The Hammer Vampire
By Bruce G. Hallenbeck
Published by Hemlock Books, 2010. 240 pages.
Now being pretty familiar with Hammer films already, I was wondering just what I was going to be able to learn that I didn’t know already. But this just goes to show you that when it comes to horror history, we are all students of the genre. I have been a fan of Hallenbeck’s work every since I discovered Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine quite a few years ago. I believe it was issue # 8 which came out in May of 1984. It had a shot from The Vampire Lovers on the cover and the main article was written by Hallenbeck. In fact, believe in most of the issues, the main article was written by him. There is a reason for that. Mr. Hallenbeck knows his Hammer. With each issue of the magazine, we learn more and more about the “studio that dripped blood” and the people that worked there. This book is no different.
Hallenbeck goes through each of Hammer’s vampire titles, giving us the background on where the ideas came from, how they got started, and with plenty of tidbits of information coming directly from the people that were involved with the films. He not only covers the Dracula films, but ALL the vampire titles, like Kiss of the Vampire through Captain Kronos. He does make mention of other non-Hammer fang flicks, but only briefly, usually in pointing out what Hammer was having to compete with at that particular time.
I know that I usually am always recommending horror reference books, and especially ones on the Hammer films, but this one is just exceptional. A very easy and fast read, but just packed full of great information. Couldn’t recommend this one enough and can’t wait to start on his Hammer Frankenstein book!
This title, along with his follow up The Hammer Frankenstein, were originally published by Hemlock Books out of the UK. But now Midnight Marquee is putting out their edition of the book here in the states. Same content, just easier to get if you’re in the US. So no matter you’re location, this is another title you need to add to your library.