Shane Briant: Insight into the Master of Evil

shane-briant1If you look up Shane Briant, you’ll see that he is now a successful novelist, with 8 thrillers under his belt. Believe it or not, this is not his day job. In acting and film circles he has carved a strong reputation amongst his peers and critics alike. Having emigrated to Australia in the 80s, he has cropped up in numerous TV and films over the years, but it is perhaps his first foray into the movie world that he is best remembered for – at least amongst the Hammer aficionado and would indeed craft a style of performance from him that would see him playing various evil incarnations throughout his career. This would also, lead him to release an autobiography, with a similar vein in mind, Always The Bad Guy.

Whilst studying at Trinity College Dublin, he would land a theatre role in Children of the Wolf. In the audience one night, Michael Carreras would watch Shane’s gifted performance and wanted to harness this craft for Hammer Films for a film called, Demons of the Mind. From here, Shane would become the last contract player at Elstree Studios. The contract would see him perform for the camera a total of 4 times for Hammer Productions, just as its light was starting to dwindle; Straight On Till Morning; Demons of the Mind; Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter; and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell.

These performances would embed Shane in Hammer film history and HHP were fortunate enough to catch up with him to discuss his film career thus far and what may lie ahead.

Check it out here:

HHP would find it hard to assemble Shane’s performances for Hammer as he always was a shining light, even compared to the peers he stood against, but here are reasons why Shane Briant deserves his place in the Hammer Actors Vault

shane-briant_demonsEmil’s lust for his sister, Elizabeth

In Demons of the Mind, Shane gave one of his finest performances in the earlier stages of his career. Expertly capturing a troubled mind, manipulated into believing that he is infatuated with his sister, whilst struggling to convey right from wrong. A must watch especially compared with other cast members who chose to go with a more melodramatic approach compared with Shane’s more grounded realistic one.

shane-braint_Monster1Simon Hadler’s cold and meticulous approach to science

In Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Shane manages to convey a similar line of approach to Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein. He appears just as cold and callous with his methods, which in turn leads him to the Institute for the Criminally Insane.

 

 

briantshane2Simon Hadler’s humanitarianism

Interestingly towards the end of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Shane is able to juxtapose his initial characters emotions as he begins to touch base with humanity and the line he doesn’t wish to cross that clearly his mentor has. It is this human approach that makes Simon more likeable, which is testament to Shane’s performance compared to the earlier scenes where he is dispatched from ‘humanity’.

shane-briant_morningPeter’s breakdown in tears.

In Straight On Till Morning, there are many moments that Shane manages to steal the audiences’ gaze, but a moment that really steals our attention, is when his character breaks down in tears after he has committed a murderous deed. This performance is all the more interesting when you discover what drove that performance. For more info, check out the Interview.

shane-briant2His ability to convey evil in the heart of madness and make it seem sane.

Lastly, there are not many performers, who can provide a grounded reason for an evildoer’s motive. Many times, in films, the ‘evil’ character is never given a believable motive or not enough depth in character has been developed.

Due to Shane’s approach and method to his acting, his characters always have a sense of being grounded in reality, making his actions all the more believable too. This allows the audience to be taking in by his performances and the actions his character undertakes, despite how crazy those actions may be.

Links:

Shane Briant official website
Shane Briant autobiography: Always The Bad Guy
Shane Briant’s latest novel: Live Feed
Hammer Films

Video Links:

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell
Straight On Till Morning Trailer
Demons of the Mind Trailer
C
aptain Kronos Vampire Hunter Trailer


2 Responses to “Shane Briant: Insight into the Master of Evil”

  1. […] Hammer Profile: Peter Cushing Hammer Profile: Shane Briant […]

  2. […] Hammer Profile: Caroline Munro Hammer Profile: Shane Briant […]

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