Sunday, October 3, 2021

coffin jo(k)e.

Day 3 of the whole 31 Days of Horror spook-tacular and it's time for the undead to rise....


Other horrific creatures are available.

Dr. Blood's Coffin (1961).
Dir: Sidney J. Furie.
Cast: Kieron Moore, Hazel Court, Ian Hunter, Kenneth J. Warren, Andy Alston, Gerald Lawson and Fred Johnson.

Yup, THAT Fred Johnson.

'This is something from hell!'

Our story begins in an almost Lynchian manner as two men - a tall masked surgeon and a tiny shocked haired Austrian pensioner argue medical ethics as the camera unflinchingly focuses on a cadavers feet.

The old man instructs his younger charge to stop playing God before telling them to (politely) fuck off before he calls the police.

Now I'm intrigued.

Meanwhile something strange is afoot in the small Cornish village of Spent where local doctor's surgeries are being ransacked and various folk are disappearing without a trace.

Who or what could be behind this?

Being Cornwall the locals are blaming foreigners and demanding some kind of Brexit 50 odd years early not realizing that the danger is much closer to home.

Well closer than Brussels anyway.

You see both the myriad of stolen medical supplies and the - by now drugged up - missing people have been taken to the local disused tin mine and placed in a makeshift laboratory by persons unknown.


Enter (roughly from behind) the hunkyily squared jawed Dr. Peter Blood (actor cum activist Moore) who has recently returned home to Spent to spend time with his father Robert - the local doctor (Mott The Hoople frontman Hunter) after spending 3 years studying advanced biochemistry in Vienna.


And maybe get to know his recently widowed nurse, Linda (Hammer horror babe Court), a wee bit better.

Easy tiger.

Hazel Court with her hands in the till.

Thankful for the appearance of someone who's not either senile or drunk, local police chief and boiled egg-alike Sgt Peter Cook (Warren, best known as Z.Z. von Schnerk in The Avengers episode Epic and for his portrayal of General Frank in Digby The Biggest Dog In The World) excitedly asks Peter to help find all the missing stuff, little realizing that he's actually behind it all.

Peter is more than happy to help seeing as it'll help prevent Cook and co. from discovering his secret mine-based lab so heads off to the caves announcing that he'll go in first cos he knows his way around them from when he used to hide in there as a kid with a bottle of Thunderbird and a copy of Men Only (incorporating Lilliput) magazine.

And to prove it our scientist pal points to a moldy pile of tissues in the mine entrance.

Your Auntie Jean - ask your dad.

It's actually quite lucky - or just lazy plotting - that Peter turns up when he does, seeing as he's no sooner ventured into the mines than he finds local fish monger and latest kidnap victim Ian Beale desperately trying to crawl to freedom.

Unfortunately Sgt Cook is close by and it takes all of Peter's cunning (he picks up a crumpled centre spread featuring Veronica Carlson and says "Feast yer eyes on this!") to lead Cook away from the poor fella and therefore keep his hidden lab, um, hidden but as the pair search for even sexier pics of Ms Carlson 'tween the rocks and shale Beale manages to crawl his way to freedom.

Luckily (again) being the only person there with a medical background the search party call on Peter to give some doctorly assistance and as Beale mumbles incoherently, our mental medic injects him with a secret sauce before pronouncing him dead, taking the body to the local undertakers cum morgue for 'tests'.

As the group lift Beale's body (he's a big bloke) a broken syringe falls from his pocket which Robert scoops up to take to Plymouth for a closer examination.

This may be important. 

But first there's some romancin' to be done with the lovely Linda who, thanks to the BluRay transfer has the most terrifying shade of peach lipstick I have ever seen.

Seriously it's retina burning in its intensity.

Lipstick round mah mooth.

By romancing I actually mean an uncomfortably stilted chat about her dead hubbie (this may be important later) and Peter's time in Vienna before Linda admits to being scared of caves - all whilst pretending to drive against a scarily mismatched backscreen projection plate.
It turns out that Peter came home because of an argument he had with his professor regarding a controversial medical procedure he'd created and arrogantly informs Linda that 'no-one will hold me back now'.

As you can tell the rest of the journey is about as comfortable as the one's you had as a kid after your mum had caught your dad kissing her sister at Christmas.

Just me then?

Back at the village and Peter busies himself with Beale's autopsy as the local undertaker Morton Rolls (Lawson, he's probably been in loads of stuff but I really can't be bothered looking) wanders around in the background drinking.

