|Vintage Pulp||Jul 16 2017|
This unusual Japanese poster was made to promote the horror flick The Brides of Dracula, which premiered in the U.K. today in 1960. We don't have a Japanese premiere date, but we're guessing it was several years later. In the film, a French schoolteacher is hired to staff a position in Transylvania and, having lodging difficulties upon arrival, ends up accepting an offer by Baroness Meinster to spend the night in her creepy old castle. The teacher discovers the Baroness's son chained up in one of the rooms. She helps the seemingly beleaguered wretch escape, not realizing she's just released a vampire. She still doesn't realize it when she later agrees to marry him, but that's about when Dr. Abraham Van Helsing shows up with plans to ram a sharp piece of wood through his heart. Will it happen in time to save the teacher from a really bad marriage to a vampire who has neglected to mention not only that he's undead, but that he already has several undead wives? You'll have to watch to find that out. If you like dungeon horror, it's worth the effort, as this is from Hammer Studios, and is probably one of the best efforts from one of the most storied horror production companies.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 22 2015|
The two posters you see here, both amazing, were made for Scream of Fear, which showed in France and Belgium as Hurler du peur and Spain as El sabor del miedo. We checked it out. Susan Strasberg stars as a wheelchair bound woman who returns to her father’s estate and keeps seeing his corpse around the property. Each time this happens she unleashes a piercing scream—hence the title of the film. But is she really seeing her father? Or is she merely hysterical? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a thriller if it were all in her head. The question really is who’s trying to drive her mad. Possibly her stepmother. Possibly the chauffeur. Maybe even her father, since he’s not dead, but only away on business. With several late twists, you’ll have a hard time figuring it out. This was from Hammer Studios and they hit the nail squarely on the head. Scream of Fear opened in France today in 1961, and had already played Spain a few weeks earlier.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 21 2014|
Nothing says Christmas like a cheesy horror movie, and they don’t get much cheesier than Hammer Film Productions’ b-flick Satanic Rites of Dracula. This was the seventh and last movie to feature Christopher Lee playing Dracula, a role he inhabited with great gusto, and the third with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. In other words, Hammer really knew how to beat a dead horse. Plenty of summaries of this online, so we won’t bother. We just wanted to show you the nice art. Satanic Rites of Dracula first played in Japan today in 1974.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 21 2014|
The official poster for Hammer Film Productions’ smash hit One Million Years B.C., which was painted by famed British illustrator Tom Chantrell, is one of the most famous pieces of promotional art to come out of the 1960s. You see that just below. The piece above is also Chantrell's work. Dated 1965 and signed at lower right with his familiar block printing, it would have been made the year before One Million Years B.C. premiered, which perhaps explains why Raquel Welch isn’t yet the focus of the art. Good decision, eventually putting her on the poster, but we like this one too, especially that not-quite-big-enough tiger skin the character is wearing. Too bad we never saw Welch in that.
As for the movie, you’ve all seen it, right? Well, if not, just know that it’s the ultimate Anglo-Saxon, lost world fantasy, with light-skinned humans running around in a Neolithic wilderness living off the fat of the land. The fact that the women have shaved armpits and hot bodies is a bonus. There’s a plot involving early man’s inhumanity to early man, mixed in with threats from various giant amphibians and some pretty convincing stop-action miniatures from efx guru Ray Harryhausen.
But of course Welch is the focus of the movie, and it’s a bit of surprise she ever agreed to star, considering she was already pretty well established as an actress. Credit her for career savvy, though—One Million Years B.C., complete piece of cream cheese that it is, made her the top sex symbol in the world. We’ll leave you with a still from the film, but trust us—it’s nothing compared to Welch in motion. One Million Years B.C. opened in Europe in late 1966 and premiered in the U.S. today in 1967.
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 7 2013|
Here’s the basic idea of Der Kuss des Vampir: “Well, it’s too bad our newfangled horseless carriage broke down in the middle of this creepy moor, but at least we found an inn, though it’s oddly vacant—well, except for that one guest we never see—but in any case things are looking up, because the mysterious gentleman who lives in the hilltop manor has invited us for dinner tonight.”
If you were to accept this invitation and your host Dr. Ravna soon explained, “I like to be surrounded only by beautiful…”—very long pause as he looks at your new bride—“…things,” it would be an indication that he’s ravna for your wife’s neck. But you can’t pick up on these clues. You’re so rational you’re irrational. “Oh, don’t be silly, darling, Dr. Ravna is just a little odd is all. Well, I don’t know why we only see him at night—perhaps days he’s part of the crew trying to repair that washed out bridge that keeps us stuck in this Godforsaken hamlet.”
Okay, we made up the washed out bridge bit, but only to indicate that Der Kuss der Vampir is old-fashioned, late night, bats on strings style vamp horror, courtesy of Hammer Studios. We’ll stop there because amateur movie reviews are boring and we really only comment on the films so we can say something more than “isn’t this poster amazing?”
