MY JOURNEY THROUGH THE HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR
By Kevin Mallon
This is dedicated to Christopher Lee and the late, great Peter Cushing and all the people who work with Hammer
Welcome to "My Hammer House of Horror"!! My name is Kevin Mallon (the new name in Horror). Tonight, I am going to tell you everything you want to know about the most famous House of Horror, including information on Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, also some information on the four television series which Hammer made. It has just gone Midnight and outside the wind is whispering like Ghosts, just like Ghosts. This night will be very special. Let the Journey begin.
I was fourteen when I saw my first Hammer Gothic Horror film. It was the second horror film of Hammer to be made. The film was Dracula, made in 1958. It was retitled Horror of Dracula in the USA because Universal had decided to differentiate from the Hammer version as distinct from their own original Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi.
Here is the US trailer script of the Horror of Dracula. 'Dracula, the terrifying, who sleeps in the tomb by day and arises at night to inflict terror upon the innocent and the unsuspecting. How do you destroy a fiend who so far has proven himself indestructible? Those who come to end his reign of terror, stay to become his victim. This is the doctor who dares to challenge the vampire Dracula. This is the anguished man who fears for the lives of his beloved, the girl who is his sister, and the one that is his wife. DRACULA, the bedeviled monster of all that is evil.
Hammer Horror started in 1954 with The Quatermass Xperiment. The first Hammer gothic horror was The Curse of Frankenstein, made in 1957, with Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein and Christopher Lee as the Creature. The Hammer Horror films ran from 1954 to 1975 with To The Devil A Daughter.
After I saw my first Hammer Horror I became fascinated with them. Not long after I saw The Horror of Dracula, there was a season of the films every Saturday night around 11pm on BBC2. The season was known as "Dracula, Frankenstein, and Friends". I was lucky because I managed to watch them every week without my parents knowing about them. As I watched the Hammer Horror I was inspired to begin writing horror fiction.
Millions of fans of Hammer Horror went to the cinemas every night in the late fifties, sixties, and early seventies to watch Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in all their glory! The teenagers who were fans of the films tried their best to get into the cinemas but, unfortunately, they were under age.
Hammer Horror all started with a man named William Hinds. He was born in 1887. Hinds owned a chain of bicycle shops and hair dressing salons. His real love was the theatre and he started up his own booking agency. William not only performed himself, he had a friend and they both performed a double comedy act named "Hammer and Smith". Hinds' career was short-lived but the name "Hammer" stayed with him. William Hinds became known as Will Hammer. The Hammer Films were founded in 1935. His son Anthony Hinds was born in 1922. He became a director of Hammer Films. Anthony left Hammer in 1969, due to circumstances surrounding the production of "Journey to the Unknown".
Hammer made their films in an old mansion called, "Oakley Court" but they needed more space so they moved next door to "Down Place", the name was changed to "Bray Studios". That is how Hammer got its nickname "Hammer House of Horror". The same title was used for their second television series.
There have been many directors at Hammer but the most famous director of them all is Terence Fisher, the man responsible for The Horror of Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein. Fisher was born in 1904, he retired in 1973 and died in 1980 of cancer.
Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are the kings of Hammer Horror! Lee is certainly well-known for the king vampire Count Dracula! and Cushing is well-known for Baron Victor Frankenstein and also Professor Abraham Van Helsing in the Dracula films. The film Brides of Dracula had an opening narration which goes like this, "Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires is dead, but his disciples live on, to spread the cult and corrupt the world...". The film's opening narration was very good. It suddenly gripped me and made me feel like someone was walking over my grave. That was very creepy!
Here is some information on Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing...
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in Belgravia, London, on May 27, 1922. (Lee's mother's family, the Caradinis, is one of the oldest in Italy). When people hear the name 'Christopher Lee' they can't help but think of Dracula, as he is the most famous Dracula who everyone knows. Christopher Lee plays the role with great seriousness, showing acquaintanceship with Bram Stoker's Dracula and the vampires of Transylvanian legend.
