This sci-fi action thriller was always destined to be a stone-cold classic. The source book was written by the guy who also penned THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI, one of the best war stories ever committed to paper, and then celluloid.

Rod Serling, one of the screenwriters, was best known for his super-successful spooky anthology television series, THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Director Franklin James Schaffner also directed PAPILLON (1973) and, one of my all-time favourite films, THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL (1978).

So, you see, the book and the screenplay were always going to be in safe hands. Not so poor Charlton Heston as All-American astronaut George Taylor, who crashes his spaceship in the lake of an unknown planet along with two colleagues, Dodge and Landon, a fourth astronaut, a female called Stewart, having perished on board ship. They have been gallivanting through the universe for hundreds of years but, due to some outer space trickery, they haven’t aged a day.

The new planet seems horribly bleak, deserted and even hostile. Watch out for the stunning scenes of Taylor & Co. trying to navigate their stony new surroundings. The settings look genuinely just like a hostile planet might look, so the fact that all the scenes are real Earth locations, as opposed to a fake set, is just mind-blowing…! At last, the lads find a lovely clear lake that seems safe enough to swim in, so off with their kit and in they dive…

Cue some rather fetching nudity, and it’s worth remarking that Charlton Heston in this movie has a fabulous body, hard and toned and hairy (thank Christ it’s only 1968 and waxing the male chest wasn’t a thing yet!) and utterly masculine, and it makes me sad that they don’t make ‘em like that anymore. His thighs are a poem, those hard muscled buttocks a symphony to the beauty of the male nude. Would I ‘do’ him? In a heartbeat, folks…  

Anyway, Taylor soon finds out that the planet he’s landed on is run by . . . wait for it . . . intelligent, talking apes, who have enslaved any humans in the place and created a strict hierarchy for their society which sees the terrifying black gorillas as the muscle-for-hire and labourers when needed, the intellectual chimpanzees as teachers, doctors and scientists and the orang-utangs as the sort of scions of society who have the last word in anything to do with government and religion. Ah good, two easy ones, lol…

Taylor is supported by the lovely Dr. Kira and her fiancée, Dr. Cornelius. They’d like to look after Taylor and study his funny little human ways, as opposed to the evil Dr. Zaius, who thinks that castrating and lobotomizing their strange guest will cure what ails him. Taylor is very clear on which option he’d personally prefer. Well, I think we all would be…!

So, what should Taylor do? Should he cut and run? Well, maybe, but not without Nova, the one attractive human female on the planet whom he chooses as a running-away buddy. It’s the rugged male in him, clearly calling to the female in her. She’s mute as well, but I don’t see that being a problem for Taylor. Do you…?

She’s beautiful in a Raquel Welch/ONE MILLION YEARS BC way, with the wild dark hair, curvaceous figure and pretty features of the Hammer beauty as well. Oh, to be a fly on the wall on their wedding night…!

Although, why would I wish for that when I could wish to be Nova instead? Surely that’s much better than merely wishing to be the fly, who won’t be getting any sex but might get walloped with a rolled-up newspaper if it insists on landing on Charlton Heston’s ass one too many times when he’s busy makin’ whoopee…? Yep. Nova it is…

PLANET OF THE APES is probably one of the best science fiction films ever made, and spawned four sequels in the original series. There was also a television series, a movie re-imagining, a reboot film series (I watched one of these and it was awful!), a documentary and comics and maybe some merch as well, you know the type of thing. Figurines, posters, and the like.

The iconic end scene has been parodied by THE SIMPSONS, who are also responsible for ‘spoiler-ing’ mine and my kids’ first viewing of the movie with the words in their song, ‘It was ***** all along!,’ but, don’t worry, folks, I’ve saved you from a similar fate through the magic of asterisks-es-es. Ahem.

In the script, the apes get in a fair few digs at the humans’ expense. In a reversal of real life, monkeys on the Planet of the Apes experiment on man, and it would certainly make a body remember and feel ashamed of all the times Earth scientists have used and abused terrified monkeys and other poor animals in all kinds of horrible laboratory experiments.

