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Troy Howarth
12-14-2004, 02:46 PM
Along with Douglas Slocombe and Gilbert Taylor, he is my favorite British cinematographer. As a director, he became reluctantly typed in the horror genre - initially he put everything he had into making the films visually appealing, but around the mid-70s he more or less gave up completely before returning to cinematography. Too often dismissed in comparison to Terence Fisher, Francis has made some very entertaining and skillful horror films.

The Brain (1962) *** out of ****
Paranoiac (1962) **1/2
Nightmare (1963) ***
Hysteria (1963) **1/2
The Evil of Frankenstein (1963) **1/2
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1964) ***1/2
The Skull (1965) ***1/2
The Psychopath (1965) ***1/2
The Deadly Bees (1966) **1/2
They Came From Beyond Space (1967) *
Torture Garden (1967) **1/2
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) ***
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1969) ***
Trog (1970) BOMB
Tales from the Crypt (1972) ***
The Creeping Flesh (1972) ***1/2
Craze (1973) **1/2
The Ghoul (1974) **
The Legend of the Werewolf (1974) *
The Doctor and the Devils (1985) **1/2
Dark Tower (1987) *1/2

Joe L
12-14-2004, 06:10 PM
I think it's too bad that Francis gets lost in Fisher's shadow. I've been gaining a big appreciation for his work lately, and recently was very impressed with TALES FROM THE CRYPT, THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (which is fast becoming my new favorite Hammer Dracula).

Damian P
12-14-2004, 07:36 PM
Why so hard on The Legend of the Werewolf, Troy?

Troy Howarth
12-15-2004, 01:23 AM
Basically, I think it's a piss poor film, unimaginatively scripted and flatly directed. Cushing is wonderful, as usual, and there are nice performances from Hugh Griffith and Ron Moody..that's pretty much it, however. It's a cheap looking film with a lifeless performance from the actor playing the werewolf.

Damian P
12-15-2004, 02:37 AM
I wonder how the film would look restored and in widescreen. I have only seen it via a very shoddy looking LP-Mode tape on the Saturn label.

Brian Lindsey
12-15-2004, 04:44 AM
The underappreciated DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS has a terrific cast; it sorely needs a DVD release.

Joe L
12-15-2004, 06:37 AM
I also think TROG rates more than a BOMB. Not much more mind you!

Troy Howarth
12-15-2004, 01:22 PM
I can't find much to praise in Trog, I'm afraid. Gough is fun, even if he overacts wildly. That's about it. The monster is lame, Crawford is terrible, and the film is so lethargically put together. Francis explained that Crawford's reliance on cue cards ensured that he couldn't move his camera around too much, and it shows.

As far as Legend of the Werewolf is concerned - I'd love to see it in widescreen (not that it's a WIDE film, but probably 1.85 at most) but I rather doubt that would improve it too much. Good as Cushing is, the film has never impressed me much.

Damian P
12-17-2004, 05:58 AM
One of my favorite films by Francis is The Creeping Flesh. I caught a glimpse of the monster on TV when I was a kid, the skinless creature gave me nightmares for years.
I'm waiting for the price of the DVD to go down. I'm sure it's an improvement over the old washed-out VHS.

Troy Howarth
12-17-2004, 02:59 PM
You'd almost do better to get the import release, which has a Lee commentary. I reviewed both editions for the site, if you're interested in my take on them.

Damian P
12-17-2004, 04:41 PM
You'd almost do better to get the import release, which has a Lee commentary. I reviewed both editions for the site, if you're interested in my take on them.


I was not aware of the import version. I'll check your reviews. Thanks, Big T.

Jeff Nelson
12-26-2004, 02:07 PM
I like Freddie Francis too, as a cinematographer and director; although he has made his share of dogs, I think THE CREEPING FLESH is one of the finest genre films ever made, and easily rivals Fisher's best films, which is high praise indeed.

