaughter and by adding this attribute they also gave a greater horror dynamic along with a choice of different, inventive ways in which to use their terrifying arsenal in order to dispatch their victims, again to seemingly bring into focus the movies future bogeymen. No longer were these killers just human by birth but certain cinematic killers where now able transcend human ability and physically able to use new found superhuman strength and ability to live on beyond an onslaught of their fighting victims attempting to bring these very monsters down; because by this time there was a franchise lurking in the background! We had to take these killers back to monster status and reverse Hitchcock's original subject matter and then place them in the same horror statosphere as say; vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. A bastardisation was born of what people genuinely feared about the real world of serial killers and then offered them a second more powerful coming. What we were given in return was 'the modern bogeyman', not a true example of the real living monsters of society as portrayed by Anthony Perkins way back in 1960.

When John Carpenter created his 1978 classic Halloween, not only did he change the face of horror movies as Hitchcock had done back in 1960 but Carpenter ultimately changed the future direction in which the genre would travel but in making this landmark film he also created two monsters but not in the way he doubtless ever envisaged or imagined? His serial killer - come bogeyman and I use the term 'bogeyman' to illustrate a future trend that this film set as a founding father, as of the moment Halloween became legend. This new recipe is what generally happened within the 'slasher' theme and the creation of characters the like Michael Myers esquire. The second monster created from this new movement would be the actual term 'Slasher' which was often synonymous with what would be an influx of future 'bogeymen' stylised movies. These films would encompass and also go on to define a generation of horror movies that focused solely on recycling this established template time and again afterwards. 

With the advent of video as a new form of home entertainment during the early part of the 1980's it gave this form of horror cinema a greater access to a wider audience thus allowing these monsters to become part of our everyday cultural diet as we now entered this new era of horror with a certain excitable glee which firmly established the term 'Slasher'. One of the first of these popular films that began the 1980's revolution - well and truly was, Sean S. Cunningham’s 1980 effort, Friday the 13th, which not only created great box-office success but also created its own horror icon and bogeyman in its character Jason Voorhees. This also became the common denominator in both the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises that where to follow on from their respective successes. The word flogging and dead horse would later spring to mind when both these bogeymen would appear in countless more series of follow on films, (Yawn). The Slasher movie would last well into the latter end of the eighties and gladly a little less as the next decades arrived and despite a recent resurgence of our old foes and putting aside the trend that was to follow earlier in our history; the simple fact is that both Halloween and Friday the 13th are important points of reference in time and as original concepts, individually they are also great stand alone films in themselves. To be fair and despite my undertow criticism of their recycling I am quite fond of the sequels (not all). I will also state some of this reinvestment in remake material has at the very least attempted to kick new life into established and noted psycho killers come bogeyman! My apologies for emitting so much of the wider spectrum and its famed monsters, for their are many others available if you seek them out, including the exampled noted here. We have no need for a roll call for we all have our favourites, the two I mention here became the defining institutions of this very successful sub-genre of horror cinema.

The one true slasher film of that era that truly stood out for we here at TCMR has to be Tony Maylam's, 1981 cult classic offering, 'The Burning' which is by some distance one of the more superior movies in this genre category but in the 'slasher' era, strangely during its year of release went on to compete against John Carpenter’s, Halloween II (1981) and uncannily Friday the 13th part II (1981), the latter on this occasion directed by Steve Miner. The Burning however "... yes I am going to say it!" was undoubtedly better than both of these follow up efforts, which to my mind seemed very poor in comparison with their original stand out predecessors. So what made Maylam’s masterful effort superior to it's competition. Perhaps it was the fact that the main antagonist in this film though having a camp fire bogeyman legendary status within the confines of the films considered premise, when offering us the focal point Cropsy - Lou David, this particular character originally starts out as nothing more than a mere mortal man with nothing other than revenge as his future guide and strength, after he surprisingly survives an horrendous prank that goes horribly wrong and as it will turn out, shows our potential killer to be someone with nothing more than human frailties to guide him, nothing more. The Burning in which the title of the film infers, causes terrible injuries to said victim and even before the incident it is clear that Cropsy the caretaker was always going to be a protagonist of the piece and only through a five year process of recovery and rehabilitation do we allow our monster of the moment, Cropsy to have nothing other than time to think of his inevitable revenge. This character as no superhuman ability to aid him in surviving this whole terrible affair, it is sheer luck on this occasion that allows him life and a time of recuperation after the event?