After leaving school, Lee went into business in the city of London. When he left the Royal Air Force at the end of World War II, he decided to become an actor, though he admits that he finds it difficult to remember why he chose the profession which, in later years, took him to the heights of fame.
Hammer asked Lee to play the part of the creature in The Curse of Frankenstein. While making the film, he came into contact with another actor and they became very close friends in later years, namely, the one, and the only, Peter Cushing. In 1958, he played the famous Count in Hammer's second gothic horror, Dracula, retitled (Horror of Dracula in the USA). Christopher Lee visited Bran Castle, the real Castle Dracula in the province of Transylvania in Eastern Europe.
Christopher Lee said, back in 1974, "I will never play the role of Dracula again", and so far he has kept his word. Later in an interview, he said, "I might play Dracula once again, if the film was close to Stoker's novel". In all the Dracula films that have been made, there was never one which was really true to the book.
Lee starred in many movie genres; some of the well-known horror films that he starred in which were not made by Hammer like, Horror Express, I, Monster, Gremlins 2 The New Batch, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, The Wicker Man, House of the Long Shadows, Panga, The House That Dripped Blood, and Howling 2. Christopher Lee's latest horror film was entitled, Talos the Mummy. The film was made in 1998. He was a guest star on many television chat shows and he also hosted the documentary series 100 Years of Horror, which was filmed outside Bray Studios. Lee also made a Dracula film in 1971 which wasn't filmed by Hammer. He also stars in the BBC's Gormenghast. His character's name is 'Flay'. There are some non-fiction books on Lee. The most famous book concerning him is "Tall, Dark, and Gruesome".
Christopher Lee was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) and he is the third person in his family to receive the honour. Also, Christopher Lee sent me a signed photograph of himself which I have got framed and hung up on the wall in my study, a photograph I will treasure forever. I am sure, however, Christopher Lee will always be remembered for the Hammer Horror films - particularly Dracula!
Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey. Peter's ambition from his early days at school, was to become an actor. His father was a quantity surveyor and he had other ideas for Peter. Peter Cushing recalled, "I was an assistant in my father's office for three years and lived only for the evenings when I rushed off to the local amateur dramatic society."
After a period of writing secret letters of application to repertory companies and drama principles, Cushing finally got a job, the pay being fifteen shillings a week with the repertory company in Worthing. He stayed there until he had saved fifty pounds, the one-way ticket to Hollywood, USA.
Although he was a quiet, reserved man by nature, known as the "Gentleman of Horror", Peter Cushing has been very successful in playing popular characters, such as Baron Frankenstein and the intrepid Professor Abraham Van Helsing, the never-ending pursuer of Dracula.
Peter wrote a letter to the BBC's "Jim'll Fix It Show" with a request. He wanted to plant a rose and name it after his dear wife. Peter's wish came true and today there is a lovely rose named, "The Helen Cushing Rose".
Since he made his name in the first Hammer gothic horror in 1957, namely "The Curse of Frankenstein", Peter Cushing has left an indelible mark in the film industry, particularly in the world of horror films. He had expressed the hope that Hammer would have scripts ready for future Dracula and Frankenstein films which would have allowed him to play from his wheelchair, as he got pleasure from acting! Peter Cushing starred in other movie genres and was a guest star on many chat shows, just like Christopher Lee. He played the most famous detective in the world - Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Hammer made the greatest Sherlock Holmes film "The Hound of the Baskervilles", in 1959. Peter said that playing a character like Sherlock Holmes was very difficult. After Peter played the famous detective in Hammer's film, he then played Sherlock Holmes in the very popular BBC television series.
Peter starred in an episode of the television series "Hammer House of Horror". The episode was entitled, "The Silent Scream". He also starred in other well-known horror films which were not made by Hammer such as, "The Skull", "The Creeping Flesh", "Legend of the Werewolf", "The House that Dripped Blood", "House of the Long Shadows", and my two favorite films that Peter starred in. The first was "Tales from the Crypt", based on the 1950's E.C. horror comics. In the story 'Poetic Justice' Peter played the role of an old man called, Arthur Grimsdyke. His neighbor across the road played cruel jokes on him. Poor old Grimsdyke committed suicide due to the cruel jokes but a year later he returns from the grave to get his revenge on his neighbor. It was a very good film and I also enjoyed reading the story in the actual comic.
The other horror film that I enjoyed Peter in was "From Beyond the Grave", based on the novel by Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes. Peter worked in an antique shop and all the things in the shop had a curse on them. Every time a customer came in to buy an item Death would follow them. It was a good film and a good book as well. Peter was a guest star on the television series "The New Avengers" and in an episode titled "The Vorpal Blade" from the series "Tales of the Unexpected". He also wrote the introduction for the book "The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide". I enjoyed reading the book very much and one will learn a great deal concerning Vampire films. Like Lee, there is also a lot of non-fiction books on Peter Cushing. The most famous book about him is "Peter Cushing: An Autobiography and Past Forgetting". It tells you all about Peter's life and the years with Hammer horror.
A man named Brian Holland, who was a big Peter Cushing fan, started up a club devoted to Peter Cushing with the help of Peter's secretary Mrs. Joyce Broughton. It was called "The Peter Cushing Association". This ran for five years and I'm glad to mention that I was a member for a year. Unfortunately, the Association had to be disbanded. It was a very difficult decision for Brian to make but it had to be done for several reasons - the main reason being increased costs. There was a magazine from the Association called "The Cushing Courier". There is good news, however, that the Peter Cushing Association has continued and is now run by Christopher Gullo.
Peter vowed to continue as long as possible and he did so, until his death in 1994, a sad loss to the film industry, particularly to the world of horror and the world of Hammer.
From the first horror film that Cushing and Lee starred in, they both agreed to say "Terror Films" rather than "Horror Films". They thought what you see on the news and read in the newspapers, e.g. car accidents, shootings and bombings are what you would call real horror.
The horror film director John Carpenter, who directed the classic "Halloween", had wanted Cushing or Lee to play the part of "Dr. Loomis" but they both turned the role down and it went to the late Donald Pleasence.
The Hammer horror films have inspired many writers and film directors like Martin Scorsese, Wes Craven (director of "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream"), and also Tim Burton, the director of "Sleepy Hollow". Martin Scorsese can remember going to the cinema with his friends. When he saw the logo of Hammer he knew that it would be a very good film.
The actor Cary Grant always wanted to do a Hammer horror. So he met James Carreras and Anthony Hinds in London to see what they had to offer. They had the film "The Phantom of the Opera" for Mr. Grant. He loved the idea, so Anthony Hinds started to write the screenplay for Grant to be in the leading role. However, before Hinds could send the screenplay to him, Cary Grant had gone back to Hollywood. His agent told him under no circumstances are you going to work with Hammer. The film still had to be made so the role went to Herbert Lom.
Two other well-known film stars have made their name in the world of horror - Vincent Price and Bette Davis. Unfortunately, Vincent Price never starred in a Hammer horror (I think if Price starred in a Hammer horror it would have been an experience which nobody would ever forget). Davis had made two Hammer films, "The Anniversary" and "The Nanny" - both very good films.
There have been a lot of character actors in Hammer films but the most famous one is Michael Ripper. His last Hammer role was the comedy "That's Your Funeral". He appeared in other well-known television programs but he was famous for his role as "Mr. Shepherd" in the classic children's television show, "Worzel Gummidge" and the comedy series for the BBC titled, "Butterflies". The main star of the show, Wendy Craig, played Virginia Fane in Hammer's psychological thriller "The Nanny" from a novel by Evelyn Piper.
Hammer made other film genres, but they are most known for their horror films. In sequence, here is all the Dracula and Frankenstein films made by Hammer:
Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Dracula - Prince of Darkness (1965)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
The Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
The Evil of Frankenstein (1963)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1966)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1972)
Cushing played Van Helsing five times, and he played Baron Frankenstein six times. Lee played Dracula seven times in the Hammer films. Hammer also made other well-known monsters like, "Curse of the Werewolf", starring Oliver Reed, Hammer's only werewolf film. "The Mummy", starring Peter Cushing, (three films followed, "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb", "The Mummy's Shroud", and "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb"), "The Witches", starring Joan Fontaine, "The Phantom of the Opera", starring Herbert Lom, "The Reptile", starring Noel Willman, "The Gorgon", starring Cushing and Lee, "The Quatermass Xperiment" and Quatermas 2" starring Brian Donlevy, "X The Unknown", starring Dean Jagger, "Quatermass and the Pitt", starring Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley, "The Plague of the Zombies", starring Andre Morell, "Rasputin the Mad Monk" starring Lee and Shelley, "Hands of the Ripper", starring Eric Porter and Jane Merrow, among many others.
In Hammer's second Frankenstein film titled, "The Revenge of Frankenstein" in the trailer of which Peter Cushing says, "In the year eighteen hundred and sixty, I, Baron Frankenstein, was sentenced to death on the guillotine...But I have escaped the guillotine, and I shall avenge the death of my creation". Every time I watch the film the trailer always comes into my mind. At some early stage the title of the film was, "The Blood of Frankenstein". However it was changed to the title which it has today.
In 1960 Hammer decided to film Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror tale, ("The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"). The film was entitled "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll", starring Paul Massie. Like Dracula in the USA, they retitled the film "Jekyll's Inferno".
Eleven years after Hammer filmed their first Jekyll and Hyde film, they decided to do another, starring a young actor named Ralph Bates. He made his film debut in 1969, alongside Christopher Lee in the film, "Taste the Blood of Dracula". In 1970 he starred as the evil Baron taking Peter Cushing's well-known part in "The Horror of Frankenstein". In the same year, he starred in "Lust for A Vampire", which was the second part of a trilogy to "The Vampire Lovers" (1970), and "Twins of Evil" (1971). The three films were based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's classic erotic horror novella, "Carmilla".
In 1971, Ralph Bates starred in "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde". When Hammer did their second Jekyll and Hyde film, they decided to change the film a little but still wanted to have a free and fresh adaptation of the original classic - a story to fit any period or modern day. Instead of Dr. Jekyll changing into the sinister Mr. Hyde, Hammer came up with the idea of the well-respected Dr. Jykyll changing into a slim, beautiful woman, yet he retains his male mind, his male drives and his male strength...(Jekyll) uses Sister Hyde (Martine Beswicke) as the perfect disguise - he roams the streets like Jack the Ripper - seeking out his victims, and they are easy find, the reason being why should they fear a beautiful woman like themselves...murdering them and pillaging their bodies for their experiments. I really enjoyed this film. Ralph Bates died of Pancreatic cancer in 1991.
Back in 1957 Hammer was going to film Richard Matheson's apocalyptical vampire novel "I Am Legend". Matheson himself was planning to write the screenplay but, unfortunately, the BBFC said that the film would be banned in the U.K. Hammer pulled out of the project! - amazing, really!
Here is a list of some Hammer films that were retitled in the USA:
The Quatermass Xperiment = The Creeping Unknown
Quatermass 2 = Enemy from Space
Dracula = Horror of Dracula
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll = Jekyll's Inferno
Captain Clegg = Night Creatures
The Witches = The Devil's Own
Quatermass and the Pitt = Five Million Years to Earth
The Devil Rides Out = The Devil's Bride
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires = The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula
In some of the Hammer horror films you see a beautiful, young woman running through the woods in fear, trying to escape from the evil thing that is in the castle. For example:
In the film "Brides of Dracula", Parisian school teacher Marianne Danielle (Yvonne Monlaur) is running away from the Baroness Meinster (Marita Hunt) and her servant Greta (Freda Jackson). Marianne runs through the woods in fear from soemthing that scared her at Castle Meinster. In the morning she is found by Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing).
