Human fangs ripping throats – no sawdust can soak up the torrent of blood”
Vampire Circus (1972)
Back in their heyday of the late 60s and early 70s, if you wanted your blood chilled at the cinema, then there was one film studio whose output was almost entirely designed to do the job – Hammer Film Productions Ltd. The company was initially founded in 1934, and up until 1955 their output was more mainstream, including movies such as Dick Barton: Special Agent; a film adaptation of the BBC radio play.
It wasn’t until 1955 with The Quatermass Experiment that they truly ventured into the Horror Genre. The film pushed the boundaries of censorship for the time, which they continued to do. The company then went on to revive horror classic characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Starting with The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957, of which the BBFC censor said “We are concerned about the flavour of this script, which, in its preoccupation with horror and gruesome detail, goes far beyond what we are accustomed to allow even for the ‘X’ category.” They pressed ahead anyway, bringing a new vein of vivid technicolour to the Horror and the rest, as they say, is history.
By the late 70s, due to changes in audience taste and saturation of the market, their days were numbered. In 2007 the studio name was sold and, like a reanimated creature of Frankenstein, the studio lived again, releasing several films such as Let Me In, The Resident, the chilling The Woman in Black, The Quiet Ones, and most recently The Lodge. We have a number of Hammer Horror related books and DVDs old and new available to freeze your soul on these wild, bleak, windswept winter nights; for a small selection, check our list below.
Hammer horror collection
“The curse of Frankstein” – Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and brings it to life. But his creature behaves not as he intended. “Horror of Dracula” – After Jonathan Harker attacks Dracula at his castle, the vampire travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker’s fiance. The only one who may be able to protect them is Dr. van Helsing.”The Mummy” – In the 1890s a team of British archaeologists discover the untouched tomb of Princess Ananka but accidentally bring the mummified body of her High Priest back to life. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Flesh & blood: the Hammer heritage of horror
“Documentary charting the rise and fall of the world’s most successful independent film company. Includes film clips, trailers, behind-the-scenes home movies, rare photos and in-depth interviews with actors, directors, producers and writers.” (Catalogue)
Hammer House of Horror
“Hammer House of Horror is synonymous with terror, suspense and the supernatural. These alternative bed-time stories sparked millions of sleepless nights when originally screened and remain as scary as ever! The stories cover a wide range. Thrills and chills. Mystery and intrigue. Suspense and the supernatural. Everything from sheer spine-tingling horror to sinister drama, the occult and the eerie.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Kiss of the vampire
“Honeymooning in Bavaria, Gerald and Marianne Harcourt experience car trouble and are forced to spend a few days in a small remote village. Soon Doctor Ravna, owner of the impressive chateau that sits imposingly above the village, invites them to dinner and the couple are persuaded to go. Their association with Ravna and his charming beautiful family is to prove disastrous as they become unwittingly embroiled with this company of vampires who seek to initiate them into their diabolical creed…..” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Let me in
“Abby, an eerily self-possessed young girl, emerges from her heavily curtained apartment only at night and always barefoot, seemingly immune to the bitter winter elements. Owen, an alienated 12-year-old boy, recognizes a fellow outcast and opens up to her, forming a unique bond. But as a string of grisly murders occupy his town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl might be hiding an unthinkable secret.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The quiet ones
“Tucked away in an estate outside of London, Professor Coupland along with a team of university students conducts an “experiment” on Jane Harper, a young girl who harbors unspeakable secrets. What dark forces they uncover are more terrifying than any of them expected. Inspired by true events.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
House of horror : the complete Hammer Films story
“The Complete Hammer Films Story traces the complete history of Hammer from its early origins through to its golden era of classic horror movies and presents a comprehensive view of Hammer’s importance and influence in world cinema. Includes interviews with Hammer stars, detailed analysis of all horror and fantasy films, and dozens of rare and exciting photographs and posters, fully illustrated A-Z of key Hammer personnel, directory of unfilmed projects complete filmography and full film index.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The art of Hammer : posters from the archive of Hammer Films / Hearn, Marcus
“Over fifty years ago, with the release of The Curse of Frankenstein and Christopher Lee’s iconic performance in Dracula, Hammer ushered in a whole new era of blood and barely-restrained cleavage in glorious color, mixing sex and horror with a style and panache that made the small British company world famous. The Art of Hammer collects the very best and most iconic movie posters produced for the Hammer studio. This lavish hardcover brings together rare artwork from around the world. ” (Adapted From Catalogue)