When the coast is clear (and Morton has passed out) Peter gets on with the real job at hand - removing Beale's still beating heart in order to place it in a dead person and bring them back to life.

Stumbling into the room looking for some Ajax to sniff dear old Morton interrupts Peter's macabre experiment and our deranged doc begins to rant about how Beale was a drunken oaf who never amounted to anything - which is a fair point - and so he's going to put Beale's heart into someone dead to give them a second chance.

Fair enough.

Morton, thinking Peter is a bollocks spouting mentalist, tries to stop him but in the ensuing struggle (I say struggle but it's more like the kind of pushy, pushy fight two posh schoolgirls would have) Peter kills the poor old fella.

Not only that tho' but being left on the kitchen table for so long, Beale's heart has died too.

'Now I'll have to find another one', says Peter angrily.

But first there's a wee bit more romancin' to do.

So Peter takes Linda up the tin mine.

Something that would probably be illegal today.

Insert cock here.

Enjoying a picnic amongst the rocks and, er, tins outside the mine Peter excitedly takes Linda's hand and leads her into the dark where he regales the nice nurse with amusing tales from his youth.

And by amusing I mean a wee bit freaky as it seems that as a boy he'd often go deep into the mine and pretend to be dead, just lying there listening to the drip drop of water.

And then he'd pretend to come back to life.

Linda, as you can imagine, is a little disturbed by this, luckily the tension is dissipated by the timely arrival of self-employed tin miner and part-time Wurzels tribute act Trevor Tregaye (Johnson) whose bizarre conversation regarding mining for gold and neck scarves completely destroys the mood so the pair make their excuses and leave.

Annoyed at having his chance of touching the hem of a ladies skirt scuppered Peter later returns that afternoon and drugs Tregaye before heading back into town for Beale's funeral, arriving just as the ceremony begins.

As the coffin is lowered into the ground Peter notices that Linda has gone missing so he goes to look for her, soon finding the poor girl staring doe-eyed at her husband Steve's grave.

Poor lamb.

That evening Robert returns from Plymouth with the news that the syringe contained traces of a paralysis causing drug only found in The Amazon (or was it on Amazon? - really can't remember) just around the place where Peter's best friend went on holiday once, a fact that Linda vaguely remembers Peter mentioning.

Peter shuffles from foot to foot before trying to deflect to deflect suspicion away from him by saying that she's talking shite and must have a women's period or something but as Linda starts to confront him Sgt Cook arrives to inform them that Tregaye has been found dead before asking Peter to perform the post mortem.

Peter excitedly agrees.

Look into my eyes....not around my eyes but into my eyes....then shite in mah mooth!

 As Peter gets to work tho' Linda storms in to confront him and hopefully discover that he's not really a mentalist but after giving his "I put the  hearts of drunks into the dead bodies of those who deserve to live" speech she soon realises that she's onto plumbs pointing out that he may be able to restore 'physical life' but that the results will create an 'evil being'.

Peter counters this by randomly announcing that Linda only loves Steve's memory - and not what he is now, which he describes as being pinned down by a gravestone.

Which is nice.

Linda being a girl runs off sobbing.

With it almost being the end of the movie, Sgt Cook and Robert have both come to the conclusion that it's Peter who's behind everything (except Diana's death obviously cos that hasn't happened yet) and decide to go look for him.

Peter meanwhile is in the cemetery digging up Steve Parker's body.....

You can see where this climax is heading can't you?

Famous for being (allegedly) the first ever zombie movie filmed in colour and for having Nicolas Roeg as its camera operator, Doctor Blood's Coffin plays out like a low-rent British version of Re-Animator that replaces all the good stuff (gore, violence, black humour and Barbara Crampton's milky smooth tummy) from that movie with endless shots of fields, high waist trousers and bad teeth.

Oh yes.





Sidney J. Furie's direction is adequate tho' it never gets as exciting as his work on The Ipcress File or even Superman IV and his tiny cast do what they can with the threadbare script but when even Hazel Court in a nurses outfit (and a lemon cardie) can't pique your interest you know something is terribly wrong.

Even thinking about a sly titwank she'd kill you.

Neither cheap and cheerful as The Earth Dies Screaming or as fun as Island of Terror, Dr Blood's Coffin is the horror equivalent of a brightly coloured blunt pencil - great to have on in the background if you can't sleep but ultimately pointless with a splash of gore and a walking corpse that's too little too late to save it from flatlining.

See it just to say you have so as to impress girls, or alternatively just memorize this review and pretend you have.

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