Friday, October 8, 2010

Roy Ward Baker (1916 - 2010)

The British film director Roy Ward Baker has passed away at the age of 93. Probably best known for his 1958 film A Night To Remember, which recreated the sinking of Titanic, he also directed many fine horror movies for Hammer and Amicus.

His Hammer output included Scars of Dracula, The Vampire Lovers, The Anniversary, the slightly bonkers Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, the even more bonkers Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires and the brilliant Quatermass and the Pit.

For Amicus he directed the portmanteau films Asylum, The Vault of Horror and The Monster Club as well as And Now The Screaming Starts, a rare attempt by Amicus to take on Hammer’s gothic horror mantle.

Once described as 'the grand old man of British horror', Baker was never a stylist in the same way as, say, Terence Fisher or Freddie Francis but his horror output was never less than entertaining - particularly given the budgetary restrictions imposed by Hammer and Amicus - and he always took the material seriously, even something as downright strange as The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, a Kung Fu/Hammer crossover that really has to be seen to be believed.

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