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 October, Jonathon Rigby gives us an updated version of his 2007 book American Gothic, which has been long out of print. But now, in a version that has been “extensively revised and expanded”, as well as being released for the first time in hardcover, you will be able to add this essential volume to your library.
This 400 page book from Signum covers the Hollywood Horror history from the beginnings in the 19th century to covering six decades of gothic horror films, from Universal, to Warner Bros., M-G-M, and beyond. If you never got around to picking up the original version, now is your chance to get an even better version.
Of course, if you haven’t gotten around to picking up Rigby’s other two volumes, English Gothic and Euro Gothic, well…what are you waiting for? You can pre-order it now through Amazon.
If you’re a fan of British horror and have a few reference books around on said genre, then you just might have one by author Jonathan Rigby. I know I have a few of his titles proudly in my library. He’s one of the guys from across the pond that really knows his stuff. Back in 2005, Rigby wrote a book called English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema, which covered the British horror film from pretty much the beginning of film to the current era (at that time…more on that in a bit). Filled with tons of photos, the book covered different eras of the genre, like the early works of Todd Slaughter, moving onward to of course Hammer Films, but many others as well. Certain films are highlighted with cast & crew info, and some quotes about the film, either a review or from someone involved in the film.
In 2007, Rigby put out another edition in what seems to be a series, called American Gothic: Sixty Years of Horror Cinema. It pretty much followed the same format as the previous book, except this one covers films from the states, and has an insert of some color pages, mainly showing poster art. For some reason though, this out-of-print title goes for over $50 on the market. Not sure why, other than maybe it was a small number of books published. But again, worth it if you can find one.