Welcome to week seven of Lockdown Movie Musts! Featuring weird subgenres of yore that’ll make you go, “Hey. At least a 3,000-year-old dude isn’t trying to make out with me right now.”
This week, we’re crawling through caves, humping in dungeons and howling at the moon with 1960s creature features! ... Only they’re all super low-budget and uncomfortably British, on account of my childhood being both of those things.
That’s right! I have reached that point in shelter-in-place where I've started revisiting Childhood Things in order to feel better. And unfortunately for you, I spent a sizable portion of my first decade on the planet watching “Hammer Horrors”—schlocky creature features made by Hammer Film Productions in ’50s, ’60s and ’70s England. Come along for the ride, won’t you? It’s very bumpy and includes some terrible sound effects. Just like the BART tunnel between Embarcadero and West Oakland. (In case the absence of regularly experiencing that is a void you need filling.)
Given the time and the place, we might as well start with the movie with the worst bat PR: 1960’s The Brides of Dracula. At its core, this movie is essentially a manual detailing the worst possible decisions you could ever make as a lone female traveler.
Here are some of the ones that our "heroine" Marianne makes:
- Accepting the offer of free room and board from a mysterious old lady who lives in a castle and looks like “Mom” from Futurama.
- Assisting the escape of an imprisoned maniac from the castle, on the grounds that he's a bit of a hottie.
- Leaving her worldly belongings behind at the castle, while she goes off to her new teaching job at the local girls' school. (Don't you need clean underwear, Marianne?)
- Agreeing to marry the maniac after 10 minutes of knowing him, even though both “Mom” and a babe from the local village die within 24 hours of him getting out. (Change your underwear, Marianne!)
- Never ever taking any responsibility at all for indirectly causing the deaths of at least three people. (Maybe you don't deserve clean underwear, Marianne!)
Don’t get me started on Peter Cushing's Van Helsing, a vampire-hunter who stops chasing vampires the second old ladies stand in the way, or women faint in the vicinity. A “hero” who tells sick women he’s a doctor, despite having zero medical qualifications. A guy who desperately needs a crucifix to do his job, but never carries a spare. (You’ve got, like, eight pockets bro!)