Thursday, December 13, 2007

Episode 33: Hammer Time!

Our New Year show is just around the corner and, given that we’ve been all over the map recently, we’ll be returning to our personal favorite . . . classic horror! It’s been a little while since we’ve visited the Hammer library, so we thought we’d pull a couple of titles from there since you can never go wrong with Hammer : )

First off, we’ll be screening a major title in the form of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. This is the third entry in the Dracula series starring the legendary Christopher Lee, and picks up right where the previous installment left off. Having been frozen in ice at the base of his castle, the Prince of Darkness has been out of commission for a while. Not wise enough to leave things alone, a couple of holy men go to bless the castle and inadvertently awaken the Count, who not surprisingly goes on a rampage! This installment is one of the high points of the series and features all of the quality you would expect from 60’s era Hammer.

Second up is one of Team Fantasmo’s favorite Hammer films, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter! This one is sort of an odd feature, in that it was meant to launch an ongoing series of films. Unfortunately it was somewhat mishandled, and didn’t fare too well upon release. As a result, a second installment never materialized. The plot involves the heroic Captain Kronos responding to a call for help from an old friend, who believes there is evil afoot in his small village. Kronos quickly discovers that vampires are at work, and commences to laying waste to the responsible parties. Part adventure, part horror, this is one-of-a-kind in the Hammer library, and an experience not to be missed!

Here are your details, for this sure to be celebrated episode:

When: Friday, January 4

Where: Chesapeake Central Library

Films:

8:00 p.m.: Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (Rated G)

10:00 p.m.: Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (Rated R)

So here is your chance to start honoring your New Year’s resolutions right off the bat, by a) not missing a single Fantasmo, and b) seeing these two Hammer classics on the big screen, as they were meant to be seen! All this plus more details on the next year of Fantasmo, inspired commentary, and a veritable feast of snacks and prizes! See you there!

6 comments:

george booker said...

looking forward to the hammer vampire night.

still kicking myself over missing the corman night.

i like how these two hammer titles span the silly mpaa standards.

rest in peace, jack valenti.

Jim Blanton said...

You said it! It doesn't get much better than Hammer vampire films - especially 70's era like Kronos : )

As for the MPAA, it's always fun to ponder how they reach some of their decisions. Thankfully the explosion of DVD has managed to restore some films cut on release back to their director intended versions. Of course one could question whether we really needed to see Mark L. Lester's original vision of 1985's Commando! Who am I kidding, of course we needed to see that!!

Chris Johnson said...

I wonder if there will ever be a director's cut of Gymkata?

Jim Blanton said...

That raises an interesting question - is it possible to make Gymkata more perfect? I guess if it added to the running time it would indeed be better, as there would be more of Gymkata to enjoy. One can only hope that someone will unearth forgotten film cans in a remote European vault in the years to come!

george booker said...

there's a lot to explore in gymkata (and i am talking about the final 20 minutes i caught).

particularly the enigma of the pummelhorse in the middle of the village.

sure, its convenient, but why is it there?

i like to think that place was built on some kind of ghost gymnastics training facility, and there were rings, parrallel bars, and all sorts of stuff scattered around, but that vision and subplot had to be narrowed to maintain the breakneck pace.

Jim Blanton said...

Sorry you missed the beginning, but the village sequence really is the high point (among many high points) of the film.

I tend to agree with your "ghost training facility" analysis. Clearly Parmistan is steeped in the tradition of gymnastics, particularly as it is applied to The Game. This would then explain why Jonathan Cabot would top the short list of heroes tapped for the mission depicted in Gymkata.

Again, we can only hope that the film is revisited, and that these fascinating elements are properly restored!