Anyway, the verdict? Superb sci-fi thriller lightly seasoned with the blackest of humour and a chilling message to the Earth-dwelling viewers to not fuck up the place where they live… There isn’t a spare Earth out in the shed…




I liked this film, although I didn’t love it. What I do love is the comic pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, etc.), two of the funniest and cleverest comedy writers and actors of this generation. SHAUN OF THE DEAD is a horror comedy classic that I now re-watch every Halloween, and HOT FUZZ is pretty damn funny too.

The on-screen friendship between the two lads, Pegg and Frost, just has so much affection, fun and a deep, genuine love for each other and their subject material in it. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by their relationship and obvious passion for their craft and the horror and sci-fi genres.

My personal opinion is that they should both just make horror and/or sci-fi comedy films with each other till the end of time. They’re both so boyishly likable and lovable as well. It’d be hard not to feel a connection with them.

In PAUL, Pegg and Frost play Graeme Willy (they can’t resist a bit of schoolboy humour, these lads) and the writer Clive Gollings respectively. They are two British comic book and science fiction enthusiasts who travel to ‘Murica to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest of its kind in the world.

They’re basically just playing themselves, which is adorable. They are delighted to meet there the writer Adam Shadowchild, who apparently has penned a fuck-ton of great sci-fi books with largely terrible titles.

After leaving the convention, the two lads decide to go on a road trip through the Southwestern US to take in various sites where UFOs and aliens are supposed to have crash-landed over the years. Area 51, Roswell, etc.

Imagine their pants-pissing shock (we’re looking at you, Clive Gollings!) when a fellow traveller through the isolated desert roads turns out to be a bona fide alien called Paul (Paranoid Alien Ultra Life Force), who’s escaping from the Feds and needs a ride…

Paul is cheeky, fast-talking, sarcastic and quippy and he loves his pistachio nuts, his weed and his booze. Graeme and Clive agree to drive him across country to the spot where his mothership will be waiting to take him home, even though Clive in particular is extremely nervous about being anally probed. After Paul assures him that that belief is totally false (‘What’s an ass gonna teach me? What can I learn from an ass?’), the lads set about driving him in their rented RV to his destination.

On their way, they pick up a one-eyed Christian Fundamentalist female, Ruth Buggs, who has the hots for shy little Graeme and literally can’t wait to shake off the shackles of her Bible-thumping upbringing. Graeme sure isn’t gonna put up a fight…!

The road trip buddies are pursued the whole time by the ‘Men In Black,’ the guys who work for the government and who try to persuade you that you didn’t see nuthin’ when you report having spotted a blazing light in the night sky and a strange, circular-shaped craft alight in the desert that one time you thought you’d walk home from ‘Shit-kickers’ ‘cause it was such a nice balmy evening. The Feds are being strongly urged by an unknown someone referred to as ‘the Big Guy’ to catch that damn alien or else…

The film is an homage mainly to all the Steven Spielberg science fiction, action and adventure and alien films that Frost and Pegg would have adored in their youths: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, INDIANA JONES and the Daddy of ‘em all, JAWS. Smile, you son of a bitch…!

Other shows and films get a look-in too though: THE X-FILES, LORENZO’S OIL (don’t ask, lol), STAR WARS, STAR TREK, the ALIEN movies, THE INVINCIBLES and some other stuff which I forget, but you’ll have great craic playing ‘spot the reference,’ I assure you.

Sigourney Weaver as the kick-ass Feds boss, ‘the Big Guy,’ had this to say to Graham Norton on her appearance in the film: ‘It’s a love letter to sci-fi fans. I jumped at the chance to be in it. To find a comedy that also pays homage to sci-fi is a dream come true.’ Frost and Pegg must have been thrilled to get Hollywood and horror film royalty like Ms. Weaver to star in their film. She packs quite a good punch, too!

My personal favourite cameo appearance is from Blythe Danner, mum of Gwyneth Paltrow, but we won’t hold that against her…! We won’t hold FUTUREWORLD (1976) against her either, the pretty awful sequel to the amazing WESTWORLD (1973). She didn’t write it, after all!

Anyway, in PAUL, she plays a woman called Tara Walton whose life was shattered by a sighting of Paul sixty years ago that also killed her beloved dog. (Her childhood scenes will recall Cary Guffey as little Barry Guiler, leaving his house in the dead of night in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Oh, that poor little boy, all alone in the dark with the aliens, who could forget it?)

