Sunday, 23 April 2017

The most forgettable comics I have ever owned - Part 17: House of Hammer #7.

The House of Hammer #7, Twins of Evil, Peter Cushing, Burn witch burn My childhood Fridays were dominated by two things; Googie Withers and Appointment With Fear.

Googie Withers, because she starred in Within These Walls, a TV show I have no memory of, other than that it starred Googie Withers.

Appointment With Fear dominated my Fridays because that TV feature dragged late Friday evenings down into a pit of terror from which no human mind could ever hope to escape.

Admittedly, even though I was of tender years and an habitual coward, Appointment With Fear never actually managed to scare me in the slightest. In truth, its introductory sequence of monsters' faces morphing into each other, one after the other, seemed more menacing than the movies ever did but it did introduce me to what seemed like an endless parade of Hammer horror films that all seemed to have exactly the same cast.

But ITV wasn't my only source of mallet based mayhem in the 1970s.

There was another.

And that was The House of Hammer, a magazine launched by future Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn, featuring comic strip adaptations of classic Hammer movies, and prose and photo features on the work of the company.

Admittedly, it wasn't much of a source for me, because I only ever had one issue and that was the one above, which published an adaptation of that cheeky tale of Karnstein based vampirism The Twins of Evil. Who could forget Peter Cushing's turn as a puritanical nutjob trying to rid his village of wanton and lascivious women, only to find that one of his own nieces is no better than she should be and likes to drink people's blood while she's at it? Why, I doubt that anyone with his wits about him could forget that film.

However, up until recently, I'd totally forgotten I once owned the magazine that adapted it. Happily, the internet is a wonderful place and the moment I accidentally stumbled across the cover on it, I realised at once that it had formerly been in my possession.

As always with this feature, despite the title of this post, The House of Hammer #7 wasn't at all forgettable. Now that my memory's been prodded by the cover image, I recall its take on the Twins of Evil quite clearly. I also recall that the issue contained an article about a movie I've only ever seen once, one which featured human sacrifice and possibly Donald Pleasance. What was the title of that movie? I have no idea. I know it wasn't Curse of the Crimson Altar but could say nothing beyond that.

The issue may also have featured a last-page photo of Yutte Stensgaard with fangs, and blood all over her. This image was clearly taken from Lust For A Vampire. However, I couldn't swear on my life that that image was indeed present, as it might actually have been in the one issue of Skywald's Nightmare that I ever owned.

29 comments:

TC said...

Donald Pleasence was in at least two horror films that may have involved devil-worship and human sacrifice. One was Eye of the Devil, sometime around 1967, and the other was Land of the Minotaur, in the mid-1970's. The latter co-starred Peter Cushing.

I think Yvette Stansgaard was also in The Vampire Lovers but I'm not sure. After a while, maybe all sexy vampire girls start to look alike.

The Curse of the Crimson Altar, IIRC, starred Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff. Maybe Barbara Steele as well. It was released in the US as The Crimson Cult.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, TC. It looks like the film I was thinking of was indeed, "Land of the Minotaur."

Dougie said...

STV's Friday night horror slot in the early 70s was called Don't Watch Alone. They showed original cinema trailers and that was the first time I saw Hammer's first Frankenstein & Dracula- around 1973. Iain, my department head in Elgin, is the only person I've ever met who remembers Don't Watch Alone.

Dougie said...

STV's Friday night horror slot in the early 70s was called Don't Watch Alone. They showed original cinema trailers and that was the first time I saw Hammer's first Frankenstein & Dracula- around 1973. Iain, my department head in Elgin, is the only person I've ever met who remembers Don't Watch Alone.

Mike Davies said...

I loved the House of Hammer mag, Steve. I started buying it as my Marvel Uk obsession was fading. I remember this issue well as my young teen self studied some of the panels depicting the twins very closely!!

Steve W. said...

Mike, I seem to remember the comic being more modest than the movie, in terms of what we were allowed to see but it was still fairly risque by British comic standards.

Dougie, I wish, "Appointment With Fear," had shown the trailers too. That would have been great.

In terms of films, I remember it showing;

The Gorgon
Curse of the Werewolf
The Skull
Night Creatures
Evil of Frankenstein
Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Sadly, I don't recall what other films it showed.

TC said...

My apologies to Yutte Stensgaard, for misspelling her name and for getting her mixed up with Kirsten Lindholm, who was in Lust for a Vampire, The Vampire Lovers, and Twins of Evil.

"Don't Watch Alone" sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe it was mentioned on this blog before.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does the use of yellow in background let down what would otherwise be a typically great Brian Lewis cover?

Steve, so far as films with Donald Pleasance go, are you thinking of that one with David Niven and Sharon Tate in it, Eye of the Devil?

-sean

Steve W. said...

Hi, Sean, it was definitely, "Land of the Minotaur." I've done a Google image search for it and recognise the pictures.

Kid said...

Stevie, it seems that every comic you've ever had is the most forgettable comic you've ever owned. "I can't remember anything about it" will be the inscription on your tombstone. (Unless you get cremated obviously.)

