THE WICKER MAN
1973, Rialto Pictures, 95 min, UK, Dir: Robin Hardy

In this rarely screened supernatural classic from writer Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH), puritanical policeman Edward Woodward investigates a girl's disappearance on a Scottish isle and has his world turned topsy-turvy when he confronts the natives' truly primitive natures. Christopher Lee co-stars as the enigmatic head of the local community, who plays an ancient and all-too-horrifying cat-and-mouse game with the idealistic policeman, with help from erotic nymph Britt Ekland.


CORPSE BRIDE
2005, Warner Bros., 77 min, USA, Dir: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

Inspired by a Jewish folktale, this gothic animated fantasy stars Johnny Depp as Victor Van Dort, a shy young man engaged to Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson). After flubbing his lines at the wedding rehearsal, he goes to the forest to practice them - and accidentally marries a woman buried there (Helena Bonham Carter). Tim Burton’s third stop-motion feature and first as a director also features the voices of Tracey Ullman, Albert Finney and Christopher Lee, and the music of Danny Elfman (who plays Bonejangles in the film).


HORROR OF DRACULA
1958, Warner Bros., 82 min, UK, Dir: Terenece Fisher

Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s stripped-to-the-basics, expertly paced take on Bram Stoker’s popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just plain exciting Gothic horror films ever made. From Christopher Lee’s revelatory, broodingly romantic performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the proceedings) to Fisher’s masterful direction, from Peter Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher’s atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard’s superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer’s most enduring masterpieces!


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