4 Shots From 4 Peter Cushing Films: Corruption, Scream and Scream Again, Asylum, Shock Waves


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, we pay tribute to one of the greatest British film stars with….

4 Shots From 4 Peter Cushing Films

Corruption (1968, dir by Robert Hartford-Davis)

Scream and Scream Again (1970, dir by Gordon Hessler)

Asylum (1972, dir by Roy Ward Baker)

Shock Waves (1977, dir by Ken Wiederhorn)

Christopher Lee, R.I.P.


Jinnah

The picture above is Christopher Lee in the 1998 film Jinnah.  In this epic biopic, Lee played Muhammad Ali Jinniah, the founder of modern Pakistan.  Up until yesterday, I had never heard of Jinnah but, after news of Lee’s death broke, Jinnah was frequently cited as being Lee’s personal favorite of his many roles and films.

Consider that.  Christopher Lee began his film career in the 1940s and he worked steadily up until his death.  He played Dracula.  He played The Man with the Golden Gun.  Christopher Lee appeared, with his future best friend Peter Cushing, in Laurence Olivier’s Oscar-winning Hamlet.  He played Seurat in John Huston’s Moulin Rouge.  He appeared in both The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies.  He appeared in several films for Tim Burton.  He even had a small role in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.  He appeared in two Star Wars prequels.  He appeared in the original Wicker Man (and reportedly considered it to be his favorite of his many horror films).  He appeared in Oscar winners and box office hits.  And, out of all that, Christopher Lee’s personal favorite was Jinnah, a film that most people have never heard about.

Unless, of course, you live in Pakistan.  When I did a google search on Christopher Lee, I came across several Pakistani news sources that announced: “Christopher Lee, star of Jinnah, has died.”

And really, that somehow seems appropriate.  Christopher Lee was the epitome of an international film star.  He worked for Hammer in the UK.  He worked with Jess Franco in Spain and Mario Bava in Italy.  He appeared in several movies in the United States.  And, in Pakistan, he played Jinnah.  And I haven’t seen Jinnah but I imagine he was probably as great in that role as he was in every other role that I saw him play.  Over the course of his long career, Christopher Lee appeared in many good films but he also appeared in his share of bad ones.  But Christopher Lee was always great.

It really is hard to know where to begin with Christopher Lee.  Though his death was announced on Thursday, I haven’t gotten around to writing this tribute until Friday.  Admittedly, when I first heard that Lee had passed away, I was on a romantic mini-vacation and had promised myself that I would avoid, as much as possible, getting online for two days.  But, even more than for those personal reasons, I hesitated because I just did not know where to start when it came to talking about Christopher Lee.  He was one of those figures who overwhelmed by his very existence.

We all know that Christopher Lee was a great and iconic actor.  And I imagine that a lot of our readers know that Lee had a wonderfully idiosyncratic musical career, releasing his first heavy metal album when he was in his 80s.  Did you know that Lee also served heroically during World War II and, after the war ended, helped to track down fleeing Nazi war criminals?  Did you know that it has been speculated that Lee may have served as one of the role models for James Bond?  (Ian Fleming was a cousin of Lee’s and even tried to convince Lee to play Dr. No in the first Bond film.)  Christopher Lee lived an amazing life, both on and off the screen.

But, whenever one reads about Christopher Lee and his career or watches an interview with the man, the thing that always comes across is that, for someone who played so many evil characters, Christopher Lee appeared to be one the nicest men that you could ever hope to meet.  Somehow, it was never a shock to learn that his best friend was his frequent screen nemesis, Peter Cushing.

Christopher Lee is one of those great actors who we assumed would always be here.  The world of cinema will be a sadder world without him.

Legends together

Legends together

Here is a list of Christopher Lee films that we’ve reviewed here on the Shattered Lens.  Admittedly, not all of these reviews focus on Lee but they do provide a hint of the man’s versatility:

  1. Airport ’77
  2. Dark Shadows
  3. Dracula A.D. 1972
  4. Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
  5. Dracula, Prince of Darkness
  6. Hercules in the Haunted World
  7. The Hobbit
  8. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
  9. Horror Express
  10. The Horror of Dracula
  11. Hugo
  12. Jocks
  13. The Man With The Golden Gun
  14. The Satanic Rites of Dracula
  15. Scars of Dracula
  16. Scream and Scream Again
  17. Season of the Witch
  18. Starship Invasions
  19. Taste The Blood of Dracula
  20. The Wicker Tree

Sir Christopher Lee was 93 years old and he lived those 9 decades in the best way possible.  As long as there are film lovers, he will never be forgotten.

44 Days of Paranoia #18: Scream and Scream Again (dir by Gordon Hessler)


For today’s entry in the 44 Days of Paranoia, we take a look at one of my favorites of the old school British horror films, 1970’s Scream and Scream Again.

Taking place in the near future, Scream and Scream Again follows three seemingly unconnected stories.

In the first — and, to me, the most disturbing — story, an unnamed London man collapses while out jogging.  When he wakes up, he finds himself in a hospital.  He is tended to by a nurse who refuses to speak to him.  Whenever he falls asleep, his limbs are surgically removed one-by-one.  While we never learn much about the man, his scenes are perhaps the most difficult to watch.  Everything from the starkness of the hospital to the nurse’s lack of concern and empathy for her patient contributes towards making these some of the most genuinely nightmarish scenes that I’ve ever seen.

