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Psychomania (1973) | The British black magic biker flick roars back into mirthful mayhem in high definition

Psychomania (1973)

Let’s face it, 1973’s Psychomania is seriously daft! But this bizarre British exploitation oddity is also the only Surrey-set satanic frog-worshipping zombie biker flick ever to be made in the UK. Now it’s about to raise hell amongst horror aficionados again as the BFI brings it back from the dead for a re-mastered 2k dual format release.

Psychomania (1973)

Set its own warped version of Walton-on-Thames where pram and shopping trolley-pushing suburbanites live cheek to cheek next to a ancient pagan site where legend has it that a coven of witches were turned to stone, Psychomania (I have no idea why its called that either) finds real-life motorbike fan Nicky Henson (taking time out from treading the boards at the Young Vic) donning his own leathers and revving up a clapped out AJS to head up The Living Dead, a group of posh-sounding Hell’s Angel’s types with a penchant for tie-dye, crochet knitted tops, multi-coloured name patches and singing mournful folk songs.

Psychomania (1973)

Bored shitless in suburbia, where the only fun they get is in knocking down cereal boxes at the Hepworth Way Shopping Centre, Nicky’s medallion man makes a pact with the Devil in return for the secret of immortality, commits suicide, then returns from the grave. Soon his gang (who come off like Eric von Zipper’s Rat Pack in the Beach Party movies) are following their leader in order to create more Beano-esque mischief down at the shops.

Psychomania (1973)

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Well that’s what makes this black magic biker flick from director Don Sharp (who also helmed the Fu Manchu movies and the Tony Randall comedy Our Man in Marrakesh for Harry Alan Towers) so much fun. Plus there’s Beryl Reid as the high mistress of comfy sofas and veteran Hollywood actor George Sanders casting a long shadow as the ghoulish guardian of a big toad that possesses arcane powers (no idea why, either!).

Their scenes take place in what looks like a showroom for the crème de la crème of 20th-century chair design (some I spied in Taschen’s 1000 Chairs), and it’s also the setting for some improvised waltzes between Reid and Henson and some ridiculous straight-faced dialogue, like ‘I’m dead, Mother, but apart from that, I couldn’t be better!’.

Psychomania (1973)

And if that’s not enough to wrap your laughing gear around, wait until you see the dead coppers lined up inside the mortuary cool boxes (that ended up in Space 1999) and the wonky prison-set where Doctor Who’s Sergeant Benson (John Levene) presides. There’s also guest appearances from the like of Robert Hardy, Bill Pertwee and future EastEnder June Brown (who would follow this movie with David Hemming’s Jack Wild drama, The 14).

Psychomania (1973)

Mind you, the action sequences (which all take place on the newly built M3) are terrific and more than once did I find myself shouting ‘OMG’ at screen as those spluttering bikes narrowly missed coming a cropper; while a sequence involving Hatchet (Blood on Satan’s Claw‘s Denis Gilmore) jumping off a bridge in front of a oncoming Commer van is a standout. Playing one of the suicidal bikers is Britain’s oldest stuntman Rocky Taylor, who has worked on everything from James Bond to Harry Potter.

Psychomania (1973)

Topping it all, however, is the soundtrack by Donovan’s former arranger, composer John Cameron. A mix of 1960s pre-punk garage, doom-laden psychedelia, and blaxplotation-infused funk, peppered with ecclesiastical organ sounds and early prog. – it belongs in every film buffs soundtrack collection. And makes a fitting companion to this new BFI release, which is a must have.

Sadly, this was the final feature for 65-year-old George Sanders. The Hollywood legend, who had made a career out of being a cad in classics like Rebecca, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The House of the Seven Gables, committed suicide on 25 April 1972 in Spain – and some say this was the last thing he ever saw…

 

Psychomania (1973)

Did you know that the film’s titles feature the same font that was used in American International Picture’s Dr Phibes movies – there’s even a Rolls as well?

