Posts Tagged movies

Start screaming Kate – Hammer Horror is back!

I was amused to read that Hammer Films is back in business with the news that Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe is to star in ‘The Woman in Black‘ for them. Rather like most of the characters featured in their movies, I’d assumed that the company was long since dead. But it seems they simply became the undead and were just biding their time until a fresh crop of victims came along. In their heyday (1955 to 1959) the films were considered quite scary, but compared to later shockers like’ The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and’ Nightmare on Elm Street’, there was more ‘ham’ than horror in classics like ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’. These films made stars of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and much later Ingrid Pitt, most fondly remembered for her role in ‘Virgin Vampires’ alongside Kate O’Mara.

As a teenager, singer/songwriter Kate Bush dubbed the screams for Hammer, and featured a song entitled ‘Hammer Horror’ on her second album ‘Lionheart’.

But what I found even more interesting is the news that Hammer have gone into the publishing business with a series of gothic horror novels. Award winning author of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’, Jeanette Winterson is to pen a novella for them. Imagine the creative possibilities this opens up for the audio book versions of these horror stories. Let’s hope they can persuade Kate Bush to provide the screams . . . we haven’t heard much from her lately and as a big fan, I’d welcome any new sounds from her even if it is just a blood curdling scream of terror.


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Why E.T. shouldn’t call home anytime soon.

still from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Our first contact with intelligent life forms elsewhere in the universe may not come in the form of an announcement along the lines of, ‘that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for all life forms’, but a complaint to ofcom. This follows the announcement by astronomers working on the square kilometre array or SKA for short, that when the radio-telescope is completed it will be sensitive enough to detect mobile telephone systems up to 50 light years from earth. The astronomers plan to scan distant stars for artificial radio waves by linking together 3000 separate radio dishes and other antennae to form one vast machine. It’s planned to site the array in either the outback of Western Australia or the Karoo of South Africa, which will give a direct line of sight into the heart of The Milky Way.

Setting aside the legality of ‘hacking’ into an alien’s private phone calls, what are we likely to learn from this galactic eavesdropping? Not much, judging by most of the calls one is forced to overhear whilst travelling on a train or a bus here on earth.

That being the case we can look forward to gems like: ‘Me? I’m on the 9.10 Pan-Galactic Starcruiser to Andromeda. Yeah, I know, it’s a bloody disgrace. I’m going to be late for work again. We’ve been creeping along at Warp factor 5 for the last 300,000 miles.’

Of course if E.T. turns out to be a mega rich, Pan-galactic superstar, he may well take us to the Galactic equivalent of the European Court of Human Rights, and sue the collective arse off the entire human race for violation of his alien rights!’

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