Incidentally, isn’t this poster amazing? It was designed by Klaus Dill, and it's a lot better than the movie. Not to say the movie is bad. It’s adequate, at the very least. But we like to spend our time on more entertaining…—very long pause as we think of better ways to use ninety minutes—…activities. Der Kuss des Vampir, aka Kiss of the Vampire premiered in West Germany today in 1963.
|Vintage Pulp||Apr 18 2013|
This Japanese poster for 1971’s Creatures the World Forgot is different than the style of Japanese art we usually share, but the bold yellow color really struck us. The movie was produced by Hammer Studios, the same company that made the popular Raquel Welch lost world epic One Million Years B.C., and the follow-up When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. But where the previous two movies chose to show early humans interacting with dinosaurs, Creatures—spoiler alert for Creationists—went the scientifically factual route and had no giant lizards. Hammer probably did it not out of truthfulness, but out of cheapness. But in any case science wins again.
As far as the actual movie goes, there’s nobody of Raquel Welch’s stature involved, but Norwegian actress Julie Ege does about as good a job as any actress could in a production with no actual dialogue. And yes, she wears one of those fur bikinis and looks pretty good in it. Can we recommend the movie? Not really. But if you’re bored try watching it with a few of your cleverest friends and see who invents the best dialogue. By the way, if you’re the observant type you’ve probably deduced, by virtue of the fact that somehow the number 100 has snuck its way onto the poster, that the Japanese did not call the movie Creatures the World Forgot. The text actually says “one million years primitive man.” Or something like that. Creatures the World Forgot premiered today in 1971
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 25 2011|
One thing you can say about Hammer Studios is that they’ve always been opportunistic. After the success of their 1966 Raquel Welch adventure One Million Years, B.C. the big brains in the front office decided to double down on sexed-up whitewashed primitivism. This time they tapped British hottie Martine Beswick, who had co-starred in B.C., to headline a new lost world production called Slave Girls, aka Prehistoric Women. It’s the tale of a great white hunter in Africa who’s projected into a parallel dimension and finds himself in the middle of a struggle between a cruel queen and her downtrodden subjects. Add to this mix the obligatory Raquel Welch-style fur bikinis, a hundred gallons of skin bronzer, a few “tribal” dance numbers, a heavy dose of blood curses, and a sprinkling of animist mythology and you’ve got yourself a movie.
As tempting as it is to say the results are bad, it just wouldn’t be true. Slave Girls works, more or less, despite the limitations of being shot entirely on a British back lot. Beswick really chews the plastic scenery to pieces. She preens, poses, snarls, shrieks, flares her lovely nostrils and flaunts her six-pack—and that’s just during her dance number. When allowed to speak she tosses off some memorable lines. To the great white hunter: “You see! Already you want to impose your will! You want to dominate me!” And in the next instant (parenthetically hinting at an emotional wound in her past): “I’d be a fool to let any man do that again.” Aww, she has a heart after all—it’s been broken is the problem. But then she’s back to evil queen mode: “But you will want me. And on my terms!” Well, she’s right about that. You will want her—on any terms. Slave Girls, with Beswick, Edina Ronay and Michael Latimer, premiered in the U.S. today in 1967.
|Intl. Notebook||Nov 24 2010|
Polish-born actress Ingrid Pitt as a child survived a Nazi concentration camp to star as an adult in a score of films, including several horror movies produced during the early 1970s by Hammer Studios. Some of those titles are The House that Dripped Blood, The Wicker Man, Countess Dracula and The Vampire Lovers, and her portrayals made her a favorite among fans of macabre cinema. Pitt died this morning in a London hospital aged 73.
|Vintage Pulp||Oct 11 2009|
You’d think a film entitled Countess Dracula is a vampire movie, but it isn’t—at least not in the traditional sense. Rather it’s about real-life figure Erzebet Bathory, a noblewoman who killed three-hundred virgins in medieval Hungary and bathed in their blood to reverse the effects of aging. The Countess is portrayed by Ingrid Pitt, who does what any post-menopausal woman would do when made young again—gets laid. Actually, since this is the Middle Ages she has to get wooed first, which involves constantly performing the ritual in order to play the role of an available young woman. But these rituals from dusty old books always have side effects. Some are relatively benign—dizziness, headaches, erections lasting more than four hours—while others are more serious. In this case the problem is each period of youthfulness granted is shorter and the Countess’s aged visage, when it returns, is ever more witchlike and hideous. Nevertheless, the supply of nubile village virgins lasts long enough for the Countess to marry the man of her dreams. But then comes the wedding night, when the new husband is bitterly disappointed, and completely taken aback by his bride’s total change in attitude and appearance—and this is all before the spell even wears off. Badabing. Seriously, though, this is Hammer Studios horror and we recommend the film for that reason alone. It isn’t Hammer’s best, but it’s still got that ineffable British style. Countess Dracula premiered in the U.S. today in 1971.
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 9 2009|
If you like Hammer Studios' gothic horror films, Straight on till Morning might not quite be your bucket of blood, but you have to give the studio behind The Satanic Rites of Dracula and Visitor from the Grave credit for getting out of their comfort zone. It’s out with the old, in with the new, as they leave castles and moors behind for the penthouses and pavement of modern day London. The result, which premiered in the U.K. today in 1972, is decidedly mixed. Not that this film isn’t creepy—just the opposite, watching miss lonely heart Rita Tushingham fall unknowingly into the arms of a sadistic killer is like having a front row seat for a downward spiral. She’s sad and innocent; he’s compelled to kill beautiful women—somehow we know this isn’t going to end with her tossing a bouquet to her bridesmaids. Bleak though it may be, we think this one is worth a viewing. Or, to quote Hammer Studios’ namesake, the redoubtable MC Hammer: “When you talkin’ about the Hammer, you talkin’ about a show.”