Big and Small Screen Chills

October 8, 2020

Use the discount code HORROR2020 to receive 25% off a range of horror titles* until 4pm, Saturday 31st October.

Big Screen Chills

From the golden age of horror with Boris Karloff in ‘The Ghoul’ to the creepy modern supernatural tale ‘The Witch In The Window’, Network’s extensive feature film catalogue spans every era from the 1930s to the present day.

The Uncanny’ was co-produced in 1976 by Amicus founder Milton Subotsky (after the company had dissolved into legal issues) and, similar to the Amicus features that made his name, is a portmanteau with three stories revolving around evil cats. Partly filmed and financed in Canada, it stars a frantic Peter Cushing with Ray Milland in the linking material, and the film also features Donald Pleasence in an amusing segment about a film star in 1930s Hollywood trying to do away with his wife. Going by the name Valentine De’ath (V.D. is comically embroidered on his dressing gown), it’s worth watching for him alone!

The Monster Club

Made for a more general audience (rated ‘A’), horror anthology ‘The Monster Club’ was based on stories by tongue-in-cheek horror writer R. Chetwynd Hayes and it marked Milton Subotsky’s last UK attempt at this type of portmanteau. Featuring three stories connected by an inventive monster family tree , it Includes another comedy interlude with Donald Pleasence as a member of a vampire hunting squad trying to stake aristocratic blood-sucker Richard Johnson. Also starring genre stalwarts Vincent Price and John Carradine with the linking material taking place in the titular club, there are some chilling moments among the fun. As well as some songs performed by B.A. Robertson (possibly the scariest thing in the film), listen out for the background music in the club – it’s the track 25% by reggae favourites UB40, just before they achieved stardom.

The House in Nightmare Park

If more direct comedy is to your liking, you could do no better than checking out Frankie Howerd as a ham actor going up against a murderous family who are after his inheritance in the atmospheric ‘The House In Nightmare Park’. Sprinkling the laughs with some scares, it’s written by Clive Exton and Terry Nation, well directed by Peter Sykes and is one of the most under-rated of comedy-horrors. Mastered from the 35mm original camera negative and available on Blu-ray.

Laughs of the unintentional kind can be found in rarely seen American psycho horror ‘Miss Leslie’s Dolls’ and Britain’s ‘The Monster’ (AKA ‘I Don’t Want To be Born’), a Rank production from 1975 starring Joan Collins, Ralph Bates and Donald Pleasence (again). It is a bonkers British horror directed by Hammer regular Peter Sasdy to cash in on the Exorcist craze of the 1970s, and both films fall very firmly in the cult category. 

Countess Dracula

Bloody Hammer Horror is on offer with the effective ‘Hands Of The Ripper’ starring Angharad Rees as a daughter of Jack the Ripper, unknowingly continuing his trail of terror across London (and Pinewood), and scream queen Ingrid Pitt starring in possibly her greatest horror role as ‘Countess Dracula’. Based on the legend of Countess Bathory who ditched the oil of Olay for some virgin blood to keep her skin silky smooth, both films are examples of excellent later Hammer titles produced at a time when the Studio was thought to be in decline. 

Death Line

For cult classic ‘Death Line’, the seemingly ubiquitous Donald Pleasence appears in one of his best roles as the world weary, tea (and beer) drinking Detective Inspector Calhoun on the trail of a cannibal feasting on unsuspecting tube travellers in London – “Mind The Doors” will never sound the same again! Featuring a cameo appearance by Christopher Lee, it was the only time Lee and Pleasence appeared in the same film, if not the same frame: the colossal height difference meant that director Gary Sherman filmed them apart so each could be seen!  The sympathetic approach to the ‘ghoul’ makes for a surprisingly thoughtful film…while keeping gore hounds happy with some gruesome kills! Remastered and fully restored in HD by Network’s award winning team from the 35mm original camera negative.

International acting talent is on display for ‘The Medusa Touch’ with Richard Burton as a man who can literally kill by thought and Lino Ventura as the on-loan detective trying to unpick the mystery around him before something truly terrible happens. Another acting heavyweight stars in Michael Winner’s ‘The Nightcomers’ – Marlon Brando earned a BAFTA nomination for his performance in this prequel to Henry James ‘The Turn Of the Screw’ (itself filmed in 1960 as ‘The Innocents’). Film icon Terence Stamp features with American teen star Elizabeth Shue in Richard Franklyn’s ‘Link’ about a homicidal chimp (dressed as a butler!) in a remote Victorian mansion by the English coast.

If back to back screenings are your thing, recreate the 1959 American double-bill release of ‘The Headless Ghost’ and ‘The Horrors Of The Black Museum’ at home with the remastered Network DVDs – both Anglo-Amalgamated productions released by AIP in the states, the latter starring Michael Gough in a role originally intended for Vincent Price (but Gough got the job because he was cheaper).

The Night Has Eyes

Vintage thriller lovers should enjoy ‘House Of Darkness’, a mystery featuring the big screen debut of Laurence Harvey, and ‘The Night Has Eyes’ with James Mason as an is-he-isn’t-he a homicidal maniac that keeps you guessing until the end. Wilfrid Lawson and Mary Clare are good value as the house keepers trying to keep a lid on things. 

