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The Ghoul (1975)

Beautifully shot, with fog-shrouded moors, a lovely period setting and a racist "white-woman-blacked-up-to-play-an-Indian" bit of casting, The Ghoul is a top-notch Gothic horror in the Hammer tradition, which unfortunately by the time it was made was woefully out of whack with the trends at the time. Still, with the benefit of hindsight, it's a cracker.

Peter Cushing (as great as ever) keeps his son (a pre Bullman Don Henderson wearing nowt but green body paint and a big nappy) locked in his bedroom after the unfortunate bloke contracts a strange tropical disease.

John Hurt (years before a baby Alien made a mess of his white t-shirt and ruined everyone's breakfast) is a nutty gardener working for Cushing on his Cornish estate (what is it about Gothic horrors and Cornwall? You'd be forgiven for thinking the production crew fancied a holiday there, except that the nearest this film gets to a fog shrouded moor is a dry ice-shrouded Shepperton studios).

Enter a group of hooray Henrys and Henriettas (including horror stalwart Ian McCulloch and horrifically bad actress Alexandra Bastedo), who have been enjoying the most boring car race in history.

Well, you can guess what happens next, can't you? Bumpings-off galore, a fair amount of blood letting… yup, all the things we love. And all done with a lot of class (despite Henderson looking like a green version of the Tango man). A late night must-see. This was one of the last attempts to ressurrect the Gothic horrors that had proved so successful in the 60s, and it has all the ingredients. Anyone wanting to try and bring 'em back again could do worse than looking at this little gem.

Director: Freddie Francis Writer(s): Anthony Hinds

Cast: Peter Cushing - Doctor Lawrence, John Hurt - Tom Rawlings, Alexandra Bastedo - Angela, Gwen Watford - Ayah, Veronica Carlson - Daphne, Don Henderson - The Ghoul, Ian McCulloch - Geoffrey, Stewart Bevan - Billy, John D. Collins - Young Man, Dan Meaden - Police Sergeant

 

Last updated: February 23, 2010

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