Born in 1913, Peter Wilton Cushing graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began his acting career doing repertory theatre. He was in his mid-twenties when he made his first foray into Hollywood, making his film debut in 1939’s The Man With The Iron Mask—playing the back of Louis Hayward’s head. Several small roles followed, but this was a false start of sorts to his career. The war intervened, and its aftermath found Peter Cushing back in England. He had his most significant film role in Olivier’s Hamlet, in 1948—but it would be television in which he would make a name for himself during the 1950s. Working almost non-stop, Cushing won both popularity and critical praise for roles as diverse as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice, Richard II in an adaptation of the play, Richard Of Bordeaux, and Winston Smith in 1984. His work won him a BAFTA in 1956, a year that also saw the founding of The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society (which is still going strong).

Then, in 1957, a group of producers began looking for a reliable, talented – and not too expensive – actor to play a mad scientist. They got much more than they had bargained for when they cast Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein: his brilliant, iconoclastic performance in the lead of The Curse Of Frankenstein was significantly responsible both for the success of the film, and for the birth of what came to be known as “Hammer Horror”.

And, like others before him, Peter Cushing subsequently found himself “typed”: his career from that point onwards was dominated by horror, science fiction and fantasy films, all of which were the better for his presence. One of the great “horror actors”, Cushing had the ability (often much needed) to elevate almost any production, never giving any sign of considering himself superior to his material. On his own and in partnership with his close friend, Christopher Lee, with whom he co-starred in twenty-two films, Peter Cushing would build one of the genre film’s great bodies of work.

So join us as we celebrate the work of one of horror’s true gentlemen!


1000 Misspent Hours and Counting She (1965) The belly dancers are more important than they seem, too, because they set up the opportunity for Holly to do something I’ve never seen from Peter Cushing in any other film. They give him the chance to be jovially randy.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! The Abominable Snowman (1957) Rollason partially unwraps the dead Yeti to examine its face again, finding there again, as he thought the first time, gentleness. He then voices a startling alternative theory: suppose the Yeti are not a dying race at all, not a remnant hiding away, but rather are simply biding their time, waiting for Man to do what he does best: wreak destruction upon himself.
And You Call Yourself A Scientist! The Creeping Flesh (1973) I alluded at the outset to the way in which the casting of Peter Cushing in The Creeping Flesh plays upon our expectations, not least by placing him in opposition to Christopher Lee at his coldest. The result is that viewer is lured into misplaced sympathy with Emmanuel Hildern, who at the outset seems like your standard absent-minded professor: well-meaning if a bit misguided in his work; affectionate but distracted when it comes to his daughter. But then come the twin climaxes of Penelope’s discoveries about her mother, and Emmanuel’s reaction to her outburst, and everything is turned on its head.
Braineater La Grande Trouille (Tender Dracula) (1974)  So: here we have the first appearance by Peter Cushing in his role as a would-be vampire. It’s disappointing. He’s called upon to chew the scenery: to go from his suave but slightly sinister welcome to a towering fury, and back again almost immediately. It’s an introduction that would have been ideal for, say, Vincent Price. But when Cushing does it, we’re left with an uncomfortable realization: for all his talent, there was one role Cushing simply could not play, and that is — a Bad Actor. Vincent Price could play a ham and still give a grand performance. But when Cushing goes against everything in his nature and tries to be a hack, he’s just not good at it. Ironically, by failing to pass himself off as a Bad Actor, Cushing, for the first and last time in his film career, actually starts to come off as a small-letters bad actor. The role is all wrong for him.
Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension
The Unknown Movies House Of The Long Shadows (1983) The movie creeps along very slowly for the most part, and as a result there is absolutely no bite. The (few) attempts at comic relief (black or otherwise) simply aren’t that funny at all, and when people start to get knocked off, there is absolutely no impact at all during their deaths or subsequently when their bodies are discovered. The movie is so soft and slow that quite frankly I was really bored most of the time. However, I have the feeling that my words of caution aren’t going to make much difference to fans of Carradine, Price, Cushing, and Lee. I realize that the idea of seeing all four icons together in a movie will be irresistible to those particular people. If that is what you are thinking, I know I can’t stop you. But I will add some extra advice, that being that if you are determined all the same to watch the movie despite what I’ve told you, set your mind to watching it as a historical artifact instead of as a piece of entertainment.