1)There's an interesting momment on the commentary track for this where Eric Saward suddenly notices how similar this story is to "Earthshock": An old enemy that hasn't been seen in awhile attacks an isolated group of humans, there's a lengthy "breaking down a door" scene, the humans are led by an extremely butch military figure, there's a traitor who comes to a bad end and the ending involves our heroes having to prevent an apocalypse by ungimmicking a computer that the enemy has rigged to cause a catastrophe.
2)Ah, the perils of setitng a story in the future - it's supposed to be 2084 and the graphics on the attack computer look almost exactly like "Missile Command". Also, in the future, everyone wears lots of eye shadow.
3)Sure all the lizards on the base were killed, but what about their ship? Was there no one left on board? Be funny if five minutes after the Doctor left, a bunch more Silurians came on board and started World War Three anyway.
4)I'm not wild about the re-designed Silurians - yeah, they look a little better than the Bronze Age ones, but why take their cool "third eye" weapon and turn it into a Dalek-style "speech indicator"? Also, if you look closely, you can occasionally see the actor's eyes behind the masks, and in Part Three, there's a scene where you can clearly see that the actors' head pieces have come untucked from their torsos - you can see their tee shirts underneath! For that matter, I'm not wild about the re-designed Sea Devils, either, I liked the Pertwee era ones better. These new Sea Devils - there's something wrong with their necks, their heads have a tendency to flop to one side, like they're looking at things quizzically all the time. Also interesting, they refer to themselves as "Silurians" and "Sea Devils" which can't possibly be their names for themselves. Another thing, they move so slowly in this - I know they're supposed to be reptiles, but could they have been a little less listless? How do they ever catch any humans? Maybe it's just as well they don't move fast, there's a scene in Part Four where two Sea Devils bump into one another, probably becasue they can't see one another in those outfits.
5)Apparently, "Tarpok" was going to be called "Tanpon", before somebody suddenly noticed what was wrong with that name.
6)It kind of surprised me that the Doctor was so concerned about Sentinel Six. Surely, Earth technology couldn't damage the TARDIS?
7)Ingrid Pitt is said to have been famous for her appearances in various Hammer horror pictures. I confess my great shame as a horror movie fan that I have never seen any Hammer horror pictures. Henry (or anyone else who cares to answer), which ones are good ones to watch?
8)The set-up of the Sea Base seems way too insecure, and Maddox seems way too squirrelly to have ever been considered for a role like the synch operator.
9)The fact that they just happen to have scads of the perfect lethal chemical lying around is just way too "Plot Convenience Playhouse" for me.
10)Much of the talk of the Doctor's history with the Silurians doesn't quite jibe with existing continuity - unless we suppose that there are some "untold stories" in there soemwhere.
11)Let's be fair - while the Pantomime Horse Myrka has been much criticized for its goofiness (and rightly so), is it really all that much goofier than the Ergon or the Plasmatons or any number of other critters the show has coughed up over the years? I say no. Saying that, however, while I'm not prepared to swear that the scene where Solow kung fu kicks the Myrka is the goofiest scene Doctor Who has ever produced, I cannot at this time think of a goofier one off the top of my head. Also, if the Sea Base people were that desperate to keep baddie sout, maybe they shouldn't have made their doors out of rubber.
12)There are several scenes where the humans and the Sea Devils are standing three yards apart and missing each other four times out of five.
13)The Silurian gimmick at the end looks just like a giant Pop-O-Matic to me.
14)Some fun quotes:
Setting aside the goofiness of the Myrka, and the somewhat less than successful redesigns of the lizard men, I actually quite enjoyed this story. I lke a good base under siege story, and I found this one fairly enjoyable.
[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]
I love that bit.
I don't mind the Myrka as much as I do the mud-beast from "Caves of Androzani."
I just realized , both Ingrid Pitt and Tom Adams (the base commander) were in THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD. She played Jon Pertwee's actress-friend while he played the homicidal maniac, "Dominic".
WARRIORS is so bad on so many levels, yet many seem to ignore what's really wrong with the plot and the characters (especially the characters, their actions, their motivations, etc. etc. etc.) and focus on dumb things like "too much light" and "Oh look at the Pantomime Horse!" This last time around, I just did myself a favor, pretended it never happened, and skipped it completely.
