Obviously, with me and my love of Greek myth, it was only going to be a matter of time before 'It's Hammer Time!' got round to The Gorgon, 1964's divergence away from standard Hammer Horror fare into something even more eternal.
Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley and Richard Pasco, and directed by Terence Fisher, is oddly set, given its subject matter, in 1910 in the German village of Vandorf, where seven murders have been committed within the previousfive years. Each victim has been petrified, but rather than investigate it, the local authorities have dismissed the murders for fear of a local legend having come true. When a local girl becomes the latest victim and her suicidal lover made the scapegoat, the father of the condemned man decides to investigate and discovers that the cause of the petrifying deaths is a phantom - the last of the snake-haired Gorgon sisters haunts the local castle and turns victims to stone during the full moon...
Okay, so not 100% faithful to myth since only Medusa was snake-haired and here the other Gorgons are called Tisiphone and Megaera, who were both Erinyes (Furies). But what the hell, it's Hammer, it's Greek myth and it's Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, so enjoy!
Everyone who loves film – particularly dissecting film – loves Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 movie Vertigo. It's inescapable, everywhere, a Freudian treasure trove that allows any film student with a modicum of psychological training to draw conclusion after conclusion about its meaning, its subtext, the director, man's relationship with woman, the nature of death and obsession, and more.
Vertigo's plot concerns police officer James Stewart and his romance with the very blonde Kim Novak, whom he eventually sees fall to her death from a clock tower. When he sees a brunette a few months later who looks a whole lot like her, he woos this doppelgängerin and eventually begins to try to make her over to become his deceased lover.
I won't spoil the rest of it for you, because this is It's Hammer Time!, not Movies You Should Watch. But the reason I mention it is that six years before Vertigo was released, Hammer and director Terence Fisher came up with Stolen Face. In it, plastic surgeon Philip Ritter (Paul Henreid) falls in love with a gifted, beautiful and very blonde concert pianist Alice Brent (Lizabeth Scott). They meet and a romance soon develops. However, Alice is already engaged to be married and, afraid to tell Ritter, runs away.
She later calls him to tell him she is marrying David (André Morell). Meanwhile, Ritter has a new patient, Lily Conover (Mary Mackenzie), a female convict whose face is disfigured. Ritter believes he can change her criminal ways by making her look like Alice.
All very Vertigo-ish… and I won't tell you how this one ends either. But's it's today's movie, so enjoy!
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.