NEWS - 2006 ARCHIVE
last update 25 August
older news items
| 2005 | 2004
featuring Andrew Keir and Nigel Kneale
released BBC Audiobooks, 3rd July 2006
Audiobooks are releasing the mini-series The Quatermass Memoirs,
on cd on 3rd July. The series takes a nostalgic look back through
the adventures of Professor Quatermass on tv and film, alongside
interviews with creator Nigel Kneale. The series was narrated
by Andrew Keir, who had played the part of the Professor in
Hammer's 1967 film Quatermass and the Pit. The series
includes extracts from Hammer soundtracks, was broadcast on BBC
Radio 3 in 1996, and was also Keir's last recorded work - he died
not long after.
series is being released on a 2 part cd, and retails for £15.99.
Pre-order your copy for £12.99
HAMMER NOIR -
US DVD News
After waiting for months VCI/Kit Parker have finally announced the
cover art and release dates for the HAMMER FILM NOIR series,
featuring Hammer's 1950s collaborations with Robert Lippert in the
USA. Many of these films have never legitimately been released on
dvd before, and all have been restored. Extras are still unclear,
but include Bios, Trailers, and something called "World of Hammer
Noir" (which I don't believe to be from the oft-used World of Hammer
first three volumes are being released in a special collector's set
on 30 May, with an SSP of $29.99. The set includes all six films
from the first wave of release (with more following later in the
year). You can order the set
here for only $20.99.
Then on 25 July each of the three volumes is released individually,
with two films on each set. The volumes retails for $14.99 each
(pre-orders available for $10.99). Details below:
GUEST : 1911-2006
interviewed in 2003 by Marcus Hearn for DD's dvd release of
The Quatermass Xperiment. Image ©DD Home Entertainment
is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of veteran
Hammer director VAL GUEST, at the age of 94, in his adopted home of
Palm Springs on Wednesday (10th).
Guest's death was revealed on the pages of the
Classic Horror Film Board before being picked up by a selection
of other fan discussion boards. According to the initial report on
CHFB Guest had been in remission from prostate cancer until it
came back a few weeks ago and quickly spread to his kidneys. He died
in a hospice on Wednesday night with his wife of 52 years, Yolande
Donlan, beside him.
Guest was born in London on 11 December 1911. His career in film
began in the 1930s with work on a number of early British sound
films including work for Arthur Askey and Will Hay. He would try his
hand at acting and writing before directing his first feature in
1943. In 1954 Guest produced his first films for the expanding
Hammer film company, handling directorial duties on Hammer's first
colour feature, the swashbuckling Men of Sherwood Forest and
the internationally flavoured Hammer comedy Life With the Lyons,
which Guest also wrote for his friends, the American Lyon family - a
popular variety act.
Guest would be a regular writer/director for Hammer during the rest
of the 1950s directing a range of comedy, sci-fi and war films,
earning much respect from cast and crews, using variations on his
own "rep" of actors, and a distinctive verite style to his filming
which lent his science fiction and war films an uncomfortable
feeling of reality, echoing the newsreel features of the time.
Following on from The Lyons in Paris (1955) and Break in
the Circle (1955), Guest was given the task of adapting Nigel
Kneale's BBC serial The Quatermass Experiment from a 3 hour
serial to a 90 minute feature. The resulting film The Quatermass
Xperiment (1955) launched Hammer on the road towards
exploitation features and horror, earning a great deal of money for
the company and grabbing headlines after Variety reported the death
of one of the audience in the US from a heart-attack during a
Hammer Films as director
Men of Sherwood
Life with the Lyons (1954)
The Lyons in Paris (1955)
Break in the Circle (1955)
The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
Quatermass II (1957)
The Abominable Snowman (1957)
Up the Creek (1958)
Further Up the Creek (1958)
The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
Yesterday's Enemy (1959)
Hell Is A City (1960)
The Full Treatment (1961)
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
Hammer House of Mystery And Suspense: Child's Play (1984)
Hammer House of Mystery And Suspense: In Possession (1984)
Hammer House of Mystery And Suspense: Mark of the Devil
Kneale was never happy with Guest's support for fading American star
Brian Donlevy as the brash Professor Quatermass, but nonetheless the
trio reunited for Quatermass II (1957), and Guest would also
handle Kneale's The Abominable Snowman (1957).
latter would utilise a scope ratio which Guest would use for many of
his future films, filing the frame with beautiful compositions and a
mastery of black and white photography. 1958 saw Guest handle the
Peter Sellers vehicle Up the Creek for Hammer/Exclusive, and
its sequel Further Up the Creek starring Frankie Howerd. The
nautical comedies would be followed by two critically acclaimed war
pictures, both disgracefully still unreleased on dvd. Camp On
Blood Island (1958) was a sensationalist colour picture shot in
megascope which dealt with the atrocities of World War II, and the
Japanese war crimes. The novelisation of the film which was
co-written by Val Guest and J.M. White would go on to become the
most reprinted novel of any Hammer adaptation, reprinted eight times
alone in 1958, and a further fifteen times by 1972.