There's so many Hammer Films I love, and frankly, the studio had such a recognizable style, almost anything they did is worth at least a view. But for favorites...?
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (the film that made Peter Cushing a star!)
HORROR OF DRACULA (Peter Cushing & Michael Gough vs. Christopher Lee!)
THE MUMMY (Peter Cushing vs. George Pastell & his reanimated hit-man, Christopher Lee!)
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes!)
THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN
THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (Chris Lee gets to play the hero!)
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (Ingrid Pitt's "signature" role!)
DRACULA A.D. 1972
THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA
These last 2 were both written by Don Houghton, who of course also wrote "Inferno" and "The Mind Of Evil". Both feature Peter Cushing returning as Van Helsing, in 2 of his best performances ever, I feel.
Ingrid Pitt also has a nice part in WHERE EAGLES DARE. I love the bit where Richard Burton looks at her and says, "...and what a disguise!" --and she just smiles. That film's 10 times more violent than this, yet is also a hell of a lot of FUN to watch!
Thanks, Henry, I'll try to give some of them a look if I can/
I've not seen nearly as many Hammer films as Henry. The studio became a gothic horror studio due to the success of its Frankenstein and Dracula films. Before its first ones it had made some SF horror films, beginning with The Quatermass Xperiment (B&W, 1955), which was a movie version of Nigel Kneale's first Quatermass serial. X the Unknown (B&W, 1956) was an early killer blob movie. I haven't seen either of these.
I enjoyed The Abominable Snowman (B&W, 1955) when I watched it recently. It stars Forrest Tucker and Peter Cushing. The script was by Nigel Kneale. (These are) the Damned (B&W, 1963), which I haven't seen, was directed by Joseph Losey and stars Oliver Reed. I've seen a sequence from it, so I can say it has some stylish imagery.
I think (Horror of) Dracula (1958), which I haven't seen, was the first vampire move with a fanged vampire. It sounds impossible, since we're all so used to fanged vampire imagery, but Universal's vampires were unfanged. Dracula himself didn't appear in the immediate follow-up, Brides of Dracula (1960), but Peter Cushing's Van Helsing did. In many of his Dracula films Christopher Lee has little or no dialogue. The last two Dracula films mentioned by Henry were set in the present day. Johanna Lumley appeared in 1973's The Satanic Rites of Dracula (which also has a scene in which Lee's Dracula briefly uses a Bela Lugosi accent to disguise his identity).
There's a similarity to the gothic horror films, although some are better than others. I don't think I've see any of the Frankenstein ones. The 70s productions are bloodier and often have female nudity. Countess Dracula (1971), which stars Ingrid Pitt, is unpleasant to watch and not a vampire film. Vampire Circus (1972) is a decent period vampire one with Lalla Ward and David Prowse in the cast. The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974) was a co-production with Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers and is not very good.
A well-known non-gothic horror Hammer film is One Million Years B.C. (1966), with Rachel Welch, a cavemen-and-dinosaurs story with no dialogue in English. The follow-up, basically similar but without Welch, was When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970). In The Lost Continent (1968, and not the only film of this title) a ship drifts into the Sargasso Sea and finds there a people descended from the Spanish Conquisadores who use balloon harnesses to walk on the weeds.
Other studios (Amicus and Tigon) made films similar in style to the contemporary Hammer ones in the 60s/70s, with some of the same talent, notably Peter Cushing.
The Reptile (1966) is a horror film about a supernatural killer in a 19th century British village. The Plague of the Zombies (1966) is a pre-Night of the Living Dead zombie film set in 19th century Cornwall. We don't see much of the zombies, but it has a couple of effective sequences. Jacqueline Pearce had roles in both films.
Quatermass and the Pit (a.k.a. Five Million Years to Earth, 1967), Hammer's third Quatermass film, featured Andrew Keir as Quatermass and Julian Glover as the close-minded Colonel Breen. Unlike the two 50s Quatermass films it was in colour. The Anniversary (1968) was a film version of a play. It starred Bette Davis as an awful matriarch who manipulates her adult children in order to dominate them.
Interesting stuff. Now that I'm almost caught up on old Doctor Who stories, I shall have to think of a different "viewing project" soon.
"Dracula himself didn't appear in the immediate follow-up, Brides of Dracula (1960), but Peter Cushing's Van Helsing did."
