Saturday, September 24, 2011

THE DAMNED - Bernard/Jones - "Black Leather Rock" (1963)

This film has got me all messed up! "The Damned" was released in the U.S. as "These Are The Damned," and it all starts off with this stomping 'George of the Jungle' sax driven "Black Leather Rock" to slap you around, and kick you when you're down! The music was written by Hammer musical kingpin James Bernard in a rare non-orchestrated outing for him! The lyrics were written officially by writer Evan Jones, with the unofficial help of director Joe Losey. I have not been able to track down who is actually doing the vocals!

Where in the Hell is this going? "Lurking Unseen Evil?" Well, kind of, but not quite! More like concussions and weird conclusions!

"Never seen a clock tower before?"

Found floating around in nether-space by TedMo, "These Are The Damned" is one of the most interesting films you might never get a chance to see before the hammer comes down! Multiple issues! Multiple!!

First off, to go along with the insane and driving music is, The Set-up! "Smash, Smash, Smash, Crash, Crash, Crash!" Macdonald Carey is Simon Wells, an American tourist who fell for it! "These Are The Damned" is arguably the strangest film in Macdonald's long and distinguished career, unless you want to include "Tammy And The Doctor." Maconald finished his career as Dr. Tom Horton in the TV soap opera "Day Of Our Lives" from 1965 to 1993!

It's a convoluted affair, and Simon actually falls for the sister of the ringleader of the gang that beat his ass! They take off together with the gang of Teddy Boys in hot pursuit!!

The quite lovely Shirley Anne Field is Joan! It just so happens that Joan feels trapped in her existence and doesn't really mind running off with the old dude on his boat! Shirley Anne has had a long career, and is still working it today! She's been in some pretty cool flicks like "Horrors Of The Black Museum," "Peeping Tom," "Beat Girl," and "Man In The Moon" just to scratch the surface!

The other main couple that the film focuses on is an artist Freya Neilson played by Viveca "Bell From Hell" Lindfors, and her stiff uppercrust boyfriend Bernard, as played by Alexander "The Phantom Strikes" Knox!

Simon and Joan have made it to an isolated home where she knows the owner is away most of the time, and they consummate their new found love on borrowed sheets! They hear a car pull up, so they sneak out the back way!

The artist Freya Neilson was the person who lived here, and Joan's brother King, shows up soon thereafter! The role of the commandingly jealous, overbearing, and probably incestuous brother is none other than Dungeon fave Oliver Reed!

King, what a perfect name for Oliver Reed, and his boys are on the chase! This is a killer shot!

Heavily pursued by the gang in the dark, Joan and Simon find themselves someplace where they shouldn't be! Suddenly it feels like they're in an Alfred Hitchcock movie!

Maybe the title of this film should have been "Damned If You Do, And Damned If You Don't" because that's where it seem like it's going!

Over the fence, and off the cliff, and into the freezing ocean water, Simon and Joan, pursued by King find themselves rescued and in a cave with a bunch of children all the same age who all feel like they have ice in their veins. King reels back after touching one of the children and exclaims "They're Dead!"

King is just a little dense, and despite everything that has happened, his main motivation is still to kick Simon's ass!

The children have a very strange existence that includes constant monitoring by bad boy Bernard and his government pals, and normally no contact with the outside world until the three strangers came into the picture!

This is no run of the mill crap, this film was made to make you think!

Since Simon and Joan have no effing clue what's going on, they promise the children that they are going to help them!!

Up to this point, the only parents the children know are the video images of Bernard and his cronies always falsely reassuring them, but the kids are all right, and starting to think for themselves, and are planning an escape! That's the shadow of one of Freya Neilson's sculptures in the shot with Bernard's head!

Now's a good time to have a blood thirsty guy like King around!!

Even old Simon gets in on the action!!

After finally getting out into the fresh air, Joan and one of the little girls are starting to think there's hope for a new life!

Simon sez "What? Why? WHY?

Bernard and Freya can not see eye to eye! Is there room in the world for both free thinking art and complete government control? Doubtful!

The kids were all radioactive, and everybody that has come in contact with them for any amount of time is going to die! They were supposed to be the hope of the future!


TABONGA! said...

The dude with the protective helmut looks a lot like mein pops!

zillagord said...

Black Leather, Black Leather, Kill Kill Kill!

Christopher said...

Ollie and his Teddy boys...Interesting film..

Douglas McEwan said...

This is a really good movie. Just saw it recently. The chase with the helicopter flying about three inches off the ground after the sportscar features some bad ass stunt flying!

The horrific idea of deliberately making these kids radioactive, thus making a normal life for them impossible, a hideous idea on every level, is "justified" by Knox because he believes a nuclear nuclear holocaust in inevitable. He uses his delusional "certainty" as a reason to destroy these kids' lives. One of the great douchebag characters ever.

So odd to see such a serious, downbeat, movie-of-ideas like this from Hammer of all people.

Anonymous said...

Not that Knox wasn't a douche, but he said the kids were born radioactive due to an accident their mothers were exposed to which resulted in many other deaths, both of children and these kids' mothers shortly after giving birth.

Unknown said...

Anyone got an idea where I can find a good recording of Black Leather Rock?

EEGAH!! said...

I re-upped what I had. Enjoy!

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