Horror History: Hazel Court

hazelcourtHazel Court
Born Feb. 10th, 1926 – Died April 15th, 2008

While the gorgeous Hazel Court really got horror fan’s attention when she starred opposite of Peter Cushing in Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein (1957), she had already appeared in couple of horror titles, such as Ghost Ship (1952) and Devil Girl from Mars (1954).  But it was Curse that made her known as an early Scream Queen. 

She would appear in Hammer’s The Man Who Could Cheat Death in 1959, in the underrated film Doctor Blood’s Coffin in 1961, before hitting it big with Roger Corman fans in three of his Poe films, Premature Burial (1962), The Raven (1963), and The Masque of the Red Death (1964), where she got to work with other horror icons like Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Peter Lorre.

Not only very appealing to the eyes, Court was a fine actress that could play the villainess just as easily as the heroine. In 2008, she released her autobiography entitled Hazel Court: Horror Queen.

Little Shoppe of Horrors #44

LSoH44The 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! 

Movie Review: And Now the Screaming Starts

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Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Starring Ian Oglivy, Stephanie Beacham, Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Guy Rolfe

This was kind of a different film for Amicus, first off, not being an anthology film. But it was a period piece as well. Amicus’ films usually were set in modern day, except maybe I, Monster (1971). So this was something new for them. But once again, when you have a great story, a first-rate director, and an exceptional all-star cast, it’s really hard to go wrong. Continue reading

Double Dose of LSoH!

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.

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Book Review: The Encyclopedia of Hammer Films

Encyclopedia of Hammer FilmsThe 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

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!

Super Monster Movie Fest Coming Soon!

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In a little less than 2 weeks, the Skyline Drive-In will be hosting their annual Super Monster Movie Fest. This year’s theme is Man Made Monsters and they have posted the final and complete list of titles that are scheduled to play. As always, they have one hell of a great lineup! Here’s is what will be playing: Continue reading

More Hammer from Scream Factory!

Frankenstein Created WomanNever a bad bit of news when there is an announcement of another Hammer film hitting Blu-ray, especially when it is coming from Scream Factory. If the fact that it’s another Hammer title doesn’t get your attention, then this amazing cover art from Mark Maddox probably will. Coming out on June 11th, the extras haven’t been finalized yet, but if it is what we’ve come to expect from Scream Factory, it will be well worth it. If you pre-order it now, you’ll get an 18×24 poster of the Maddox artwork!

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) was Hammer’s fourth entry in their Frankenstein series, with Peter Cushing returning once again as the evil doctor. This time out, instead of sewing bodies together, he is experimenting with soul transferring! Starring the lovely Susan Denberg, and the always entertaining Thorley Walters, this is a must for Hammer fanatics!

For ordering information, just head over to Shout Factory’s site HERE.

Book Review: Hammer Complete

Hammer CompleteHammer Complete: The Films, the Personal, the Company
Published by McFarland, 2018. 992 pages.
By Howard Maxford

Wow.

It’s really hard to be not excited when a book comes out on one of your favorite studios that is just a few pages shy of a 1000! Sure, some of you that ask, “do we really need another book on Hammer Films?” Well if it is as massive and thorough as this one, then that would be a definite yes! I have been waiting on this book to come out since McFarland announced it well over a year ago, but had no idea how colossal of a tome this would be. Maxford states in his introduction that it has taken over 15 years to complete this and it looks like it.

I’ve been reading and researching and learning about Hammer Studios and the people behind it for somewhere around three decades, but there is always still more to learn. That was proven once again as I started browsing through this before I read some little tidbits that I didn’t know about. Such as that Jimmy Hanley, who played the friendly bartender in The Lost Continent (1968), is actually the father of Jenny Hanley, who appeared in Scars of Dracula (1970)! Sure, it’s just a little bit of trivia, but that is a sign of a good reference book.

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Movie Review: Hammer Horror – The Warner Bros. Years

Hammer Horror Warner Bros YearsHammer 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.

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