This tape opens with Geoff Hamilton on Gardener’s World. Then a trailer for Hong Kong – The Countdown.
Then, a documentary, Hammer – The Studio that Dripped Blood, celebrating 40 years of the studio. Luminaries interviewed include Martin Scorsese
Producer Anthony Hinds
Producer Michael Carreras
Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster
Director Don Sharp
Composer James Bernard tells his story of how his themes for the movies can always be sung with the movie’s title.
The great Ingrid Pitt
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th June 1987 – 21:30
After this, recording switches, and we get the end of a profile of the great Spanish guitarist Segovia, in Segovia at Los Olivos.
There’s a trailer for The RKO Story – Tales from Hollywood.
Then follows Dracula Prince of Darkness, the Hammer follow-up to their very successful original Dracula. Francis Matthews and his friends are touring Eastern Europe. They are warned off visiting Karlsbad by mad priest Andrew Keir, but press on anyway, until they are dumped in the middle of nowhere by their fearful coach driver, who tells them he’ll be back in the morning if they’re still there.
Luckily, a coach and horses comes to their rescue, sans driver, and takes them, despite Francis Matthews best coachman efforts, to the mysterious castle in the distance, where creepy butler Philip Latham tells them that, despite the master of the house being dead, he left strict instructions that the house should be ready to welcome guests.
But of course, they’re only there to facilitate the butler’s gruesome ritual to bring his master, Dracula (but you guessed that already) back to life. So poor old Charles Tingwell has his throat cut to provide the blood to revive Dracula, and pretty soon Barbara Shelley is wandering around in a daze, as people are wont to do in these films. In fact, there’s an awful lot of very histrionic reactions. When Latham first appears, in shadow, he’s just a man standing in a doorway, and yet Barbara Shelley screams. These were the standard tropes of gothic horror, but I don’t think you’d be able to use them today.
Pretty soon, Barbara Shelley has met the newly reinvigorated Count Dracula (Christopher Lee, obviously) and is soon sporting her own set of fangs. Then it’s a race against time to save Matthews’ fiancee from Dracula’s clutches, and the finale plays out on a frozen moat, which is a nice change.
I wonder why they made the decision not to have Christopher Lee have any dialogue in this movie. He’s used more like a prop or special effect than an actor. It does have the effect of making him seem more like a beast than a man.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 27th June 1987 – 21:40
After this, there’s half a trailer for the very first episode of Star Cops – one of the worst trailers I ever saw.
Then recording switches to Thames, and Duran Duran in concert – the second half of their London concert. It has an odd framing sequence featuring Milo O’Shea as Duran Duran from Barbarella saying ‘No one takes the name of Duran Duran in vain”.
The show is Arena subtitled An Absurd Notion which fits it perfectly. The framing sequence actually intrudes throughout the whole show, with O’Shea trying all sorts of things to disrupt the concert – unleashing various 80s tropes like lingerie-clad roller-derby women, short people in Gilliamesque armour a la Time Bandits, and creatures on stilts, clearly inspired by The Dark Crystal.
It’s hard to know to whom this was meant to appeal. Fans of the band would probably have preferred to see the band performing – the song audio is regularly dropped in favour of the Sci Fi nonsense, and actual SF fans probably don’t care about Duran Duran either. And people who like both would probably still prefer one or the other – either a proper SF show, or a regular concert.
Director Russell Mulcahy has to take the blame for this nonsense. He’s crafted an extended Rock Video, rather than a concert film, and it just doesn’t work.
After this, there’s a bit of America’s top Ten with Casey Kasem. Most of the songs in the chart ring no bells, but the longest clip was for Kenny G and Songbird – or maybe it just seemed the longest. How is it that the Tenor Sax is one of the sexiest instruments going, but the soprano sax that Kenny G plays makes him look like a dweeb.
Or maybe it’s not the sax.
The tape thankfully ends during his solo.
- Drinking and Driving – Ken Stott as a firefighter
- Carly Simon – Coming Round Again
- Coca Cola
- Chappell of Bond Street
- Marillion – Clutching at Straws