By Denis Meikle

No corporation within the heritage of cinema did extra to legitimize the horror movie than Hammer movies - the small British self sufficient, which operated out of its tiny Bray Studios at the banks of the River Thames. From the Gothic splendor of The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula to the violent sexploitation of The Vampire enthusiasts and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, the Hammer identify stood for something to a new release of movies fanatics, because the time period 'Hammer Horror' grew to become part of the language. This revised and up to date variation of A background of Horrors lines the existence and 'spirit' of Hammer, from its fledgling days within the past due Nineteen Forties via its successes of the Nineteen Fifties and '60s to its decline and eventual liquidation within the past due Nineteen Seventies. With the particular participation of the entire team of workers who have been key to Hammer's good fortune, Denis Meikle paints a shiny and interesting photo of the increase and fall of a movie empire, supplying new and revealing insights into 'the fact in the back of the legend.' a lot has been written approximately Hammer's motion pictures, yet this can be the single ebook to inform the tale of the corporate itself from the point of view of these who ran it in its heyday and who helped to show it right into a common byword for terror at the monitor. This definitive heritage additionally contains solid and credit listings for the 'Hammer Horrors' and a whole filmography of all of Hammer's characteristic productions.

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Additional resources for A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer

Sample text

The Unknown is lured from its lair and destroyed. But for how long? X the Unknown commenced filming in January 1956, with the exiled Joseph Losey set to direct (under the pseudonym of Joseph Walton). But warning voices threatened. It was quickly made plain to Hammer that any film which involved someone on the HUAC “blacklist” would have the rug pulled out from under it in terms of its potential distribution in the United States. Losey obligingly contracted pneumonia, and within the week, he had been unceremoniously replaced by hard-nosed Ealing producer-director Leslie Norman.

By The Men of Sherwood Forest, Michael opted for the lighthearted escapism of Dick Turpin: Highwayman, but Tony Hinds chose to try out the format on a thriller subject—A Man on the Beach. A surplus of film stock allowed the eight announced shorts to be expanded to ten, and a quick trip to Denmark produced Copenhagen, as well as providing some location footage (and the backdrop) for The Right Person. In the uncertain climate, even the success of The Quatermass Xperiment would not be enough to convince James Carreras to put all Hammer’s eggs into one basket, and this scattergun approach was to remain the order of the day until something much more tangible than Les Bowie’s glass-painted spaceship appeared on the horizon.

1 As Hammer waited for a sign, Michael Carreras was able to indulge his passion for big bands and big stages by filming Cyril Stapleton and the Show Band, the first of six musical shorts in Scope, at the Horticultural Halls in Victoria (the remainder were filmed at Elstree). But color and Scope were also to be used for a pair of shorts of a less frivolous nature, as both of Hammer’s house producers were forced to mark time. Following the pattern set —James Carreras on The Curse of Frankenstein Hammer’s Christmas 1954 communiqué to the trades had promised a total of seven color features and eight CinemaScope shorts, but the hard-times year of 1955 saw the company produce not much more than the latter, on a borrowed lens, while the industry in general waited for the coup de grâce that many felt certain would inevitably be delivered by the September 22 inauguration of commercial television.

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