Psychomania (1973)SPECIAL FEATURES
• Newly re-mastered in 2K and presented in the original aspect ratio (1.66:1), with optional subtitles.
Return of the Living Dead (2010, 25 mins): featuring interviews with stars Nicky Henson, Mary Larkin, Denis Gilmore, Roy Holder and Rocky Taylor.
Sound of Psychomania (2010, 9 mins): interview with composer John Cameron.
Riding Free (2010, 7 mins): interview with singer-songwriter Harvey Andrews.
• Interview with Nicky Henson (2016, 14 mins): who recalls his time on the film (much of which is a repeat of what he says in the 2010 featurette).
Hell for Leather (2016, 8 mins): Short film about the company who supplied the film’s costumes.
• Remastering Psychomania (2016, 2 mins):
Discovering Britain (1955, 3 mins) Fantastic vintage travelogue, narrated by the celebrated poet, about the Avebury stone circle.
Roger Wonders Why (1965, 19 mins): Amateur film which sees two Christian biker youths visit the 59 Club, and meet its founder Reverend Bill Shergold. You have to stick with it to understand why its included here.
• Original theatrical trailer.
• Wilson Bros Trivia Track (2016, 91min, onscreen text): in lieu of an audio commentary, this is a hilarious subtitle trivia track, and works a treat.
• Collector’s booklet with new writings on the film; plus full film credits.

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The Godsend (1980) | An Omen-esque bad seed horror that’s lacking in suspense

The Godsend (1980)

Alan Marlowe (Malcolm Stoddard) and his TV presenter wife Kate (Cyd Hayman) lead an idyllic life in their country cottage with their four children. When a mysterious pregnant woman (Angela Pleasance) vanishes after giving birth to a baby girl in their home, Kate and Alan decide to raise the girl as their own, naming her Bonnie. But tragedy soon strikes their own brood: their infant son Matthew is found dead in its cot, son Davy drowns in a lake, and Sam dies after fall in the barn.

When Alan blames Bonnie, Kate cannot bear the thought her beloved daughter could be responsible. But the seemingly angelic child with the snow white hair and blue eyes is, in fact, a human cuckoo, who refuses to share her ‘nest’ with anyone else… which doesn’t bode well for sister Lucy or the fetus growing inside Kate…

The Godsend (1980)

This 1980-horror thriller was based on Bernard Taylor’s 1976 debut novel of the same name, which rode the wave of Bad Seeds reads, including The Exorcist, The Other and Rosemary’s Baby, that came out during the era, and like them, ended up transferring to the big screen.

The papers of the day called the novel ‘a shocker’ and ‘a splendidly readable and creepy story’ and its premise was indeed inventive. But in the hands of screenwriter Olaf Pooley (who also contributed to the mess that was 1985’s Lifeforce) and TV drama director Gabrielle Beaumont (who’d do much better with Hill Street Blues later on), the movie adaptation is a flaccid affair, with little in the way of suspense, atmosphere or imagination, particularly the death scenes, which all happen off-screen. There are certainly no memorable Omen-esque set pieces on offer here, while the scenes of sun-drenched picnics and country walks looks more like something out of Comic Strip Presents… Five Go Mad in Dorset.

The Godsend (1980)

Angela Pleasance is the only star name amongst the cast, and she certainly elicits a genuinely chill when she’s on screen. But she only book ends the film, which concludes with the devastated Alan spotting her at London’s Serpentine Lake befriending another family. Fans of Hammer’s TV 1980s series might like to know that Wilhelmina Green (one of the two actresses who play Bonnie) was one of Diana Dors’ brood in the episode, The Children of the Moon.

The Godsend is out on Blu-ray in the US from Scream Factory (released on this day in 2015)

* This review first appeared on The Spooky Isles

Richard III (1995) | When Shakespeare’s classic tragedy got a 1930s fascistic spin

Richard III

Ian McKellen is wickedly witty as the withered-armed king Richard III in this powerful adaptation that packs a punch and then some…

Richard III

When it comes to film adaptations of Shakespeare, it’s Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet, Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V and Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet that first come to mind. But 1995’s Richard III should really be counted among them.

Ian McKellen might be better known for playing Gandalf and Magneto in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings and X-Men franchises, but the knighted stage thespian admits he might not have got those parts had it not been for this labour of love, which he wrote the screenplay for based on the successful stage production that he also starred in.

Sporting a pencil-thin moustache, flat 1930s-styled greased and combed hair, and dressed in fascist military attire, his power-crazed Richard, Duke of Gloucester is a clever creation, witty and wicked, yet monstrously mad. He is the tyrant personified, whose deformities (twisted spine, dodgy eye and war-damaged scarred face) cause disgust in others and, in turn, are the root of his wickedness – as is hatred for his abusive mother (played by Dame Maggie Smith in full Downton Abbey mode). And he invites us to become part of his evil schemes by fixing us with his dodgy eye and breaking the fourth wall to utter some of Shakespeare’s most memorable prose.

Richard III

McKellen has made a career out of playing Shakespeare on stage, so he knows how to craft a screenplay that remains true to the Bard’s words. But he’s ditched the archaic, which not only makes the verse more accessible, it serves to highlight Shakespeare’s ingenuity.

