Roy Ward Baker RIP

How strange that the day I post Kate Bush’s “Hammer Horror,” one of its favored directors passed on. Roy Ward Baker was best known for the 1957 Titanic epic, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. He also directed Marilyn Monroe in DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK (1952). After falling from studio curry with the strange foppish THE SINGER NOT THE SONG (1961), he found a new home of horrors with Hammer, directing the classic sci-fi, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1967) — released here as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH. He helmed the cult THE ANNIVERSARY (1968) featuring Bette Davis in one of her greatest later roles. THE VAMPIRE LOVERS was one of his biggest hits, the first Hammer film to go all-out with crimson nudity and lesbian vampiric eroticism, starring Ingrid Pitt in her iconic role. SCARS OF DRACULA (1970) came next, a minor Christoper Lee Dracula entry that’s still a lot of gothic fun, including a great moment where the Count climbs up the side of a wall. He did two films for Hammer rival, Amicus, ASYLUM (1972), a nifty scary anthology written by Robert Bloch, and NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS (1973) which I’ve yet to see. Baker finished out his career directing lots of British TV, and though he wasn’t a showy director, he brought a nice bit of calm style to his genre work. Shocktober will not be complete without a viewing of his films.

Quatermass And The Pit (1967)



3 Responses to “Roy Ward Baker RIP”

  1. William W. Norton, screenwriter of such classics as Gator, White Lightning and Big Bad Mama died recently too.

    RIP boys.

  2. Please bow your heads in a moment of SHOCKtober silence for Mr. Baker.

  3. […] of steam on their Dracula series, but their was still life in this old studio. Directed by the late Roy Ward Baker, starring Ingrid Pitt in a re-working of the famed “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu, Pitt […]

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