Meikle’s book A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer was a very important step in my early days when I was digging deeper into the history of the famous studio. I can still remember first getting a copy in my hands and diving into it. It is one that I even still go back to when doing any kind of research on Hammer, or the countless people involved there. But the books didn’t stop there, with titles covering Vincent Price, the Jack Ripper films, and even Tod Slaughter with Mr. Murder: The Life and Times of Tod Slaughter, which I was thrilled to hear he did this since there isn’t a lot written about this early horror icon.
So it is with great sadness that I am reporting that Mr. Meikle has passed away. His contributions to the horror genre journalism were not only amazing, but very impactful to a lot of us fans. Longtime friend and collaborator, Dick Klemensen, posted the below comment on his Facebook page, and I think it really sums up Meikle perfectly.
“Denis was a scholar. Fans would get irritated if he didn’t seem to like the films as much as they did.
But if that is the worst thing he ever did…he always made one think.”
As a journalist, making someone think about a film, whether you agree or not, does make it possible to see something you might have missed otherwise. Not always, but you have to be open to new ideas and opinions. That is how we learn more about what we love.
Thank you, Mr. Meikle, for those very important lessons in film and being a better fan. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
The latest issue of THE best Hammer magazine out there, Little Shoppe of Horrors, is taking orders for issue # 44, which is covering The Hound of the Baskervilles, as well as The Stranglers of Bombay and The Terror of the Tongs.
As with all issues of LSoH, there is plenty of great material here, written by some of the best Hammer scholars, such as Denis Meikle and Bruce G. Hallenbeck.
David J. Miller has an article on Hammer’s DP Jack Asher, called He Painted with Light, as well as coverage on the new Dracula BBC series.
With another stunning cover by Mark Maddox, as well as other amazing art and illustrations inside, it doesn’t take long to realize why this magazine has been going for close to 50 years. Every issues is always a real treat.
You can order your copy now by going to their site HERE. Especially during these strange times, the creators of magazines like this need your support!
Within our horror history, there are still names that we need to not only remember, but know why they are important. One of those names is Tod Slaughter, who some call Britain’s first true horror star. Slaughter didn’t start making films until he was 50, after a long career of acting on the stage. But making films, especially when he appeared as the villain, is when Slaughter not only shined, but he seemed to just love it. Probably his most famous role, was that of bloody barber Sweeney Todd, in The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936).
Coming this November from Hemlock Books and authors Denis Meikle, Kip Xool, and Doug Young, you will be given your chance to learn more about Slaughter than ever before. Mr. Murder: The Life and Times of Tod Slaughter will us a definitive biography of this unsung hero of horror. The book will even feature extracts from Slaughter’s unpublished autobiography, as well as tons of information on this actor who just relished being over the top and chewing the scenery. Appearing in other films such as The Face at the Window (1939) and Horror Maniacs (1948), Slaughter is a name you need to know within your horror education.
This 280 page book will be available in hardcover format, and will be fully illustrated throughout the book, with 8 pages in color. The retail price is £29.95, which is about $38 over here. It will be a bit pricy once you throw in the postage, but I know it will be one title I’ll be adding to my library! For more information, head over to their site by clicking HERE.
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.
Back in 2003, Vincent Price: The Art of Fear by Denis Meikle was published. But now, over a decade later, a new expanded and revised edition is coming out from Hemlock Books, under the title Merchant of Menace: The Life and Films of Vincent Price. This new version is almost 400 pages and contains well over 300 illustrations, with 8 pages in color.
This book is a celebration of not just Price’s work but his life as well. It covers all of his films with a lot of information about them. If you’re a fan of Price, then I’m sure you’ll need to add this volumen in your collection, even if you already own the Price of Fear title. I know I will be. Besides, Hemlock always puts out some nice editions.
This is available in both softcover and hardcover editions. For more information, head over to Hemlock Book’s website HERE.