While the unnamed jogger is being slowly taken apart, the London police are far more interested in solving the “Vampire Killer” case.  Keith (Michael Gothard) is a serial killer who picks up young women in nightclubs and then drinks their blood.  When, after an exciting chase, the police finally do catch him, they attempt to handcuff Keith to a car bumper.  Keith responds by ripping off his own hand and running into the night.  The investigation into Keith eventually leads to an eminent scientist named Dr. Browning (Vincent Price).  However, Fremont (Christopher Lee), the head of the British secret service, orders the police to drop the case because Browning is apparently doing very important work for the government.

Meanwhile, in an unnamed country in Eastern Europe, secret police officer Konratz (Marshall Jones) ruthlessly climbs his way to the top of the service by murdering his superiors (including Peter Cushing).  When a British spy is captured in his country, Konratz contacts Fremont and offers to exchange the spy for all the information that Scotland Yard has gathered about the Vampire Killer case…

Perhaps the best way to describe Scream and Scream Again would be “joyfully chaotic.”  The film’s three separate storylines do all come together during the final ten minutes and the film’s climax does make a lot more sense than it really has any right to but, up until that moment, a lot of the pleasure from Scream and Scream Again comes from seeing just how many different plots and subplots director Gordon Hessler can juggle in one film without losing the audience.  Fortunately,  Scream and Scream Again is a wonderfully entertaining horror/sci-fi/conspiracy hybrid, one that remains compulsively watchable despite the fact that it often doesn’t make much sense.

Of course, one of the main reasons to see Scream and Scream Again is because it features three icons of horror cinema.  Unfortunately, Cushing isn’t on-screen long enough to make much of an impression while Lee basically just has an extended cameo.  Vincent Price doesn’t show up until fairly late into the film but once he does, he wastes no time in making an impression.  Even by the standard of Vincent Price, his performance in this film is a bit over-the-top.

But you know what?

It’s exactly the performance that this film needs.  The film itself is so joyfully chaotic and disjointed that Price fits right in.  The triumph of Scream and Scream Again is that it creates (and makes us believe in) a world where it only makes sense that the final solution would lie with Vincent Price.

Finally, Scream and Scream Again serves as a wonderful time capsule for those of us who may be fascinated by the swinging 60s and 70s but, as a result of being born a few decades too late, will never get a chance to experience them firsthand.  For us, Scream and Scream Again will always be worth it for the scenes of Keith getting his mod on at a London discotheque.  

Scream and Scream Again is a film that everyone should see at least once in their life.  Just don’t go jogging afterwards…

Other Entries In The 44 Days of Paranoia 

  1. Clonus
  2. Executive Action
  3. Winter Kills
  4. Interview With The Assassin
  5. The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald
  6. JFK
  7. Beyond The Doors
  8. Three Days of the Condor
  9. They Saved Hitler’s Brain
  10. The Intruder
  11. Police, Adjective
  12. Burn After Reading
  13. Quiz Show
  14. Flying Blind
  15. God Told Me To
  16. Wag the Dog
  17. Cheaters

Here’s 6 More Trailers. Why? Because Lisa Loves You.


Because I’m not real certain that I’ll be online this weekend (well, that plus the fact that I love you), I’m posting the latest installment of Lisa Marie’s favorite grindhouse and exploitation trailers a few days early.  Enjoy!

1) Scream and Scream Again — This is actually a pretty good British horror film from 1970.  It even has a political subtext for those of you who need your horror to mean something.  I love the whole “swinging” vibe of the trailer.

2) The Spook Who Sat By The Door — This 1973 film apparently used to be something of a legend because it was extremely difficult to see.  It was sold, obviously, as a blaxploitation film but quite a few people apparently saw it as being a blueprint for an actual revolution.  I’ve never seen this movie though, believe it or not, I did find a copy of the novel it was based on at Half-Priced books shortly after I first saw this trailer.  I bought the book but I haven’t read it yet.

3) The Black Gestapo — This is another one of those old school blaxploitation trailers that, to modern eyes, just seems so wrong.  I’ve actually seen this film.  It’s surprisingly dull, to be honest.

4) Sunset Cove — This one of the many trailers that I first came across on one of Synapse’s 42nd Street Forever compilations.  I’ve never seen the actual film and probably never will as apparently it’s like the uncut version of Greed — lost to the ages.  That’s okay because the film really does look really, really bad.  However, the trailer fascinates me because it has got such an oddly somber tone to it.  Just from the narration and one or two of the clips shown, you get the feeling that this movie ends with the National Guard gunning down a lot of teenagers while the tide comes in.  However, I think that might just be my own overactive imagination.  The film was apparently directed by Al Adamson who, in the mid-90s, was apparently murdered and buried in wet cement.

5) Autopsy — This 1975 Italian classic is one of my favorite examples of the giallo genre.  I can’t recommend it enough.  This is one of the most intense and disturbing films ever made.  The trailer’s pretty good too.

6) Visiting Hours — I don’t know much about this movie, other than it appears to be a slasher film from the early 80s.  I’m posting it here for one reason and one reason only — the skull.