Director Richard Loncraine brings a cinematic eye that makes a perfect fit to McKellen’s vision. By dressing the tragedy in the aesthetic of the Third Reich, he shines a light on the pure evil at the heart of Richard’s devious agenda that results in his bloody, brief, rise to dictatorship.

But while Shakespeare and McKellen are the big draw in this condensed cartoon-like confection, so are the magnificent London locations, including those Brutalist beauties, Bankside and Battersea Power Stations, and the Art Deco Senate House at the University of London, which help give the film a grand sense of scale on a modest budget.

Richard III

Featuring an all-star cast, including Kristin Scott Thomas, Robert Downey Jr, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Nigel Hawthorne, a young Dominic West, plus lots of future Downton Abbey faces, Richard III gets a timely release on dual format following a re-master from the BFI.  The special extras include a new audio commentary with  McKellen and Loncraine, an engrossing 79-minute BFI lecture by McKellen about Shakespeare on stage and screen, and an illustrated booklet with an essay by McKellen. An annotated screenplay is also included as a pdf (on the DVD).

Revenge (1971) | James Booth and Joan Collins are out for blood in the sensational X-rated British shocker!

Revenge (1971)

If you look in the basement… be prepared to SCREAM!
Following the murder of his young daughter Jenny, publican Jim Radford (James Booth) is persuaded by his best mate Harry (Ray Barratt) to hunt down the suspected child killer who has just been freed by the police and extract a confession from him.

Aided by his 18-year-old son Lee (Tom Marshall), Jim and Harry abduct loner Seely (Kenneth Griffith), then lock him up in the pub’s cellar where they beat him to a pulp under the watchful eye of Jim’s wife Carol (Joan Collins). But keeping their quarry a secret from the police and the pub’s punters while they decide what to do next puts their loyalties to the test…

Revenge_5

Welcome to the Inn of the Frightened People
With tight direction from Sidney Hayers (Circus of Horrors, Night of the Eagle) and a script bristling with tension and melodrama from The Saint screenwriter John Kruse, Revenge was one of the most lurid British thrillers to come out of the 1970s, and quite the departure for producer Peter Rogers, who was better known for the Carry On films.

But there’s quite the carry-on happening down at The Crown pub where James Booth’s landlord Ray must decide the fate of the man he’s got tied up cellar – is he really responsible for his daughter’s death or has he been falsely accused? While Kruse’s script touches on the very emotive subject of child killers and sex offenders that’s still very relevant today, it concerns itself more about matters of conscience. For Ray, it’s the nagging thought that he may have gone to far; for Lee, it’s being unable to perform for girlfriend Rose (Sinéad Cusack), and for Carol, it’s all about looking the other way.

Revenge (1971)

Working entirely on location and shooting in vivid Eastmancolor, Hayers (coming directly off TV’s The Avengers) and cinematographer Ken Hodges (The Shuttered Room) make excellent use of the pub’s nooks and crannies and surrounding suburban streets (in Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire), which lend the proceedings a suitably claustrophobic air – all the better for the ensuring drama to heat up as Ray, Carol and Lee try to cover their tracks, and tensions start to fray, climaxing (no pun intended) in the film’s most sordid scene in which Lee engages in rough sex with step-mum Carol while a bound and gagged Seely looks on through shattered glasses.

Revenge (1971)

The abduction of a suspected child killer by a grieving dad and his mates was also used as the premise of the shocking 2013 Israeli film Big Bad Wolves. But that relied on scenes of extreme violence to tell its politicised vigilante story. Now, Revenge may have been regarded as one of the most unsavoury British thrillers of the 1970s, but it’s pretty tame by today’s standards, and could easily be a storyline in one of those ITV real-life dramas or a British soap – after all The Queen Vic’s cellar in EastEnders was the setting of Dirty Den’s ultimate demise. And I must admit that watching Joan Collins as landlady Carol in Revenge, I couldn’t help but wonder what she’d be like taking over The Vic now that Babs Windsor’s Peggy Mitchell has said her final goodbyes. Maybe she should be speaking to her agent?

Revenge (1971)THE NETWORK RELEASE
Revenge is featured in a brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements in its original theatrical aspect ratio on Blu-ray and DVD, as part of Network’s The British Film collection.

The extras includes restored original theatrical trailer (which thankfully doesn’t have any spoilers), an image gallery (with lots of modelling shots of Joan Collins), a script (in pdf) and a collector’s booklet with articles by Professor Neil Sinyard.