1957s ‘Cat Girl’ features the original scream queen Barbara Shelley, in what was to be her first of two ‘cat’ related horror films (Hammer’s ‘Shadow Of The Cat’ followed in 1961), this one based loosely and unofficially on Val Lewton’s classic ‘Cat People’. Remastered by Network from 35mm film elements for it’s debut DVD release.

Cat Girl

Coming right up to date, ‘Deliver Us’ and ‘We Go On’ are two contemporary feature films with very different subject matter – the former being a hard-hitting documentary on the archaic rite of exorcism in the modern era and the latter an unsettling supernatural thriller that ponders the question – is there life after death?

Small Screen Chills

Television has always been a good source of horror and fantasy, and Network is responsible for bringing some of the best of them back to life from the vaults…

Based on the short story that inspired the classic 1957 ‘Night Of the Demon’, ‘Casting The Runes’ is a modern 1970s update by Lawrence Gordon Clark, producer of the classic Christmas ghost stories for the BBC (also based on M. R. James tales). Jan Francis and Iain Cuthbertson play protagonist and antagonist and there are some eerie moments throughout. Fans of M. R. James will have fun comparing the similarities between source short story and the big screen adaption.

Hammer House of Horror

After the Hammer studio had folded (after flop re-make ‘The Lady Vanishes’ in 1978), it was down to a deal between the company and Lew Grade’s ITC  in 1979 that eventually saved the iconic name. What transpired was a thirteen part anthology that brought the legacy up to date: Hammer House Of Horror. Using some of the same cast (including Peter Cushing and John Carson) and crew from their heyday, the contemporary stories ranged from werewolves to witches, from possessed artefacts to evil doppelgangers. Mention the series to anyone of a certain age and chances are they’ll remember the blood gushing from pipes onto the children at a birthday party in ‘The House That Bled To Death’. Nice! Fully remastered and restored by Network from the original A+B camera negatives.

Orson Welles Great Mysteries: Volume 1

Pre-dating ‘Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected’, another anthology also traded on a famous name – ‘Orson Welles Great Mysteries’. Featuring adaptions of some literary classics (including ‘The Monkey’s Paw’) together with new stories, the series had an introduction every episode by Mr Welles, a distinctive John Barry theme tune and some familiar genre faces like Patrick Magee, Peter Cushing and…that man again…Donald Pleasance.

Quatermass

Nigel Kneale was a giant of television sci-fi and horror, and his final word on Professor Quatermass (the unusual name plucked by him from a phone book) is available fully remastered and restored by Network on Blu-ray, with the four episodes in the original TV aspect ratio – complete with part breaks – and also re-edited as the continuous widescreen feature version seen in cinemas (as ‘The Quatermass Conclusion’). John Mills gives a perfect performance as the aging Professor and the series is one that haunted many who saw the original broadcast in 1979. Also available by Nigel Kneale is ‘Beasts’, a six part anthology that ranges from satire of his time working with Hammer (‘Dummy’) to some truly frightening tales (‘Baby’ and ‘At Barty’s Party’). Best of all is the inclusion on the set of the precursor to ‘Beasts’, an episode of the series ‘Against The Crowd’ – ‘Murrain’. Featuring superb performances by Bernard Lee and Una Brandon-Jones, it’s possibly one of Kneale’s best TV plays.

Beasts

Chiller’ is a five episode anthology with some very notable writing credits (Anthony Horowitz, Stephen Gallagher) and familiar faces (John Simm, Martin Clunes). Supernatural pregnancy tale ‘Toby’ and death catching up to a group of friends, Final Destination-style, in ‘The Prophecy’ make for some unsettling viewing. 

Other TV offerings are the anthology series ‘Armchair Thriller’ (who can forget THAT creepy opening), ‘Tales Of Mystery and Imagination’ which include some inventive re-workings of classic horror stories such as ‘Dracula’ (with Denholm Elliot) and ‘Frankenstein’ (with the late, great Ian Holm), and the ATV children’s supernatural series ‘Escape Into Night’, based on the novel ‘Marianne Dreams’ (later made into the feature film ‘Paperhouse’).

Use the discount code HORROR2020 to receive 25% off a range of horror titles* until 4pm, Saturday 31st October.

*The following titles are included in this offer: Hammer House of Horror: The Complete Series, Orson Welles Great Mysteries: Volume 1, Countess Dracula, Night Has Eyes (The), Medusa Touch (The), Monster Club (The), Uncanny (The), Armchair Thriller: The Complete Series, Beasts: The Complete Series, Casting the Runes, Chiller: The Complete Series, Death Line, Dream Home, Escape Into Night: The Complete Series, Ghoul (The), Hands of the Ripper, Miss Leslie’s Dolls, Monster (The), Mystery and Imagination, Quatermass: The Complete Series, We Go On, Witch in the Window (The), Deliver Us (Liberami), Cat Girl, Headless Ghost (The), Horrors of the Black Museum, House in Nightmare Park (The), House of Darkness, Link, Nightcomers (The)

Mark Stanborough
Network’s Head of Assets



Comments:1

  1. Mathew Bevan Reply
    20/10/11

    Love the titles in this offer, particularly Armchair Thriller. But was rather surprised not to see Shadows: The Complete Series featured in this list, any chance it can be added to the list?

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