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Tigon British Film Productions or Tigon was a film production and distribution company, founded by Tony Tenser in 1966.
It is best remembered for its horror films, particularly Witchfinder General (directed by Michael Reeves, 1968) and The Blood on Satan's Claw (directed by Piers Haggard, 1971).Other Tigon films include The Creeping Flesh , The Sorcerers and Doomwatch (1972), based on the TV series of the same name.
A 1990s book by Andy Boot (Fragments of Fear) highlighted the importance of Tigon and Tony Tenser to the British horror genre but contained a number of factual errors, including the misidentification of a number of films as Tigon productions. This misidentification continues to this day.
Tigon was based at Hammer House in Wardour Street, London, and released a wide range of films from sexploitation ( Zeta One ), to an acclaimed television adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie (1972) starring Helen Mirren.The largest part of its output, however, was made up by low-budget horror films in direct competition for audiences with Hammer Film Productions and Amicus Productions.
In February 2005, a DVD box set of Tigon films was released by Anchor BayUK. The box set contains only Witchfinder General , The Body Stealers , The Haunted House of Horror , The Blood on Satan's Claw , The Beast in the Cellar , and Virgin Witch , and consists of UK rather than US prints, in Region 2 – PAL format. Providing an audio commentary on a number of the films, as well as writing the productions notes, was the author and film critic John Hamilton.
The same year, FAB press in the UK published John Hamilton's biography of Tony Tenser, a comprehensive look at the career of Tigon's founder and the man dubbed "the Godfather of British Exploitation".Hamilton had access to production files, diaries and personal correspondence, as well as recording a number of exclusive interviews with the likes of Vernon Sewell, Michael Armstrong, Christopher Lee, Ian Ogilvy and Peter Sasdy. He also recorded over 18 hours of interviews with Tony Tenser himself, all of which went to create an in-depth look not only at the making of the films but the machinations involved with running a film company. The book was critically acclaimed in a number of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times and The Independent , as well as Film Review and SPFX (the latter dubbed it the "best single volume history ever written on British horror").
Hamilton has gone on to write a number of articles on Tigon film productions, published in magazines like The Darkside, Shivers and Little Shoppe of Horrors; in 2015, Hemlock Books published Tigon: Blood on a Budget, the author's look at the studio's horror and fantasy movies.
As production company
Hamilton, John: "Beasts in the Cellar. The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser". FAB press, Guildford, UK 2005
Hamilton, John: "Tigon. Blood on a Budget". Hemlock Books, Hailsham, E.Sussex. 2015.
Amicus Productions was a British film production company, based at Shepperton Studios, England, active between 1962 and 1977. It was founded by American producers and screenwriters Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg.
Witchfinder General is a 1968 British-American historical horror film directed by Michael Reeves and starring Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Hilary Dwyer, Robert Russell and Rupert Davies. The screenplay by Reeves and Tom Baker was based on Ronald Bassett's novel of the same name. Made on a low budget of under £100,000, the film was co-produced by Tigon British Film Productions and American International Pictures (AIP). In the United States, Witchfinder General was retitled The Conqueror Worm by AIP to link it with their earlier series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations directed by Roger Corman and starring Price; because its narrative bears no relation to any of Poe's stories, American prints book-end the film with the titular poem being read through narration by Price.
Hannie Caulder is a 1971 British Western film. The film was directed by Burt Kennedy and starred Raquel Welch, Robert Culp and Ernest Borgnine. The screenplay was rewritten by Kennedy, who was not credited.
The Sorcerers is a 1967 British science fiction/horror film directed by Michael Reeves, starring Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey, Ian Ogilvy, and Susan George. The original story and screenplay was conceived and written by John Burke. Reeves and his childhood friend Tom Baker re-wrote sections of the screenplay, including the ending at Karloff's insistence, wanting his character to appear more sympathetic. Burke was removed from the main screenwriting credit and was relegated to an 'idea by'.
The Blood Beast Terror is a 1967 British horror film released by Tigon in February 1968. In the United States it was released by Pacemaker Pictures on a double-bill with Slaughter of the Vampires under the title The Vampire Beast Craves Blood. The film is also known as Blood Beast From Hell and Deathshead Vampire.
The Blood on Satan's Claw, also released as Satan's Skin, is a 1971 British horror film made by Tigon British Film Productions and directed by Piers Haggard. The film was written by Robert Wynne-Simmons, with additional material by Piers Haggard, and stars Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden and Barry Andrews. It is set in early 18th-century England, and tells the story of a village taken over by demonic possession.
Samuel Anthony Tenser was an English-born film producer of Lithuanian-Jewish descent. He began as the producer of low budget exploitation films before moving into mainstream productions.
The Pleasure Girls is a 1965 British drama film directed by Gerry O'Hara and starring Francesca Annis, Ian McShane and Klaus Kinski.
The Haunted House of Horror, also titled Horror House and The Dark is a 1969 British film, an early type of "slasher film". It starred Frankie Avalon and Jill Haworth as young adults looking for a thrill by spending the night in an old mansion in the English countryside. Avalon was nearly 30 years old at the time of filming. It was directed by Michael Armstrong who would go on to direct Mark of the Devil.
Curse of the Crimson Altar is a 1968 British horror film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Barbara Steele and Mark Eden. The film was produced by Louis M. Heyward for Tigon British Film Productions. The film was edited and released as The Crimson Cult in the United States. The screenplay, by Doctor Who writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, was based (uncredited) on the short story "The Dreams in the Witch House" by H. P. Lovecraft. This film also featured one of the final film appearances of horror heavyweight Karloff.
Saturday Night Out is a 1964 British comedy-drama film directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and starring Heather Sears, John Bonney, Bernard Lee, Erika Remberg, Francesca Annis, Margaret Nolan and David Lodge. The screenplay concerns a trio of merchant seamen on a night out in London.
That Kind of Girl is a British cult film and the directorial debut of Gerry O'Hara. Produced by Robert Hartford-Davis with a script by Jan Read, it was released in 1963.
Zeta One is a 1969 British comedy science fiction film directed by Michael Cort and starring James Robertson Justice, Charles Hawtrey and Robin Hawdon.
The Yellow Teddy Bears is a 1963 British drama film directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and starring Jacqueline Ellis, Iain Gregory, Raymond Huntley and Georgina Patterson.
For the Love of Ada is a 1972 British comedy film directed by Ronnie Baxter and starring Irene Handl, Wilfred Pickles, Barbara Mitchell and Jack Smethurst. It is a spin-off from the television series For the Love of Ada.
Monique is a 1970 drama film directed and written by John Bown.
London in the Raw is a 1964 British documentary about London nightlife. It was inspired by the success of Mondo Cane.
Secrets of a Windmill Girl is a 1966 British exploitation film directed by Arnold L Miller. It recounts the road to ruin of a young woman who becomes involved with the striptease scene after becoming a dancer at the Windmill Theatre in London. The film features fan dances by former Windmill Theatre Company performers. It was originally released in Britain as part of a double bill with Naked as Nature Intended.
Love in Our Time is a 1968 British film documentary about sex.
1917 is a 1970 British short film directed by Stephen Weeks and starring Timothy Bateson, David Leland, and Geoffrey Davies.