Yesterday's Enemy followed in 1959, a shockingly stark depiction
of the Japanese struggle during the war. Rarely seen, and seldom in
its brilliant black and white scope ratio, the film paints an
uncomfortable balance between both sides in the bloody struggle,
eschewing the use of any incidental music right including during the
credit sequences. Guy Rolfe, Leo McKern, Stanley Baker and Gordon
Jackson give superb performances. The film earned a number of BAFTA
nominations including Best British Actor for both Baker and Jackson,
Best British Film for Val Guest and Best Film From Any Source for
The Camp on
Blood Island novelisation was Hammer's most reprinted novel.
Co-written by Val Guest
Stanley Baker would also be starring in Guest's 1960 picture for
Hammer - Hell Is A City, a brilliant portrait of a man on the
run across Manchester with Baker as the past-his-best cop trying to
clear things up. Utilising location filming in the streets of
Manchester itself, Hell echoes Carol Reed's Odd Man Out with its
stark realism and gritty urban feel. It would similarly earn BAFTA
nominations for Best British Screenplay for Val Guest, and Most
Promising Newcomer to Leading Roles for Billie Whitelaw.
Either side of his next Hammer picture The Full Treatment
(1961), Guest would direct the critically acclaimed Cliff Richard
starring Expresso Bongo (1960), and the brilliant nuclear
apocalypse narrative of The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961).
Nominated for a Hugo, the film also earned Guest and co-writer Wolf
Mankowitz a BAFTA for Best Screenplay in 1962. During the 1960s and
1970s Guest would continue to write, produce and direct. In 1967 he
was one of five directors to tackle parts of the James Bond spoof,
Casino Royale (writing substantial amounts of material too),
and in 1970 he came back to Hammer to tackle the prehistoric opus
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. A film without dialogue, it
brought together the usual feuding tribes and animated dinosaurs to
earn Hammer an Oscar for its special effects.
Guest's last work as a director came in 1983, perhaps fittingly back
at Hammer, handling three episodes of the Hammer House of Mystery
and Suspense series - In Possession; Mark of the Devil
and the fan-favourite Child's Play.
Popular with industry professionals and fans alike, Guest long ago
moved to the United States, residing in Palm Springs, with frequent
trips to festivals around the world. In the mid 1990s Guest's star
was in ascendant once more and the director was happily discussing
plans by Hollywood studios to remake several of his films including
Expresso Bongo. Hammer too were planning to remake several of
his films in 1996, as part of a multi-million dollar deal with
Warner, including The Quatermass Xperiment, and Guest's
(originally non-Hammer) The Day The Earth Caught Fire.
Despite the deal eventually falling through, Guest continued to
happily discuss his lengthy career with fans across the globe, and
recorded commentaries for laserdisc and dvd release of a number of
his films. In 2001 he published his autobiography
So You Want to Be In Pictures...
his 90s, Guest showed no signs of slowing up, and was looking
forward to attending the Golden Age of British Horror retrospective
at the Egyptian Theatre in LA next month, until illness took a hold
and he had to cancel. Val Guest's legacy is that of a brilliant film
director, and as an accomplished screenwriter, producer and sometime
songwriter too! He was without doubt the finest director to ever
walk through the doors of Hammer, and without whose skill during
Quatermass we would likely never have seen The Curse of
Frankenstein and the rest of the Hammer horror cycle. His best
pictures have a genuinely timeless quality that will last and
impress for decades to come. His absence will be felt by fans around
sincere condolences to Yolande and the rest of Val's family and
11 December 1911 - 10 May 2006
HAMMER FILMS on Myspace
Hammer continues its embracing of new media, and we can reveal that
Hammer will shortly be officially launching their own myspace.com
profile, providing an alternate source of information to work
The site is to make use of the vast network of people across the
globe that have signed up for the myspace provider. Hammer have
secured their spot on the network, and will be launching properly in
the next few weeks. Users of myspace may want to add Hammer to their
friends list now to be amongst the first to receive updates.
Myspace was bought
over by the Rupert Murdoch empire last year for some $580m. The
service is free to use, with contributors hosting their own personal
profiles, photos, videos, music and blogs. Many companies have seen
the benefits of myspace as a marketing tool, and whilst myspace has
been subject to abuse from assumed identities, Hammer have confirmed
the myspace site to us here at the Unofficial site.
The Hammer myspace
page is at:
FANTASTIC FILMS WEEKEND 2006 - BRADFORD UK
- UPDATE 2
The line-up for the
Bradford Fantastic Films Weekend gets better and better. The latest
news (see below) includes the news that a new 35 mm print of
Hammer's HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES will be screened. Hammer
fans might also be pleased to hear director Robert Feust will be in
attendance and that there will be screenings of AND SOON THE
DARKNESS (by Brian Clemens), and the BBC NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR.
www.nmpft.org.uk/fantastic for more.
Full details below:
Festival news # 2
The Fantastic Films Weekend - the
UK's fastest growing festival of
science fiction, horror and fantasy
- is almost upon us. In our second
e-newsletter you will find an update
on the films and special guests who
will join us for our fifth annual
celebration of classic cinema
fantastique hosted by the
National Museum of Photography, Film
& Television in Bradford
JEREMY DYSON signs up as FFW patron
The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy
Dyson has joined the ranks of the
Fantastic Films Weekend as the
festival's very first patron.
Alongside his work as one quarter of
the League, Jeremy is also an
author, musician and filmmaker. A
dedicated aficionado of 1960s and
1970s horror from the Hammer and
Amicus stables he feeds such
influences into his work, thus
ensuring the style and atmosphere of
that era live on in the 21st
We are delighted to have him on
Phibes filmmaker ROBERT
FUEST joins 2006 FFW line-up
Writer/director Robert Fuest - of
Dr Phibes fame - has
confirmed he will attend FFW.
Bob cut his teeth on The
Avengers. As a feature film
director he enjoyed success with
both The Abominable Dr Phibes
and its sequel, Dr Phibes
Rises Again! before moving onto
The Final Programme, an
adaptation of the Michael Moorcock
novel and the classic that is
The Devil's Rain. His other
films include the Brian Clemens
scripted And Soon the Darkness
and a particularly gothic
rendering of Wuthering Heights
Bob will be with us throughout the
weekend and will be talking part in
a 'Screentalk' interview about his
career in fantasy TV and cinema. FFW
hopes to screen both And Soon
the Darkness and The Final
Programme during this year's
TV from the vaults
The NMPFT's TV Heaven archive is to
screen an array of rarely seen
programmes from its vaults as part
of this year's Fantastic Films
Weekend. There will be presentations
of Rudolph Cartier's Nineteen
Eighty Four, starring Peter
Cushing and André Morell, and Peter
Watkins' devastating docu-drama
The War Game, about the
aftermath of a nuclear attack on
Britain. Other titles being
considered for inclusion are Nigel
Kneale's The Year of the Sex
Olympics, a 1960s Horizon
special featuring footage from
the 'lost' TV play The Caves of
Steel and episodes of
Kinvig, The League of
Gentlemen and Out of the
Big screen blockbusters
Fans of comic strip action will want
to soak up Batman Begins
and V for Vendetta. Both
films will be playing on the giant
Imax screen during the 5th Fantastic
Even more films
Titles added to the 2006 schedule
include Robin (The Wicker Man)
Hardy's The Fantasist , new
prints of Theatre of Blood
and Hammer's The Hound of the
Baskervilles, the 1990s serial
killer chiller White Angel
and Murnau's Nosferatu
complete with live musical
accompaniment by pianist Terry
And there is still more to come!
Picture gallery added to FFW website
Catch up with some of the people who
have been to the Fantastic Films
Weekend over the past five years via
our website's new photo gallery.
Here you'll find some familiar faces
plus the odd werewolf. Check out the
Passes for the 5th Fantastic Films
Weekend are available at £35
(Weekend; £30 concessions and
Friends of Film) and £15 (Day;
£12.50 concessions and Friends of
Film) from the Box Office on 0870 70
THE GOLDEN AGE
OF BRITISH HORROR 1955-1975 - Egyptian Theatre, LA
As if the news (see above) that a new print of Hammer's Hound of the
Baskervilles is playing the UK in June, we've received the schedule
this week for a massive three week British horror retrospective
taking place in LA in June, that will delight many Hammer fans, and
will no doubt enrage those of us poor enough to live in the UK!
A number of rarely
seen Hammer pics are being lined up including REVENGE OF
FRANKENSTEIN (new 35 print), FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (IB
Technicolor print), HORROR OF DRACULA, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (IB
Technicolor Print), STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, THE
GORGON (new 35mm print), TWO FACES OF DR JEKYLL (new 35mm print),
THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, QUATERMASS II, THE NANNY (new 35mm
Now if someone will
kindly pay for my flights and accommodation I'll be joining you
website for the event to book and full schedule info is
THE GOLDEN AGE
OF BRITISH HORROR: 1955 – 1975
June 8 – 25 at
the Egyptian Theatre
there was an occasional horror thriller hailing from British
shores pre-1955 (such as DEAD OF NIGHT), it wasn’t really
until 1956 that Great Britain, initially represented by
Hammer studios, took the bull by the horns. As the story
goes, esteemed writer Nigel Kneale’s crackerjack sci-fi TV
mini-series, THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, was so
popular, Hammer secured the rights to turn it into a film.
They hired American character actor Brian Donlevy to play
the no-nonsense scientist Quatermass, veteran filmmaker Val
Guest to direct and lopped off the first ‘E’ in the film’s
title (as in ‘XPERIMENT’) to play up the picture’s British X
rating. The result was immensely successful, especially
considering the movie’s budget. It was a stunning
achievement – a sci-fi thriller edited at a rollercoaster
pace with a wellspring of nearly gothic horror imagery.
Hammer deduced that the gruesome tone gripped audiences
most, as well as for its sequel QUATERMASS II. For
their next efforts, they decided accordingly to go all the
way with the macabre, gothic slant. Before you knew it,
superb in-period chillers CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and
HORROR OF DRACULA were hitting cinemas worldwide and
raking in returns at the box office. The rest, as they say,
is history. Sequels (REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDES
OF DRACULA, et. al.) and other spinetingling,
gorgeously-shot one-offs (TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL, THE
GORGON, PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, et. al.) followed from
Hammer. Other small UK studios, most predominantly
Anglo-Amalgamated (HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM), Amicus (TORTURE
GARDEN, THE SKULL, et. al), Independent Artists (BURN,
WITCH, BURN) and Tigon (CORRUPTION, BLOOD ON
SATAN’S CLAW), as well as indie producers like Robert
Baker & Monty Berman (THE CRAWLING EYE, JACK THE
RIPPER, et. al.), Robert Lippert (WITCHCRAFT) and
Harry Alan Towers (FACE OF FU MANCHU) followed suit.
us for this spectacular, three week retrospective of some of
the most chilling pictures from this classic era, including
new prints of such films as REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN,
HORROR OF DRACULA, THE GORGON, TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL,
WITCHCRAFT and THE NANNY (one of Bette Davis’
best later films) as well as ultra-rare screenings of
FACE OF FU MANCHU, CORRUPTION, THE SKULL, QUATERMASS II
and I START COUNTING (featuring one of Jenny
Agutter’s first leading roles).
Note: If you
don’t spot some of your favorite vintage British horror
films listed, it’s either because we have shown them fairly
recently or because decent prints were just not available!
compiled by Chris D.
Thanks: Michael Schlesinger, Susanne Jacobson, Grover Crisp
& Helena Brissenden/SONY REPERTORY; Caitlin Robertson &
Schawn Belston/20th CENTURY FOX; Cary
Haber/CRITERION FILMS; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROTHERS;
Snowden Becker/ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES, ARTS & SCIENCES;
Todd Wiener/UCLA FILM AND TELEVISION ARCHIVE; Emily
Horn/PARAMOUNT REPERTORY; Lisa Jackson, Rick Senat and Terry
Ilott/HAMMER FILMS, UK; Simon Hill/CINESERVE; John
Herron/CANAL + IMAGE, UK; Wade Williams; Michael Hyatt;
June 8 - 7:30 PM
Cushing/Terence Fisher Double Feature:
FRANKENSTEIN, 1958, Sony Repertory, 94 min.
Director Terence Fisher’s sequel to the first film,
CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, is the high point of the series, and
one of Hammer studio’s most satisfyng gothics. Working
incognito in a hospital for the poor, "Dr. Stein" (Peter
Cushing) transfers the brain of his deformed assistant
into the body of the "perfect man" (Michael Gwynne), but
fails to account for the transplanted brain’s nasty image of
itself. With Francis Matthews.
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, 1969, Warner
Bros., 101 min. One more came afterwards (FRANKENSTEIN AND
THE MONSTER FROM HELL), but director Terence Fisher’s
last major gothic was really the end of the Hammer
FRANKENSTEIN cycle as he had originally envisioned it. Shot
through with images of dementia and decay – drug
trafficking, rape, etc. – this remains the most grimly
realistic of the series. Peter Cushing’s performance
is murderously monstrous – his Dr. Frankenstein is a demon
in human form; the equivalent of a concentration camp
doctor. With Simon Ward, Freddie Jones, Veronica
June 9 - 7:30 PM
Lee Double Feature:
1958, Warner Bros., 82 min. Director
Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s
stripped-to-the basics, expertly-paced take on Bram Stoker’s
popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just
plain exciting gothic horror films ever made. From
Christopher Lee’s revelatory, broodingly romantic
performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the
proceedings) to Fisher’s masterful direction, from Peter
Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher’s
atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard’s
superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer studio’s
most enduring masterpieces!
BLOOD OF DRACULA, 1970, Warner Bros.,
91 min. Young director Peter Sasdy’s fourth film
in the Dracula series (along with Fisher’s DRACULA, PRINCE
OF DARKNESS) is commonly-acknowledged as one of the most
satisfying Christopher Lee-starring sequels to the
groundbreaking original. Three Victorian "gentlemen"
(Geoffrey Keen, John Carson, Peter Sallis) with a habit of
looking for new experiences, (i.e., decadent thrills) to
"broaden their horizons," make a pact with black magician
Ralph Bates, who promptly reanimates the undead count
(Lee) from his dried blood and cape. Dracula then proceeds
to destroy the men through their vampirized teen-age
children (including nubile Linda Hayden), surely one of the
most subversive subtexts ever in a Hammer film. Handsomely
shot, this was one of the last Hammer pictures to truly look
as gorgeous as their earlier efforts.
June 10 - 6:00 PM
Monsters Double Feature
1956, Warner Bros., 80 min. Director Joseph Losey (!)
was originally scheduled to helm this surprisingly
persuasive sci-fi chiller, but because of the impact of the
HUAC blacklist (usually not felt in the UK), he had to drop
out. Leslie Norman directs this Quatermass-style
knock-off with atomic scientist, Dean Jagger, going
up against a blob of intelligent (!), radioactive lava
ravenous for any nearby nuclear material. A serious crisis
looms as it grows more voracious, threatening a brand new
nuclear power plant. The film combines nocturnal gothic
imagery with a sober sense of scientific inquiry, bearing
all the earmarks of Nigel Kneale’s style (although in fact
this was Jimmy Sangster’s first feature-length screenplay).
TROLLENBERG TERROR), 1958, Wade Williams, 85 min.
Dir. Quentin Lawrence. U.N. investigator Forrest
Tucker travels to the Alps to check out a radioactive
cloud and soon discovers a herd of one-eyed, octupus-like
aliens using the cumulous mist to hide their presence! Also
starring the haunting Janet Munro as a girl with
psychic links to the invaders. With Jennifer Jayne, Laurence
June 10 - 9:30 PM
Exotica Double Bill:
FACE OF FU
MANCHU, 1965, Warner Bros., 89 min. Maverick producer
Harry Alan Towers inaugurated his long-planned-for string of
films based on pulp master, Sax Rohmer’s master criminal
with this slambang thriller from director, Don Sharp
(KISS OF THE VAMPIRE). Easily the best in the Fu Manchu
series, it’s Hammeresque in look and tone, with
Christopher Lee perfectly cast as the supremely evil
mastermind. The underrated Nigel Green is ideal as
Inspector Nayland Smith, the arch-villain’s nemesis. Shot in
and around Dublin (substituting for 1920’s London), with a
great sense of period atmosphere. Co-starring Joachim
Fuchsberger, Karin Dor, Howard Marion Crawford and Tsai
Chin. NOT ON DVD.
1960, Sony Repertory, 80 min. Director
Terence Fisher works wonders on a meager budget with
this ultra-rare, underrated shocker. Intelligent British
officer, Guy Rolfe, runs into bureaucratic stupidity
as well as cultural snobbery from his superiors as he
investigates the mushrooming number of strangling murders
afflicting merchant caravans in India. When he gets too
close, the Thuggee cult responsible ("Kill! Kill for the
love of Kali!"), marks him for death. James Bernard
embellishes this sadian saga with one of his most frenetic,
over-the-top scores. Merchant-Ivory Productions and director
Nicholas Meyer (SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION) remade it in 1988 as
THE DECIEVERS starring Pierce Brosnan in the Rolfe role.
NOT ON DVD.
June 11 - 6:30 PM
(aka NIGHT OF
THE DEMON), 1957, Sony Repertory, 95 min.
Jacques Tourneur’s masterful chiller about
a mysterious string of deaths caused by a black magician (Nial
MacGinnis in a great performance inspired by necromancer
Alastair Crowley) is one of the most highly-regarded
shockers of the ‘50s, even in its original 83 minute US
release. Although prints of the unedited version have
circulated for years, they were from umpteenth-generation
dupe material and looked pretty awful; this new restoration
vividly brings back all the details of Ted Scaife’s
photography and Ken Adam’s sets. Dana Andrews stars,
with support from Peggy Cummins (GUN CRAZY) and
(aka NIGHT OF
THE EAGLE), 1962, Sony Repertory, 90 min. Dir. Sidney
Hayers. Professor Peter Wyngarde, a
fervent debunker of all things supernatural, discovers that
his scholastic success is due to voodoo spells cast by wife,
Janet Blair. When he forces her to give up her
talismans and spells, the demonic forces of darkness
descend, in this much-underrated horror classic that rivals
THE INNOCENTS and CURSE OF THE DEMON in intelligent,
hair-raising chills. Adapted by screenwriters Charles
Beaumont and Richard Matheson from Fritz Leiber’s novel
Conjure Wife. NOT ON DVD.
June 14 - 7:30 PM
1964, 20th Century Fox, 79 min. Director
Don Sharp’s ultra-rare occult scarefest has been one of
the most difficult-to-see of all British horror films from
the era – until now. Twentieth Century Fox just struck this
splendid, brand new black & white 35mm print, and we’re
delighted to reintroduce audiences to it. Lon Chaney, Jr.
stars as Albert Whitlock, scion of an ancient family of
witches and warlocks, who doesn’t take it kindly when his
family graveyard is bulldozed by developer, Bill Lanier
(Jack Hedley) and his callous partner. Long-suppressed
resentments erupt – the Lanier family had persecuted the
Whitlocks for witchcraft in the 17th century – and before
you know it, age-old witch, Vanessa (Yvette Rees) is back
from the dead. Director Sharp, per usual, evokes great
atmosphere from limited resources and keeps things moving at
a fast clip. Comparable to HORROR HOTEL and BURN, WITCH,
BURN for stark shivers, with a great Barbara Steele-ish turn
by Rees as the vindictive sorceress. NOT ON DVD.
DEVIL’S BRIDE), 1968, 20th Century Fox, 95
min. Director Terence Fisher brings Dennis Wheatley’s
novel to life, with the Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee)
unearthing a satanic plot to steal the souls of young man,
Simon (Patrick Mower) and the mysteriously beautiful Tanith
(Nike Arrighi). Charles Gray is suavely sinsiter as
Mocata, the occult high priest who’ll stop at nothing to get
his way. Among master director, Fisher’s most intelligent,
accomplished achievements, with a briskly fluid camera, a
suspenseful patchwork of escalating nightmare setpieces and
a perfect evocation of the 1920’s. Exciting from beginning
to end. (Print is slightly faded.)
June 16 - 7:30 PM
Lee/Terence Fisher Double Feature:
1964, Sony Repertory, 83 min. One of director Terence
Fisher’s most eerie and underrated masterworks focuses
on a German village haunted by Megara, the still potent
spirit of the gorgon of Greek mythology, bent on
transforming all those who gaze upon her into figures of
stone. Local doctor, Peter Cushing, is engineering a
cover-up to protect someone (perhaps his beautiful
assistant, Barbara Shelley?). Returning Richard
Pasco, whose brother and father were petrified-to-death,
wants to get to the bottom of the mystery, but gets
sidetracked when he falls for Shelley. Soon, desperate Pasco
sends for his prickly, sarcastic mentor (Christopher Lee)
who proceeds to track down the monster. Filled with a
chilling ambience, it remains one of the most dreamlike of
Hammer films. NOT ON DVD.
OF DR. JEKYLL, 1960, Sony Repertory, 88 min.
Hammer producers decided to bring in well-regarded writer,
Wolf Mankowitz, to pen this revisionist version of Dr.
Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, switching around some elements
(such as making good Jekyll homely and evil Hyde a handsome
rogue). Terence Fisher directs Paul Massie in
the dual role, with Dawn Addams as Jekyll’s
promiscuous wife dallying with Jekyll’s best friend,
wastrel, Christopher Lee. Neither Massie’s Jekyll or
Hyde are whole persons – the "good" doctor is bent on
scientific pioneering at the expense of his marriage while
seductive, sadistic sociopath, Hyde is obsessed with
indulging his senses as well as every egotistical impulse.
Fisher, cinematographer Jack Asher and Hammer’s production
designers conjure up a gaslit, Victorian London, a place
where all manner of debauched, amoral characters cavort
right below the surface. NOT ON DVD.
June 17 - 7:30 PM
Tribute - Double Feature:
(aka ENEMY FROM SPACE), 1957, Hammer Films, 84 min. Director
Val Guest collaborates with writer, Nigel Kneale,
adapting Kneale’s QUATERMASS XPERIMENT sequel and turns out
possibly the finest of the 1950’s alien invasion pictures.
Not available on the big screen in the USA for over fifty
years, we’ve brought over a 35mm print especially from the
UK to rectify the situation. It easily remains the
nerve-shredding British equivalent to Don Siegel’s INVASION
OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, with a furiously relentless pace and
no wasted moments. Space expert, Quatermass (Brian
Donlevy in a no-nonsense performance) investigates a
strange shower of meteorites. Like a ball of string
unraveling, he first unearths a plot to take over the
British government, then discovers a swarm of protoplasmic
creatures living inside pressurized domes at a mysterious
industrial plant. With another spine-tingling James Bernard
(aka THE CREEPING UNKNOWN), 1956, Sony Repertory, 82 min.
Along with its sequel QUATERMASS II and Siegel's BODY
SNATCHERS, one of the scariest science-fiction films from
the 1950’s. Brian Donlevy stars as writer Nigel
Kneale's brusque rocket scientist Quatermass, bent on
unlocking the mysteries of space, even if it means his only
surviving astronaut (Richard Wordsworth in an amazing
performance) slowly mutates into an amoeba-like blob
monster! Directed by master, Val Guest, the film
hurtles along at breakneck tempo, and served as storm
warning of more Hammer horrors just over the horizon. NOT
June 18 - 6:30 PM
1965, 20th Century Fox, 93 min.
Director Seth Holt, who had previously worked
as an editor and producer at Ealing studios, directed barely
a handful of films, and, two of the best were done at Hammer
shortly before his premature death at the age of 47. This is
arguably his masterpiece and surely one of Bette Davis’
greatest later pictures, a brisk, shuddery
psychological suspenser, masterfully orchestrated to its
nailbiting climax. Devoted nanny, Davis, long in the Fane
family household, is beset by rancorous persecution from her
young charge, Joey (William Dix) when he returns from an
institution. Joey’s parents (James Villiers, Wendy Craig)
are beside themselves because bratty Joey won’t give up the
idea that Davis was responsible for his little sister’s
bathtub drowning years before. Teenager Pamela Franklin
is the only one wondering if maybe he’s right. Watch for the
scene between Joey’s aunt (Jill Bennett) and Davis near the
end, surely one of the most disturbing in any 1960’s
shocker. NOT ON DVD.
COUNTING, 1969, Sony Repertory, 105 min. An
underrated, unusual, low-key mix of coming-of-age story and
serial killer thriller that never saw release here in
America. Jenny Agutter gives arguably her finest
performance as a teenager who develops an obsessive
infatuation for her older, foster brother (Bryan Maxwell).
Complications multiply as she starts to wonder if perhaps
he’s the homicidal maniac loose in their suburban
neighborhood. But is he really? Agutter’s strict, Catholic
school upbringing, her romantic fantasies and burgeoning
sexuality, her precocious best friend (Clare Sutcliffe), all
conspire to pull the wool over her eyes. When the veil of
fantasy is brutally ripped aside and cold, hard reality
hits, watch out! Director David Greene skillfully
puts Agutter’s teenage concerns in the forefront, with the
sex killer subplot simmering in the background, until the
harrowing, last twenty minutes – akin to a glass of ice
water in the face and surely one of the creepiest,
most-unnerving sequences ever from sixties cinema. With
Simon Ward in a small, but important, part as a
bus conductor. NOT ON DVD.
June 21 - 7:30 PM
Cushing Double Feature:
GARDEN, 1967, Sony Repertory, 93 min.
Director Freddie Francis follows up Amicus studio’s
initial omnibus horror film, DR. TERROR’S HOUSE OF HORRORS,
with this expertly-handled compendium of four fright tales,
all strung together by the spiel of sideshow fortune teller,
Dr. Diablo (Burgess Meredith). Five carnival
customers (Michael Bryant, Beverly Adams, Barbara Ewing,
Michael Ripper and Jack Palance) are offered a look
into their possible futures, with ghastly results.
Especially macabre is the final entry with Poe fanatic,
Palance, paying a visit to the home of fellow collector and
Poe-phile, Peter Cushing, something that
results in a disagreeably unexpected revelation.
1973, 90 min. Spanish Eugenio Martin (CANDLE FOR
THE DEVIL) directs an international cast at a breakneck pace
in this splendid, turn-of-the-20th-century
thriller. Trans-Siberian Express passenger, Professor Saxton
(Christopher Lee) is transporting what he believes to
be the remains of the missing link, much to the
disappointment of his rival, Professor Wells (Peter
Cushing). What the two feuding scholars don’t realize is
that the huge corpse is really a revived alien creature from
outer space. Before long, the monster is boiling the brains
of its victims with its red-eyed stare, absorbing their
intellects and throwing the train into a panic. A countess,
a beautiful spy, a Rasputin-like monk and a cruel Cossack (Telly
Savalas, in fine form) are just a few of the characters
making life difficult for our stalwart English heroes as
they try to thwart the devilish fiend. (Print is slightly
June 25 – 6:30 PM
Cushing Double Feature:
1967, Sony Repertory, 91 min. Dir. Robert Hartford-Davis.
You won’t believe some of the things that sedate surgeon
Peter Cushing gets up to in this deliciously trashy,
Mod reworking of Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE. When his
young model fiancee (Sue Lloyd) has her face disfigured by a
falling arc lamp, Cushing becomes convinced that the
pituitary gland from another woman will put her right. But
he’s chagrined when the healing effect wears off. Soon
Cushing descends into a hellish rampage of murder - usually
by decapitation - to obtain glands! When the couple decide
to lower their profile, they make a getaway to a seacoast
cottage. However, a gang of violent hippie beatniks (is
there such a thing?) invade their haven, more deaths occur
and Cushing’s laboratory laser goes out of control. Great
pulp mayhem. NOT ON DVD.
1965, Paramount, 90 min. Director Freddie Francis
pours on the atmosphere in this fine adaptation of the
Robert Bloch short story, what amounts to the most
blood-freezing of Hammer studio’s rival, Amicus’ many horror
efforts. Peter Cushing, a collector of black magic
antiquities, covets the skull of the Marquis De Sade,
despite its lurid, some say cursed, history. Once it’s in
his ill-gotten possession, all manner of things start to go
terribly wrong, including vividly surreal nightmares and
people dying in horrible ways. The great cast includes
Christopher Lee as a rival collector, Patrick Wymark as
a sleazy dealer, Jill Bennett as Cushing’s spouse, with a
cameo by Nigel Green as a police inspector. NOT ON DVD.
FANTASTIC FILMS WEEKEND 2006 -
The National Museum of Photography
Film and Television
Bradford plays host to the annual Fantastic Films Weekend this year
from 16-18 June, and it promises to be another great event well
worth making the trip for. The Unofficial Hammer Films Site will be
in attendance for our third consecutive visit to the festival, as
will a hoard of other fans and filmmakers. The festival takes place
in one building and over three screens - the charming Cubbi Broccoli
cinema, the vast space that is the Pictureville, and the glorious
splendour of the IMAX screen. This year promises a live musical
accompanied screening of the original Nosferatu, and a
hoard of cult British horror including Horror Express
and The House That Dripped Blood. Also in attendance
is Robin Hardy, who will be signing copies of his new book
Cowboys For Christ alongside a screening of The
information and to book tickets go to
We'll bring you
regular updates, but a copy of the first mailout is below:-
Cult filmmaker ROBIN HARDY returns
Robin Hardy, the director of The
Wicker Man, will make a return
visit to FFW following his
appearance here in 2002. Robin's new
book Cowboys for Christ is
published on May Day by Luath Press
Ltd and he will join us on Sunday
June 18 for a book signing,
Screentalk interview and a screening
of The Wicker Man .
Cowboys for Christ is a book
inhabiting the same disturbing
territory as The Wicker Man.
It won't disappoint fans. Ripping
through the themes of religion,
paganism, power, sex and sacrifice
Cowboys for Christ builds
up to its gruesome, excruciating
climax under the terrifying
imagination of Robin Hardy. Further
Supernatural chiller Half Light
to open FFW
Universal's eerie new chiller
Half Light will officially open
FFW2006 on Friday 16 June. A creepy
supernatural thriller, Half
Light focuses on the emotional
breakdown suffered by best-selling
mystery novelist Rachel Carlson (Demi
Moore) when her son drowns at her
London home. Fleeing to a remote
fishing village in the Scottish
Highlands she wallows in her
grief... until she begins receiving
messages from her dead child. Unsure
whether the messages are real or she
is slowly losing her mind, Rachel is
plunged into a nightmarish world of
madness and murder.
Classics from the vaults
Recently released by the British
Film Institute in its original and
uncut form, Ishirô Honda's
Godzilla (aka Gojira)
is the grand-daddy of
flicks. This iconic rubber reptile
will be arriving in Bradford to
trample unsuspecting passers-by and
generally wreak havoc. FFW is
presenting two delicious '70s
favourites: Peter Duffell's
portmanteau chiller The House
That Dripped Blood and Jess
Franco's trans-Siberian shocker
Horror Express. Both prints
have come from the cobwebbed vaults
of the NMPFT and both star that
timeless double-bill of Peter
Cushing and Christopher Lee. We also
hope to present the full-length mini
series Salem's Lot,
starring David Soul and James Mason,
the rarely seen gems Behemoth
the Sea Monster and Strip
Nude Killer and our traditional
all-day package of films. Previous
offerings have included quartets of
the Exorcist and Alien
franchises as well as The
Lord of the Rings saga. Watch
this space for more news.
Darklands - The Director's Cut
to make its UK debut in
Our old friend Julian Richards will
return to FFW with the director's
cut of his breakthrough movie
Darklands, a spine-chilling
exposé of paganism in modern-day
Wales. The film, which stars Craig
Fairbrass, Jon Finch and Rowena
King, will run slightly shorter than
the original 1997 version, thus
tightening up an already
nerve-fraying narrative. After
several years in limbo
writer/director Richards (The
Last Horror Movie) has regained
control of Darklands and is
preparing a director's cut to show
to North American distributors at
the forthcoming Cannes Film
FFW is delighted to welcome him back
to Bradford with the ultimate
version of an unsettling tale that
was presented to fans at the very
first Fantastic Films Weekend back
Short Film Submissions
FFW2006 is still accepting entries
for the short films section.
Filmmakers should send their
submissions on DVD or VHS to:
Short Film Submissions,
5th Fantastic Films Weekend,
Passes for the 5th Fantastic Films
Weekend are available at £35
(Weekend; £30 concessions and
Friends of Film) and £15 (Day;
£12.50 concessions and Friends of
Film) from the Box Office on 0870 70
THE HAMMER STORY :
Book News 09.05.06
already reported that Titan are re-releasing the popular 1990s
authorised history of Hammer, The Hammer Story, written by
Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes. We can now confirm that despite a
difference in advertised page counts, according to Marcus Hearn,
Titan have not opted to do a second edition, rather a straight
reprint of the original book.
Effectively this means there is no new material and fans who already
have their copy of the original book, need not replace them. Of
course if you haven't got a copy yet now is your chance.
Published in hardback, with 197 pages of text and glorious colour
images, the book is priced at £24.99. You can pre-order yours now
from amazon for only £17 (with free delivery).
Click here to order
It can also be
pre-ordered from amazon.com for only $22.
Click here to order.
EXCLUSIVE : First
image of the Gresham Blake Hammer tie
EXCLUSIVE : FIRST LOOK AT THE GRESHAM BLAKE RANGE
As if it wasn't enough that we were the first to bring you
images of the Gresham Blake designer Hammer Horror cufflinks,
now we're bringing you the first image anywhere of the Hammer
We've reported here before that designer Gresham Blake has been
asked to design a range of clothing inspired by the classic
horror films, include a range of suits, a cape and other items.
The exclusive range will be stocked at Blake's Brighton
boutique, and in selected high street stores. Fans overseas need
not panic, as an online shop will also be set up.
The line was first
announced back in 2004. And those who are worried that the range
seems very masculine at the moment (having already shown the
first images of the Hammer cufflinks, Blake had this to say in a
press release last year:
"Hammer is a
national institution. I am 35 and I can remember secretly
staying up late to watch films like Frankenstein and
Dracula when I was a child,” he said. “The surprising thing
is that kids today are doing exactly the same thing. I know of
11-year-olds who are Hammer fans.
“We are planning
to produce between 12 and 14 different designs inspired by the
studio’s films. Some of the designs will be replicas complete
with top hats and capes.
“Others will have
a wider appeal but still reflect the essence of the studio. We
are thinking of high collars on long coats for the men and deep
blood red linings on coats and jackets. We are also drawing up
designs for a range of frilly shirts which were worn by most of
Hammer’s leading men.
“It’s all about
plunging necklines, long gloves and buttons on the cuffs. We are
also thinking of panel-back dresses and puffed shoulders. