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By James Whittington, Thursday 17th November 2011
The Horror Channel continues its celebration of Hammer cinema with a seasonal menu of blood and barely restrained cleavage in a celebration of those glorious 70s supernatural sirens.
Over four weeks, starting December 24th, you can share the Christmas season with Ingrid Pitt, Yutte Stensgaard, Martine Beswick and real-life twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson in a crop of 1971 Hammer favourites. All movies start at 11.10pm.
December 24th - Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde
Starring Ralph Bates, Martine Beswick and Gerald Sim, Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde is a sexy take on the famous Jekyll and Hyde story. Dr. Jekyll makes a formula that turns him into a beautiful, yet evil, woman. However, he needs female hormones for his experiments, and will go to any lengths to get them. Orignally from Jamaica, Martine Beswick, who plays Sister Hyde, was a favourite of the film director Terence Young who cast her in two Bond films. Nicknamed 'Battling Beswick', due to her provocative onscreen catfights, Hammer cast her as the ferocious Nupundi in One Million Years BC, opposite Rachel Welsh and spin-off film Slave Girls. She is now retired from acting.
December 31st - Lust For A Vampire.
In the blood-drenched shocker Lust For A Vampire a seductive vampiress returns from the grave and casts her alluring spell over all who encounter her, including the nubile young girls of a finishing school. Yutte Stensgaard only appeared in one Hammer film but made quite an impression with male viewers as the predatory Mircalla who bites her way through the pupils of a ladies finishing school. She then accepted an offer to become the hostess of ATV’s game show The Golden Shot but the British press shot her down and she went to live in the USA, where she now works for a Radio Network.
January 7th – Countess Dracula
Probably one of the most famous Hammer movies from the 1970s, Countess Dracula stars Ingrid Pitt as an aging Countess who bathes in the blood of innocent young girls to retain her youthful looks. Polish-born Ingrid Pitt is perhaps the most iconic of the Hammer leading ladies and when the company was re-instated in 2007 it was Ingrid they chose to represent the old guard in Beyond The Rave. The Hammer Films' "Queen of Horror" had a successful acting career beyond playing insidious vampires, starring in The Wicker Man, Who Dares Wins and Smiley's People. She died in 2010, aged 73.
January 14th – Twins OF Evil
Peter Cushing gives a stunning performance in the late Hammer shocker Twins Of Evil. Two sisters are sent to live with their uncle who is a dedicated slayer of vampires. But one girl succumbs to the lure of the local vampire. Born in Malta, Mary and Madeleine Collinson have the distinction of being the only Hammer debutants to appear on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show – this after Hugh Hefner chose them as Playboy's 1970s 'Misses October'. Although the film remains one of the most popular amongst fans and the twins give highly credible performances their on-screen careers shuddered to a halt and they retired from acting in 1978.
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