In the forty years of Hammer horror there have been some attractive women in the films. For example:
The Beautiful Women of Hammer
Hazel Court - "The Curse of Frankenstein" and "The Man Who Could Cheat Death"
Valerie Gaunt - "Horror of Dracula" and "The Curse of Frankenstein"
Yvonne Monlaur and Andree Melly - "The Brides of Dracula"
Catherine Lacey - "Shadow of the Cat"
Yvonne Romain - "Captain Clegg"
Heather Sears - "Phantom of the Opera"
Barbara Shelley - "Dracula - Prince of Darkness" and "Rasputin the Mad Monk"
Diane Clark - "The Plague of the Zombies"
Jennifer Daniel - "The Reptile"
Joan Fontaine - "The Witches"
Veronica Carlson - "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" and "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed"
Barbara Ewing - "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave"
Susan Denberg - "Frankenstein Created Woman"
Jenny Hanley and Anouska Hempel - "The Scars of Dracula"
Jane Merrow - "Hands of the Ripper"
Domini Blythe - "Vampire Circus"
Valerie Leon - "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb"
Kate O'Mara - ""Horror of Frankenstein" and "The Vampire Lovers"
Ingrid Pitt - "The Vampire Lovers" and "Countess Dracula"
Madeline Smith - "The Vampire Lovers" and "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell"
Madeline and Mary Collinson - "Twins of Evil"
Martine Beswick - "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde"
Stephanie Beacham - "Dracula A.D. 1972"
Caroline Munro - "Dracula A.D. 1972" and "Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter"
Joanna Lumley - "The Satanic Rites of Dracula"
The beautiful Stephanie Beacham was back with Hammer in 1984 with the production of a TV film entitled, "A Distant Scream", for a series of TV films entitled, "Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense". She recalled, "A real blast from the past".
In 1965, Hammer made their first voodoo film entitled, "The Plague of the Zombies". It is set in a small village in Cornwall where a mystic voodoo cult is held. The centre-piece of the film is GP Peter Tompson (Brook Williams), having a strange dream that he is walking through a graveyard when the blank-eyed zombies are clawing, slowly, up from their graves. Certainly the American director George A. Romero, must have seen the film because it inspired him to direct his own zombie film which came out three years later entitled, "Night of the Living Dead", starring Judith O'Dea.
A year later Hammer made their second voodoo film, entitled, "The Witches", starring Joan Fontaine as a schoolteacher who has suffered a breakdown in Africa after falling victim to a rebellion led by witch-doctors. In America the film was retitled to the same name as the novel written by Nora Lofts under the pseudonym of Peter Curtis, "The Devil's Own".
In the early part of 1958, Hammer's first abortive attempt was to produce a 39 episode television series entitled, "Tales of Frankenstein". The twenty-six minute pilot episode was shot in the United States. The format for the series was twenty-six half-hour installments proposed, thirteen to be produced in Hollywood and thirteen at Bray Studios. However the TV series slipped away. Although the pilot itself has aired sporadically on late-night American TV, it has never been broadcast in the UK or Ireland. The pilot episode was entitled, "The Face in the Tombstone Mirror". The actor Anton Diffring played Baron Frankenstein.
In 1969 Hammer's first successful television series came along entitled, "Journey into the Unknown". The series was 17-50 minute episodes. Each story was generally more inclined towards the psychological, rather than the visceral horror. Two of the scripts were written by the "Psycho" writer Robert Bloch.
In "Dracula A.D. 1972", Hammer decided to bring the Count from late Victorian England into the modern-day England. Once again Lee and Cushing were back playing Dracula and Van Helsing. Cushing played the grandson of Lawrence Van Helsing. He was an occult expert named Lorrimer Van Helsing. His granddaughter, Jessica, was played by Stephanie Beacham. One of the co-stars was Christopher Neame, who played a disciple of Dracula. In 1988 Neame and Beacham were back working together again in the American soap opera "Dynasty".
A year later Hammer made another modern-day Dracula film, this being a sequel to "Dracula A.D. 1972" and Hammer's final Dracula film. Like the last one Lee and Cushing were back again. It was titled "Dracula is Dead and Well and Living in London" but at the last moment they changed the title because it sounded comical. This time the role of Jessica was played by Joanna Lumley, the former New Avengers star.
