Shane Briant

As we come to the end of a triumphant British Horror Month we took some time to chat to classic horror and Hammer Films star Shane Briant about his career, horror films, the classic horror campaign and much, much more!


Q. Hi Shane, first of all thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! Can I start by asking you how you became an actor and how did you get involved with Hammer Films?
A. Ever since I played my first bad guy – the spider in ‘Little Miss Muffet’ at pre-school, I wanted to act. I acted at all my schools and went pro when at University (Trinity College Dublin) In my final year I was cast in a three-hander play called ‘Children of the Wolf’ which transferred from Dublin to the West End. I was discovered by Michael Carreras, head of Hammer Films, and put under contract for two years to play leads in four films.

Q. Of all of your classic horror performances, which is your own personal favourite and why?
A. ‘Straight on Till Morning,’ because it had the best script and gave me great scope to show what I was capable of. Working with Rita was a delight.

Q. Are there any particular memories you would like to share with horror fans of working with other great actors such as Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro?
A.  All my best stories are in my autobiography! I encourage everyone to buy a copy! Peter was a very kind man and again, wonderful to work with. I leant so many tings from him – most importantly to conduct myself always in a professional manner and work damned hard. Caroline was so gorgeous she was a constant distraction on ‘Kronos.’ But I managed to keep my fingers off her!

Q. You have made a number of excellent short film sequels to many of your most famous horror films over the last few years. Can you tell us more about these?
A. It was my friend Robert Kenchington’s idea to shoot short sequels to my Hammer movies. And a great idea too! They were fun to do. I deliberately mixed original footage and cut to my sequel material to see how the sands of time had treated me. Quite a shock. But then 40 years had passed so in some ways I didn’t feel too bad.

Q. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in your horror career of late. Why do you think this is?
A. I think it’s the Internet. I never realized that so many people still love Hammer horror films and that they want to see more made. Then my good friend Robert started up a fan site and another started up another and before I knew what was happening I had hundreds of ‘fans.’ Then I was invited to a horror convention in Whitby and the following year in Hackney, organized by Don Ferney. Now there’s a petition going around to bring me back in horror films. I am honoured!

Q. Why do you support the Classic Horror Campaign and why would you urge film fans to sign our petition?
A. The campaign is fantastic and I encourage everyone to sign. There are COUNTLESS people ‘out there’ who LOVE classic horror movies. By that I don’t mean thrillers but old fashioned vampires in a classical setting. Monsters and werewolves. Nothing modern – that’s my point.

Q. What message would you like to give fans who attend the Classic Horror Campaign Double Bills and did you ever expect to have websites and fan pages dedicated to you and your career?
A. I don’t think anyone expects to have hundreds of so-called ‘fans.’ But in reality they are simply people who like your work and enjoy the way you act and perform. When I was a young man some liked the way I looked! Ha! I am a fan of a lot of actors myself – De Niro, Pacino, Brando, Walken, Newman, Redford etc.

Q. Are you a horror fan yourself and do you have any particular favourite horror films?
A. I always found the Quatermass films disturbing. Hob Goblins did it for me. And vampires were good! ‘Hallowe’en’ was major scary. Also Dario Argento’s ‘Susperia.’

Q. Tell us about your current and future plans. Do you have any new films in the pipeline?
A. The film I made eighteen months ago, Roland Joffe’s latest movie ‘Singularity’ will be coming out next year. It’s a wonderful saga movie set in India. Josh Hartnett is great, as is Bollywood queen Bipasha Basu (she looks delicious) Don’t miss this one. Next week I’m off to Singapore and Batam to film a 10 hour series called ‘Serangood Road.’ An Australian/Singaporean co-production.
Thanks again for your time Shane and we hope to see you back in the UK again soon.
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What better birthday to celebrate during British Horror Month than that of Hammer Films’ horror hero Shane Briant! The handsome and brooding star of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974), Demons of the Mind (1972) and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) was born in London on the 17th August 1946 and currently resides in Sydney, Australia.

Shane has a grand horror pedigree, starring in the following fear and fantasy flicks in his career :

  • Straight on Till Morning (1972)
  • Demons of the Mind (1972)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1974)
  • Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)
  • Frankenstein & The Monster From Hell (1974)
  • Hawk the Slayer (1981)
  • Cassandra (1987)
  • Out of the Body (1988)

Shane has also filmed several short sequels to some of his classic horror films, the most disturbing of which is Beyond Dorian, a horrifying sequel to Dorian Gray, which you can view below. Shane was also kind enough to film an exclusive introduction to last year’s Frighten Brighton horror event at the Rock Inn, Brighton.

So beast wishes and many happy returns (from the grave!) to the legendary Mr Shane Briant!

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