Dr. Renault’s Secret 1942
His animal instinct cannot be tamed!
Dr. Blood’s Coffin 1961
Dr. Blood’s Coffin is a British horror film released in 1961, directed by Sidney J. Furie, and a story and screenplay by Nathan Juran. The film tells the story of Dr. Peter Blood (Kieron Moore), a brilliant but eccentric scientist who relocates after medical school to a remote Cornish village of his youth called Porthcarron. There he sets up his Dr. Blood sets up his laboratory in an abandoned tin mine, where he conducts mysterious and unethical experiments on his human guinea pigs, in an attempt to discover the secret of immortality and raising the dead. As he conducts his brutal medical procedures, he is veiled by his surgical mask, hiding his true face until it is finally revealed that he is a medical monster. In between running hither and yon, he tries to woo Linda.
Initially, Peter is able to fool his father Dr. Robert Blood played by Ian Hunter, and Hazel Court who plays Nurse Linda Parker a young widow but soon enough he becomes suspicious of his son’s curious behavior once the villagers start to go missing. As the townspeople become increasingly suspicious of Dr. Blood’s activities, they fear that he may be responsible for a series of gruesome murders in the area. The local police, led by Inspector Cook, launch an investigation into the strange occurrences in Porthcarron and Peter offers to help out in order to lead Cook astray, but Linda grows weary and stumbles upon Peter harvesting a heart from one of his victims.
Enraged by Linda’s failure to recognize the significance of his groundbreaking research, Peter tries to impress her by trying to reanimate her dead husband, with horrible, disastrous results. After marinating in a grave for an entire year, he has become a grotesque rotting corpse.
“You haven’t brought Steve Parker back to life! that’s something out of Hell!”
Regardless of its Operatic title Dr. Blood’s Coffin is a pretty tepid chiller that focuses on the mad scientist archetype, the eerie atmosphere of a small, isolated village, and the unholy alliance between madness and scientific meddling. The film only comes to life in the last 20 minutes. However, it is a curio of the 1960s Gothic horror and Hazel Court is always mesmerizing.
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde 1971
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde is a 1971 horror film directed by Roy Ward Baker and written by Brian Clemens. The movie is a unique twist on the classic mythos of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, blending elements of horror and Victorian-era intrigue.
The story revolves around Dr. Henry Jekyll (Ralph Bates), a brilliant scientist living in 19th-century London, who becomes obsessed with discovering the secret of immortality. In his experiments, he creates a potion that transforms him into his beautiful and deadly evil alter ego Sister Hyde, brought to life with decadent flair by Martine Beswick.
As Dr. Jekyll continues to experiment with his potion, he finds himself increasingly drawn to his alter ego, Sister Hyde. The dual identity becomes more complex as Dr. Jekyll’s male and female sides vie for control, leading to a series of gruesome murders in the city.
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde explore themes of gender identity, sexuality, and the duality of human nature while putting a fresh and provocative spin on the classic story. The film is known for its mix of horror, dark humor, and social commentary, making it a notable entry in the pantheon of Jekyll and Hyde adaptations.
The Deathmaster 1972
“Would you like to trade a lifetime of petty passions for an eternity of ecstasy?”
The Deathmaster is a 1972 horror film from American-International starring Robert Quarry as the enigmatic title character, Khorda. The movie follows a group of young people who find themselves drawn into the world of the charismatic and ageless Khorda.
Khorda is a vampire who has lived for centuries, and he has the ability to turn others into vampires as well. He forms a coven of followers, luring them with the promise of eternal life and power. As the group becomes more deeply involved with Khorda, they begin to experience the consequences of their newfound immortality.
The Deathmaster, which had stealthily made its way into neighborhood theaters appears to be a fusion of different influences where Roger Corman’s productions collide. According to Roger Ebert, there was evidence from within, it seems the producers had Robert Quarry committed for approximately two weeks of work. Additionally, they seemingly possessed a trove of active contracts for a troupe of unemployed beach-party extras. It was Ebert’s ponderings that came up with the notion that otherwise, how can you explain this horror film’s schizophrenic nature, arguably the most disjointed narrative part -‘ beach party’ film & ‘anti-establishment film & finally a modern gothic vampire movie?
By now, the enigmatic Quarry was a seasoned pro in the realm of vampires having mastered the contemporary bloodsucker in Count Yorga, Vampire 1970, and The Return of Count Yorga 1971 both favorite horror films of the ’70s decade as a matter of fact Robert Quarry is perhaps my favorite vampire next to Bela Lugosi. Please Hammer fans don’t come for me, while I recognize that Christoper Lee is certainly enigmatic and stylishly ferocious as bloody-eyed sharp-toothed Count Dracula, Bela has an old-world sensuality befitting the old count, and Quarry possesses an urbane magnetism that is captivating to watch.
The Deathmaster Quarry arrives at dawn in an ancient coffin that washes ashore on Santa Monica Beach. he then inextricably turns at a beach house inhabited by the castoffs from beach parties and a motorcycle vagabond who seems to be refugees from the best exploitation biker movies.
Count Khorda presents them with a radical proposition: “Would you like to exchange a lifetime of petty pursuits for an eternity of rapture?”
The Deathmaster is known for its cult following and Robert Quarry’s portrayal of the enigmatic vampire leader captures the countercultural spirit of its time while also providing a unique take on vampire mythology.
Dark Places 1974
Dark Places is a 1974 British horror film directed by Don Sharp and stars Christoper Lee, Joan Collins, Herbert Lom as Prescott, Robert Hardy, Jean Marsh as Victoria Marr, and Jane Birkin. It tells the chilling story of a family’s dark secrets and the eerie events that unfold in an isolated mansion. The film revolves around the Marlowe family, who have recently moved into a secluded manor.
