Souvenirs Of Terror

fiendish film & TV show tie-ins

Archive for July, 2007

Angus Hall – Devil Day (Basis for ‘Madhouse’)

Posted by demonik on July 27, 2007

 

Angus Hall – Devilday (Ace, 1969: Sphere, 1969: Severn House, 1986)

Angus Hall - Madhouse

Angus Hall – Madhouse (Sphere, 1970)“Could you tell us what your mission in England is?”
“Why, I’ve come to play the devil!”

Paul Havard Toombs, a Hollywood star whose career was ended in the US after he was implicated in an unsolved murder, arrives in England to revive his hit show, The Adventures Of Dr. Dis. Reporter Barry Lambert is hired to keep an eye on him in the capacity of personal assistant, but soon finds himself out of his depth. Toombs’ interests – which include reincarnation, drug abuse and participating in Black Magic Rituals and orgies – lead to murder, but is he really responsible.

The novel is very different to the movie based upon it, and it’s as much a whodunnit? as a horror although there are several Black Magic and supernatural props. The murders are ultra-gruesome, with the police drawing comparisons between the state of one victim and that of Jack the Ripper’s barbaric attack on Mary Kelly.

Pop culture references include namechecks for The Saint, Danger Man, Perry Mason, Bardot, hairy student demonstrators, and Green Shield stamps, and Lambert’s fiance, Julia is, of course a “dolly girl.”

Angus Hall - Deathday

 

 

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Ellery Queen – A Study in Terror

Posted by demonik on July 27, 2007

Ellery Queen – A Study in Terror (Lancer, 1966: 1969)



SOLVED!

The savage killer roamed the dark streets and alleys of London. No woman was safe from his swift, gory attacks as murder followed murder. No man could stop the menace or even guess the identity of the brute called…
JACK THE RIPPER

No man…except Sherlock Holmes.
Now it can be told — in this gripping modern thriller. Sherlock Holmes did stalk Jack the Ripper in 1888, and through a quirk of fate that is a mystery in itself, Ellery Queen follows in his footsteps in 1966. The two greatest detectives of all time match wits with each other — and together arrive at a solution that will stun you.

Watched the film on the box the other night and loved it for the gloriously cliched, beautiful rubbish it is.

A wonderful, gratuitously violent opening: A silk clad tart chirps “‘allo darlin. Like a bit of fun?” in the shadows of the Angel & Crown: the Whitechapel murderer strikes and leaves his knife stuck clean through her throat. An older woman passes and yells “‘P’lice! P’lice! ‘elp! Murder!” and we’re off into the opening titles. As far as I can make out, this gruesome business with the embedded blade makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the film – the Ripper uses a scalpel – but what does it matter? There’s also a truly weird cameo from Barbara Windsor whose performance as the doomed Annie Chapman is inseperable from her Carry On persona (which makes the Babs gets stabbed moments truly shocking) and loads of Cockerney malarky including a load of classic “ta-ra-ra boom ba-ay!” sing-a-long bollocks dahn the local. The plot is creaky, it incorporates the “facts” only to get them wrong, and Holmes runs like a gurly, but I’d take A Study In Terror over ten poker-faced From Hell‘s any day you care to mention.

The novelisation: well, the first time I read it, I didn’t get along with it at all, and now I’ve reached the half-way stage during the rematch it’s easy to see why – the framing story. This being an Ellery Queen novel, he’s been grafted into the story, and his inclusion is a distraction as far as I’m concerned. We catch up with him as he’s struggling with his latest novel. His playboy friend Grant Amos III has been passed a manuscript by a mystery woman, and this purports to be an unpublished story by Dr. Watson. Between typing up his own detective caper, phoning his dad in Bermuda and bandying insults with Amos, EQ runs through the paper, trying to establish whether or not it’s a hoax.

The Holmes versus the Ripper stuff is far more engrossing although so far the murders themselves have been skipped over. We know five have taken place and Holmes even takes them seriously enough to call a temporary truce with his old sparring partner Lestrade. There’s enough variation from the Fords’ screenplay to give it at least some semblance of coherence (like Robert Bloch’s The Night Of The Ripper the film is festooned with red herrings), and Sherlock even comes over all fallible – he is indirectly responsible for Polly Nichols’ death when he mistakes Watson for the Ripper (Watson, stung by Holmes kid-gloves treatment had visited The Angel & Crown under his own steam, and had been chatted-up by the victim to be for his trouble: “Ere’s luck, luv. If yer don’t want me lily-white body, yer don’t. But yer a good bloke, and I wish yer the best.”). Most of the suspects are now in the frame, so if we can get through the remaining chapters with a minimum of interruptions from Quinn and Amos things should be OK.

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John Burke – Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors

Posted by demonik on July 27, 2007

John Burke – Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors (Pan, 1965)

Entertaining and faithful novelisation of the all-star Amicus anthology. Weird casting saw D.J. Alan “Fluff” Freeman terrified by his hostile plants (“Creeping Vine”) and Roy “Record-breakers” Castle as a terrifying trumpet player in a jazz band (“Voodoo”). The Cush is on top form as the tarot-dealing personification of Death. Other stories are “Vampire”, “Werewolf” and “Disembodied Hand”. Nice to see that critic Franklin Marsh (Christopher Lee) comes to a sticky end.

To die for cover, too.

Posted in Amicus, Dr. Terror's House Of Horrors, Film, Horror Fiction, John Burke, Vampire | Leave a Comment »

Bjarne Rostaing – The Phantom Of The Paradise

Posted by demonik on July 27, 2007

Bjarne Rostaing – The Phantom Of The Paradise (Star, 1975)

“Winslow Leach is a young man who wants to create heavenly music – even if he has to descend to the depths of Hell to do it ..”



Short novel based on Brian De Palma’s screenplay, including a photo section with several stills from the movie:

Following the death of his musical mentor, young Winslow Leach leaves Maine for NYC to seek recognition for his music. A debauched producer, Swan, founder of Death Records, realises the niave oddball has talent and swipes a number of songs from Leach’s Faustian opera, Foster, to be covered by his clueless doowop revival star act the Juicy Fruits. Winslow thinks there’s been a misunderstanding, and is so desperate for a second meeting with Swan he dons drag to attend a “Girls Only” audition. Swan has his biker henchmen do him over and the bent police in his employ plant heroin on him. Winslow is sent to prison.

After hearing the Juicy Fruits’ murdering his song Wheelin’-Dealin’ on the radio, Winslow, by now somewhat unhinged, busts out of prison and resolves to blow up Death Records. Unfortunately, during a scrap with a biker in the pressing plant, his face is melted, and he throws himself in the Hudson river.

Swan – who may be the Devil – is intent on using a performance of Leach’s masterpiece as a curtain-raiser for his new Paradise theatre. But when problems beset the rehearsals and a biker is murdered, he reevaluates his position and decides it’s time to go into business with the maimed muso. They sign a pact in blood by which Swan agrees not to interfere with Winslow’s score and also to allow Phoenix – a singer-cum-groupie of whom Leach is fond – to be the leading lady. Swan, however, prefers to cast flambouyand bisexual Beef in her role, and he wants to mess with the music too ….

   

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