Dave Fredriksen
12-27-2004, 12:22 PM
Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (1969) ***

- where in the heck can one get a copy of this rarity? - I've read Vanessa Howard gives one hell of a performance as Girly.

Troy Howarth
12-28-2004, 02:26 PM
I lucked out and found the old Prism tape in a rental store in the mid-to-late 80s - it is indeed a very rare film, and Howard is very good in it, as is Michael Bryant.

Chris S
01-02-2005, 05:20 PM
Much agreed--Freddie indeed made some of my fave Brit-horrors of all time (not neccesarily listed here in order of importance by any means...and certainly haven't seen all of his output as a director):

The Skull
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
Dr. Terror's House Of Horrors
Tales From The Crypt
The Creeping Flesh
Torture Garden

Of the others I had seen, would have to say Hysteria is the bum of the batch, and have always been looking for a chance to check out The Psychopath over the years....with no luck yet!

Jason P
01-03-2005, 10:39 AM
Has anyone seen Son of Dracula with Ringo Starr, also directed by Freddie Francis? I'm thinking of picking up a copy though I haven't read much good about it I still want to see it.

Joe L
01-03-2005, 07:36 PM
I only saw it once, many years ago via a terrible VHS dupe. The film was pretty awful, though I do vaguely recall one decent tune (by Harry Nilsson, I think).

Troy Howarth
01-04-2005, 02:03 AM
I've never seen it, but apparently it was a major fiasco. Francis said that Ringo Starr was more interested in getting high than learning his lines, while the production dragged on and on. Since Dennis Price is in it, however, I'd like to see it.

Joe L
01-04-2005, 07:37 AM
Dennis Price was in this too? I'd bet he was getting stewed with Ringo throughout the production!

Troy Howarth
01-04-2005, 04:48 PM
He was more than likely drunk, yes. Francis told a lot of funny stories about Ringo and his entourage in the book The Films of Freddie Francis - basically, from what I can figure, the film was NEVER really finished. Francis nearly had a nervous breakdown and walked away from it past a certain point, while Ringo and crew took the footage and cobbled some kind of narrative out of it. Like I said, I'm sure it has some camp value, so I wouldn't mind seeing it.

Joe L
01-04-2005, 05:05 PM
I recall going to a Beatlefest around 1982 where Harry Nilsson (another drinker) was a guest and was showing a VHS of the movie, supposedly supplied by Ringo Starr. Ringo had given instructions not to show the ending, and Harry had to explain what happened after the 3/4 of the film ended. We figured Ringo was taking a precaution in case of bootlegging (everyone at these shows had VCRs and their own bootleg items).

In 1981 Ringo was doing a call-in radio show and a girl said she loved SON OF DRACULA. Ringo expressed amazement and asked if she was at the opening in Atlanta. Apparently, it played there one day or something and that was it. No other way to see it.

Troy Howarth
01-04-2005, 05:07 PM
Francis was amazed to hear that the film was ever finished in the first place - in the book I referenced, he said that as far as he knew Starr was still sitting on the negative.

Joe L
01-04-2005, 05:33 PM
You know, all this talk of Starr and Price and Nilsson makes me realize just how awful alcohol can be. It's fortunate that Ringo was able to go sober in 1988... it saved his life.

Troy Howarth
01-04-2005, 05:34 PM
Unless I'm very much mistaken, this was Price's last film. A magnificent actor, but his life story is a sad one.

Joe L
01-04-2005, 05:37 PM
I was checking the IMDB on Price. I learned other things I didn't know about him there.

Troy Howarth
01-04-2005, 05:41 PM
He was a major matinee idol at the beginning of his career, and he had a great knack for dry comedy that put him in good stead with Ealing and the Boulting Brothers. A closeted bisexual, he attempted suicide in the early 50s (I believe) when somebody tried to blackmail him; oddly, he played a similar role in Basil Dearden's film, Victim (1961) starring Dirk Bogarde. Injuries he sustained during the war caught up with him in the 1960s and as his drinking escalated, he fell out of favor with the major producers in England, thus necessitating his work in low budget B movies all over Europe. Price was only 58 when he died, but he looked like he was in his 70s. His talent, however, was as sharp as ever.