The Brigand of Kandahar (1965) | Oliver Reed hams it up wildly in the vintage Hammer adventure

Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

His Plundering Army of Bandit Raiders Sweeps to Glory
Across the Plains of India!

In director John Gilling‘s 1965 adventure The Brigand of Kandahar, it’s 1850 and the British Army are holed up in a fort in remote north-east India (actually Bray studios in Berkshire), valiantly trying to protect the Empire’s interests.

When mixed-race British officer Lieutenant Case (Ronald Lewis) is unjustly discharged, he finds himself being becoming a pawn in a rebel plot to attack the fort. Oliver Reed hams it up wildly as the ‘half-mad’ tribesman leader Eli Khan, while Yvonne Romain lends her exotic beauty to play his treacherous sister Ratina.

Meanwhile, when Glyn Houston’s foreign journalist Marriott sets out to uncover the truth behind the officer’s dismissal, he discovers not everything’s as it seems…

Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

While it wouldn’t win any awards for historical accuracy or political correctness (especially the use of white actors ‘blacked-up’, and the scant regard for Benjali culture or customs), this studio-bound non-horror Hammer is a lively enough romp to enjoy on a lost weekend, with Romain’s busty performance and Reed’s shouty turn being the film’s highlights.

The action scenes were lifted from the 1956 adventure, Zarak, which was actually shot in Morocco, while the military-influenced music score is by legendary Australian composer Don Banks.

The Brigand of Kandahar is out DVD in the UK from StudioCanal Home Entertainment and also screens on Movies4Men (Sky 325, Freeview 48, Freesat 304) on Sunday 22 May at 3.30pm

Symptoms (1974) | The once lost British horror gets a world premiere restored release from BFI Flipside

Symptoms (1974)

A young woman (Lorna Heilbron) is invited to stay at the remote country mansion belonging to her girlfriend (Angela Pleasence). But the peaceful retreat is interrupted by the menacing presence of the local gamekeeper (Peter Vaughan)…

And so begins Symptoms, director José Ramón Larraz’s modern gothic horror story and the official British entry for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1974. Slipping into obscurity following its release, the film has long been considered lost, appearing on the BFI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list of 75 missing films. But with the negatives found and the film restored following a 2K remastering, Larraz’ eerie master class in suspense and terror will be released by BFI Flipside in a Dual Format Edition on 25 April 2016, with the following extras…

SPECIAL FEATURES
From Barcelona… to Tunbridge Wells: The films of José Larraz (Andy Starke and Pete Tombs, 1999, 24 mins): Archive documentary, featuring interviews with Larraz, Brian Smedley-Aston and Marianne Morris.
On Vampyres and other Symptoms (Celia Novis, 2011, 74 mins): Archive documentary on Larraz’s most acclaimed films.
• Interview with star Angela Pleasence (2016, 10 mins)
• Interview with actress Lorna Heilbron (2016, 18 mins)
• Interview with editor Brian Smedley-Aston (2016, 17 mins)
• Original trailer.
• Collector’s booklet.

Valentino (1977) | Ken Russell paints Hollywood’s golden age with a flamboyant flourish and a dark heart

Valentino (1977)

Back in 1977, controversial British director Ken Russell conceived this wildly colourful biopic of the adored silent screen legend Rudolph Valentino, starring the world’s most celebrated dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, in the title role.

Featuring colourful cinematography, evocative art direction, stunning costumes, and a stellar cast, it’s another energetic and outrageous entry in the director’s Twenties Quartet (*) about the breaking of dreams, presenting a vivid picture of the free-for-all life of New York and Hollywood during those golden years between the two World Wars.

Valentino (1977)

Tracing Valentino’s humble beginnings as an Italian immigrant in New York, where he worked as a gigolo and dancer in a fashionable ballroom, to Hollywood, where he seduces famous lovers and becomes an international star, Russell’s film flashes over Rudy’s life through the five women mourning his untimely death at the age of 31 in 1926.

There’s his first love Bianca (Emily Bolton), the bisexual avant-garde actress Alla Nazimova (Leslie Caron), his ‘starlet’ first wife Jean Acker (Gotham’s Carol Kane), and his spiritualist set designer second wife Natacha Rambova (Michelle Phillips), and finally the screenwriter who discovered him, June Mathis (Felicity Kendal, in one of her finest roles).

