Discover the Horror Episode 17: Hammer (Is It) Horror

Never Take Candy from a Stranger (1960), The Damned (1963), Plague of the Zombies (1966). These are the three titles covered in this episode, as well as a little discussing on what can be considered “horror” when talking about the famous Studio that Dripped Blood. While some of these titles don’t immediately come to mind when you think of Hammer Horror, digging a little deeper, you might discover it to be there after all. After all, isn’t the whole point of being a horror fan is to go beyond the borders? You never know what you might find and even might be surprised.

These are the titles mentioned in the episode:

Cross of the Devil (1975), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Damned (1963), The Ghost Breakers (1940), Horror of Dracula (1958), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Never Take Candy from a Stranger (1960), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Plague of the Zombies (1966), Paranoiac (1963), The People Who Own the Dark (1976), The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), To the Devil a Daughter (1976), White Zombie (1932)

Denis Meikle – Rest in Peace

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.

New Book on British AIP Films

While there have been a few books that have covered the productions from American International Pictures, or AIP as they are better known as, but during their reign at the box office and drive-ins, there were 29 titles that were made in the UK, from making deals with Hammer Films, Tigon, and a few other production companies, to release the films over here in the states. Titles like Cat Girl (1957), Horrors of the Black Musuem (1959), Witchfinder General (1968), and The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), plus many others. Now, being published through Little Shoppe of Horrors, author John Hamilton has spent over 20 years working on this volume that will cover 29 film titles, each with in-depth coverage, including over 700 images!

No real date set for this volume, but I know I will definitely be adding it to my library. The films that AIP presented to audiences during that era were some of the ones I grew up on, especially in the days of the VHS boom when so many titles were hitting that new market. When we get more details, we’ll post them here. In the meantime, if you’re interested, fire off an email to Little Shoppe of Horrors main man Richard Klemenson (klemdia@msn.com) to let him know you’re interested.

Mary Collinson – Rest in Peace

Being a huge fan of Hammer films, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet quite a few stars, directors, and others that worked for the famous studio. But there are still countless more than I haven’t. And with each year, we lose another face that brought us thrills, chills, and smiles to our faces. The Collinson twins from Twins of Evil (1971) were two that I had always hoped I would have the chance to meet. Madeleine Collinson had passed away in 2014, and now we’ve learned that her sister Mary has passed away today, at age of 69.

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Double Dipping with The Vampire Lovers

Trust me, folks, I am probably not the happiest person when it comes to having to double dip on newer versions of the movies we love that keep coming out. New features, new 4K scan, and the rest of that stuff that tries to squeeze a little money from our wallets. Some titles are advertised with a bunch of new features but then you find out one of those “features” is a 4-minute interview. And don’t even get me started on this whole fascination with slip covers. Seriously … since when did a silly cardboard cover become more valuable than the actual movie?

With all that aside, when Shout Factory announced their new updated version of The Vampire Lovers, I quickly ordered it. I know. Pretty sad. But it all came down to that amazing 18×24 poster by Mark Maddox that was offered in the special deal. I have several prints from Maddox and just love his work, and with The Vampire Lovers being one of my favorites, I wasn’t going to pass up adding that poster to my collection. I believe I have all the posters that he did for Shout Factory that were offered. You have to figure that those prints are $25-$40 if you were to buy them at a show, so technically you’re getting the Blu-ray for free!

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More Hammer Figures from Mego

Just when I was content with not getting into collecting a lot of these horror action figures or collectible figures, I hear about some of these Hammer figures that Mego is now putting out. These are all 8″ figures that pre-orders are being taken now. The two they announced last week were for The Gorgon and The Mummy. Which, while they were not bad looking and only priced at $20 each, it didn’t make me change my mind on having to collect them.

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Little Shoppe of Horrors Salutes The Gorgon

The latest issue of the long running (and best magazine devoted to all things Hammer) is now out and available to order. This issue tackles Hammer’s 1964 film The Gorgon, starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Barbara Shelley, with the article Reflections of Fear: The Making of The Gorgon by Joshua Kennedy.

Within the pages, you’ll also find the article Cut Me a Robe from Toe to Lobe … Give Me a Skin for Dancing In: The Making of The Witches by Bruce G. Hallenbeck, as well as an article on the star of that film, Joan Fontaine. There is also an article on Don Houghton, the screenwriter of the modern day Dracula films Hammer made in the early to mid ’70s, by David Gee.

Like with any issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors, every page is a delight and filled with great stuff. Head over to their website HERE to order your copy now. And if you want to know more about Hammer, just pick up some of their back issues that are readily available.

Sideshow Hammer Figures

I have quite a few famous horror figures in my collection that I’ve picked up over the years. Some are model kits, many of which I actually painted myself. Others are statues I’ve purchased that came painted already. Granted some of these were a bit pricy, but never more than a 2-3 hundred at the most. Granted, the full size bust of the poster zombie from Zombie or Dr. Hill’s decapitated head in a pan were a bit higher than that, but for a figure, I try to shy away from the real expensive stuff, mainly because I personally just can’t invest that much money into something like that.

But now Sideshow Toys has announced a couple figures that are $530 EACH and I’m trying to convince my brain that I DO need to invest in these!

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Peveril Publishing Update – More Hammer!

First news is that their latest book, The Hammer Vampire Scrapbook, is now available to order. There are only 700 copies being printed so when those are gone, it’s gone! So make sure you order your copy now if you’re interested. Yes, they are a bit pricy, especially if you’re having them mailed over here to the States. But since I have copies of all of their books in my own library, I can honestly say they are worth every penny spent. They are lavishly produced and look amazing, not to mention all the incredible content within the pages. Really a must for any serious Hammer fan. Just click HERE to order your copy now.

But wait! There’s more! While Mr. Kinsey stated that the next entry in their Scrapbook series will be on the Karnstein films, he is also working on the next volume in his Fantastic Films of the Decades series, Vol. 4 – 1940s Part 2: 1944-1949, he stated in his last email update that he is working on a 3 volume set called The House that Hammer Built, which will cover the complete Carreras years, from 1935 to 1979. According to Kinsey, this will be “my own personal definitive Hammer work, a chronological journey through Hammer’s history looking at all of their films during this period, so will be finally covering the early Exclusive films as well as Journey to the Unknown and un-filmed projects, with new research and bringing together info from my previous Hammer books.”

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FAB Press Releases Fisher Biography

Way back in July of 2020, we posted about FAB Press announcement that they would be publishing Tony Dalton’s authorized biography of the incredibly underrated director Terence Fisher, best known for the work he did for Hammer Films. Well now it is at the printers and should be released next month. But you still have time to pre-order it and get a signed edition! The price is £29.99 (which right now is about $42), but we all know the beautiful work that FAB puts into their books, so it will be worth every penny. Not only that, but this hardcover edition is over 500 pages, almost that many illustrations, and is the first authorized biography of the man who helped start Hammer in their reign of terror that lasted over three decades.

Starting in the business as an editor in the mid-30s, he started directing in 1948 with A Song for Tomorrow. But in 1952, he started his association with Hammer Films, directing the crime drama Man Bait. He would dabble in science fiction with titles like Four Sided Triangle and Spaceways (both 1953), but it was in 1957 when he directed Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in The Curse of Frankenstein that made the world take notice.

I can’t wait to dig into this book and if you’re a serious fan of Hammer Films, this really is a must. To get your pre-order in, just click HERE to get to FAB Press’ website.