barbara payton, hammer films, Hammer Horror, james hayton, john van eyssen, stephen murray, terence fisher
Just as Universal were making significant strides away from the horror genre and into the sci-fi realm with It Came From Outer Space another new name would rise to take up the mantel.
This production company would have its roots across the pond on British soil, but the Hammer Horror epithet was yet to come and the name would be generated in familiar territory, science fiction.
Four Sided Triangle is a complex tale, but contains some essential ingredients on Hammer’s path to notoriety. None more so than with its director Terence Fisher who would spearhead the Hammer vision and helm the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing starring film, The Curse of Frankenstein just two years later.
For now though, Fisher’s playing field would follow a couple of scientists, Bill (Stephen Murray – A Tale of Two Cities) and Robin (John Van Eyssen – Quatermass 2, Dracula), who dabble in the duplication of objects.
The duo find their scientific breakthrough and look on the borders of success, but as with these things a dramatic barrier must stand in the way and serve as the antithesis to their genius. In this case it is through our love triangle as both Bill and Roy have eyes for their longtime friend, Lena (Barbara Payton – Bride of the Gorilla). The only trouble is, Lena only has romantic feelings for Robin.
Heartbroken Bill doesn’t acquiesce but comes with another solution – duplication of Lena.
What he doesn’t account for however is that the replicant Lena, named Helen will also fall for Robin. Not content with this, Bill devises a new way to win Helen’s affections through electro-shock therapy to erdicate any memory she has of Robin. Bill’s pursuit for love will only lead to ruin, but how many will fall in his endeavours to win Helen’s heart is left until the final reel.
There are some marked moments that lift this low budget flick above the grade for its time, tackling some interesting subject matter. Fisher also lends a level-headed approach to story-telling in order to deliver the compound narrative in a simple way for audience to understand. Narrated by a secondary character Dr. Harvey (James Hayton – The Pickwick Papers) who breaks the fourth wall through flashback with his pleasing and harmonious nature only solidifies Fisher’s strong direction further.
The film deserves more recognition, being overshadowed by Hammer’s next turn in The Quatermass Xperiment and of course The Curse of Frankenstein. Both of which would stem the way for Hammer’s future, but neither would be as bright without Four Sided Triangle shining a light for the production company to walk towards success.
- Saul Muerte