Fans of Hammer Horror should be well aware of the name of Ralph Bates. He was one of the next generation stars of Hammer, one to take the lead from the likes of Cushing and Lee and continue the tradition that they started. Unfortunately, Hammer didn’t last that much longer. In that short time though, Bates did appear in a few of their pictures and always turning a memorable performance. He appeared in Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), Lust for a Vampire (1971), Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), and Fear in the Night (1972). It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Hammer would have continued their ran of cinematic terrors.
But now you can learn all about those films, as well as the rest of Bates career and life in this new biography from author Christopher Gullo, entitled simply Ralph Bates: A Biography. Published by Midnight Marquee, it covers the actor’s life from his childhood, where he started to develop an interests in the theater, as well as once he started working with Hammer, and the multiple television appearances that he made.
With 165 family photos, including many never-before-seen ones, as well as getting to hear from over 70 different family, friends, and co-workers that the author sought out for this book, all helps to show the life of this incredibly talented man. Gullo is donating all his personal proceeds from the sale of this book to the Ralph Bates Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. This was created to honor Bates, who passed away in 1991 from this disease.
To order it from Midnight Marquee, just click HERE.
As horror fans, it is very important to know what came before, to help us understand and enjoy the films of today. Of course the way to do that is to keep watching older films. But how far back do you go? Just to the Universal classics? Of do you dig a little deeper and get to the silent horror films? I really hope all horror fans do jus this because there are some incredible titles out there from the silent era that are still available today. Some of the imagery they show us is not only truly frightening, but also amazing that they created them a hundreds years ago!
Boris Karloff: A Gentleman’s Life
By Scott Allen Nollen.
Published by Midnight Marquee, 1999. 356 pages.
The Hammer Vampire
By Bruce G. Hallenbeck
Published by Hemlock Books, 2010. 240 pages.
Now being pretty familiar with Hammer films already, I was wondering just what I was going to be able to learn that I didn’t know already. But this just goes to show you that when it comes to horror history, we are all students of the genre. I have been a fan of Hallenbeck’s work every since I discovered Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine quite a few years ago. I believe it was issue # 8 which came out in May of 1984. It had a shot from The Vampire Lovers on the cover and the main article was written by Hallenbeck. In fact, believe in most of the issues, the main article was written by him. There is a reason for that. Mr. Hallenbeck knows his Hammer. With each issue of the magazine, we learn more and more about the “studio that dripped blood” and the people that worked there. This book is no different.
The Unholy Three: Screen Villains and English Gentlemen
By John Hamilton
Published by Midnight Marquee, 2009. 284 pages.
With the holiday season approaching, we are always seeking out just the right gift for that special person in our lives. Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, but I’m a pretty big proponent of books. Yeah, I know….shocker, huh? But honestly, why buy something like a movie for this person (when chances are they might already have it!?!?!) that is just going to sit on a shelf until they get around to watching it. Okay…same could be said for a book…especially in my house. But honestly, a book will stay longer with them, by teaching them something they didn’t know before, which will allow a few different things to happen. For instances, if you get them a biography, they will learn about this particular person, be it a director or actor, which will help them appreciate and understand their work each and every time they watch one of their movies. If it is a simple film guide, it could open up a bunch of titles to them that they might not have known about yet. Or even if it is a book about the genre in general, it could open up some understanding as a whole, which always helps you appreciate it even more, getting you to think about these films possibly a little different than you had before.
Peter Cushing: An Autobiography and Past Forgetting
By Peter Cushing
Published by Midnight Marquee, 1999. 256 pages.
Peter Cushing is probably one of the most famous British actors known for his horror roles, primarily due to his work with Hammer Films. Though he played in countless other types of genres, he loved to give his fans what they wanted. Turning the spotlight of Hammer’s Frankenstein films from the creature, Cushing made the doctor himself the real monster, always giving 110% to his role, making his character and the films unforgettable.
These books cover his life, his start in pictures, and his work with Hammer Films. This book combines the two autobiographies that Cushing wrote and published, the first one An Autobiography in 1986 and the second one Past Forgetting in 1988. The second book was done due to many people asking him why he didn’t talk a lot about his film work, especially his work with Hammer Films.