Hammer decided to bring horror and martial arts together in the film, "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires". It was Peter Cushing's last role as Professor Van Helsing. The film was retitled in the USA as "The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula."
Hammer filmed two novels of Dennis Wheatley, "The Devil Rides Out" and "To the Devil...A Daughter". It said, "The evil power of black magic has fascinated millions of cinema-goers. First...'Rosemary's Baby'. Then...'The Exorcist'. And now a motion picture that probes further into the mysteries of the occult than any has dared before!
In 1980 Brian Lawrence and Roy Skeggs came up with the idea of a collection of quintessential excursions into Hammer horror. The collection was Hammer's second successful television series entitled, "Hammer House of Horror". The series had thirteen hour-long episodes. The episodes had werewolves, witchcraft, cannibalism and voodoo, presented in a more modern graphic style. The first episode was titled, "Witching Time". The series began its ITV network transmission at 9:15pm on the 13th September, 1980. I loved very minute watching the TV series. I had four favorite episodes from the series, "Witching Time", "Visitor from the Grave", "The Silent Scream", and "Children of the Full Moon". Hammer had plans for a second TV series of House of Horror but, unfortunately, it never happened.
In 1984 Hammer began its third successful television series entitled, "Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense". The series had thirteen TV thriller films with a macabre or extraordinary twist. House of Mystery and Suspense was more like their long forgotten sixties cousin, "Journey to the Unknown", rather than to the bloodier antecedent of Hammer House of Horror. I had four favourite episodes from this series as well, "And The Wall Came Tumbling Down", starring New Avengers star Gareth Hunt, "Paint Me A Murder", starring Michelle Phillips, "A Distant Scream", starring Stephanie Beacham and David Carradine, and "Tennis Court", starring Peter Graves and Hannah Gordon. As I watched the episode "Tennis Court" it gave me an idea of a little chiller from my own world of horror. In Ireland and my home county of Down there is a sport called Hurling. The idea of a horror story involving the sport Hurling really gave me a chill. The story is about a haunted Hurley Pitch. The dead Hurley players come back from their graves to terrorize a small community in County Down, not too far from where I live.
A former girls' school was used as a "house studio". All the episodes in Hammer House of Horror / Mystery and Suspense were shot in, or around, the building, which featured prominently under the series' opening credits.
Here is a list in sequence of all the episodes from Hammer's three television series.
JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN
EVE - starring Dennis Waterman
JANE BROWN'S BODY - starring Stephanie Powers
THE INDIAN SPIRIT GUIDE - starring Julie Harris
THE NEW PEOPLE - starring Robert Reed
MISS BELLE - starring George Maharis
DO ME A FAVOR AND KILL ME - starring Joe Cotton
SOMEWHERE IN A CROWD - starring David Hedison
PAPER DOLLS - starring Michael Tolan
MATAKITAS IS COMING - starring Vera Mills
THE BECKONING FAIR ONE - starring Robert Lansing
ONE ON AN ISLAND - starring Brandon De Wilde
GIRL OF MY DREAMS - starring Michael Callen
THE LAST VISITOR - starring Patty Duke
POOR BUTTERFLY - starring Chad Everett
STRANGER IN THE FAMILY - starring Janice Rule
THE KILLING BOTTLE - starring Roddy McDowell
THE MADISON EQUATION - starring Barbara Bel Geddes
HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR
WITCHING TIME - starring Jon Finch
THE THIRTEENTH REUNION - starring Julia Foster
RUDE AWAKENING - starring Denholm Elliot
GROWING PAINS - starring Barbara Kellerman
THE SILENT SCREAM - starring Peter Cushing
THE HOUSE THAT BLED TO DEATH - starring Nicholas Ball
CHARLIE BOY - starring Leigh Lawson
CHILDREN OF THE FULL MOON - starring Christopher Cazenove
THE CARPATHIAN EAGLE - starring Anthony Valentine
GUARDIAN OF THE ABYSS - starring Ray Lonnen
VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE - starring Simon MacCorkingdale
THE TWO FACES OF EVIL - starring Anna Calder-Marshall
THE MARK OF SATAN - starring Peter McEnery
