miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
I'm all electionned out, so I'm going to indulge myself today by talking about something else dear to my heart.

Those of you who have known me for some time, and know my proclivities when it comes to men, might have noticed that I have something of a type. Tall, geeky boys with deep voices and good legs. Men who can cook. Well-dressed, curly-haired men who look good in a beard and can pull off an outrageous hat. Men with a wicked, dry sense of humour; who look great in shiny boots but will wear slippers when nobody is looking. Men who lean bi, or at least are not bothered by being accused of such. Men who can wear a cravat. Men who can do a quizzical eyebrow.

This springs from a LOT of places, but not least of which is the fact that at the possibly somewhat precocious age of six I got REALLY into old horror movies. And the stalwarts of old horror movies* were three men, one of whom had his birthday yesterday, and the other two have it today.

Peter Cushing would have been 101 yesterday. At a mere dead-on-six-foot he's the shortest of the three, and he was certainly the slightest. He was an extraordinarily talented actor, and if you don't believe that you haven't seen his Winston Smith, which knocks old raddled-face Hurt into a cocked hat.

Peter Cushing always looked stunning in whatever he was wearing**, partly due to poise, and partly due to cheekbones you could slice steel with. I believe he is a large part of my fondness for men in suits, especially a good three piece.

The thing that I admire most about The Cush, though, is that everybody seems to have had a very deep and genuine affection for him - even that grumpy old Tory Sir Lee (of whom more later), who was his best friend and co-Sylvester the Cat impersonator from 1957 till the day that he died. He was a Proper Gentleman, always unfailingly polite to everybody from the tea lady to the Queen. This is something I could probably learn from.

Vincent Price was the most impish of the three, and also by far the most political. He would have been 103 today. He was huge friends with Kenny Everett***, campaigned against racism and sectarianism, and built and endowed the Vincent And Mary Price Art Museum at East LA college because of his firm belief in public access to great art. He adored his doggies, especially Joe, whom he loved so much he wrote a book about him****.

He was also a fabulous cook. I know this because (thanks to [personal profile] karohemd) I have one of his cookbooks. Because of the era it was written in, it has the same approach to healthy eating that I was brought up with - i.e. everything contains lots of butter, cream, and alcohol. Now that I am reasonably close to my target weight I look forward to trying more recipes from it.

Christopher Lee is the baby of the three, at a mere 92 today. What can I say about the grumpy old sod that I haven't said a thousand times before? Although in social terms I probably would have got on better with Cushing, and certainly in political terms I would have got on better with Price, Lee is the one whose voice goes directly to the forelock-tugging peasant genes in me and makes me sag at the knees and wish to serve, and I mean that in a deeply sexual way.

I have a spotify playlist called "Christopher Lee Reads Stuff". When [personal profile] magister is playing Lego The Hobbit on his playstation he calls me into the room for the cut scenes because Sir Lee narrates them. Christopher Lee's voice has had a very profound effect on me from the first moment I heard, at the tender age of six, they have destroyed my servant; they shall be destroyed. For all the stuff I talk about above, this is the biggie. Men with deep, commanding voices are my kryptonite, and Sir Lee is their king.

So yeah. In terms of genuine admiration that comes from judgment in my brain, Price probably just beats Cushing but they are both up there. In terms of instinctive reaction that I have no control over whatsoever? Yet to meet a man that can do with his entire soul and being what Christopher Lee can do with a single whispered syllable*****.

Here is Sir Lee talking about his two best mates. Enjoy:

I shall certainly be raising a glass to the three of them later.

* or at least the ones that I obsessively recorded on our Video2000 video recorder that they showed late night on the BBC.
** seriously, even as a tramp in fingerless gloves for Doctor Terror's House of Horrors the man radiates style.
*** yes, this almost certainly does mean what you think it means.
**** if you ever have an afternoon to spare and feel like one of those feel-good books that makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, I fully recommend The Book of Joe by Vincent Price, by the way.
***** although I can think of a couple who come close. You know who you are.

#FFWFest Day Two

Sunday, June 12th, 2011 12:13 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
The Plague of the Zombies

Classic Hammer cheese, set in a Cornish tin mine, with voodoo and Jacqueline Maximum Power!!!! Pierce and Michael Ripper and Andre Quatermas Morrell... The grey faces and the shambling and groaning are all a class above anything George A Romero ever did, and it's got a cheap workforce solution any Tory would be proud of. Gloriously sleazy performance from John Carson and a lovely climax.

Best bits? The zombies realising they are catching fire in the tin mine. Some classic zombie acting there.


The Hound of the Baskervilles

This was the BBC TV version with Peter Cushing (as opposed to the Hammer version with Peter Cushing) and felt like it was 80 minutes of script stretched out to 100 minutes. Holmes is absent for most of Baskerville, which works when you have a decent actor playing Watson. Unfortunately this doesn't have a decent actor playing Watson, and although Cushing is as excellent as ever, he's not in it enough to rescue it. And there was a glaring cock-up with the trains (don't ask) which is still annoying me now.

Best bits? Watson's sheep-shagger line, and the guy at the back of the audience quipping Shoulda gone to Specsavers when Stapleton falls into the Grimpen Mire.


Shorts: Suffer the Little Children

Every one of these was beautifully shot and lit. None of them had any real technical or quality issues. The scripts, though, varied enormously. The Happy Children was simple and atmospheric, but I was expecting a nastier ending - 6/10. Darkness Within possibly would have worked if even one of the characters had been in any way likeable, but I struggled to care about the suffering of the irritatingly smug husband and his voiceless wife - 3/10. Endless had the germ of a clever idea, but you have no idea of the relationship between any of the characters or what brought them to the point they were at. And the title felt appropriate by the time it ended. It dragged... - 3/10. Intercambio was dull and sexist and made no sense - 1/10. But then we got Click... And that was brilliant. The characters felt like real people doing the sort of things real people do, and the child actors were all excellent. I recommend you seek it out, if you can - 9/10.

The final film of this segment was The Elemental, which was nicely atmospheric with some creative shock moments and a great performance from the central actress - 7/10.

Best bits? Click, the whole of it.

Twins of Evil

A nice nuanced performance from Cushing makes this Hammer Ooo we've got twins who are willing to get their tits out film feel much higher quality than it otherwise might.

Best bits? The prison guard with the most impressive combover the world has ever seen, and Cushing's totally serious delivery of the line Satan has sent me twins... OF EVIL!!


Vincent Price Rarities Double Bill

The first half of this was a Parky-style interview with Vincent conducted by David Del Valle called The Sinister Image. I'd never seen it before, and learned a couple of new things from it, and mostly came away with the impression that Vincent was happy and relaxed and humorous about himself and his career. It was clear that he and David got on with each other and they were chatting like old friends. It was somewhat frustrating that every bit of Vincent's career got skated over very briefly, rather than a few choice bits gone into in depth, but I suspect that was always going to be the case. 6/10

The second half was An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe. I had seen it before, but I don't think many people there had. The format is basically a one-man reading of some of Poe's short stories, with some props and make-up, but nobody there other than Vincent. The first, Tell-Tale Heart, is the best, and I have only seen it bettered once (by Sean Pertwee, in this). Cask of Amontillado is also excellent. The whole thing is more of a stage, or even radio, play than TV/film, but it works because Price has the presence to carry it.

Best bits? VILLAINS! DISSEMBLE NO MORE! etc. 8/10
miss_s_b: (geekiness)
Am watching the debate. How bad is it that I am agreeing with John Redwood (Tory) and Tom Watson (Labour) and there's not a ONE of our MPs yet spoken against this abortion of a bill, despite the emergency motion that so many people worked so hard to push through conference?

In order to prevent my incandescent fury from making me explode, I present something that the government is trying to take away from us: a copyright infringing fandom collision. Ladies and gentlemen, here is Vincent Price on the basics of cricket:

((hat-tip [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks))

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