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.

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.

Continue reading

Little Shoppe of Horrors Takes on Dracula

Orders are now being taken for the latest issue of the magazine that has been running to close to half a century! Issue # 46 will be covering Hammer’s Dracula (1958), or as known in the states here, The Horror of Dracula, with the making of article by Bruce G. Hallenbeck. There will also be a tribute to Barbara Shelley, the Making of the Men Who Made Hammer series for Shout Factory, and so much more.

If you’re not familiar with this amazing magazine, I couldn’t urge you enough to look into it. If you love Hammer and British horror in general, there is no better magazine than this one. Always filled with amazing articles, incredible artwork, and so much information. Once you start, you’ll be like me and be hooked!

For all the ordering information, just head over to their website HERE.

Movie Review: The Brides of Dracula

(1960)
Director Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur, David Peel, Martita Hunt, Freda Jackson, Miles Malleson, Andree Melly, Marie Devereux, Michael Ripper

While most “normal” critics would look down on a horror film, yes… even ones from Hammer Studios, this is a perfect example of how well made these pictures really were, from the acting, the production design, to the look and lighting of the entire running time. If you ever doubted that, just watch this 2K scan of The Brides of Dracula recently released by Shout Factory on Blu-Ray. Continue reading

Curse of Frankenstein 2-Disc Blu-Ray!

Coming to Blu-ray for the first time in the U.S., Warner Archives has announced a new 2-disc special edition of Hammer’s The Curse of Frankenstein, the movie that really put the Studio that Dripped Blood on the map. This new release will contain 75 minutes of new documentary work, audio commentary by Screenwriter/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr. You’ll get to hear from some of Hammer’s best scholars, such as Richard Klemensen discussing the history of the film, cinematographer and producer David J. Miller discussing Hammer’s underrated cameraman Jack Asher, as well as hearing from Christopher Frayling, Christopher Drake, and so much more.

The disc will contain a 1080p HD Restoration Masters from 4K scans of Preservation Separation Elements, but also a newly re-mastered 1.37:1 open-matte version as well. Continue reading

Peveril To Unleash the Seven Golden Vampires!

Coming in November of this year, Peveril Publishing will release their next book in their always amazing volumes on Hammer Films. This one tackles the 1973 film The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (amongst many other titles!), that was a co-production between Hammer and Hong Kong’s famous Shaw Brothers Studios. While this might not be a favorite of most Hammer fans (myself included), the history of this film is just as important because it is the last appearance of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing for the studio! But even besides that, no matter what the title, keeping the history alive and available to fans is always important, because the more you know about the actual production, both positive and negative, it will help you appreciate the film much more. 

Peveril has always published beautiful looking books, and this one looks to be no different. It includes both Cushing’s and director Roy Ward Baker’s annotated scripts, showing all the notes they wrote down during the production. Just seeing all the notes that Cushing made, even for this lesser production, still shows how much of a perfectionist he was when creating a character, or even returning to one. The book even shows the water color paintings of suggestions for his character’s costume. Continue reading

Terence Fisher: Master of Gothic Cinema

Terence Fisher Master of Gothic CinemaWhile there are a few books previously on Terence Fisher, from authors like Peter Hutchings, Paul Leggett, and Wheeler Winston Dixon, I think it is still not enough coverage on this director, who’s name should be right up there with the likes of Romero, Carpenter, Cronenberg, Bava, Argento, and the rest of the horror elite. Now hopefully with this new book by Tony Dalton, Terence Fisher: Master of Gothic Cinema, that will make the change.

Dalton has had full cooperation from Fisher’s family, making this a fully authorized biography of Mr. Fisher. Long before he started cranking out tales of Frankenstein and Dracula (and so much more) for Hammer Films, he had been working in film for quite some time, starting as a clapper boy and eventually moving into the editing department. Maybe now we can learn even more about this talented man and how he help change the face of horror.

FAB Press is taking pre-orders for a special signed hardcover edition of this book, for only £29.99 (approx. $37.50). The regular price is £39.99. Plus, by pre-ordering it is the only way to get the signed hardcover edition. A paperback edition will be released at a later day. This 480 page book, filled with 250 illustrations, won’t be published until next year, but I’m sure this limited edition hardcover edition won’t last long. 

For more information, just click HERE.

Movie Review: The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

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The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
Directed by Val Guest
Starring Brian Donlevy, Jack Warner, Richard Wordsworth, Margia Dean, Thora Hird, Lionel Jeffries

“There’s no room for personal feelings in science.”
– Professor Bernard Quatermass –

That quote is one of the reason why I enjoy the Quatermass movies so much. What attracted me the most was the blind dedication that Quatermass has, much like one of his fore-fathers… Victor Frankenstein. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt when you have an alien monster on loose either. Continue reading

Encyclopedia of Hammer Films!

Encyclopedia of Hammer FilmsLast year, McFarland published Howard Maxford’s massive volume on Hammer films, The Complete Hammer. Now comes another huge tome on the Studio that Dripped Blood, by author Chris Fellner, entitled The Encyclopedia of Hammer Films.

This 606 page book is a pricy one, retailing at $145 (though Amazon has it listed for $106.74), covers not only the films that made the studio famous, but it seems to go into much more detail about the productions the studio was involved with. From feature films, to featurettes, television, and much more. You’ll get production details, synopses, reviews, quotes,  and biographies. There is information on the people that worked both in front of and behind the camera, as well as things that Hammer had a connection to, such as the tax shelter companies to the British Board of Film Censors, as well as the many projects that Hammer never got off the ground.

We haven’t gotten our hands on this title yet so we’re just going on what we’ve read about it. Will it be worth the hefty price tag? I know at once point I’ll be trying to get a copy for myself, so we’ll have to see. But in the meantime, any book that comes out on Hammer, I’m going to be excited about. Titles like this help keep not only the movie titles alive and remembered, but also, more importantly, the people behind them that help create them for audiences to enjoy for decades to come.

Stay tuned for more details!