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!
The Encyclopedia of Hammer Films
Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2019. 589 pages.
By Chris Fellner
Being a die-hard fan of all things Hammer Films, I’m always ecstatic to learn of another book on one of my favorite studios coming out. Now before we get into the blood and guts of this release, we need to cover the obvious… the price. Retailing at $145 (though Amazon has it listed for just under $100), while this is a good size hardcover edition, at 589 pages, that is still a hefty price tag. Though with the recent release of Howard Maxford’s Hammer Complete, published by McFarland, it is impossible not to compare the two. Maxford’s book is 984 pages, a bit larger in size and has much smaller type, and retails at $95. What this means is you get just what the title says… Hammer Complete! So the cost alone would make the decision even easier if you only had to pick one volume.
Because of the huge scope of the film studio, it is difficult to cover everything and everyone, which is where Fellner’s book falls short. There were more than a few names missing having their own entries, such as John Carson, who appeared in three different Hammer titles and one appearance in one of their television series. Other notables excluded were talents such as Richard Wordsworth or George Woodbridge. These actors usually never played the main characters but were one of the many reasons these films stood out. Being wonderful character actors in the background, they filled out a scene as if it was a brilliant painting. Even Guy Rolfe, who played the title character in Mr. Sardonicus for William Castle, starred in The Stranglers of Bombay, does not have his own mention. But again, it is going to be a difficult task to include every single thing that has to do with Hammer. Except, Maxford’s book sort of does that. Continue reading
For those that didn’t know, I’m a pretty big fan of Hammer Films. Just love the look, the sound, the style, and of course the incredible cast that they would fill their pictures with. Of course, one element of that would be what has become known simply as Hammer Glamour. With such a wide array of not just beautiful women, but also talented ones. They were much more than just a pretty face or a pair of ample bosums.