|Terence Fisher and Christopher Lee|
|T. Fisher’s characters|
Terence Fisher (1904 – 1980; London) was one of the most remarkable horror film directors after the 1950s. Brought up by his grandma in a small English village, he left school to join (arruolarsi) the English Navy. Soon Fisher understood life on ships was not what he really desired and changed several works. He started working in the cinema industry first as editor, then, at 43, as a film director. His debut was with Portrait from Life (1948) starring actress Mai Zetterling, and So long at the Fair (1950), starring Dirk Bogard and Jean Simmons. But Fisher got real fame when he started shooting (girare) horror movies for the Hammer, a production company which in 1951 established in London: he became one of the most prominent horror film directors of the second half of the 20th century. He was the first to bring gothic horror alive in full colour, using sexual tones and explicit horror scenes. He was the first to show Frankenstein as the monster made of parts of corpses (cadaveri), refused by his creator and by the society because of his horrid appearance, who stumbles (barcolla) and kills on the big screen. And this monster has a name and a face – a mask – at the cinema, actor Christopher Lee, while the scientist with a look (sguardo pazzo) is perfectly embodied by actor Peter Cushing. The big success of The curse of Frankenstein (1957) led to a series with the same protagonists and starring the same actors – Cushing and Lee: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958); Frankenstein Created Woman (1967); Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973).Fisher was however attracted by other classical “monster” of English Gothic literature. He went on to film a number of adaptations of classic horror subjects, including Dracula(1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles(1959) from Conan Doyle’s fancy, and The Mummy (1959). As to Dracula in particular the long dog-teeth are one of Fisher’s invention to characterize Bram Stoker’s creature and once more Christopher Lee is the pale immortal protagonist chased by and inexhaustible Peter Cushing – Van Helsing. Fisher’s long series of particular creature include zombies and werewolves, Doctor Jekyll and the Phantom of the Opera and among his masterpieces are still to be remembered Kill Me Tomorrow (1957), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960), The Horror of It All (1963), The Gorgon (1964), The Earth Dies Screaming (1965), Island of Terror (1966), Night of the Big Heat (1967 or Island of the Burning Damned) and The Devil Rides Out (1968). Given (per via di) their commercial subject matter Fisher’s films were largely dismissed (misconosciuti) by critics during his career; only recently Fisher has become recognised as an auteur (autore) in his own right (degno di nota). His films are like fairy-tales pervaded by a religious feeling: there is usually a hero who defeats(sconfigge) the powers of darkness, in contrast to other characters, who are either blindly (ciecamente) superstitious or bound (legati) by a cold, godless (senza Dio) rationalism.