by Graham Rae (2004-06-14)
You say Cliff was in 12 of his produced films. Which ones were these?
There were other projects and scripts though: “The Pike”, “The Judas Touch”, “The Devil’s Cocktail”, “Striker”, “Thunderflash”, “Rider”, “Hogan’s Champion”, and some others I forget at the moment. By the end of the second film and working with David Kent-Watson, a team of sorts formed and many of the same actors were used on the rest of the films: Maxton G Beesley, John Saint Ryan, Brett Sinclair, Jerry Harris, Ginette Frey, David Rankin, Brian Sterling, myself, and later a great martial artist called Stuart Hurst whom Cliff affectionately called his son.
So that would make “Target Eve Island” the next film?
Yes. We left for Barbados and Grenada (pronounced ‘Granada’) on June 19th, 1983. David Kent-Watson had done filming work there before and knew the contacts and locations. The team was gathered and off we went to the land of sunshine, rum punch – oh yes! – work, of course. Another exotic film location, this time in the Caribbean, and I was called upon to do four fight scenes and a little action. The plot runs like this: Professor Lindenbrook (Kay Harris) has secret documentation wanted by the Russians. She is kidnapped and taken to the Caribbean. Following in hot pursuit are Chaser (Cliff Twemlow) and William Grant (Brett Sinclair). I play another villain called Roman who works as a heavy for mobster Harry Filipino (Jerry Harris).
After two weeks of filming in Barbados we went to Grenada. David Kent-Watson gathered us all together and gave us a speech and a warning about our conduct, with the things to do and not to do in Grenada because it was a communist country. The place had an air of pre-war Germany about it. There was a government official called Ollie assigned to follow us everywhere we went, looking through the camera before every scene to make sure that we weren’t filming anything of importance to them, like a military installation. On frequent trips to the main government house soldiers with M16s and the like met us.
Although some of the time Ollie was stoned and listening to Bob Marley records, I remember him telling me about the freedom they had enjoyed, which was now gone, and how they weren’t even allowed to go near some of the beaches as they were privately owned. That was the day we filmed at the same house that was used for the film “Island In The Sun” with Harry Belafonte. We all stayed at The Secret Harbor complex, which was a place used by famous people like Barbara Cartland and Paul Newman for their escapes. The place was designed so that every veranda was private and couldn’t be overlooked by anyone else in the complex. We just used to sit and watch the turtles go swimming by.
Unfortunately there was wasn’t enough time for the shooting to be completed and on leaving the search at the airport was so thorough it was like the Spanish Inquisition. In fact, the search was so thorough that on leaving the airport the plane had to be halted on the runway as Jerry Harris had missed the plane because of it. After a few months, though, David Kent-Watson had contacted the authorities over there so that shooting could continue and we went back to finish the film with Brett Sinclair and John Saint Ryan.
How many films were you in with Cliff?
Eight in all: I didn’t do “The Blind Side of God”, “Moon Stalker”, “Firestar: First Contact” or “Tokyo Sunrise”, with the 1984 “Mason’s War” project never being completely finished or sold. But after that it was off to Ibiza for “The Ibiza Connection” with Cliff, Fiona Fullerton (who went on to star with Roger Moore in the Bond film “A View To A Kill”), Brett Sinclair, Max Beesley, Brian Sterling and myself. I spent three weeks of 1984 there with Cliff and Max, with the beach location being the same beach as used in the film “South Pacific” with Rossano Brazzi in the 60s. The story, written by Cliff, was a story within a story about the making of a movie called “Thunderflash” and called for a specially designed car called ‘Striker’ that fired missiles. “Thunderflash” was a giant rocket and there were the usual helicopter crashes, fight scens, romance and the gangster connection Gino Veradi, played by Max Beesley.
Cliff later followed up with two other films: “The Blind Side of God” in 1987 and then “Moon Stalker”, with the former being based on Cliff beating the crap out of pedophiles and in the latter he played a White Hunter type person who was hired to hunt down a vampire.
My next project was a film called “Gunpowder” and then later I teamed up with Cliff again in “The Eye of Satan”. He was in immaculate shape for this one. His abdominals were ripped to bodybuilding standards and his weight dropped down to around 11 stone (154 pounds). “Satan” was my first horror film and, as usual, I get killed off. Cliff was able to shapeshift into the form of a black panther, Pantharis, as he pursued his victims. I was one of them, because in Africa I broke in on a Pantharis cult about to sacrifice a young woman to their God. I shot them all, saved the woman and stole their sacred jewel ‘the Eye of Satan’ from the altar. Fleeing back to England I am pursued by Pantharis. I seek refuge and help from a priest, but on leaving the church meet my doom from the spirit panther. A black panther was used in many of the scenes and the firearms specialist was Steve Tonko, whom I was told was part American Indian.
Get the rest of the interview in part four of STEVE POWELL: DRINKING AND SINGING UNDER AFRICAN SKIES>>>
|"After each shoot we would all meet up in The Ship Inn for a round of drinks courtesy of David Kent-Watson..."|