HAMMER HOUSE OF MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE
PAINT ME A MURDER - starring Michelle Phillips
THE LATE NANCY IRVING - starring Christina Raines
AND THE WALL CAME TUMBLING DOWN - starring Gareth Hunt
MARK OF THE DEVIL - starring Dirk Benedict
LAST VIDEO AND TESTAMENT - starring Deborah Raffin
CZECH MATE - starring Susan George
A DISTANT SCREAM - starring David Carradine
CHILD'S PLAY - starring Mary Crosby
THE CORVINI INHERITANCE - starring David McCallum
BLACK CARRION - starring Season Hubley
TENNIS COURT - starring Peter Graves
IN POSSESSION - starring Carol Lynley
THE SWEET SCENT OF DEATH - starring Dean Stockwell
In 1990 there was a documentary series entitled "The World of Hammer", all about the history of Hammer horror films and its stars. There were thirteen episodes which ran for twenty-five minutes. The series was not screened in the UK until 1994. It was narrated by Oliver Reed.
In 1994 there was a two part documentary entitled "Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror". It was narrated by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It featured excerpts from the noteworthy BBC2 documentary "Hammer - The Studio That Dripped Blood".
One of the "Carry On" films was based on a Hammer horror, "Carry On Screaming". It was all about the "Carry On" team getting mixed up in a Hammer horror and coming up with blood-curdling jokes as usual.
Since the first time that I watched a Hammer horror, I have been mesmerized by them. They are certainly what one calls "horror classics". Hammer have made over 200 films and television shows and of these 70 horror films. On February 12th, 1999 Hammer celebrated their 50th anniversary.
I have a big collection of books and magazines of Hammer horror which I am very proud to own. In the magazine, "The House of Horror", there is a comic strip entitled "Van Helsing's Terror Tales". I find the stories very good and I also think it would be wonderful if some television company made the comic into a series.
There are many books on Hammer horror, even new books published every year. Also there are film-tie-in books to the Hammer horror films. One of the better books on Hammer is "The Hammer Story" written by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes. There are a number of websites on the internet which have information on hammer - the best is Hammer official website at http://www.hammerfilms.com
There are even fan clubs and societies for Hammer films. Compact Discs of the sinister music from the films can be found in music stores as well. Here are some magazines for Hammer films:
THE HOUSE THAT HAMMER BUILT
HOUSE OF HAMMER
LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS
In America the Hammer horror films are very well known and people are very enthusiastic about them. Not only can you buy the Hammer films on VHS, you can also buy them on NTSC, the American format.
In 1993 Hammer announced that it was back in business with the remake of "The Quatermass Xperiment" and a forty-part series entitled, "The Haunted House of Horror".
My Hammer house is really alive. The wind is a lot stronger and the dead have risen up from their graves with the exciting news. I have just heard that Hammer is coming back to life! The advertising tycoon, Charles Saatchi, has bought the Hammer horror company. He is hoping to make remakes of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" which Hammer owns the rights to, and to make horror films like "The Blair Witch Project" and "Sleepy Hollow". Mr. Saatchi also, is hoping to film all the projects of Hammer which for some reason or another, have never seen the light of day. Of course the public will never have heard about them. One of Hammer's famous glamorous vampires, Ingrid Pitt, was happy to hear the news, just like every-one else, who worked with Hammer in the past. She has written thirteen books on horror and the years that she was with Hammer. Ingrid Pitt even has her own fan club. The address is:
Pitt of Horror
The Ingrid Pitt Fan Club
P.O. Box 403
The night is drawing to a close and I hope you have enjoyed your journey through my personal "Hammer House". I invite you to come back again soon - if you dare! Until next time - "Happy Hammer Horror"!
COPYRIGHT © KEVIN MALLON, 2002