Paul stops off to apologise to Tara on his way to the mothership, and she’s gracious enough to forgive him. She’s got a bit of kick-ass left in her own bag of tricks, too, which is good to see, as she floors ‘the Big Guy’ with a killer punch.

I must say that it’s really great to see older ladies like Blythe Danner, Olwen Fouere (the latest TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE film) and Jamie Lee Curtis in the new HALLOWEEN movies getting prominent roles as strong women in big films in the last decade. It’s heartening to know that life doesn’t automatically end these days at forty, fifty or even sixty…!

Devil’s Tower National Monument features in the movie too. If you think you recognise it, that’s because you totally do. Just try to imagine it sitting on a plate at the dinner table and made entirely from mashed potatoes and you’re there…!

PAUL is good sweary fun, and it makes a good buddy movie-slash-road trip film with the added bonus of an extra-terrestrial twist, although there were whole swathes of time during the car chases where I definitely nodded off, as I find cock-sucking car chases so titty-flapping boring, if you take my meaning.

It’s a serviceable enough addition to the Pegg-Frost canon of collabarations, though not its best because SHAUN OF THE DEAD will always be that. Enjoy it, though, for what it is, and have yourselves a thoroughly ball-squeezing, titty-sucking evening now too, y’all…

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:



I absolutely loved this sort of modern re-boot of THE INVISIBLE MAN, the film(s) based on H.G. Wells’ classic novel. It totally reminded me of my favourite Julia Roberts’ film, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, in which the toothsome one plays a battered wife escaping from her husband’s magnificent but soulless beach house and faking her own death at the same time, so he won’t be able to track her down.

I love that scene when she pitter-patters soaking wet through the empty, darkened beach house on the night of her own ‘death,’ grabbing the emergency bag of clothes and money she’s had ready for God knows how long, chopping her long hair shorter and disposing of her wedding ring in the toilet. Here it sits silently as a damning clue to her actions until the husband, chillingly played by Irish actor Patrick Bergin, finds it some time later and draws his own devastating conclusions…

In THE INVISIBLE MAN, Elisabeth Moss, an actress I’m not familiar with, does a phenomenal job as battered wife Cecilia Kass, an architect and a perfectly decent person in her own right. But her utter scumbag of a scientist husband, Adrian Griffin, has reduced her to a mere shadow of her former self with his violence and controlling ways. So, when the movie opens, Cecilia is escaping from the beach house and her sleeping husband, and desperately hoping he’ll stay asleep until she’s far, far away…

Safe in the home of her younger sister Emily’s boyfriend James’s house- he’s positively dreamy, this fella, and a cop as well- Cecilia hasn’t even really begun to pick up the pieces of her shattered life when she receives a bombshell from Emily in the form of a piece of almost unbelievable news… the news that abusive hubby Adrian has seemingly taken his own life…

That’s all well and good, but, if Adrian is dead, why does Cecilia feel like she’s being stalked by him? Little things are happening that no-one else would really take seriously, but that Cecilia knows are signs that Adrian is back in her life again. But how? He’s dead, innit, and, not only that, but he certainly doesn’t have powers of invisibility that would permit him to shadow his terrified wife without being seen, or does he…?

You can’t blame James and Emily for thinking that poor CeeCee has a screw loose. Dead people don’t suddenly rise from the dead and stalk their bereaved and grieving loved ones under cover of a cloak of invisibility.

But they’ve reckoned without Adrian’s expertise in the field of optics, his passion for making himself invisible one day and his overwhelming need to dominate and control what’s his… and that very definitely includes his wife, Cecilia…

There are a few loopholes in the film, such as, who’s been feeding Zeus the dog if the beach house has been empty all this time? Or has Adrian been staying there on the sly the whole time and feeding his pet? Fear not, folks!

On a recent Zoom call with the actor who plays Zeus the dog, I was reliably informed that the local eateries and take-out emporia kept him well supplied with tasty nosh during filming, on condition, of course, that he mentioned their names wherever possible. Yum Thai, Yum Thai, Yum Thai, Yum Thai, Yum Thai, etc. Woof woof…!

