Over the course of the last couple of months in lockdown, I’ve been working my way through a box set of 21 Hammer films. Some are great, some are not. One of them – QUATERMASS AND THE PIT – just happens to be one of my favourite films of all time and, when I realised I’d not recommended it here, I thought I’d better correct that. It also gives me an opportunity to plug issue 60 of SCREAM MAGAZINE, which just happens to feature an excellent article about the various adaptations of Nigel Kneale’s tale.
Professor Bernard Quatermass is one of my fictional heroes. He’s a man in search of truth and explanation; someone who refuses to be bullied by the military or the media or politicians into making assumptions or rash decisions. It’s interesting – watching the TV news from around the world right now, you can see more than a few Quatermass-like characters biting their lips in the background while our so-called world leaders talk nonsense and bullshit their way around the truth about the pandemic and its effects.
There are four Quatermass stories, and all of them are worthy of your attention. The first, the Quatermass Experiment, was a ground-breaking serial first broadcast live by the BBC in 1955 which told the story of the first manned space flight. On the ship’s return, two of the three-man crew are missing. The sole survivor begins acting strangely and it soon becomes clear that he has been taken over by an alien presence. I can only imagine how terrifying this must have been for viewers back in the day, prior to the beginning of the space race, as they watched huddled together around their black and white TV sets. But it’s QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, the professor’s third outing, which is the most well-known of Kneale’s stories. To my mind, the 1967 Hammer adaptation is a classic.
During excavations in London a large unidentified object is unearthed. It defies definition although the area has always been associated with diabolical evil. Within its walls Professor Quatermass discovers the remains of intelligent alien creatures that attempted to conquer the Earth in prehistoric times and, through their experiments on early man, altered human evolution to its present state. Though dormant for many centuries, the power supply from the excavations is being drained by the ship until its terrifying force can be unleashed and the creatures can reinstate their violent dominance over man.
Regular readers will know how much I love SCREAM MAGAZINE. I try and post here or on Instagram whenever there’s a new issue out. Issue 58 has got to be my favourite issue yet, not least because it features a STORMING review of CHOKEHOLD! “David Moody is one kick-ass writer… An enjoyable, hellacious ride into a blood-splattered finale that doesn’t disappoint.” I’ll take that, thank you very much!
As always, there’s loads of great stuff in SCREAM, including fascinating articles on SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and Tod Browning’s MARK OF THE VAMPIRE, and a look back at HOUSE OF THE DEVIL as it approaches its 10 year anniversary (where the hell does the time go?).
Regular readers will know how much I love SCREAM MAGAZINE. I’m thrilled they’ve made it to issue 50. Congratulations to the team for reaching this landmark, and here’s to many more issues to come. For more info and to get hold of a copy, visit www.screamhorrormag.com.
I really should be working, but it’s been a while since I got hold of a copy of SCREAM and, as usual, it’s packed with good stuff.
Having recently sat through the film again, I particularly enjoyed the comprehensive feature about FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE. Also noteworthy were the articles about PIRANHA, the career of JOE DANTE, and oft-overlooked sequel EXORCIST III. And that’s why I love SCREAM, and why I post about it whenever a new issue lands on the doormat – it’s a magazine for true horror fans who’ve lived and breathed the genre for years. It focuses on the classics as well as the contemporary. Long may it continue!
You can get hold of SCREAM from www.screamhorrormag.com/store. It’s also available from BARNES & NOBLE and BOOKS A MILLION stores in the USA, CHAPTERS/INDIGO stores in Canada, EASON stores across Ireland, and in the UK you can pick up copies from WH Smith, HMV, FOPP and FORBIDDEN PLANET.
But the big news from SCREAM this month is that, after 6 years, they’ve secured a great distribution deal in the US. US readers can now pick up the mag from Barnes & Noble stores. I couldn’t be happier for Rich and the team.
Once again SCREAM magazine continues to float my horror boat. I mentioned previously about my ongoing mission to school my kids in the history of horror movies – one of the films I forced them to watch watched with them recently was the original OMEN movie from 1976. It’s stood the test of time reasonably well, and is far better viewing than the sequels, the remake, or the short lived TV series. There’s a great feature about the making of the film in the new issue of SCREAM, alongside an interview with Robert Picardo, star of THE HOWLING.
But the piece which really caught my eye this issue was an article about PALACE HORROR. I doubt many people remember this label and its distinctive-looking day-glo VHS covers, but they were a pivotal part of my horror education. Once the UK had managed to get over the video nasty debacle of the 1980’s, collecting horror on VHS was a hobby that many of my friends and I indulged in. Palace released some great movies at the time, and I clearly remember hunting down each new release at the Virgin megastore or HMV back in the day.
Apologies to the SCREAM team for being late, but here’s my regular plug for the new issue of the magazine. I’ve not come across a magazine before that speaks to the inner horror geek in me quite like SCREAM does. This month’s highlights include an in-depth interview with LISA WILCOX, star of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 and 5, and a conversation with PETE WALKER, director of such classics as HOUSE OF WHIPCORD. Great stuff!
Just wanted to make you aware that BOOKTRACK is running a 24 hour horror sale at the moment. You’ve heard me talk about booktracks before, and this is a great opportunity to get your hands on ISOLATION, THE COST OF LIVING and STRANGERS with a full soundtrack of music and sound effects, for the incredibly low price of $0.99 each! All the information you need can be found at this link.
And while I’m posting, I also wanted to let you know that the new issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE is now available. As usual, it’s chockfull of features and interviews about both brand new and classic horror. THE FOREST, Hammer’s FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL, and much, much more.
Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to New Year. I am. I’ve a lot of stuff in the pipeline for 2016, and it’s been too quiet around here for too long.
One of the great things about the holidays, I find, is that I get chance to catch up on a few of the films I’ve missed or that I’ve been meaning to watch again. My pile of as yet unwatched Blu-ray discs (which, I’m ashamed to admit, still includes a few of the gifts I received last Christmas) has substantially increased in size. I’m particularly looking forward to re-watching the final QUATERMASS series from 1979, and to working my way through the entire NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series in HD.
I’m particularly looking forward to watching the NIGHTMARE films again. Coincidentally, this morning the latest issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE dropped through my letterbox, which includes a fascinating interview with Mark Patton, the star of the second ELM STREET movie. As usual, there’s plenty of other stuff in the mag, including a look back at the Hammer cult classic VAMPIRE CIRCUS, and features on Turkish horror, CHILDREN OF THE CORN, and much more. As always, SCREAM comes with the Moody seal of approval.
As usual the latest issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE strikes an excellent balance between looking back at horror classics and looking forward to what’s new in the genre. This month there are retrospective looks at Coppola’s DRACULA and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, as well as features on new movies including BITE, THE HALLOW, TREMORS 5, and VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN.