Okay, so who needs another book on British Horror films? Specifically, one that titles that American International Pictures produced and/or released here in the states? I know, I know. We ALL do, right? We all know you can never have too many reference books in your film library, so now is your chance to add one more!
AIP was always known for their quick black and white low budget exploitation flicks on the 50s, but once they realized how much money they were making on Corman’s Poe features, they continued that trend, even having films produced across the pond, creating some of our favorite films, such as the Dr. Phibes films, Witchfinder General, Die, Monster, Die!, and so many other great ones.
In Witches, Bitches and Banshees: The British Films of American International Pictures, author John Hamilton spent over two decades doing research on these films, interviewing more than 60 names in the business that were involved, from “inside corporate AIP dealings as well as extensive behind-the-scenes coverage on the films”, all now encompassed in this 354-page hardcover edition. Includes a foreword by director Gordon Hessler and actress Valli Kemp.
You can order your copy directly from Little Shoppe of Horrors through their website HERE. The price is $55 plus $6.50 shipping, if you’re in the states. If you’re in the UK, Hemlock Books should be getting them in stock shortly. Otherwise, email Mr. Klemensen from LSoH for a shipping quote.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let him know you’re interested.
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.
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.
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 →
Coming in November, issue #45 of Little Shoppe of Horrors will be unleashed to the world! This time, their cover story is all about the making of The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Hammer’s sequel to the film that helped put them in the big league, written by Bruce G. Hallenbeck. Hallenbeck’s work is always so informative and entertaining so I can’t wait to dig into it!
There will also be coverage on the making of Amicus’ The Creeping Flesh (1973) in an article by John Hamilton entitled The Creature Walks On the Earth, as well as David Gee’s Dracula and the Modern Age, which is about Don Houghton, who wrote the screenplays for some of the later Dracula films that took place in a modern setting, such as Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973).
Then there is more of the usual great stuff in there, such as more Hammer Diaries of Christopher Wicking, more History of Horror Film Fanzines, book reviews, and so much more, with a stunning front cover by William Stout.
You can order your copy by visiting their official site HERE. They don’t have it up on their site just yet, but keep checking back. And if you don’t have all of the back issues, then why not order a couple of those as well! These are essential reading for your Hammer (and other British horror films) history lessons!
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!
Thanks to Richard Klemensen for this great little review of our book, Discover the Horror, which appears in the latest issue of Little Shoppe of Horror, which has a great cover story on Peter Cushing’s Blood Beast Terror! Here’s what Richard wrote:
“As the cover blurb puts it – “One Man’s 50-year Quest for Monsters, Maniacs, and the Meaning of it All”, I’ve known Jon Kitley for more years than I care to think about. Ran into him again and chatted at this year’s 2019 Monster Bash. My wife bought zombie pillows from his wife at Wonderfest a few years back.
So – what we have here is something I absolutely gravitate to – one monster fan’s trip to monsterdom and how he done got there! Growing up in a large family – his parents divorcing – finally ending up with his dad in a town where he knows no one. Moves to several different schools and ends up with few friends. How he grew; how he learned to love reading, then movies. His wonderful, understanding wife, Dawn, enters his world. He indoctrinates his son into his world of Gods and Monsters – and lots of other cool stuff. Continue reading →
The latest issue of the always amazing Little Shoppe of Horrors is now available for order! In this issue, #43, the spotlight is put upon the little British shocker from Tigon Productions, The Blood Beast Terror, starring Peter Cushing (which he called the worst film he ever appeared in) and Robert Flemyng. The issue will have a making of article by John Hamilton, interview with the director Vernon Sewell, as well as a follow up to the last issue with a piece on Children of the Damned.
Continue reading →