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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.
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
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.
Dr Terrible's House of Horrible is a satirical British comedy horror anthology series created by Graham Duff, who co-wrote the series with Steve Coogan. BBC Two broadcast the series in 2001. The title parodies Amicus Productions' anthology film Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965). Coogan presents each episode as Dr. Terrible, and plays various roles throughout.
Witchfinder General is a 1968 British period folk 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 1966 novel Witchfinder General. The film is a heavily fictionalised account of the murderous witch-hunting exploits of Matthew Hopkins (Price), a lawyer who falsely claimed to have been appointed as a "Witch Finder Generall" [sic] by Parliament during the English Civil War to root out sorcery and witchcraft. The plot follows Roundhead soldier Richard Marshall (Ogilvy), who relentlessly pursues Hopkins and his assistant John Stearne (Russell) after they prey on his fiancée Sara (Dwyer) and execute her priestly uncle John Lowes (Davies).
Michael Reeves was an English film director and screenwriter. He is best remembered for the 1968 film Witchfinder General. A few months after the film's release, Reeves died in London at the age of 25 from an accidental alcohol and barbiturate overdose.
Hannie Caulder is a 1971 British Western film directed by Burt Kennedy and starring Raquel Welch, Robert Culp, and Ernest Borgnine.
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 were 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'.
Linda Hayden is an English film and television actress. She is best known for her roles in 1970s British horror films and sex comedies.
The Blood Beast Terror is a 1968 British horror film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng and Wanda Ventham, 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 budget was circa £40,000 and this was the first film to be made under the Tigon British Film Productions banner. The Sorcerers (1967), made by the company under the corporate name of Tony Tenser Films Ltd was later rebranded Tigon.
The Blood on Satan's Claw is a 1971 British supernatural period folk horror film directed by Piers Haggard and starring Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, and Barry Andrews. Set in early 18th-century England, it follows the residents of a rural village whose youth fall under the influence of a demonic presence after a local farmer unearths a mysterious deformed skull buried in a field.
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.
Richard Paul Ferris was an English composer and actor. Born in Corby, Northamptonshire, England, Ferris provided scores for various low budget British horror films during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Haunted House of Horror, also titled Horror House and The Dark, is a 1969 British horror film directed by Michael Armstrong and starring Frankie Avalon and Jill Haworth as young adults looking for a thrill by spending the night in an old mansion in the English countryside. The film's tagline was "Behind its forbidden doors an evil secret hides!"
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 the final British film appearance of horror icon Karloff.
The Beast in the Cellar is a 1971 British horror film written and directed by James Kelley. The film was produced by Leander Films and Tigon British Film Productions, and starred Beryl Reid.
London in the Raw is a 1964 British documentary about London nightlife directed by Arnold L. Miller and Norman Cohen. It was inspired by the success of Mondo Cane (1962) and was followed by a sequel Primitive London in 1965.
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. It was directed and narrated by Elkan Allan.
1917 is a 1970 British short film directed by Stephen Weeks and starring Timothy Bateson, David Leland, and Geoffrey Davies.
A Satanic film is a subgenre of horror film, and at times other film genres, that involves the Devil as a concept or a character. Common themes/characters in Satanic film include the Antichrist, demonic possession, exorcism, and witchcraft.
Folk horror is a subgenre of horror film and horror fiction that uses elements of folklore to invoke fear and foreboding. Typical elements include a rural setting, isolation, and themes of superstition, folk religion, paganism, sacrifice and the dark aspects of nature. Although related to supernatural horror film, folk horror usually focuses on the beliefs and actions of people rather than the supernatural, and often deals with naïve outsiders coming up against these. The British films Blood on Satan's Claw (1971), The Wicker Man (1973) and Witchfinder General (1968) are regarded as pioneers of the genre, while the 2019 film Midsommar sparked renewed interest in folk horror. Southeast Asian cinema also commonly features folk horror.