Friday, 27 October 2017

Stop! Hammer time!

One of the great studios in the history of horror films – in my view, surpassed only by Universal – and indeed the only truly great British one was Hammer. Radio 4 has turned one of the unmade Hammer scripts, for The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula, into a radio play. And if Hammer isn't enough to lure you in, it's set in the 1930s, in India. The film was very nearly made on location in India in the 1970s. (Thinks: something for everyone who reads this blog in there, I reckon.)

The cast and crew list is truly impressive. Mark Gatiss directs it, and along with Laurence Bowen adapted the screenplay for radio. Gatiss' track record is really impressive. Leaving aside Sherlock, which I loathe, he scripted several episodes of ITV's Poirot and adapted MR James' 'The Tractate Middoth', made documentaries including one on the history of horror, and has written a trio of adventure novels about a character named Lucifer Box. And those are just the highlights. The cast includes Michael Sheen as narrator, and the wonderful writer and actress Meera Syal and dashing Nikesh Patel. You know you're going to be getting a quality Dracula there.

Part of me is really mourning the fact the film never got made. I'm sure they'd have been able to fit Helen in. In my alternate universe, there definitely is a film with Helen as Queen of the Vampires...

The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula is on Saturday 28 October at 2:30pm, but if you miss it, it'll be on catchup. (I'm not sure if that will work outside the UK, though.)

There's a quirkier approach to Dracula being broadcast on Halloween itself, as comedian Miles Jupp uses Stoker's novel as a sort of travel guide, and gets the train across Europe to Transylvania following Jonathan Harker's route. The Trainspotter's Guide To Dracula is on 31 October at 11:30 am – and, of course, there will always be the option of catchup.

I usually make a Halloween cake for my team at work, so that's what I'll be up to this weekend – I'll make the cake base and pop it in the freezer, then ice it all on Monday night. Other than that I have no plans, which is absolutely blissful to think about. No books to read for SFX, no commitments... I might just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling because I can. I hope yours is as relaxing!

14 comments :

  1. That sounds right up my street - well, the India bit anyway.
    Helen would make a great vampire!
    I'm working on Saturday but I can catch up in the week.
    Meera Syal went to my school (and I went out with her brother). It always makes me laugh when I hear her talking about growing up as the only Asian family in a Staffordshire mining town - she grew up in Walsall for heaven's sake, one of the most multicultural towns in the UK! xxx

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    1. Hehehe. Maybe she felt more isolated than she actually was.

      Listening to the radio play, there's a sequence where one character was dancing, and all I could think was, "Should DEFINITELY have made the film with Helen..."

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  2. A vampire story in India! Zowie! I'm there!

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  3. Enjoy the downtime-it sounds wonderful.Don't forget to take snaps of your cake so we can see it.

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    1. I am rubbish and didn't make the cake :-( But one of my team is at Paris Games Week right now anyhow, so I'll make one when he gets back.

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  4. I heard this advertised on Radio 4 on my way to work. I am ALL OVER it. Sounds brilliant. I loved Hammer films. They were absolutely fabulous. Cheesy, camp and to be honest, bloody awful but so awful that they were fab. I love a good vampire story so will listen to the other program too. Thank you for the heads up. We are having a charity Hallow'een bake off on Monday so my Sunday will be cake filled too. Have a superb, relaxing time. Xx

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    1. I'm a big defender of Hammer films - some of them were genuinely good, especially the early ones. Though the quality did decline as the years went on. Dracula 1972AD is deffo a guilty pleasure of mine...

      I hope the baking went well. Mine didn't go at all!

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  5. When I saw the title of this post on my blogroll I envisioned Mim in those trousers with the crotch below the knees that MC Hammer used to where...

    My first date ever was to watch a Hammer Horror movie - 'The Devil Rides Out'!

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    1. Those trousers are something I could never imagine wearing. EVER.

      Hmm, as first date films go, I can't imagine that one getting anyone in the mood for romance.

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  6. Interesting! Although when I think of Hammer, my mind goes immediately to Christopher Lee ❤ how I miss him.

    Is the trainspotters thing on the radio too? xxx

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    1. Christopher Lee was ace. The voice actor sounded nothing like him, though I can't imagine Hammer would've made a Dracula film without him.

      The trainspotters thing is on the radio - I'm Tivoing it, though it's already available to listen to online.

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  7. In a previous life, my boyfriend and I used to hold horror movie marathons on Halloween. That was way before Halloween was celebrated here, mind you. Hammer movies were among the regular and in spite of not really being a horror fan, I quite enjoyed these. Hope you've been enjoying your downtime, and I'm seconding Goody in asking for a photo of the cake! xxx

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    1. Horror movie marathons are ace. I think Pete and I might be boring and go to the gym - he hates trick-or-treaters, so if we go to the gym they'll all be gone by the time we get home again.

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