What lack of sleep will do to you. HOW did I forget to put that one on the list??? Another of Cushing's best. I actually saw it in a theatre in the early 70's (after having already seen it on TV).
"In many of his Dracula films Christopher Lee has little or no dialogue."
Isn't it absurd? Such a GREAT actor, and they treat him like a glorifed stuntman. DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS doesn't even get good until the 2nd half of the film arrives.
"The last two Dracula films mentioned by Henry were set in the present day."
Lee hated that, but I loved it. Mostly because both films did have Van Helsing, and without Van Helsing, it's like a superhero comic without the superhero. Where the nominal "hero" defeats the VILLAIN thru "dumb luck and general science 1" (as Jules Feiffer once put it).
"Joanna Lumley appeared in 1973's The Satanic Rites of Dracula (which also has a scene in which Lee's Dracula briefly uses a Bela Lugosi accent to disguise his identity)."
That scene is hilarious. But it also made me wonder how it might have gone if Lee had always used a European accent (he does speak fluent German, see "1941").
Because Hammer lost their distribution (the downfall of the company, really), that film took about 6 years to get here. It was released under the idiotic title COUNT DRACULA AND HIS VAMPIRE BRIDE. I saw it when it came out, and about 15-20 minutes in, I realized I'd seen photos from it in FAMOUS MONSTERS, 5 years earlier. It also hit theatres about halfway thru CBS's 1st running of THE NEW AVENGERS, and I had such a THING for Joanna Lumley at the time (and for many years after).
The crazy thing is, "Jessica Van Helsing" was played by the blonde & very buxom Stephanie Beachum in the 1st film, but then, by the SLENDER and oddly red-headed Joanna Lumley in the sequel. I mean, they don't look anything at all alike! Yet they both wind up unconscious on an altar by the end of their films, as Dracula plans to make her his bride as his form of "revenge" against the family of the man who destroyed him 100 years earlier.
Freddie Jones plays a misguided scientist in SATANIC RITES, and it took a few viewings before I realized he was the tragic victim of a brain transplant operation in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED. So it was like they were having a reunion, except this time on opposite sides from where they had been in the earlier film.
I've gotten in the habit of watching all 9 Hammer DRACULA films as a set in recent years. Even the bad ones are fun, including the last one, THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES. (Or, as I like to call it, "Dracula and the Army of Kung Fu Zombies") Hammer teams with Golden Harvest! Wild.
We should mention for the benefit of anyone thinking of seeking out the films that Cushing plays another Van Helsing in The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, but John Forbes-Robertson plays Dracula (and only appears at the beginning and end). The movie is set in China in the early 20th century.
I've read an interview with Lee in which he said the reason he had so little dialogue in the films was the dialogue was terrible and he refused to speak it.
Count Orlok was fanged in Nosferatu (1922), but his fangs were enlarged incisors rather than canines.
I heard another story about Lee's lack of dialogue. Lee became the most expensive actor Hammer tended to hire. They paid him by the day. They often used his name in the cast to raise production money from the distributors, who sometimes insisted he be in the films, otherwise, they didn't want to put up the money. But once they got the money, they kept his involvement limited, in order to keep costs down.
Compare this with Amicus (the "kindler, gentler" horror studio, who tended to do "PG" films with no actual sex or violence onscreen). Milton Subotsky LOVED making movies, and tended to spend most of any given budget on ACTORS, resulting in his films making JUST-- BARELY-- enough to allow him to then go on and make the NEXT one. Lee often got much better roles in Amicus films.
I noticed that with Hammer, it seemed as though they could afford to hire Lee-- or a good writer-- but not both. (heh)
Lee got more dialogue in SCARS OF DRACULA than any of his other Dracula films... and apparently, this was because when it was planned, he wasn't supposed to be in it. It was intended as a companion piece to HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN, which was designed to "reboot" the series with a new lead actor. That's why the continuity with the previous film is so dodgy (bordering on non-existent). But for at least the 2nd time in a row (as with TASTE THE BLOOD OF...) the distributor balked at funding a Hammer "Dracula" film without Lee, and so they had to BEG him to come back. "Please, Chris! If you don't do the film, ALL these people will be out of work!"
I (re)listened to the commentary to this and "Earthshock" in the last 2 days.
I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think I may have an even bigger crush on Janet Fielding than ever.
I've adored her from the start.