Edwin Samuelson
01-04-2005, 06:01 PM
I also think TROG rates more than a BOMB. Not much more mind you!


I love Trog! I think it's a lot of fun to see Joan Crawford using such pathetic lines like: "I implore you to let me use my hyper-gun!" Another one I love: "Trog, No!" Priceless! I also love that Trog has a beer-gut like our wonderful moderator, Ian Jane. Ian, are you living a secret life as Trog?

Chris Workman
01-06-2005, 10:42 AM
Back to Francis, I have never really been impressed by his work. It seems, as it has been called before, professional but never inspired. There are a few exceptions to this, which would include PARANOIAC, which is very masterfully directed and well shot. But overall, I can't think of a single film of his that I really love. I find most dull or trite.

PARANOIAC ***
VENGEANCE/THE BRAIN **
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE **
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN * 1/2
THE CREEPING FLESH *
DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS **
THE VAMPIRE HAPPENING *
THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS **
THE GHOUL * 1/2
LEGEND OF THE WEREWOLF *
CRAZE *
TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS **
TALES FROM THE CRYPT ***
TROG *
TORTURE GARDEN **
THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE **
THE DEADLY BEES **
THE SKULL ***
HYSTERIA **
NIGHTMARE **
DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS ** (not, of course, his fault; he actually probably made the film better, since his segment is the best part of the film)

Joe L
01-06-2005, 11:04 AM
TALES FROM THE CRYPT was very well made, I thought. DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE is very striking, visually.

Troy Howarth
01-06-2005, 05:30 PM
I really don't understand that, Chris. Fisher was a great craftsman with a flair for the Gothic, but even I would say that Francis' visual flair was more distinctive. I will agree with Joe on Risen - I think it's a fabulous looking movie.

Chris Workman
01-07-2005, 10:19 AM
I really hate THE CREEPING FLESH. Besides being unimpressive visually (there are a couple of nice moments), it has, in my opinion, a really dull script. It's two films stuck together by the most threadbare of plot points, and the two stories never really gel.

About Francis versus Fisher, again, other than a few films (PARANOIAC, THE SKULL), I don't see this visual flair that everyone is always talking about in connection to Francis. And even if I did, I'm not sure I'd buy it as being better than the mixture of flair and subtlety that marks Fisher's best work. About flair, sometimes it can be a bad thing. Witness the otherwise terrific BOUND with Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly. Great script, great acting, generally great direction; but moments like those in which the camera traces and telephone cord and does a loop where the cord is twisted is pretty silly. I don't really require flair from my directors, though it can sometimes help a film that doesn't have anything else going for it.

Troy Howarth
01-07-2005, 05:52 PM
We just don't see eye to eye on Francis, Chris. I think he brings a tremendous flair to his best work and has been terribly underrated in comparison to Fisher. The Creeping Flesh, imo, is far from "unimpressive" visually. I think it's a beautifully shot film, with a very intriguing screenplay. Just goes to show how opinions will vary. :)

Chris Workman
01-08-2005, 03:28 PM
Troy, I have lost your email address. On Monday, send me an email. :)

Troy Howarth
01-09-2005, 02:34 AM
Fisher was a marvelous director, absolutely a master of the Gothic fomat. I'm not in any way trying to detract from him. It's just that I feel that Francis has often been used something of a whipping boy in comparison to Fisher. He didn't have Fisher's feel for the genre, but the sheer energy and creativity of his visual style gave his best films a real appeal.

Troy Howarth
01-09-2005, 02:35 AM
Troy, I have lost your email address. On Monday, send me an email. :)

Will do - and if I should forget, feel free to remind me again. :)

Chris Workman
01-09-2005, 12:11 PM
I will remind you.