You might recognise Oliver Jackson-Cohen, the actor who plays Adrian the jerky husband, as having also played a jerk in two terrific Netflix spooky series of recent times, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR. Clearly, he’s not going to be called upon to play Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela any time soon. Only cocky young jerks, lol. He’s scarily good at portraying an abuser.

The theme of domestic abuse (sexual abuse and control feature here also) is incredibly timely as, everywhere we look today, men’s violence against women and control over them is being called out, even in cases where the abuser is rich and famous, which is immensely heartening to see.

In days gone by, we would have expected to see people like Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell get away with their crimes, but no more. Hopefully this is the way things will stay. They were the other way for far too long.

By the way, the film is written and directed by Leigh Whannell of INSIDIOUS and SAW fame, which I love, though there’s no sign of his usual film-making partner, James Wan. Were they on a break, like Ross and Rachel? Were they sick of being always mentioned in the same breath, like Bonnie & Clyde, or Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid? If you asked Leigh Whannell where’s his sidekick James Wan, would he mutter, Father Damo-style, he’s not the boss of me…? Or is this just a coincidence? Probably, to be honest, lol.

Cecilia’s NIKE trainers are in full view for most of the film, by the way, so I guess she must really dig those trainers, lol. Well, what else could it mean? I’m off now, anyway, to filch some grub from somewhere. For some reason, I’m pining for a huge feast of Yum Thai. Wonder if we have a menu anywhere…?

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:




‘The Mediator Between the Head and the Hands Must Be the Heart.’

When you leave the cinema so awe-struck by the film you’ve just seen that you’re unable to even discuss it with the people who accompanied you there, that’s usually an indication that you’ve seen something extraordinarily special.

That’s what happened to me recently when I went to see a one-off special screening of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS at the Irish Film Institute here in Dublin. The film was being shown for two reasons.

Firstly, it was April 2016’s choice for the monthly Bigger Picture presentation, which argues for a film’s place within the canon. I think everyone there was of the opinion that this legendary silent film speaks for itself…!

Secondly, METROPOLIS formed part of the FUTURES PAST: HOW CINEMA OF THE PAST HAS IMAGINED OUR FUTURE season being held in the IFI this month. Other films being shown included THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, STANLEY KUBRICK’S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, SILENT RUNNING, SOYLENT GREEN, GATTACA and GEORGE LUCAS’S THX 1138. There’s enough material in there to satisfy even the hungriest fans of futuristic movies…!

Because of the scientific content of this dystopian film, it was introduced by Lynn Scarff, the Director of the Trinity Science Gallery here in Dublin. Mercifully, Ms. Scarff kept it brief! She acknowledged herself that we were all dying to see the film, a mostly fully restored version of which was being shown to us, complete with the English subtitles and German intertitles, as they’re called.

Do we all know that METROPOLIS is a film about a terrifying futuristic slave nation, in which miserable workers toil endlessly underground manning the machines which keep the city above-ground ticking over for the overlords who live there? Well, it is.

It sounds nightmarish, doesn’t it? It truly is a dystopian nightmare, at least for the poor drones who risk life and limb in the hellish steam pumping out of the monstrous machines around the clock.

Fritz Lang (1890-1976) apparently was inspired to make this epic German expressionist science-fiction movie after observing the skyscrapers of New York. His above-ground city certainly resembles this famous American city in its towering buildings of glass and steel and the endless flow of traffic back and forth across the intricate interlocking network of roads.

The choreography of the workers as they march to and from their horrible duties is superb. One shift clocks off as the next clocks on, with everyone so downtrodden and depressed you can just about tell which shift is which. The music accompanying their defeated trudge is out of this world. When it’s being blasted out at you full-blast from the big screen, it’s positively mind-blowing.

The machines and the gigantic geometric sets are both fantastic and terrifying. How Fritz Lang could make a film of this magnitude way back in 1926 is incredible. He co-wrote it with his wife, Thea Von Harbou, from whom he separated in 1933.

Thea had begun to sympathise with the Nazis in the early 1930’s whereas Lang, Jewish by birth, would have had much to fear from them as the war approached. He left Germany in 1934 and started up a career in Hollywood not long after.

The main character in METROPOLIS is Freder, the son of Joh Fredersen, the wealthy ruler of the above-ground city of light, comfort, leisure and pleasure. One fateful day (as they say!), Freder follows a beautiful young woman called Maria deep down into the underground world of the workers. What he finds there makes him sick to his stomach.

Finding out that his father is forcing thousands of workers to slave away in the bowels of the earth under appalling working conditions does not sit well with the foppish young womaniser.  Before our very eyes, Freder transforms from a slightly ridiculous playboy in splendid knickerbockers into a man of real courage and compassion.

He joins with the sweet and kind-hearted Maria to save the workers from the devious machinations of his father and Rotwang, a crazy inventor. Rotwang has created a Maschinenmensch or robot-human and has given it the physical appearance of Maria, whom the workers trust implicitly.

This Maschinenmensch has been described, incidentally, as ‘a brilliant eroticisation and fetishisation of modern technology.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself. If a robot can be sexy, then this robot-human is as sexy as Marilyn Monroe mashed together with a young Diana Dors, if you can imagine such a magnificently-bosomed, doe-eyed sex-bomb. Or you can use your own ideals of feminine beauty to create an equally apt analogy, if you prefer. But whatever way you slice this tomato, boys, she is hot, hot, hot…!

Joh Fredersen wants the Fake Maria to be used to incite the workers to an ill-advised revolution, which will give him the excuse he needs to use force against them in turn. Can Freder and the Real Maria, with whom he has fallen truly, madly, deeply in love, avert a disaster for the whole city?

Is Freder really the Mediator (der Mittler) for whom the workers have been waiting for so long? Can Maria help him to be the Heart that unites the Head (his father) and the Hands (the workers)? Maybe, but the clock has already started ticking…

The underground caverns are wonderfully scary. Check out the Seven Deadly Sins. They’re positively chilling, and doesn’t Death have a lovely big scythe…? The scenes of luxury and decadence when the Fake Maria is performing her (virtually!) topless dance are so very ‘Twenties, although of course the film is meant to be set somewhere around the year 2027. We laughed our heads off at the gurning, drooling, lustful faces of the watching males. Men sure don’t change much over the centuries, do they…? Snigger snigger.

Speaking of Maria, she’s far and away the most interesting and animated character, especially when she’s being the Evil Maria. Those delightfully hammy expressions she puts on when she’s being Evil! She’s great fun when she’s Evil, but as the Real Maria she displays almost superhuman strength and courage when she’s trying to save the poor little kiddies from the flooding of the underground city.

What a gal! It’s weird to think that she (Brigitte Helm) lived all the way to 1996, especially when she’s the very epitome of that gorgeous ‘Twenties dame with the big eyes and the Cupid’s Bow lips. Fritz Lang himself made it to the mid-‘Seventies. That feels weird too, doesn’t it?

It’s just about conceivable too that some of the children in the film might be alive today, though of course they’d have to be in their nineties and older. Imagine having that on your CV. ‘I was in Fritz Lang’s ‘METROPOLIS…!’ It’s a bit like being able to say that you were in F.W. Murnau’s NOSFERATU. That’s really something to brag about.

I’ll leave you with a thought. It’s what makes this film a horror movie for me, as well as a superb sci-fi epic. There’s a scene early on in it when the autocratic Joh Fredersen dismisses his man, Josaphat, from his service. To be dismissed means to be sent underground forever without hope of reprieve.  

The very thought of this exile-slash-virtual death sentence sends Josaphat reaching for his gun with the intention of blowing his own brains out. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand perfectly why he would prefer death to a life below ground-level. And if you haven’t seen the film, you need to rectify such a grievous error post-haste. Whaddya mean, what do I mean? Go and see the film, that’s what I mean…! 


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:





This excellent British sci-fi horror film was one of the productions that gave Hammer its reputation for making terrific horror movies. I love their three Quatermass films, and couldn’t really choose a favourite out of the three as they’re all so top-notch. Films one and two are black-and-white and have a deliciously ancient feel to them. The third film is more modern and is even made in colour, and features a different actor playing the eponymous Quatermass.

THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT tells the story of a rocket ship, that’s been on a tour of outer space, crashing one dark night into an English country field. If the ship was unmanned, it might not have been such a catastrophe, but there were three men aboard that ship.

Professor Quatermass, the abrupt-to-the-point-of-rudeness academic responsible for launching the rocket, orders the craft opened. Out staggers, amid much tension, the one member of the crew who’s still alive… the astronaut Victor Carroon. Something horrible has killed his two companions, and all Carroon is able to say on the subject are two little words: ‘Help me…’

Aside from giving a superb performance as the poor tormented Carroon, the distinctly aristocratic-looking actor Richard Curwen Wordsworth who plays him comes from very interesting and exalted stock indeed.

He is the great-great-grandson of one of England’s best-loved poets, William Wordsworth, the chap I remember from my schooldays as being the ‘daffodils poet,’ and he also founded the famous Wordsworth Summer School, a week of poetry, lectures and walking tours in England’s lovely Lake District. It’s a bit like being descended from old Willie Shakespeare or Charlie Dickens, is that.

Anyway, it quickly beomes clear to Quatermass and the medical staff caring for Carroon that he has undergone a trauma in outer space that we down here on earth would be hard pressed to understand. Strange markings and even changes on and to his face and shoulder indicate that the trauma might be more than just emotional and mental. It’s probably physical as well…

The poor guy is undergoing an horrific mutation, through no fault of his own, that could have serious implications, not only for Carroon and his ‘Fifties wife Judith (tight skirt, high heels, short modern hairstyle, smokes cigarettes and even knows how to drive), but for the rest of the human race as well.

And, speaking of races, the film turns into a tense-as-hell race against time when Carroon escapes from his hospital room with the help of Judith, who, if she hadn’t been so unnaturally modern and inclined to think thoughts about things and have opinions of her own in such a distinctly unfeminine fashion, would never have aided and abetted in something so law-unabiding!

Quatermass and his chum in the police force, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Lomax, have to find Carroon before the gross mutation that’s taking him over can finish the job, killing Carroon while, more importantly from Quatermass and Inspector Lomax’s point of view, managing to multiply so quickly that it’s only a matter of time before the alien life force takes over the world and everyone in it…

There are some truly memorable, stunning-looking scenes that occur during the search for Carroon, including a rather frightening interlude in an olde-style apothecary and some distressing scenes in Chessington Zoo, a lovely, old-fashioned zoological gardens like the one in Val Lewton’s CAT PEOPLE.

There’s also some light comedy from British actress Thora Hird as a homeless, gin-soaked old dear (not unlike some roles we’ve seen Joan Hicks from the CARRY Ons play) who turns up at her local cop-shop and unwittingly gives the police a lead to Carroon.

There’s also a beautiful scene, reminiscent of James Whale’s 1931 horror classic FRANKENSTEIN, in which a blonde-haired little girl (played by child actress Jane Asher) asks Carroon to play with her, unafraid of him and completely unrepulsed by his physical appearance. This scene is filmed at the old defunct, history-steeped East India Docks.

The film climaxes in that grand old bastion of Britishness, Westminster Abbey (not the real one, sadly, but a really smashing set!). Gordon Jackson, better known as the Scottish butler Angus Hudson from the original UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS, turns up here as a BBC TV producer.

Marianne Stone from the CARRY ON films and Lionel Jeffries also have small roles in THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT, a film so good it spawned many imitators. Enjoy it. It’s the real deal all right. But if you’ve been wondering what to get me for Christmas (the year’s flying; it’ll be here sooner than you think!), I have just one caveat. No cacti, ta. I’m prickly enough…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.


night of the big heat 1967



This is very similar to another Planet film I reviewed recently called ISLAND OF TERROR. It starred Peter Cushing on a remote island off the Irish coast with a lone pub on it, and he was trying to save the islanders (and also, I presume, the pub!) from a breed of artificially created monsters called silicates, who made a funny whirring noise and moved along the ground like the Blob from THE BLOB.

In NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are on a remote island off the Scottish coast with a lone pub on it, and they’re trying to save the islanders (and also, I presume, the pub!) from alien beings from another planet who make a funny whirring noise and move along the ground like the Blob from THE BLOB.

