What’s it called?

Hammer Volume Five: Death And Deceit

What’s it about?

There’s a huge clue in the title: it’s a collection of four movies from the Golden Age of Hammer Films, the legendary British studio best known for such, er, classics as Taste The Blood Of Dracula, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb and Frankenstein Created Woman. Aiming to go beyond the horror and science-fiction which had been its staple throughout the 1950s, Hammer branched out in the 1960s to encompass genres as varied as spy thrillers and historical romps. It’s examples those which are included in this fifth collection of Hammer films from re-issue specialists Indicator, out tomorrow.

Who’s in them?

Christopher Lee often played the in-house vampire or ghoul for Hammer and he can be seen in action here in 1962’s The Pirates Of Blood River though this time he’s playing French (I think: his accent isn’t great) buccaneer Captain LaRoche in a story set around a 17th century penal colony in the New World. That one also features a young Oliver Reed and, in one of his first appearances, Dennis Waterman of Minder and The Sweeney fame. Reed also features in two of the other films – 1963’s The Scarlet Blade, set during the English Civil War, and 1965’s The Brigand Of Kandahar, set in 1850 on India’s Northwest Frontier. The final film, from 1961, is Visa To Canton starring American actor Richard Basehart in a Cold War thriller set in China.

What’s so good about it?

Film afficionados will enjoy a collection of films which steer well clear of the usual Hammer tropes – everyone else can indulge in some much-needed (and delightfully schlocky) escapism.

Fun fact …

The jungle scenes in The Pirates Of Blood River were shot in (wait for it) Buckinghamshire

For fans of ...

Zulu, Pirates Of The Caribbean, The Manchurian Candidate