This is where The Burning differs greatly from say Halloween or Friday 13th's antagonist who it seems can be stabbed, shot or even drowned (or so we think) only to once again rise up from apparent death only to go on and cause maximum death and destruction and great mayhem, bogeyman style. The character Cropsy will eventually make use of a sudden found minimal strength and ability in order to return to the outside world once more and build up an extensive body count with what will become his recognised weapon of choice which he will use as his trademark methods of dispatch. "You've got to have trademark?" The initial tag of plain old psychopath is therefore quickly banished and with it what would have been all sensible logic. Yes but horror movies and their monsters are surely about creating strange scenarios and a unique new alternative world in which to give our killers that indestructible vitality and yes to a point all that appeals greatly. The thing is if you are going to create these 'bogeymen' in a tongue in cheek way and offer the capacity to be stylised as seems the case with the Myers or Voorhees characters then that is wonderful but when the very essence of an original idea is then ceremoniously taken beyond what was already pushing the envelope of a monster in original creation then let us not forget who and what it was that created these monsters in the first place, especially in say the franchise Friday the 13th as the prime example. The original killer or monster in that particular story is not the one we later come to celebrate as one of the most famous horror movie icons of the late 20th century. Later in the franchise sadly many people either forgot or chose to ignore the glaring inconsistency and the plain fact that there is a severe baton change. Am I being too analytical in my thoughts the answer is yes, probably! To me however the second Friday 13th movie showed me a middle finger that I had no real choice but to accept. Yes I did enjoy the second movie but had to ignore the blurringly obvious, which itself was more monstrous an injustice than it's infamous bogeyman became, despite the writers attempts in trying to justify a ghost who witnesses the horror of seeing their only parent slaughtered and the dead child to adulthood nonsense, ‘Blah! blah! blah!’

Is that not the point of Maylam’s film, he uses the myth of such playful legend and storytelling, this modern equivalent of folklore status and uses these distinctions between this film and other better known slasher films previous and also those that strolled along later e.g. one Freddie Krueger, again franchised? The Burning was a unique one off and more convincing as an outright revenge movie in which the villain of the piece did not, could not trudge through another version of itself because he had already suffered and vengeance was genuinely all he had left to consume his psychopathic tendencies.
 The combustibility of Cropsy in his flame ravaged clothing and burnt flesh are no match for superhuman bogeymen of the Myer's, Voorhee's tradition. Only toppling down a large dirt embankment into the lake below does this act become his saving grace, his chance to survive. Indeed the burning sequence as the title suggest is incredibly shocking. The vengeful youths of the summer camp can be seen previous to the prank taking great pleasure and delight in their plotting to such a degree that you feel despite whatever the provocations of Cropsy, (Lou David) that arguably leads them to the disaster that is to befall the camp caretaker. It is the initial menacing glee and deep routed extremes of using a human skull as a prop for their vengeful needs which is probably a more disturbing factor to this pre-cursory act, though it is quite obvious that what transpires was never meant to happen.

Rare official Hand Made Films distribution synopsis front cover

Maylam also points out further ambiguity and frailties within the human condition when one week later the now burnt and critically ill Cropsy, bedridden and on life support is treated as some kind of circus freak show when one of the orderlies begins to deride a new intern to the hospital in which Cropsy resides and with fevered fervour the orderly explains to the intern while cajoling him begins to justify what he's about to show this reluctant man!