I do agree that Francis is constantly being compared negatively to Fisher, when really the only thing they have in common is that they both worked in the horror genre and both made some films for Hammer. Their styles are pretty far removed. I think part of the problem is not that Francis wasn't a very good director (PARANOIAC, his initial Hammer offering, proved he could be terrific). Rather, he wasn't interested in the genre and so didn't give his films the kind of attention they needed, especially in the script department. We know from eyewitness sources that Fisher was constantly tooling with little things in his scripts here or there, or listening to his actors when they had good suggestions (and ignoring the bad ones); we also know that Fisher loved the genre, felt that after THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN he'd found his place, and had no interest in going to Hollywood and making big studio product (which he no doubt could have done following the worldwide success of THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE HORROR OF DRACULA, and THE MUMMY). Francis's camera does roam more than Fisher's, but Fisher's camera was not as static as is claimed above. I would say, also, that Fisher was the master of the zoom lense. He rarely used it, and when he did, it was always masterfully done. Look at that zoom to the guillotine in FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN, or that zoom to the werewolf on the tower in THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, or the zoom at the Phantom's eyes in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. In Fisher's hands, the zoom was NOT a lazy device (it has marred the later work of Franco and Bava), but rather a device that can be used to enhance a scene and give it power. His camera was not static, but rather used subtely. Fisher never used it to call attention to itself. Look at it's movement when Holmes and Watson are running through the swamp in THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLE, or that terrific movement toward Richard Pasco when he raises from his bed and screams, his own movements aimed at the very camera moving toward him. It's a subtle but very powerful motion of the camera that gives the scene an extra bite without being so flashy that one remembers he is watching a movie.

That is my inherent problem with a number of filmmakers. I personally want to be sucked into the movie, to become one with it, to forget that I'm watching a movie. My problem with Francis has always been that his movies tend to have the opposite affect. They are not as emotionally involving as Fisher's, and there are flashes of camerawork that so call attention to themselves that one can't help but remember that he or she is doing just that: watching a movie. The ill-used red filter in DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE does that to me, and may be the biggest reason I dislike that film (aside from the fact that I only marginally care about the boy and girl in love; I care more about Zena, the innkeeper and the monsignor). The scenes through the monster's eyes in THE CREEPING FLESH and through the skull's eyes in THE SKULL do the same thing. To me, they are hokey devices that thrust me out of the film rather than enable me to see things from the perspective of the monsters (if you want to call them that). On the other hand, Fisher's close-up of the crying werewolf during the opening credits of THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF do more in that regard (helping me to identify the werewolf we are later to meet). Of course, Fisher doesn't end there in helping us to identify and sympathize with the monster. Therein lies the real power of Fisher's films: his uncanny ability to emotionally connect with his audience through both the monsters and the heroes of his pictures, and thus it is that makes the horror in his films so affecting.

Richard W
01-09-2005, 11:09 PM
Terence Fisher started as an editor before he became a director. Without exception, the best directors always start out as editors. An editor looks at the footage in silent mode, matching angles, measuring the duration of shots, looking for the rhthym and the tone of the story, making sure that he holds on eyelines, cuts on the glance, inserts reactions in which actors listen and emote when not speaking, and matches gesture and action from one shot to another, and so on. When an experienced editor becomes a director, you always get invisible ediiting, shots composed in depth, and a linear, balanced frame (Robert Stevenson, Robert Wise, Fred Zinneman and Peter Hunt are other examples of directors who started as editors, there is similarity in their work). Fisher was a good dramatist, too, letting the story be told in actor's faces and grouping them in interesting ways. Fisher's earliest films for Hammer were shot at Bray, which was a very cramped place to shoot interiors. His camera didn't move because it couldn't. The same cramped rooms were redressed to look like different places. His later films are more fluid because he was not confined to Bray.

