Horror Hospital (1973)

I took a bit of a gamble with this film, and honestly? im still not entirely convinced that i’m won over by it. I mean; it isnt bad. but it suffers terribly from the rot that can only originate from a film trying to ‘Alf inch another studios style. this is painfully trying to replicate ‘Hammer’ and ‘Amacus’ aesthetic and…well British horror from this era, when it’s trying to rigidly copy the greats. seems to miss the point of those studios greatness. the reason people fondly remember Hammer and Amacus is because they were envelope pushers. they bought blood, gore and mayhem to a much more mainstream audience than the grindhouses and exploitation film makers ever could.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine. Hammers versions of Frankenstein and Dracula were CONSIDERABLY more graphic than their Universal counterparts and had the fortune of lush and delightful sets to help sell the productions legitimacy. they were also both made in the 1950’s so I really fail to see what a film in 1973 is trying to achieve by copying the style but edging up the gore slightly of a style of film making made almost 15 years previously.

I mean; you’ve got to imagine, this film came out the same year as “The Wicker Man”, “Dont Look Now” and “Theatre of Blood”. films that genuinely pushed the genre through either fantastic scripts, creative reworkings of existing narrative devices or even next level performances. 2 years after this film was made “Shivers” was released and 5 years later “Dawn of the dead” and yet here we find what is ultimately; a drab affair. not unwatchable. but the stale and creaking belchings of an era of film making that really should have been canned about 3 years previously.

Theatre of Blood is actually a pretty nice comparison piece for my thoughts on this. that films brimming with a subversive originality. it looked at the amacus formula and purposfully decides what to lean into and what to subvert in almost every aspect. performances. scoring, scripting, gore. it plays AGAINST the audience of the day on multiple levels. and is rewarding because of it (not to mention that Vincent Price is just generally ace).

But then there’s this film. just sort of…lazily giving the audience what it thinks they want. not even in a particularly subversive of creative way. this film could have come out at any point between 1967 and 1975 and noone would have known or cared any differently. and that apathy that I feel towards it is ultimately what holds it back from actually being able to either out and out love it or hate it. it’s just…a film that exists. and thats a real shame as I think with just a couple more redrafts. there may have been a bit of life behind the eyes in this one.

The original posters rubbish for this. I mocked this one up as there wasnt one in “Poster formatting”. I dont much care for this one either…but it’s better than the original theatrical one.

The Horror Of Dracula (1958)

I couldnt quite believe I’d gone as long as I had done without covering another Hammer Horror movie. quite honestly every season I decide I want to do a hammer film…but then like all things I work on I get easily distracted and before you know it im working on “Sharknado 77” or “Lets Ruin Dads day 2” or some other similar bollocks. In fact I havent covered a Hammer movie since season 2 when I covered “The Nanny” which was stonkingly good and terrifically underrated!

So when it came to doing a season on Vampires this halloween I put my foot down and said “No More!, Im doing a hammer movie!” and quite honestly 1958’s “Horror of Dracula” is probably one of my favourite hammer movies. I first watched it in Film studies many MANY years ago in college on a ropey VHS “Off Air” recording and was blown away…and the bluray only went further still to solidify just how totally badass this movie really is. not only is it one of my favourite portayals of Vampires. It’s one of my favourite Horror movies full stop. I just love it. I also welcome to the fold here Christopher Lee. One of my favouirte Horror actors giving in my opinion one of his finest roles. He would only really come to terms with this character in his later years (He famously dismissed the count for literal decades) but I think he’s probably my favourite portrayal.

So! without further ado! enjoy!

 

(Also; theres a surprising shortage of “Portrait” style posters for this movie…this was one of the rare ones I could find…and I think it’s arguably the coolest one. why this wasnt used across the board i’ll never know!)