Book Review: Hammer Films – A Life in Pictures

hammerlifeinpicturesHammer Films – A Life in Pictures
by Wayne Kinsey
Published by Tomahawk Press, 2008. 240 Pages.

Being a huge Hammer fan, I knew this was a book I was going to add to my collection eventually. Luckily for me, it was given to me as a recent birthday gift. And what better gift could a movie fan ask for? This book is a filled with over 600 photos covering the history of Hammer Films. There are candid shots, on the set production stills, promo shots, and much more. In these pages, you’ll see shots of actors like Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed, Ingrid Pitt, the Collinson twins, directors like Freddie Francis and Terence Fisher, and many more. Most are in black and white, but there are a few full color shots, all showing the beauty of these films and the people that made them. I have to say the candid ones were the ones I enjoyed the best. You’ll see some familiar ones but a lot that you’ve probably never seen before.

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Mystery Photo 5-30

It seems our last photo was a wee bit tougher than normal. We only got one correct answer sent in, and that was from William Wilson. He must be a big fan of Fred Olen Ray because he knew this was one of the victims from his 1985 film Biohazard, starring the lovely Angelique Pettyjohn. Sure, a cheesy flick, but a fun one. Kudos to Mr. Wilson.

I have to say, if you thought last week’s photo was a tough one, you might be stumped once again on this one. We have to apologize since this title has yet to get a nice crisp blu-ray release. Or at least, not that I’m aware of. And you probably didn’t come across this title while browsing through at your local Blockbuster. But maybe you just might know where this little nugget is from anyway. We’ll see. So take a look and send in your best guess. Good luck!

Please remember not to post your answers here, but send an email to jon@kitleyskrypt.com.

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BearManor Media Book Sale!

bearmanor logoBearManor Media is having a huge Memorial Day sale that ends midnight on May 31st, where all of their paperback editions are 30% off. I have quite a few of BearManor titles in my collection, and have reviewed a few of them here on my site. Just do a search for BearManor Media and you’ll see which ones I’m talking about.

There are three reasons you should order a book or two (or more) from them. The first and obvious reason is because they are having a 30% off sale! Kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

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Horror History: Mark Robson

MarkRobsonMark Robson
Born Dec. 4th, 1913 – Died June 20th, 1978

Robson started his career in the film industry at 20th Century Fox in the prop department. The rumor goes that his career there was ended when he asked studio head Darryl Zanuck for a promotion, which got him fired. He then moved to RKO Pictures and was trained how to be an editor, becoming an assistant to Robert Wise on editing Orson Wells’ Citizen Kane. He was later assigned to work as the editor on the B-horror films of Val Lewton, where he did that for two years, working on films like The Cat People, Journey into Fear, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man.

After the success of those films, RKO was going to move Lewton up to the A-picture budgets, but only if he uses their choice of directors on his next picture, The Seventh Victim. But Lewton had already decided that he wanted to give Robson a shot at directing. And because Lewton stood behind his people, he sacrificed his chance to increase his budgets and gave Robson that chance. Robson would go on to direct three more titles for Lewton: The Ghost Ship, Isle of the Dead, and Bedlam.

A short time after that, RKO didn’t pick up Robson’s contract and he was out of work for two years. Then an independent producer hired him to direct the boxing movie Champion, which got its star,  Kirk Douglas, an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. After that film, he was sought after for bigger budgeted films. In his career, Robson directed seven different actors in Oscar nominated performances, such as Susan Hayword and Russ Tamblyn.

Robson was credited or at least co-credited with creating the famous “Lewton Bus” technique in the film The Cat People, which is still referred to today in the industry.

Book Review: The Art of Hammer

artofhammerThe Art of Hammer: Posters from the Archives of Hammer Films
By Marcus Hearn
Published by Titan Books, 192 pages.

There was a time when movie posters were created not only before a single frame had been shot, but sometimes even before a script had been written. An artist was simply given a title and told to come up with a movie poster design for it. This was then used by the studio to try and sell the film before it was even started. Hammer Films did this, but they weren’t the first. But some of the artwork that came out for those movies is just stunning. Now, thanks to Hammer scholar Marcus Hearn, we all can enjoy these incredible pieces of art, but also keep these images alive and well for us collectors.

I know this as cliché as this sounds, this book really is a must. But not just for fans of Hammer Films, fans of movie posters in general, This coffee table size book is filled with beautiful images from Hammer movies from the ’50s to their end in the late ’70s. They display a mixture of close to 300 posters from around the world, from British quads, American 1-sheets, Spanish, Polish, and many others that will make any poster collector just drool. They are divided by decades, with a great index at the end in case you’re looking for a certain title. Each poster has the country from it is from listed, as well as the size of it.

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Music Box Celebrates the Grindhouse

Chicago area fans of cult and exploitation cinema might want to make sure they don’t have plans next weekend. Of course, I’ll be out of town at Cinevent so I won’t be able to make it, which really pisses me off. But if you’re in the Chicago area, then you need to head over the Music Box Theatre when they celebrate the Grindhouse genre!

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Horror History: Macario Gomez Quibus

macMacario Gomez Quibus
Born 1936

Better known as MAC, this Spanish artist worked for a time in advertising before getting in to making posters for films. His first big break was when he was hired to created the 3-sheet poster for Charlton Heston’s The Ten Commandments, which was an huge success. In fact, Heston was so impressed with this artist’s work, he made sure that he had the opportunity to meet him when he was in Spain filming El Cid. MAC gave him a portrait he created of the star as Moses, which Heston reported had hanging in his office for many years.

Signing his work with just the simple MAC, he worked in all genres, from big budgeted films to the smaller ones. Going through the ones he did for horror films and you’ll see plenty of them that you’ve probably seen over the years. Some of the artwork is just staggering, seeing the talent this man had. With dead-on likenesses, beautifully arranged montages of scenes from the movies, he truly created some incredible pieces of art. Now you know who the talented man that created them.

These artists, that help drawn in thousands of people to see these movies, are so underrated and almost forgotten. These people’s names should be just as well known as the people who were in them. We need to keep their names alive, as well as their work. While these are just a few posters that he created, check out this website where you can see many more incredible pieces of art. Just click HERE.