THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF
1961, Universal, 93 min, UK, Dir: Terence Fisher

Director Terence Fisher’s atmospheric thriller not only has the distinction of being not only Oliver Reed’s first leading role but also Hammer Studios’ only werewolf film. And a chillingly fine werewolf film it is, with cursed Reed the offspring born on Christmas Day to a mute servant girl (Yvonne Romain) raped by a bestial beggar (Richard Wordsworth) in the dungeons of the sadistic Marques Siniestro (deliciously depraved Anthony Dawson). Kindly Don Alfredo (Clifford Evans) raises Reed in a good home, but when the sensitive young man reaches puberty and his desires are thwarted, the result is a frenzy of bloody carnage.


HORROR OF DRACULA
1958, Warner Bros., 82 min, UK, Dir: Terenece Fisher

Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s stripped-to-the-basics, expertly paced take on Bram Stoker’s popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just plain exciting Gothic horror films ever made. From Christopher Lee’s revelatory, broodingly romantic performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the proceedings) to Fisher’s masterful direction, from Peter Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher’s atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard’s superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer’s most enduring masterpieces!


WITCHFINDER GENERAL
1968, MGM Repertory, 98 min, UK, Dir: Michael Reeves

Although he made only four features before his tragic death at age 25, British director Michael Reeves left an indelible mark on Gothic horror with his brooding tales of madness and hysteria. Vincent Price stars here in one of his most brutally terrifying roles, as real-life witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, dedicated to ridding England of suspected satanists and instead falling prey to his own horrifying, repressive methods. Ian Ogilvy co-stars as a young soldier trying to end Hopkins’ reign of terror.


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