This film has tremendous heat in it as well though, a heat caused by the aliens which, if it’s allowed to continue, will turn Earth into a scorched wasteland like the planet Mars, and humans will no longer be able to survive on it. You can see, therefore, why the situation is somewhat pressing and why the aliens need to be eliminated post-haste.

At first, Christopher Lee, tall and dark and devastatingly handsome in his white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, dark slacks and professorial glasses, is the only person on the island who realises that there’s a problem. He plays Godfrey Hanson (Godfrey Handsome, more like!), a scientist with an abrupt and rude manner who’s staying at the island’s one pub. (Which is why it’s so crucial to save it from the aliens, lol.)

He strides around the island by day, being abrupt and rude and scientist-y, trying to find proof that the island is, in fact, being targeted by aliens. Everyone else just thinks he’s nuts at first, but the terrible increasing heat on the island, unheard-of for winter, gradually forces the islanders into a communal change of mind. The island itself is heating up, and if the islanders don’t want to end up as barbecue, they’d better start listening to crazy old Professor Hanson…

Peter Cushing plays the suave and sociable intellectual, Dr. Vernon Stone, who proves an ally of the right intelligence for Professor Hanson. Which is just as well, as I don’t know how much help the womanising novelist Jeff Callum will be.

Beefcake Jeff (not for me but I can see why some women would) and his wife Frankie (Sarah Lawson; THE DEVIL RIDES OUT) own the Swan pub, the village’s one inn, and this cheating bastard Jeff is carrying on a sizzling affair with his hussy of a secretary Angela Roberts, right under his wife’s nose.

Sexy saucepot Angela has come to the island against his wishes, but now she’s here I don’t exactly see him fighting her off. And his wife Frankie is a real diamond as well. It’s a clear case of going out for hamburger when you’ve jolly well got steak at home. Tsk tsk, Jeff.

And in the meantime, telephone wires are melting in the ever-increasing heat, the bottles containing the precious booze are exploding (nobody tell Homer Simpson…!) with the high temperatures and the villagers are going mad. How long before their eyeballs melt and their blood begins, literally, to boil…?

One villager in particular, Tinker Mason (Kenneth Cope; CARRY ON, MATRON and CARRY ON AT YOUR CONVENIENCE), previously of good character, is driven to commit a heinous rape by the sweltering heat. Let’s hope that, once again, a good clout around the ear-holes with a giant ashtray will bring a man hell-bent on crime to his senses before too much damage to virtue has been caused, heh-heh-heh…

If you encounter the aliens yourself, here’s what will happen. You will see a great light on a lonely road and be drawn to it. Your eyes will widen in horror. You’ll take a few steps forward, then draw back in terror, your arms in the air. You will scream at the top of your lungs as the blinding white light envelops you in its deadly heat.

The next time we see you, you will look worse than the pizza I accidentally left in the oven for an hour and a half when the proper heating time was seven minutes. In short, you will be cremated. Not happy? Sorry, but them’s the breaks. The film is called NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT, after all, not NIGHT OF THE MILD DISCOMFORT.

A poor old tramp is burnt to a crisp in this film. He looks like one of the tramps I used to read about in my beloved Enid Blyton books, one of those auld lads who used to ‘tramp’ the highways and byways of Britain in the good old days, living off the land and the goodwill of the folks who resided on it. Whatever happened to these poor old guys, anyway?

They adhered, of course, to a strict dress code: straggly long hair and beard, old torn mackintosh belted at the waist, several layers of grimy shirts and cardigans and, naturally, the shoes with the holes in the soles and that flapping effect at the front that no self-respecting tramp would be seen dead without. A wide-brimmed hat was optional, but only if the crown was completely missing. They kipped in hay-ricks and under hedges with a piece of straw in their mouths and told anyone who’d listen that this was the life for them.

They’d sniff around the bins of any given household and, in Enid Blyton’s THE FIVE FIND-OUTERS books, Pip or Larry or Fatty’s mum would give them a pair of old but still good shoes belonging to the man of the house. And if the auld lad was really lucky, he might be told to go round the back of the house to the kitchen door where Cook would give him a hot meal or a cup of tea. I presume this stuff doesn’t happen any more in real life. I really do wonder what happened to these staples of children’s fiction from the ’50s, the ’60s and the ’70s. Answers on a postcard, please.