Steve W. said...

I like to think they'll put, "We don't remember anything about him," on my tombstone. It'll be the fate I deserve for my ignorance.

Kid said...

Dougie, I remember 'Don't Watch Alone' very well. STV were still using the name (with a filmed sequence) in the '90s. I first saw the name being used around 1970.

******

Well, Steve, unless they remember you're dead, you probably won't have a tombstone.

Anonymous said...

Ok Steve, it was just a guess.
I wonder how many forgettable horror films were made about human sacrifice with Donald Pleasance...

-sean

Colin Jones said...

Remember in the late '70s and early '80s when BBC 2 used to show a double-bill of classic horror films on Saturday nights during the summer months ?

Steve W. said...

I remember, Colin. I think I remember them once doing a double bill of, "This Island Earth," and, "Barbarella."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I can't believe the Blow Money's "Wait" never got more than 7 in the UK charts and never charted in the USA.

W.t.h. is that all about???

You guys ever see them perform?

How the heck is I was in Germany at that time, doing my gig for Uncle Sam, and they were such a big hit in the club and we all had the album???

Steve W. said...

My suspicion would be that the Blow Monkeys were competing for the same slice of the, "Sophisti-Pop," market as the likes of Aztec Camera, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Deacon Blue, Johnny Hates Jazz, Prefab Sprout, the Kane Gang, Swing Out Sister and Scritti Politti, among a load of others, and possibly weren't quite distinctive enough to stand out in the crowd, meaning they were more popular with DJs and critics than they were with the public.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Interesting thoughts! Johnny Hates Jazz.,. Got to give a listen! It's been a few decades since I heard Shattered Dreams!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

For what it's worth, talk to a Chicagoan and they will all remember "Creature Features" every Saturday night, Channel 9 (WGN) from 10:30 - 12:30. Usual B&W scary stuff from the 30s - 60s.

Just recently saw "The Amazing Colossal Man" again which I had last seen on "Creature Features" like around 1970ish. Still quite the story. (Really quite a story when you are 9 years old and pre-internet! Holy Cow was that a story!)

You familiar with it? The Colonel exposed to the atomic bomb and grows to 50' becoming insane?

TC said...

I suspect Stan Lee was familiar with "The Amazing Colossal Man" when he created the Incredible Hulk about five or six years later!

Steve W. said...

I'm fairly sure I've seen it. Wasn't he called Glenn? Somehow, there was something about him being called Glenn that made him seem so much less threatening.

I'm still trying to get over seeing, "The Incredible Shrinking Man." I still worry about what happened to him after the film was over.

Colin Jones said...

After the film was over, the Incredible Shrinking Man probably landed on a sub-atomic world where he had lots of adventures and eventually became king. The only Blow Monkeys song I remember is "Diggin' Your Scene".

Rachel Petro said...

Yep! Glenn! Ole Glenn just could not adapt to wearing a diaper, getting 50' tall, eating groceries by the cart... I guess he just could not handle adversity? I just remember the syringe being driven into his big toe from a 6' man and he was 50' tall. Nice memory for a kid!

Yep! "Diggin your Scene" was Blow Monkeys hit! "There's no hope for a hungry child..." On "Wait" they use a local girl from Chicago Kym Mazelle for the background / accompanying vocals. No idea why... Perhaps she was in the UK at the time?

Anonymous said...

Colin

I remember those BBC 2 double features. Usually the RCA monster of the week (Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolf man etc) followed by the Hammer 'colour' remake. I think they used to start around 10pm, which meant if you could stay awake during Starsky and Hutch, you'd likely power through.

DW

Steve W. said...

Hi, Rachel. Looking at her biography on Wikipedia, virtually everything to do with Kym Mazelle's career seems to relate to her doing things in Britain, so it looks like she must have moved here permanently after her early days, which would explain her presence on a Blow Monkeys record.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, are you aware that Rachel Petro and Charlie Horse 47 are the same person ? Rachel Petro is Charlie's daughter and he sometimes uses her google account to make comments. By the way, Charlie, thanks for the fascinating information that your children are able to vote in the French election because of their French mother - that would never be allowed here !

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Colin, you are absolutely correct! Sometimes my daughter logs in on her Google account and forget to log out and so I end up using her account on accident to post things LOL.

The thing that creeps me out about my children having French citizenship is the expression "blood of the mother. "It just sounds very Nazi like in the way they pursued the Jewish people. If your mother was Jewish the children were considered Jewish.

Colin Jones said...

Yes, I've heard that Jewishness is passed down from the mother - Winston Churchill's mother was Jewish but I've never heard of Churchill being called Jewish. Britain's only Jewish Prime-Minister was Benjamin D'Israeli in the 19th Century but his family converted to Protestantism when D'Israeli was 13 so he wasn't properly Jewish when he was Prime-Minister, just racially Jewish.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm recalling it's Biblical that the blood passed through the mother. Fortunately most (???) of the educated western world has a better understanding of genetics and religion isn't a chromosome, lol.

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