Valentino (1977)

Nureyev, whose own masculine beauty was described as ‘unbelievable’ by co-star Caron, certainly looks the spitting image of the screen idol, but his portrayal is as allusive as the real Rudy. And that’s all part of Russell’s mad genius as he explores concepts of image versus reality and the indestructibility of the artist in his own visual, visceral way.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Russell film without some confrontational imagery (remember Women in Love’s nude wrestling scene or that crucifix scene in The Devils?), and there’s much to choose from, including one scene where Rudy is abused by a group of drunks and perverts in a jail cell, which cruelly shows up the ugliness behind Hollywood’s beautiful facade.

Valentino (1977)

Critically underrated on its release, Valentino was actually a box office success in the UK, staying on top for 17 days before being knocked off it’s perch by something called Star Wars. While Russell later considered the film a big mistake, this sumptuously dressed recreation of Hollywood’s golden age deserves reappraisal, and this new BFI HD is the way to go.

Valentino (1977)SPECIAL FEATURES
• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition in the original aspect ratio 1.85:1
• Audio commentary with Tim Lucas (this also appears on the Kino Lorber release)
• Original TV spots and trailers
• Dudley Sutton on Ken Russell and filming Valentino (2016, 22 mins)
The Guardian Lecture: Ken Russell in conversation with Derek Malcolm (1987, 89 mins, audio with stills)
• Lynn Seymour remembers Rudolf Nureyev (2003, 9min, audio with stills)
• Tonight: Nureyev on Ken Russell and Valentino (1977, 10min)
• Gallery (2016, 10min)
The Funeral of Valentino (1926, 9min). This is also on the Kino Lorber release, but benefits from the HD transfer.
• Textless opening and closing credits
• Isolated music and effects track
• Illustrated booklet with an informative essay by Paul Sutton about the film.

(*) Isadora (1966), Women in Love (1969) and The Boy Friend (1971)

 

Nina Forever (2015) | A grave but sexy ghoul-mance for the morbidly curious

nina forever poster

Lovelorn supermarket shelf-stacker and paramedic in training Holly (Abigail Hardingham), sets her sights on suicidal colleague, Rob (Cian Barry), who is still grieving over the death of his girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy). But during the couple’s first fumbling attempt at sex, Nina emerges from a blood-stained mattress to interrupt them. It soon becomes clear that the potty-mouthed Nina has no intention of letting Rob go, and wants Holly out of the way…

Nina Forever (2015)

This quirky British indie horror comedy comes from writer/director brothers, Ben and Chris Blaine, who cut their teeth editing Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education UK TV sitcom. But it’s worlds away from that show’s irreverent humour, as guilt, loss and closure lies at the dark heart of this black comedy, played out through a bunch of characters who are all stuck in their own particular limbo.

Nina Forever (2015)

As Nina, O’Shaughnessy (Utopia) steals the show and watching her I was reminded of another ghostly comedy in which a restless spirit comes between a couple: in Noel Coward’s quintessentially English comedy of manners, Blithe Spirit. And there are shades of Coward’s disruptive Elvira in O’Shaughnessy’s Nina, only with the added vocal mannerisms of Michelle Gomez’s Missy from Doctor Who.

Nina Forever (2015)

Cian Barry (Doctor Foster) and Abigail Hardingham (Hollyoaks Later) bring a moody emo intensity to their dysfunctional wannabe lovers, Rob and Holly, while also getting their kit off for the film’s many sex scenes – which actually left me cold (probably on account of Nina’s constant corpus interruptus.

Nina Forever (2015)

While the film does falter in parts, David Troughton’s forgiving dad and Elizabeth Elvin’s grieving mum are on hand to paper over the cracks, with one scene in particular, in which Troughton’s Dan lets slip his mask to vent his anger, supplying some genuinely raw emotion.

Nina Forever is released by StudioCanal on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK from 22 February 2016

 

Sabotage (1936) | Alfred Hitchcock’s vintage British suspense thriller on Blu-ray

Sabotage (1936)

…A Bomb Plot …A Killing …Justice
London cinema manager Carl Verloc (Oscar Homolka) harbours a deadly secret – he’s covertly working with a gang of European saboteurs. After throwing London into darkness following an attack on Battersea Power Station, his next mission is to blow up Piccadilly Circus. His wife (Sylvia Sidney) and her young brother Stevie (Desmond Tester) have no idea about his anarchic activities, but Scotland Yard have assigned an undercover detective (John Loder) to watch him from a shop nearby. Can he bring Carl and his gang to justice before they perpetrate their outrage on London?