After taking ownership of a decaying mansion, Robert Hardy as Edward Foster at a bequest from a former mental patient, Edward Foster becomes increasingly attuned to eerie phenomena and ghostly voices within its walls, echoing the violence and psychological torment and betrayal that led up to the tragic events.
Unsettlingly, he finds himself falling under the sway of Mr. Marr (Foster), the deceased original owner of the manor, as the chilling tale of his family’s demise gradually unfolds.
Marr had contemplated abandoning his family, to start a new life with his mistress Alta (Jane Birkin), and had emptied his bank account before succumbing to madness. Madness ran in the family bloodline and his two psycho offspring are a murderous pair of demonic children.
The whereabouts of the hidden fortune somewhere within the mansion become a tantalizing enigma. Meanwhile, the local doctor and his sister, along with Foster’s solicitor, Mr. Prescott, pretend to befriend the new proprietor while harboring ulterior motives—uncovering the hidden wealth. Christopher Lee plays Dr. Ian Mandville and Joan Collins his sister Sarah who tempts Edward romantically in order to find the secret fortune hidden in the house. But the ghosts of the past revisit themselves upon those who would seek to obtain the Marr wealth with a few twists and turns along the way.
Day of the Animals 1977
Day of the Animals is a 1977 eco-horror film directed by William Girdler (Three on a Meathook 1972, Abby 1974, ‘Sheba, Baby’ 1975, The Manitou 1978) The movie is set in the beautiful but perilous wilderness of the Sierra Mountains, where a group of people embark on a hiking expedition. However, they soon discover that something unnatural and deadly is happening to the wildlife.
As the group journeys deeper into the wilderness, they begin to experience increasingly aggressive and bizarre behavior from the local animal population. It becomes clear that a depletion of the ozone layer due to pollution has caused animals to go mad and become violent, targeting humans as their new prey.
The film explores themes of environmentalism, human impact on nature, and the consequences of ecological imbalance. It also delves into the survival instincts and group dynamics of the hikers as they fight for their lives against the relentless onslaught of deadly animals.
Day of the Animals is a classic example of the eco-horror subgenre, where nature itself becomes the antagonist. It combines suspense, action, and a cautionary message about the importance of preserving the environment. The film stars Leslie Nielson, Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Richard Jaekel, Ruth Roman, and Paul Mantee, and a slew of god’s creatures who are rightly pissed off at us!
Dead and Buried 1981
Dead and Buried is a 1981 horror film directed by Gary Sherman and stars Jack Albertson as the town’s busy mortician. It is atmospheric in its tone and unease from the beginning which is sustained throughout the movie. Set in the small coastal town of Potter’s Bluff, which seems like an idyllic, peaceful place making it both picturesque and sinister, harboring a nightmarish secret. However, the town holds a dark secret. When strangers visit, they are subjected to gruesome and mysterious murders. The local sheriff, played by James Farentino, starts investigating these bizarre killings, uncovering a horrifying conspiracy involving a mad scientist, reanimation, and a town that is not what it seems. As the sheriff delves deeper into the mystery, he becomes increasingly aware that the town’s residents may not be entirely human.
As the Farentino investigates the bizarre murders, the audience is drawn deeper into the enigmatic plot. The movie keeps viewers guessing and engaged as it slowly unravels its secrets. Dead and Buried is praised for its practical effects, particularly the gruesome and shocking death scenes. It also features a pervasive sense of dread and relentless unease shaped by director Gary Sherman and cinematographer Steven Poster.
The story opens with a photographer George Le Moyne (Allport) shooting images of a serene beach when he is lured by a mysterious solitary woman. Suddenly he is overtaken by a mob of townspeople who brutally set him on fire while the woman (Lisa Blount) smiles. Showcasing the film’s dark humor his final words are ‘‘Welcome to Potters Bluff.” Next comes a fisherman, a hitchhiker, and a family of tourists, all of whom are violently mutilated.
From the gruesome prologue on, the movie follows Sheriff Dan Gillis who seeks answers as he untangles the macabre and alarming occurrences that are gripping his once peaceful town. It becomes clear that the townspeople are responsible for the savage murders.
Dan turns to help from the town’s eccentric mortician and coroner William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson) who laments about being underappreciated for his artistry and skill in restoring the dead who had come by a grisly end. Along the way, Dan finds several disturbing clues, for instance, the gas station attendant Freddie seems to be the spitting image of the photographer who was burned alive at the beach and later murdered at the hospital. Townfolk eventually grow as a community of familiar dead folk, Robert Englund as Deputy Sheriff Harry, and Michael Pataki as Sam the gravedigger are amongst the living dead community who joyfully join in the serial murders.
The mystery deepens when Dan’s wife Janet played by Melody Anderson is found to have been involved with the dead photographer. She also seems to have a curiosity about witchcraft and books about raising the dead. Driving on a foggy night in a coastal town, you’re bound to hit a pedestrian right? Though the guy’s arm is ripped off and is caught on the grill of Dan’s car, he runs off taking his arm with him. Dan brings a tissue sample from the grill to the local doctor who analyzes it and tells him that it belongs to someone who has been dead for months. Dobbs had been removed from a city hospital when he was found dabbling with the corpses. “This is an art. I am the artist.”
Over the years, Dead and Buried has gained a dedicated cult following. Its blend of horror, mystery, and supernatural elements has endeared it to fans of the genre, who appreciate its unconventional approach. Some critics have noted that the film incorporates social commentary on themes like the fear of outsiders and the consequences of blindly conforming to authority, adding depth to the story beyond its horror elements.
Dead and Buried remains a particularly interesting curiosity from the ’80s due to its gruesome and chilling deaths which are highlighted by the exceptional artistry of the special effects maestro Stan Winston.