Frightfest preview: Hammer classics return Simon Fitzjohn August 13, 2012 Features, Film4 Frightfest 1961 Three classic movies from the venerable Hammer back catalogue will get screenings at Frightfest, giving fans the chance to appreciate horror’s past as well as its future hits. Even better, these will be fully restored versions that will be getting a world premiere in this format ahead of a planned DVD release later in the year. The films on offer are The Mummy’s Shroud, Rasputin The Mad Monk and The Devil Rides Out, all of which will be screened on Sunday, August 26. The Mummy’s Shroud was a 1967 offering, directed by veteran helmer John Gilling. Gilling had previously directed the well-received Plague Of The Zombies, and he is back on fine form here. The final film to be shot at Bray Studios, The Mummy’s Shroud stars Andre Morell and David Buck as explorers who uncover the tomb of an ancient Egyptian mummy. Also starring the likes of John Phillips, Elizabeth Sellars, Maggie Kimberley and genre favourite Michael Ripper, this is Hammer at its best. Stuntman Eddie Powell is also on hand as the Mummy – in a role that saw him the last to play a bandaged Mummy for Hammer on screen – the studio’s final Mummy offering, Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb (1971) opted against that route. Next up is Rasputin, The Mad Monk, with Christopher Lee on sensational form as the titular character. Directed by Don Sharp and released in 1966, this flick plays hard and loose with the facts regarding the legendary Russian character, who slept and schemed his way up the ladder of the Romanov court. Horror favourite Barbara Shelley appears as Sonia, with support from the likes of Suzan Farmer, Richard Pasco and Francis Matthews. Be under no illusion though, this is very much Lee’s show, cutting a swathe across the screen much like Rasputin did himself through pre-revolutionary Russia. Christopher Lee also takes centre stage on the final of the three Hammer films to gain a screening, the seminal The Devil Rides Out (1967). A true Hammer classic, and one of the finest occult thrillers to ever be made, director Terence Fisher takes Dennis Wheatley’s bestselling novel and runs with it. Richard Matheson provided the screenplay, giving Lee the superb role of Duc de Richleau, a rare non-villainous character for a change. Set in the 1920s, the film is atmospheric, suspenseful and scary, with the climax being a real standout. Even better, the whole thing is played with a straight face, adding a real edge to proceedings. Lee is joined by, among others, Charles Gray and Patrick Mower in an excellent cast.