Sabotage (1936)
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel, The Secret Agent, is one of his key early British works, and was again written by Charles Bennett, who also scripted The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps and Young and Innocent, as well as Blackmail, based on his own play. Bennett would go onto do screenplays for six Irwin Allen movies in Hollywood (including 1960’s The Lost World), as well as Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon (1957) and City Under the Sea (1965) back in the UK.

Sabotage (1936)

While the film suffers from the miscasting of John Loder as the detective on the case (Hitchcock’s first choice, Robert Donat, was unavailable), it’s got some brilliant sequences that highlight Hitchcock’s inventive use of montage (drawn from the silent Soviet directors he admired at the time), most significantly a suspenseful set piece at the Verloc’s kitchen table.

Hitchcock later confessed that another crucial sequence, featuring a boy and a bomb, was a ‘grave error’ which alienated his audience. In the US, the film was titled, The Woman Alone and also I Married a Murderer, and it shouldn’t be confused with Hitchcock’s Secret Agent, which came out the same year. Watch out for Carry On‘s Charles Hawtrey (looking very young) during the London Aquarium sequence.

THE NETWORK BLU-RAY RELEASE
Sabotage is presented by Network Distributing in a High Definition transfer from original film elements (and it’s never looked better). The special features includes a fascinating, if cheaply made, On Location featurette, introduced by Robert Powell, and an image gallery.

 

Dr Who and the Daleks & Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD | A retrospective look at the 1960s Techniscope sci-fi adventures

The 1960s big-screen adaptations of TV’s Doctor Who starring Peter Cushing as the renegade Time Lord screens today on Sony Movies (Sky 323) from 5.25pm in the UK. To celebrate, here’s a retrospective look at the two 1960s Dalek films, which also got a fantastic Blu-ray restoration in 2013 from StudioCanal.

Dr Who and the Daleks

ARE YOU READY FOR DALEKMANIA?
When Dalekmania hit the UK in 1964, a big-screen colour adaptation was quickly put into production by producer Joe Vegoda (who secured the rights from Dalek creator Terry Nation for just £500) and Amicus (who brought Peter Cushing to play the Doctor and Roy Castle as his comic sidekick). When the widescreen spectacle was released on 23 August, Dr Who & the Daleks became one of the top 20 hits of 1965.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD

With the Vietnam War escalating in 1966, all US film investment was withdrawn which crippled the British film industry. To fund Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150AD, the film-makers persuaded Quaker Oats to put up the money in exchange for product placement and a number of tie-ins. The new Techniscope sci-fi was developed with Cushing and the same crew, while Bernard Cribbins took over Castle’s duties as the comic stooge. The results however (the film was released in 5 August 1966), was a mixed bag with critics calling it ‘a bit tatty’ – ‘like leftovers from an old film about the London Blitz’. With audiences also less enthusiastic, Dalekmania was officially over.

Dr Who and the Daleks

Dr Who and the Daleks Blu-raySO CLOSE YOU CAN FEEL THEIR FIRE!
Seeing the Daleks in colour and on the big screen for the first time in the 1960s must have been one of those priceless childhood memories. Sadly, I’m from a generation that only ever saw it on the small screen (not on a smartphone, but a 1980s black and white TV set). Now that these bubblegum adventures from British cinema’s golden age have been lovingly restored, I finally have a valid excuse to release my inner child.

StudioCanal’s HD re-mastering of Dr Who & the Daleks is stunning, like a fluroescent comic book come to life. The Daleks look better than I remember (and I still prefer them to the current TV series incarnations), while the studio bound sets of the petrified forest and the Dalek city really zing with colour and scope.

Daleks’ Invasion also benefits from a nice clean transfer (though there’s a loss of grain in the effects shots). Like the first film, everything comes up nice and sparkly here, except the scenes of a devastated future London (just check out those Sugar Puffs signs), which only shows up the film’s tight budget. Philip Madoc getting blown up in the garden shed remains one of my most favourite moments.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD

THE EXTRAS
Dr Who & the Daleks

• Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey 2002 commentary.
Dalekmania: 1995 documentary made to tie in the with original VHS release.
• Restoring Dr Who & the Daleks: A  look at how the film was digitally restored.
• Interview with The Shepperton Story author Gareth Owen on the making of the film.
• Stills gallery
• The fab ‘So close you can feel their fire!’ trailer.

Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD
• Restoring Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150AD: A look at the Techniscope format.
• Interview with Bernard Cribbins (nice memories here)
• Gareth Owen looks at the problems that affected the film.
• Stills gallery
• Theatrical trailer

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