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  1. #1
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    Why do I like this film? I'd be grateful if someone could talk me through this without resort to a couch. It grabbed me in a late-night ITV screening years ago (I miss those, usually with a Thames TV announcer like Tom Edwards making droll remarks beforehand).



    I saw it on DVD recently, expecting to diagnose adolescent imbalance as a reason for my enjoyment. But darn it, if I didn't still thrill at the sight of Barbara Steele in full Lovecroft regalia, with Karloff tottering around and Christopher Lee being . . . well . . . ominous as only he can be. Load of twaddle, but I loved it. Again!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Oh, I know just what you mean. Shot with all the subtlety and imagination of an industrial training film and featuring, to be frank, rather a dull performance from Christopher Lee, I can never help but watch it. I really should have a down on it, as poor Boris Karloff caught a fatal dose of pneumonia while night-filming in the cold and damp for director Vernon Sewell, but nonetheless I can't help but watch it when it turns up.



    Perhaps it's the amusingly chaste sixties britflick idea of a wild orgy, whi consists of men in suits and skinny ties carrying women in Playtex underwear on piggy-back.



    Otherwise it's just nostalgia, as I've still got a 200ft reel of super 8 film which cuts the whole thing down to 10 minutes of glorious silent black and white!

  3. #3
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    Can't help but agree - complete twaddle but really rather splendid in a batty way. If memory serves a bloke in a sort of Tesco value bondage outfit appears during the 'satanic' sequences with Barbara Steele. Not sure why that image has lingered but linger it does! All that and Mark Eden before he became the beast of Weatherfield...

  4. #4
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    I saw Mark Eden years ago at a Prisoner fan club event. He was great to listen to - I asked him about his guest role in The Professionals TV series, and he said it was the worst set to work on he could remember, mainly because Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw got on so badly.

  5. #5
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    My paul lawrie Knight said: "Mickey Powell was always rather keen on Vernon Sewell. And I couldn't work this out, because as far as I could see, Vernon didn't have a brain in his head."

    Which is why I find myself nodding and laughing when I watch CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR!

  6. #6
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    Not the only reason to nod and laugh - I forgot Michael Gough's performance as the mute butler. Proof that you don't need to open your mouth to chew the scenery!

  7. #7
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Cairns
    My paul lawrie Knight said: "Mickey Powell was always rather keen on Vernon Sewell. And I couldn't work this out, because as far as I could see, Vernon didn't have a brain in his head."

    Which is why I find myself nodding and laughing when I watch CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR!
    Vernon Sewell certainly wasn't the most gifted of film-makers. At best, his films can usually be described as adequate.



    Powell met him when he made The Edge of the World (1937) where Vernon was the skipper of the supply ship that took them out to the island, kept them supplied, and rescued them when the storms blew up. Powell was always very fond of everyone that took part in that expedition, referring to them as his "Foula regulars"



    Steve

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Crook
    Vernon Sewell certainly wasn't the most gifted of film-makers. At best, his films can usually be described as adequate.

    Steve
    I have Vernon Sewell's Ghost Ship on DVD and I think Steve's description is accurate. Apart from being well photgraphed on location it is rather dull. The most intriguing aspect is the supernatural one, but even that is muddled.



    Bats.

  9. #9
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    Lawrie again: "Vernon had a boat, and he built a sort of studio on it. And I believe he actually made a couple of films on that boat."

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Cairns
    Lawrie again: "Vernon had a boat, and he built a sort of studio on it. And I believe he actually made a couple of films on that boat."
    Very nice boat too.



    Bats.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    Vernon Sewell has come in for a fair amount of stick on this thread. I had two of his fims on my to watch list "Man In The Back Seat" and "Soho Incident" (aka "Spin A Dark Web"). Any comments or warnings ?

  12. #12
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy bentley
    Vernon Sewell has come in for a fair amount of stick on this thread. I had two of his fims on my to watch list "Man In The Back Seat" and "Soho Incident" (aka "Spin A Dark Web"). Any comments or warnings ?
    Not intentional stick. There are a lot of film-makers that were a lot worse than Vernon. I haven't seen the two you mention so can't comment on them but the films of his that I have seen were all quite adequate. I think that really is the best word to describe them. Technically they were quite reasonably well made, but they certainly aren't going to set the world on fire or push anything to the limit let alone beyond it.



    But they are adequate



    Steve

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I like Ghost Ship .... it's just that the main storyline is padded out too much. I also enjoyed Vernon's Jack of Diamonds, a rather entertaining B-thriller again starring his boat, oh ... and Nigel Patrick. I also have House of Mystery which is basically "Ghost Ship on land" and that is an entertaining film too. I haven't seen the others you mention but I would like to.

  14. #14
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    Vernon is also responsible for the very terrible Burke and Hare (1971).

  15. #15
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    Is it me, or did the version of Curse of the Crimson Altar shown on BBC2 the other night have extra material we haven't seen before in scenes such as the 'wild' party and Mark Eden and Virginia Wetherell's love scene?



    Shame no-one at the BBC thought to properly colour balance the rather red looking print.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Brett
    Is it me, or did the version of Curse of the Crimson Altar shown on BBC2 the other night have extra material we haven't seen before in scenes such as the 'wild' party and Mark Eden and Virginia Wetherell's love scene?



    Shame no-one at the BBC thought to properly colour balance the rather red looking print.
    To be fair I think the film was just very badly lit when it was made.



    A 'guilty pleasure' film in my opinion.

  17. #17
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    You're not kidding! Many scenes look like they're lit with a single spotlight, but the whole thing looked very brown.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: England earlb's Avatar
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    Agreed it was a very bad print and the love making scene was included, at least there were nipples on view but considering the year it was made, one couldn't expect or indeed want more. The highlight for me was the tongue in cheek remark made by Mark Eden creeping round the spooky house when he said "Just the sort of place one'd expect to see Boris Karloff". Of coure Boris was the star of the film.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    The house in this was Grim's Dyke owned by W S Gilbert (he died in the lake).

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: England duffy moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Brett
    Is it me, or did the version of Curse of the Crimson Altar shown on BBC2 the other night have extra material we haven't seen before in scenes such as the 'wild' party and Mark Eden and Virginia Wetherell's love scene?



    Shame no-one at the BBC thought to properly colour balance the rather red looking print.
    I think you may have previously seen 'The Crimnson Cult' the U.S. version, which I think cuts out the horizontal dance and jumps directly to the oak staircase fade out of the scene. I have both versions, although it's been a while since I saw the UK version, as I did on Friday night.

    I love this film.

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