Tag Archives: Manimal

Robert England: Freddy star gets his claws into his first ever Brit horror

One, two, Freddy star is coming for UK British horror comedy, Strippers Vs Werewolves, which sees the first time the horror legend, Robert Englund, has appeared in a British horror film.

The star of seven A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, eight if you include Freddy Vs Jason, as well as such diverse horror and sci-fi as V, Urban Legend, Wishmaster, Babylon 5, The Mangler, the original Knight Rider and The Phantom of the Opera, this is the first time the Californian born actor will have portrayed a Lycanthrope. Although, he did come into contact with another shapeshifting human in the Manimal TV series, back in the early 80s. He’s also encountered strippers, of the zombie kind, in the imaginatively titled, Zombie Strippers, all of which should stand him in good stead.

It’s a Brit of a coup then, for the film, which starts shooting in and around London this week, boasts a mighty impressive cast of horror and sci-fi alumni, including Barbara Nedaljakova, from Hostel and Hostel 2 and Sarah Douglas, Ursa from Superman 2 and Queen Taramis in Conan the Destroyer.

With an international cast like that and a script by acclaimed award winning writer and director, Pat Higgins, the production has a certain pedigree and you can only hope that it, bolstered by an impressive supporting cast that includes ‘The Krays’ Martin Kemp and former stars of Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, has a successful transformation to the screen.  

The words ‘comedy horror and werewolves’ obviously stirs memories of the granddaddy of all horror comedies, An American Werewolf in London, and the UK has proven that it can handle chills and chortles effectively of late with the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Severance and Attack the Block.

Strippers Vs Werewolves may have big paw prints to step into but with Hollywood giving us Cowboys Vs Aliens and planning on delivering Dinosaurs Vs Aliens, it’s nice to see UK filmmakers stepping into the ring with this tale that is sure to do for strippers and werewolves what From Dusk Til Dawn did for vampires and strippers. It’s sure to be a bitch of a movie!

Manimal: Remembering Simon MacCorkindale

It may have only lasted a meagre eight episodes but for a generation Simon MacCorkindale, who has sadly passed away aged 58 after his battle with Cancer, will forever by associated with his role in Manimal, surely the greatest word ever created. MacCorkindale, who were it not for his poor eyesight was destined for a career in the RAF, instead took flight in another guise, as Dr Jonathon Chase, who took to fighting crime in his human form or that of a panther, falcon or indeed snake, all of which he could magically transform into.

Think one part The Phantom, his dad passes on his powers on his deathbed in deepest darkest Africa, and another The Incredible Hulk and you are part way there, certainly a far cry from All Creatures Great and Small this was crime fighting with cat-itude. Of course being early 80s TV you only got one or two transformations an episode and these were all shown using the same stock footage.

Saying that, for its time and limited budget, it was all pretty memorable and is no surprise to find that Stan Winston had a hand in the creature effects, who famously created the special effects for Aliens, Predator, The Terminator and the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.

See those transformations in full:

Panther: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D9Y1Mkx8Xo&p=B6658DABF61D7FBE&playnext=1&index=4 

Falcon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQPkcUali2s

Snake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3sqxOk2nZg&feature=related

And it was the transformations that you watched it for as the crime fighting itself could have been lifted from any number of similar shows at time, such as Knight Rider, Street Hawk or Auto Man, but Manimal had the edge with its An American Werewolf in London-esque change sequences that thrilled my eight year old self, no matter how many times I had seen them, no matter that they were shown in the titles every week, which had some great visuals and an eternally catchy theme, catch it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ugb_TIpPoWA&p=EAE1FA1EE5EC0CE7&playnext=1&index=24

I loved the way that the skin on the hands pulsated, almost as if it was breathing, and the way claws would sprout and faces stretch, making Bill Bixby’s green contact lenses and Lou Ferrigno’s clothes  bursting seem tame by comparison. Cue lots of Manimal transformation sequences re-enacted in the school playground!

MacCorkindale’s last major role was that of Harry Harper in Casualty but he never seemed to shrug off the Manimal side of him with appearances in Falcon Crest, lunch in Jaws 3D, Wing Commander and The Dinosaur Hunter.

He also made appearances in other genre fare such as Earth: Final Conflict, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Harsh Realm and Relic Hunter. Famously though, he also reappeared as Dr Jonathon Chase one last time in Night Man in 1998,if only he’d done that in Casualty! That would have quite literally put the cat among the pigeons.

You’ll be missed Simon and if it wasn’t for you I’d probably be a black belt in Karate by now as that was on Monday nights but it clashed with Manimal, and that was in the days, 1983, before we had a Betamax video recorder. And so a pattern was set.