Calvin Lockhart, Caroline Munro, Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasance, Donald Sutherland, Doug McClure, EC comics, Hammer Films, Ingrid Pitt, Jack Palance, Joan Collins, Michael Gough, Mike Raven, Milton Subotsky, Patrick Magee, Peter Cushing, portmanteau film, Richard Johnson, TIgon Films, Tom Baker, Vincent Price
In the wake of the surprising runaway success of the Hammer Horrors, any number of budget conscious producers suddenly saw gold in them thar hills, ranging as far distant as Roger Corman’s California production house (with the much lauded Hammer-derived “Poe cycle”) and as close to home as Kevin Francis’ short lived Tyburn, Tony Tenser’s far more credible Tigon…and a Shepperton Studios based, yet American founded company with an obsession for EC Comics and the portmanteau format, namely Amicus films.
Featuring a plethora of both Stateside and UK luminaries of the silver screen past and present, Rosenberg and Subotsky’s English cash cow dropped many a Saturday afternoon syndicated chiller on television audiences (and the filmgoers whose airings preceded such), featuring trilogies, quartets and quadrilogies of short form shudders for the “monster kids” of the 60’s and 70’s.
But equally if not far more interesting were their non-anthologized efforts, which ranged from a pair of oddly juvenile (even abysmal) Doctor Who opuses based on previously aired (and far more po-faced) serials and two of the most mocked science fiction films of their era (The Terrornauts, They Came From Beyond Space) to a trilogy of quirky Burroughs Pellucidar adaptations…
…but more importantly, a handful of fascinating horror films: The Skull, The Deadly Bees, the Cushing/Lee misfire I, Monster, …And Now, The Screaming Starts and the delightful “werewolf break” sporting blaxploitation crossover, The Beast Must Die. Who knows, we may even touch on Subotsky’s post-Amicus efforts The Uncanny and The Monster Club as well…
So prepare to Scream, and Scream Again as we talk one of the strongest, yet most strangely flawed pretenders to the Hammerian horror throne, the fascinatingly bizarre Amicus Films!