Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros. Years (2018)
Directed by Marcus Hearn
Starring Veronica Carlson, John Carson, Steve Chibnall, Joe Dante, Jonathan Rigby, Peter Sasdy, Madeline Smith, Caroline Munro, Christopher Frayling, Wayne Kinsey, Denis Meikle
So…a new documentary on Hammer Studios? I’m there. Simple as that. Add to the fact that when the producers of this documentary started a Kickstarter fund to get this project off the ground, I immediately signed up. Honestly, I don’t remember which level I put in for, but I did get a nice poster print as well as the Blu-ray. Being a huge fan of this famous British studio, this review might be a little jaded, but I will try to be as honest and straight forward as I can.
If you ever wondered just what happened to Hammer Studios, as to why they went under, then this feature length documentary will either answer that, or at least give you some very strong contributing factors that might have caused it. Even though this studio was very successful in the late ’50s and ’60s, by the time the ’60s were coming to a close, things were starting to change. Not with just the audiences, but the ratings boards, other movies the studios were releasing, as well as where Hammer was getting their funding from.
This is simply the best magazine out there covering Hammer Studios, not to mention the longest running. And there is a reason for that. The quality of work that goes into each issue, from the research and writing, to the wonderful illustrations, it doesn’t take long to realize that this is a work of passion and love for those involved. A fan of Hammer Studios can learn so much about this amazing studio and the people that worked there by reading through each and every issue. I know I do!
And now, issue # 39 is available to order!
The cover story for this issue is one of the last Hammer horror titles made: To the Devil…A Daughter! Author David Taylor has the complete story of how this film came to be. There is also an interview with the young star of the film, Nastassja Kinski as well!
Other features in this issue include an article on Peter Sallis, a brilliant character actor that appeared not only in several Hammer titles, but also was the voice of lovable Wallance in the Aardman animated Wallace and Gromit series. There is some coverage on Hammer’s space western, Moon Zero Two, which has a making-of article by Hammer scholar Bruce G. Hallenbeck, as well as an interview with actress Catherine Schell, as well as a piece on Mike Tilley, who worked for special effects artist Les Bowie on the film. Plus the usual great tidbits in every LSoH issue.
You can order your copy now by going to their website HERE.
Rungs on a Ladder: Hammer Films Seen Through a Soft Gauze
By Christopher Neame
Published by The Scarecrow Press, 2003. 131 pages.
If there is a book published about Hammer Films, more than likely, at some point in time, I will be adding it to my library. I mean, when you have an official Hammer section with over two dozen titles in said library already, it’s kind of a must have. So when I came across this title on Amazon, I added it to my wish list. The problem I had right away was that it was priced from $30 to $50, and it was for a book that was just over a hundred pages. That’s a tough sell, even for a diehard collector like myself. Okay, sure, I bought it eventually anyway, but just saying.
Now, let’s not get this Neame confused with the actor of the same name that appeared in a couple of Hammer titles, Dracula A.D. 1972 & Lust for a Vampire. The author Neame started at the bottom of the business and worked his way up. It was only a matter of time for him, since the film business really was in his blood. His father was Ronald Neame, a director and cinematographer, and his grandfather Elwin, was a director who worked in silent films.
Horror Express (1972)
Directed by Eugenio Martin
Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Julio Peña, Helga Liné, Telly Savalas, George Rigaud, Victor Israel
For any horror fan that is just starting his long journey into the depths of genre, one path that is easy and most followed are the ones that feature certain iconic actors known for their work in the genre, such as names like Karloff, Price, Chaney, Lorre, and of course Cushing and Lee. With the work Cushing and Lee did with Hammer Films, as well as many other genre pics, it gave a young and eager fan plenty of titles to investigate. If you found one of the many films that they both appeared in, then it was an even better deal!
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, just like we have for the last thirteen years, instead of fighting the crowds at the stores, a group of us have gathered together to fight another battle…the Turkey! It is beyond me how this event became just that…an actual EVENT, one that everyone seems to look forward to each and every year. But somehow it has. When you have a group of like-minded movie lovers getting together to not just watch, but really experience some cinema, that at their best are third and fourth class citizens, and we just have a blast. At this year’s T-Day, our crew consisted of a bunch of the usual suspects, and one new victim! Of course, Aaron Christensen was there, never having missed one since he started coming in 2005. Joe Wallace, who started popping in and out around 2010, was here again, bringing his girlfriend Sharon Gissy alone for the ride. Jason Coffman first came in 2011 and has made everyone since then. Brian Fukala started coming in 2012, and I think only has missed one event since then. Mr. Martinez made his T-Day debut last May, doubting the whole point to this event, but was soon absorbed into the collective! Matt Harding makes his return for his second appearance and Tim Palace came for his very first experience. Will he survive?
I know a lot of people spend this upcoming 3-day weekend grilling or spending time outside. But if you’re trying to think of some alternative way to spend your Memorial Day, might I offer up a suggestion? There are three very important figures in the horror genre celebrating birthdays this Thursday and Friday. And even though they have left us, it is just as important now to celebrate their work and remember them as when they were still with us. Of course, I’m talking about Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price.
Okay Hammer Dracula fans, start saving those pennies, because there will be a book coming out this summer that you’re going to want to add to your library. Thanks to the wonderful (and incredibly talented book publishers) people at Peveril Publishing, they will continue to put out amazing looking volumes dedicated to the Studio that Dripped Blood, and that we all love.