“When you’ve seen what I’ve seen, you’ll soon change your mind. Hey! Listen after two months of working here you’re gonna feel like an old man, guys like you won’t last five minutes. Hey! You got a minute; I wanna show you something down the hall. After you see this guy you’ll never want to come back here again man! This guy is burned so badly, he’s cooked. A fuckin’ Big Mac, overdone, you know what I mean? It’s a miracle he’s still alive, were as me I’d prefer to be dead. No way I’d wanna be like this freak; he’s a monster, man. I’ve been working here ten years and I’m telling you I ain’t ever seen anything like this. Hey! Man take a look, you wanna be a doctor right, this is what you gotta see, this is where it’s at”. The two men then enter burns unit room 113, the orderly then points out to the nervous intern.

Rare official Hand Made Films distribution synopsis

“Now this is burns... you ain’t ever gonna forgive this man as long as you live, you're never gonna see a freak like this. C’mon man take a look.” The orderly with some bravado pushes back the curtain which conceals the burns victim. The next moment Cropsy unexpectedly grabs the arm of the orderly, upon this action the intern panics and immediately flees for the exit door, leaving the orderly alone; he screams out in terror as the burnt arm grasps tight onto the terrified onlookers arm. This is human indignity defined, and far from portraying supernatural powers of say Myers or Voorhees, what this scene highlights is the inhumanity of others and the natural process that starts to ferment itself within the 'burn victims’ character and for what he is too become.

The MGM DVD Issue uncut version cover

It is not until five years later that the caretaker is finally allowed to leave hospital and from that moment on morality leaves both the film and in the case of our victim he immediately reverts to type and becomes a regular movie monster of the times. It is with vengeance on his mind and hatred in his soul that the moralising retires and leaves Cropsy to become the sadistic murderer from this point onward, he willingly becomes a villain of extreme brutality.

The death scene of the killers first victim in The Burning was considered so graphic at the time this film was released that it caused lots of problems for the censors both in the States funnily enough as well as here in the U.K. The special make up effects that feature in this movie are indeed some of Tom Savini's finest. When it comes to the carnage that ensues, it is pretty spectacular and in turn makes the films murder scenes that much more visceral. The strange thing regarding Tom Savini's participation on The Burning is the added known fact it came a year after he completed his stint on the groundbreaking Friday the 13th It is also a fact that he actually turned down the offer to work on Friday the 13th part II in favour of The Burning which for Maylam was something of an obvious major coup.

After the first victim is dispatched in graphic detail the next twenty or so minutes of the film concentrate solely on putting some flesh on the bones of character development, in particular that of the adolescence who have been enrolled into the summer camp 'Stonewater.' This time spent with forming character build in itself breaks the mould of standard genre convention. The fact that Maylam chooses to build up a longer and more constructive characterisation of future victims of the vengeful Cropsy gives them a greater definition, all of whom it seems suffer with the usual 80's teen, pop-culture angst familiar to audiences. Many of the youths suffering everyday problems and hang ups that come with this time of life. Indeed later on and unlike characters in other slasher movies, the original 'Halloween' the exception. Like Halloween the cast of youthful exuberance is not there just for the sake of window dressing, despite what befalls certain individuals. What Maylam does is he allows growth of personalities which in the long term work better in the over all performances of cast conveyance which again stands out very easily from other 'slasher orientated films of the time and is what makes this effort that little more interesting. Both (Brian Matthews) as Todd and (Leah Ayres) as Michelle play their roles as camp leaders very impressively. Matthews thrives in his character Todd, who hides a dark secret which has relevance to the whole twist of tale which neatly unravels toward the climax of the movie? Ayres though surrounded by the stereotypical pubescent males and females in her charge, manages to pulls off her own established performance with great enthusiasm, I will go as far as to say she becomes an undoubted heroine of the piece. It is not just these two actors that stand out. With a cast that also featured the early talents of Jason Alexander whose quick-witted demeanour in this film seemed a precursor to what would later lead him to comedy stardom in Seinfeld. Holly Hunter appears in the background as part of the female group, (but blink and you'll miss her). Who could have possibly imagined that later on in her career she would go on to win an Oscar in 1993 for best actress in Jane Campion’s, 'The Piano'. She would also go on to be nominated several more times in her career thus far and also star in two more of The Cult Movie reviews favourites. Firstly the wonderful Coen brothers 1987 movie, 'Raising Arizona' alongside Nicholas Cage. Later she would become a shining light in David Cronenberg’s version of the J.G.Ballard novel 'Crash' 1996 alongside James Spader. Other notable cast members in The Burning include, Fisher Stevens, Larry Joshua, Brian Backer and Ned Eisenberg.

Rare official Hand Made Films distribution editorial & display stills

When the butchery finally begins later on in the proceedings the personal kinship with some of the films characters becomes that little more of an emotional roller-coaster and though many of the obvious stereotypical clich├ęs are apparent like the noted Teen angst, sexual frustration and the usual bullying, these matters are dealt with in the main very responsibly. Any underline tensions within the community are treated in vengeful humour and friendship and though the antagonist of the group is unpleasant (not Cropsy) he finds great resistance initially and the bully is himself at one point seemingly humiliated in a act of mischievous vengeance. Later this storyline resurfaces when outcast and bully victim Alfred, (Brian Backer) and the camp bully Glazer, (Larry Joshua) clash once more. This early rivalry creates an inner conflict that leaves other camp members choosing their dividing line which enables the story to travel in a different direction than one imagines and momentarily you forget the slasher element of the film all together. As Maylam sucks you into the vibe of an excited group of youths that are about to escape the confines of 'Stonewater' for a canoe trip to 'Devils Creek' "... Yes I did say Devils Creek?" Maylam gives a subtle hint that he too is a movie fan by deliberately or otherwise paying homage to John Boorman's 1972 classic Deliverance, as Rick Wakeman who wrote and performed the soundtrack for this film gives his rendition of identifiable banjo playing as background for the appearance of six canoes full of youthful playfulness and glee as they begin their journey into the terror zone and totally oblivious as too their impending doom. Again unlike the usual slasher formula you enjoy the groups company, you are happy to spend your moment in the sun with them, you enjoy witnessing their high jinx.

The darkness of evenings falls around the campfire. It is during this evening that Todd uses this time to tell his ghostly tale of a legendary bogeyman who ironically goes by the name of Cropsy, "... what are the chances?" though in truth his story underpins a very large portion of truthfulness in which he is well aware of its original origins? He tells the tale of how a ruthless caretaker became a shear wielding maniac, (again) ironically as it will doubtless transpire! Todd heads fully committed into the story while all those around the fire are silenced by the suspense of it all. It is in this moment that Maylam uses his directing skills to make the audience watching the movie become spectators around the very same campfire as those now gathered in the film listen on intently. In low whispers Todd reaches the climax of his tale allowing his character to use the movies defining and now famous tagline. “Don’t look, he’ll see you. Don’t move, he’ll hear you. Don’t breathe... you’re dead!”

 
Rare official Hand Made Films distribution promotion blocks

This scene alone connects everything together nicely when Eddy (Eisenburg) suddenly rises up behind the spellbound group wearing a monster mask and wielding a carving knife. Soon those gathered round the campfire begin jumping and screaming out in terror. Fortunately on this occasion this 'set-up' has a happy conclusion. What befalls the group shortly afterwards however is not campfire tomfoolery?

The modest body count begins quite soon after and one by one someone begins  unleashing a bloody wrath and the slaying begins. The first to experience the films maniacs deadly intent will be the character Karen (Carolyn Houlihan) who when abandoned by the character Eddy (Ned Eisenberg) when a skinny dip liaison becomes a badly judged rejection toward Eddy after he begins to come on to strongly in his sexual advances. As a result of finally being left behind Karen becomes the immediate target of an alleged prankster who has seemingly taken her clothes and with them leaves a trail that leads our naked victim into the arms of Cropsy. Blood aplenty starts to flow and the legend that is Tom Savini starts to use his make up effects to blood slaying perfection as the film turns into a full blooded 'slasher' event in every sense of the word. Karen sadly is murdered by the use of one of Cropsy's shear blades which cuts the throat of his victim in a very accomplished graphic set-piece. In the morning that follows the group awaken to the news that Karen has done missing and added to this they also soon discover that they are in possible danger when they realise all the canoes that they arrived in have inexplicably gone missing. The group form search teams, one goes in search of the missing canoes while Eddy after being castigated by both Todd and more so Michelle for his actions go in search of Karen while the remaining team embark on building their own makeshift raft that will allow several members of the group to hopefully travel back to Stonewater and raise help.

 It will be during this eventual journey to hopeful safety were the tension begins to slowly build into a moment of truly unforgettable genre quality. It begins when Rick Wakeman's synth laden soundtrack steadily builds into what will be both a musical and visual crescendo that to this day many horror fans still consider a defining moment within the genre. What occurs in this set-piece provides the film with a spectacular scene that is slowly built up over several tense, nail-biting minutes and remains in the memory long after the films end credits finish. Savini's special effects are fully utilised to their full glorious extent, which again as a result of this extended scene courted the BBFC's eventual mighty wrath; only after the accidental distribution of the uncut version of the video was released into the video rental market did it become latterly problematic. This provocative scene is wonderfully shot and is again among the very best you will see in any classic horror film. Several scenes including this memorable moment lay on the cutting room floor for many years after it was officially taken off the video shelves. Fortunately with time, progress and much in the way of common sense all of the scenes that were eventually cut from the reissued video release are now back in there full uncut delightfulness. It as to be mentioned that this film was not at all about trying to subvert the viewing public and again Maylam must be given great credit and respect for this as it would have been easy to use the 'on form' Savini all the way through but on occasion instead chose to back off; so when the famed mass attack occurs, it happens with a momentum the director had previously drip fed so when the raft scene hits you it leaves you wandering is this going to be blood and thunder or are you just going to have to imagine what our killer does as the camera leaves the hapless victims in the throws of victimisation and then death. Fortunately Maylam spectacularly unleashes hell. The cut and thrust of this graphic onslaught leaves the viewer truly dumbfounded. It is a truly amazing piece of horror cinema, no mistake!

After witnessing and taking stock of the massive set-piece that is the raft scene, we begin to reach the films ending as it becomes a nicely proportioned cat and mouse affair. A battle between those characters unable to escape the clutches of a looming killer reaches a pulsating climax and those left behind must fight for their lives. To add to the climatic tension it is revealed there is a connection that brings two of the remaining characters back to the beginning of the whole tale and the initial prank that happened five years previous which left Cropsy the caretaker with his severe injuries. The end of this film takes place in a disused mine somewhere in the forest of 'Devils Creek.' The meeting of victims and monster is given all the drama needed to drive this film to its bloody conclusion and leave the viewer in no doubt that they have just watched one of the best horror movies of its type to ever grace the 'slasher' category at least!

This film was released before the video nasty law was passed in the UK in 1982. Before the film became one of the initial banned movies of that period it was originally and unwittingly released by Thorn EMI fully uncut (by mistake?) which had not been the distributors intention. Shortly before the uncut version was recalled even before its subsequent ban, a large proportion of the UK general public that had initially rented the first distributed copy of this film would have unknowingly experienced the full uncut version. When Thorn EMI tried to recall the uncut version for a replacement edited cut version many video stockists ignored this advise. This mistake by the distributor and its attempt to make amends was sadly not enough to save it from the newly formed banned list and in the end every version of the film uncut or otherwise was put on the 'nasties' list and subsequently removed from video stores, again in some confusion and sometimes forcefully throughout the UK. It was not until many years later and despite a revision of the video nasty law it was still deemed too extreme and a re-released version was allowed to go on sale to the public but was still brutally cut for its first re-release into the then new DVD market. Finally and only as recent as 2002 came the Vipco version released fully uncut and with the BBFC’s blessing, again it is suggested purchasers of this version said it was still a cut feature and not the total version they had assumed by the use of the word UNCUT inferred. This masterful cult slasher was finally given its fully uncut widescreen version release when later it would be distributed by MGM. They released it in the U.S. in 2007. This at the time was finally the full uncut and best version available on the market. This dvd version also offered some excellent extras including the Tom Savini documentary Blood ‘n’ Fire which is an extremely enjoyable feature of footage shot on set by Savini himself during the making of the film.

UPDATE: As of 2013 Shout! Factory have re-released The Burning as a combo Blu-ray DVD collectors addition. This version even includes a rare interview with Lou David who played Cropsy in this 1981 cult classic.

The black & white click on clips above show us that the initial UK distribution rights the advertising campaign and production synopsis were considered for release by and via George Harrison's Handmade films and not Thorn EMI as  later became the case. Many thanks and we wholeheartedly dedicate this review to Dave Lysak for discovering and allowing us to use his own personal and extremely rare piece of movie memorabilia. How many of you knew that then!
“A slasher classic, I think so, the best of them all, I would not argue otherwise, would you?” 
 E.D. Leach.










Captain Kronos



THE FALL AND RISE OF HORROR IN THE 70's.

Before we get into the review of one of my favourite, (probably my personal favourite) Hammer movie, I would just like to announce that during our reviews we tend to divert and go journeying down other avenues. The reason for this is as follows. I believe in order to give a full and appreciative gravitas to what we are trying to explain, we will attempt to talk about things that may help show a emotional attachment and placement that rekindles fond memories and specific points in witnessed cinematic history from a fans perspective obviously! In doing this we hope it leads toward a background that provides important information regarding what helps such a personal review create some kind of catharsis that will bring out many influences and attachments that both surround and perhaps created a love of horror cinema as a result. This may make my reviews (boring) or it may indeed cause greater debate. I would rather talk about truthful opinion and indeed what swayed such opinions. I want to get deep into the whole framework of what the horror genre really means in regard of our fondness, passion, hatred and what indeed spurs us on to have such a passion for our favourite genre. For this I make no apology and rather than just give a bland generalisation. I want you to understand the physicality of a journey taken that may not be dissimilar to those of a certain age and vintage that remember certain points referred too during certain reviews and maybe prick other peoples emotions as we go along. So if you wish, walk away now and we here at T.C.M.R. bid you farewell and only good fortune but for those who stay and listen here is both a journey and a review of why I/we love Kronos and why a connection of other genre orientations may collide with the individual review of this particular movie.  E.D. Leach.

CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER 1972 (finished production year)
"A blood lust for eternal youth"
  
RIP. Brian Horace Clemens O.B.E. 30th July 1931 - 10th Jan 2015.

I will start my review by announcing that I could gladly spend hour upon hour reviewing, nay, reminiscing on the film company that produced this movie but that is for another comprehensive review for another time, for it is this legend of the British film industry and purveyor of all things of the horror genre that is Hammer productions that will rightfully get its own personal review as is befitting to such a wonderful institution. It is simply a major focal point and influence upon The Cult Movie Review. Hammer is also one of those names that definitely define greatness and were an iconic purveyor of the Horror genre, that fact alone will be given the full respect it undoubtedly deserves.

The history that stands stacked behind this unusual cult gem Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, 1974 (year of final cinema release) is truly fantastic but unfortunately in the case of this particular offering it will be remembered more as one of the final big screen outings and subsequent farewell of Hammer productions as was; This review will also have many more tangents before I am done but if you bear with me all will hopefully be explained.