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BLOGGERS’ WEEK Will Salmon recommends a Hammer Horror you may not have come across, or even heard of…

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I’ve been on a bit of a Hammer tip recently, after getting the massive Optimum Collection for Christmas. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a lovely big box with 21 discs’ worth of boobs, gore and Christopher Lee. Marvellous!

As well as the obvious choices ( To The Devil A Daughter , Dracula: Prince Of Darkness ) there are some lesser-known classics, obscurities and the inevitable stinkers ( Prehistoric Women! ). There’s also one film that, for me, stands out as the oddest, darkest and possibly best thing the studio ever made. And it’s been all but forgotten: Peter Collinson’s 1972 thriller, Straight On Till Mornin g.

Now technically, it’s not a film that falls into S FX ’s remit. Yeah, it’s a horror movie of sorts, but there are no supernatural elements, and it’s not especially scary. But then you could say the same thing about The Wicker Man .

Like that movie, Straight On Till Morning works best if you don’t know too much about it going in. Avoid the trailer! All you need to know is that it follows young Brenda as she leaves her provincial life behind to move to still-kinda-swinging London. She meets Peter (an eerily bouffant Shane Briant) and moves in with him. What follows is a grimly funny descent into madness.

I will say no more about the plot, partly to avoid spoilers and partly because plot isn’t really what the film’s about. Rather, it’s a mood piece, and one that’s absolutely seeped in peculiar ambience. Peter is half-hero, half-villain; a lonely, JM Barrie-fixated nutcase who drifts between the decadent parties of the hipster scene. If it’s not strictly a genre picture, then its studio, dreamlike tone and Briant’s Tomorrow Person haircut certainly make it of interest to fans of films like Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders . If you like your movies weird, unsettling and darkly funny, this is definitely one to check out.

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