Francis started as a director of photography before he turned to directing, so it is not surprising that he takes a more pictorial approach, and does more things with light. He tackled a wider variety of scripts than Fisher, proving his versatility as a director early on. I don't remember Francis's films for acting or story telling so much as for how they look and feel. I like Francis's directing even though the material frequently disappoints -- there's some terrific camera work in all his films, notably DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, but the script was so bad it would defeat any director, and the acting is shvt. My favorites of his horror films are THE SKULL and DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS before Amicus saddled him with bright pastel color schemes. Looking back on Francis career, as much as I enjoy his directing, his lighting of THE INNOCENTS and THE ELEPHANT MAN and GLORY is what I remember him best for. No other films look like that. Noone else could have achieved that distinctive look and aesthetic but Freddie Francis. I know cameramen who would trade ten years of life for an eye like Francis's.

Troy Howarth
01-10-2005, 01:40 AM
The zoom lens issue is a tricky one - it's very much a Franco trademark, and was used BRILLIANTLY by Bava in many films. Fisher used it effectively some of the time, but other times less so. It's a tool that can look ultra cheap, but can be used as a great stylistic device.

Chris Workman
01-10-2005, 03:05 PM
The zoom looks ultra cheap when it's overused. Something that Fisher did not do with the zoom was overuse it. There are times, I admit, when Bava used it very effectively, and other times that he used it too much and thus it lost its effectiveness. On the other hand, while it's his trademark, Franco rarely used it truly successfully. I find that there is something entertaining in seeing a camera zoom to a woman's naked crotch, but a good movie it doesn't necessarily make. I have never seen an ill-used zoom in a Fisher film.

Concerning the differences between Francis and Fisher pointed out above, they are all excellent points. They also point to why I prefer Fisher over Francis. While I love great visuals, I am a very literary person. And Fisher's films tend to be more literary than Francis's films (THE INNOCENTS may be an exception, but Francis didn't direct that).

Also, when I referred to Richard Pasco above, I did not intend to make it seem that I was referring to THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. I was actually referring to THE GORGON.

Richard W
01-10-2005, 08:21 PM
The zoom looks ultra cheap when it's overused. Something that Fisher did not do with the zoom was overuse it. There are times, I admit, when Bava used it very effectively, and other times that he used it too much and thus it lost its effectiveness. On the other hand, while it's his trademark, Franco rarely used it truly successfully. I find that there is something entertaining in seeing a camera zoom to a woman's naked crotch, but a good movie it doesn't necessarily make. I have never seen an ill-used zoom in a Fisher film.


The proper use of a zoom is to push. A push in, like a pull out, is a way to emphasize a point visually, to guide the viewer's eye into the frame, or to make a dramatic moment you want viewer to remember. The push in, like the pull out, covers a short distance, perhaps only a few feet at the most, and is used as such a logical extension of the action that it doesn't call attention to itself. The push in, like the pull out, occurs within an established composition. It's a useful tool when used sparingly and at the appropriate moment. Terence Fisher used the push and the pull but he never, never violated his own grammar by zooming out of one composition to create another.

I've seen some extremely long-distance zooms in Francis's films that I thought were a bit much. But he's never as bad as Michael Winner, who routinely saved time (and money) by using the zoom to cover multiple camera set-ups. Two camera shots for the price of one. Winner routinely zoomed across vast distances, completely changing perspective and composition, jarring the viewer's eye and violating his own continuity. Sometimes he would disguise the zoom by panning at the same time, but not often. So long as he delviered the film on time, and had a big name star, nobody cared.

Of the several Franco films I've seen, he does whatever he feels like. The zoom is everything. The rules of directing, editing, and dramatic staging do not apply. It's unfair to Fisher and Francis to compare them to Franco.

Troy Howarth
01-11-2005, 02:41 AM
I think Jess Franco is an absolutely brilliant director, Richard, albeit not one who subscribes to the grammar of "good filmmaking." I've long wondered, quite frankly, who determined these rules and why everybody accepts them so trustingly. I love how Franco pushes the boundaries and dares to be different, even if it isn't always "neat." For me, the "neatness" of form in Fisher makes him rather dull at times.

Richard W
01-11-2005, 04:00 AM
I think Jess Franco is an absolutely brilliant director

I know you do, Troy. I get a kick out of Franco's films myself. I don't expect much so I'm not disappointed. I've seen several -- the other day we enjoyed THE GIRL FROM RIO -- and I plan to see as many more as I can.


albeit not one who subscribes to the grammar of "good filmmaking." I've long wondered, quite frankly, who determined these rules and why everybody accepts them so trustingly.

because they serve us well in the trenches. Come on, now. Cinematography is cinematography. Let's not get into a semantic argument.


I love how Franco pushes the boundaries and dares to be different, even if it isn't always "neat." For me, the "neatness" of form in Fisher makes him rather dull at times.

He's bold, there's no denying it. I'm not sure what you mean by "the neatness of form." I know that what Fisher did is not easilty achieved. He broke a lot of rules, too. His gothic melodramas are never dull, not to me anyway.

Troy Howarth
01-11-2005, 04:20 AM
There's no point in us arguing, no - it's all a matter of opinion. The "rules" of filmmaking are respected and followed by many, there's no question about that, but I don't see why some of us shouldn't question them or like it when filmmakers like Franco choose to ignore them. If you doubt Franco's ability to follow the rules, I suggest you check out his early b/w films.

I love many of Fisher's films, but some of his films strike me as just flat out boring. The Devil Rides Out comes to mind for me. It's very "neat," very precise, yet very stagnant and tedious. Again, that's just my opinion. I can well understand why it's so well regarded.

Ultimately, I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest between Fisher and Franco - this originated as a spotlight for the underrated Freddie Francis, afterall. I love Fisher, and I love Franco - when they're at their best. To my mind, two directors capable of delivering gems like Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Phantom of the Opera, Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Venus in Furs, Succubus and Eugnenie De Sade are to be respected and admired. :)

Richard W
01-11-2005, 04:37 AM
has Freddie Francis ever done an audio commentary?

Chris Workman
01-11-2005, 12:43 PM
I too like director's who break from the established rules of filmmaking (whatever those are): hence, I really like Neil LaBute films (he certainly breaks away in terms of plot and characterizations). Can Fisher be dull? Yes. While I also don't want to be argumentative (and don't feel we have at all degenerated to that point), I really do find Franco a boring director overall. I don't think he chose to ignore the rules of filmmaking so much as he tried to make everything on the cheap (he didn't, after all, have really big budgets) but knew so little about his camera that he did whatever he could to get a film done. It seems that more often than not his films are his sexual fantasies, and other peoples' sexual fantasies don't really interest me. Of his work, I find his early stuff the most pleasing (particularly the black and white stuff, where he actually tried to invest some atmosphere into his pictures).

About Mario Bava and the zoom, he perfected one of the greatest use of the zoom lens and he did it right in BLACK SUNDAY. There is a zoom, reverse zoom (or vice versa) that is utterly amazing, something I will steal should I ever become a filmmaker myself and the shot fits the scene.

Troy Howarth
01-11-2005, 02:40 PM
Bava overused the zooms in Baron Blood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon and Twitch of the Death Nerve, but in his other films I felt it was always used in an appropriate fashion (be it the "snap" zoom used in Whip, Sunday, etc or the just generally wacky atmosphere of Five Dolls).

Francis has indeed done a commentary, Richard, for the UK release of Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. Alas, it was very disappointing - Francis is now quite advanced in age and unlike Roy ward Baker, his memory hasn't held up well at all. I was very disappointed to find that he apparently no longer remember The Skull, which he spoke of so fondly in Dixon's interview book a few years ago.

Richard W
01-14-2005, 04:54 AM
Bava overused the zooms in Baron Blood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon and Twitch of the Death Nerve, but in his other films I felt it was always used in an appropriate fashion (be it the "snap" zoom used in Whip, Sunday, etc or the just generally wacky atmosphere of Five Dolls).

Regarding the zoom lens ... have you watched THUNDERBALL lately. While Bond is at Shrublands, the health resort, he's strapped into a spine-stretcher bench-thing that has gear speeds, which the villain shoves up to maximum. Before Bond can be stretched an inch or two taller, he is saved by Molly Peters. From the audio commentary I learn that editor Peter Hunt shot the sequence, constructing the action by zooming in and out real fast. Now's there's an example of an imaginitive and correct use of the zoom lens.

Troy Howarth
01-14-2005, 02:32 PM
That is clever, I agree. I'm not so sure about the term "correct", however. :) Let me put it this way - some people absolutely hate the zoom lens and see it as cheap and distracting. Others like it. The same applies to directors. It has a "feel" all its own, being very different from a dolly shot. I used to dislike them, but now I've grown to appreciate them - sometimes they can be used in a lazy manner, no question about it, but oft times I find myself appreciating it because it's so much NOT a part of current film vocabulary.

Damian P
02-02-2005, 04:53 AM
Caught up with THE SKULL this evening. Despite Paramount's best efforts to thwart my appreciation of the film; fullscreen, EP-Mode and time compression, I enjoyed Francis' well crafted film immensely.

Cushing really gave his all here. One of his finest performances.

Jeff Nelson
02-03-2005, 01:07 AM
[QUOTE=Chris Workman]
THE CREEPING FLESH *
QUOTE]

ONE star for THE CREEPING FLESH???

Chris, did we see the same film?

Troy Howarth
02-04-2005, 10:03 PM
I've had this same argument with Chris. :D He finds the film dull, incoherent and burdened with a terrible script - I know, he's said it to me before. :D

Damian - The Skull is fabulous until the ending, I think. Still, overall it's a great piece of visual storytelling complemented by a great score by Elizabeth Lutyens. Cushing is indeed terrific - he has to carry the weight of the movie - and the fine supporting cast (Lee, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, etc) does an excellent job in cameo roles...

Barry M.
10-28-2008, 06:41 PM
I watched PARANOIAC the other night -- efficient little story (trimmed down from Tey, I gather), and it looks great. Reed's hateful, and so intense he kinds of tilts the picture over on one side, but I couldn't look away -- I'm glad Francis let him go nuts. "I've been drinking. Now, I'm going to drink some more." Effective scares & chills at a couple of points.

So I went out and bought THE SKULL, to fix my Freddie Francis jones.

Troy Howarth
10-28-2008, 07:15 PM
My most recent Francis viewing is the Krimi Traitor's Gate - not a bad film, but one of his lesser early films. He seemed to pretty much stop trying post-Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, barring the occasional film like Tales from the Crypt or The Creeping Flesh.

Jeffrey Allen Rydell
10-28-2008, 10:18 PM
So I went out and bought THE SKULL, to fix my Freddie Francis jones.
Seen it before? If not, yer in for another one of those 'treats'...

Troy Howarth
10-28-2008, 10:45 PM
Now that The Skull is available looking all purty and everything, I find myself getting greedy: I want The Psychopath on DVD. It doesn't have much of a reputation, but I really enjoy it. It has some curious parallels to Bava's Blood and Black Lace - I know Francis wasn't into horror, so possibly these elements came from the script by Robert Bloch, who definitely was a horror buff.

Ian Z.
10-30-2008, 02:57 PM
He seemed to pretty much stop trying post-Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, barring the occasional film like Tales from the Crypt or The Creeping Flesh.

Or The Ghoul. Just watched this recently and enjoyed it thoroughly, although that could have been partly due to the more than capable cast.

Troy Howarth
10-31-2008, 02:10 PM
Honestly, I think that one's rather dull - it does have some nice scenes, though, notably the opening scene in the attic. Cushing and Hurt give it their all, though, so it kind of coasts by on them alone.