Anyway, the ending of NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT kind of annoyed me. Handsome people who should have lived are shockingly permitted to die, and big cheating bastards, who should be spending eternity in the flames of hell with little devils poking them in the arse with red-hot pokers, are allowed to live. Grrr. It’s still a great film though, and very similar to ISLAND OF TERROR, lol. Catch it if you can. How does that song go again? Hey, it’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at:



fly vincent price




‘Help me…!’

This is no common or garden B-movie or sci-fi shocker. It’s a genuinely disturbing and moving film that makes you feel a terrible empathy for the stricken characters contained within it.

It also really makes me wish I’d been a rich glamorous ‘Fifties housewife married to a wealthy, successful and generous man, because all Helene Delambre seems to do is change from one spectacular outfit to another, give instructions to the maids and lie in bed waiting for her husband to, well, come and make love to her. (As Scarface says to Michelle Pfeiffer just before she leaves him, lol.) I could do that. I could very easily live like that, being some rich guy’s sex-Barbie and clothes-horse.

The Jeff Goldblum version of this film (1986) is pretty much unbeatable, but THE FLY (1958) holds its own remarkably well too, even today. Vincent Price plays Francois Delambre, a French-Canadian electronics millionaire who co-owns his business with his brother Andre.

Andre is the genius scientist-inventor who spends all his waking moments in his laboratory while Francois is most likely the brains behind the business side of things. Francois is suave, single, sophisticated, sexy as hell and, sadly, disappointed in love. Can you guess who disappointed him? Come on, guys. There are only three main characters, after all…!

One night, Francois is lounging about at home in his magnificent red satin smoking-jacket when he receives a phone call from Helene, saying rather bizarrely that she’s just killed Andre in their factory. Francois thinks she’s kidding at first, but this is no freakin’ joke.

A horrified Francois calls an acquaintance of his, a police inspector called Charas, and the two of them high-tail it over to the factory to find that Andre has indeed been killed, and in a particularly horrific way as well, with his head and arm crushed in an industrial press designed to squish heavy metals. I know, it’s gruesome, right?

Then the two men nip over to Helene and Andre’s house to find Helene quite composed and in control of herself. Immaculately dressed and playing the hostess, she admits quite calmly to having killed Andre but she won’t say that she ‘murdered’ him because that’s a different matter entirely. She also categorically refuses to say why she did it. End of story.

I daresay that if she were ugly, ancient and impoverished instead of a millionaire scientist’s beautiful young wife, Inspector Charas would probably throw her in jail without a second thought. As it is, he lets her stay at home on house arrest with a nurse catering to her every whim while they try to puzzle out her mental state.

When she gets hysterical one day over the squishing of a common housefly by the attending nurse, however, the floodgates open. Helene Delambre is ready to talk. Francois is permitted to fetch Charas over to the house (‘I can’t tell this story twice,’ Helene says) and the two men hear a tale from her that seems to belong more in the realms of science fiction and science fantasy than the real world of cold hard scientific facts to which they’re more used.

Do they believe her? Not at first, of course. It’s just too fantastical. But when Helene’s cute little ‘Fifties son Philippe points out the existence of a rather unusual fly in the garden to his dear Uncle Francois, it gives some credence- just a little- to Helene’s story.

Francois rushes like a mad thing to grab Inspector Charas, who’s right this minute busy arranging for Helene’s committal to an insane asylum, and hurries him out into the garden to see this fly. Is this the dramatic eleventh-hour corroboration the distraught Helene needs before the white-shirted orderlies cart her away to the funny-farm for the rest of her life?

Helene’s story is indeed fantastical, but it’s heartbreaking too. I was in floods of tears by the end. Naturally I can’t divulge the details but may I be so bold as to suggest that you add THE FLY (1958) to your Halloween viewing this year? Team it with the absolutely brilliant Jeff Goldblum version from 1986 and you’ve got yourself a nice little party going. And for God’s sake don’t forget the sugar. Flies love sugar…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at: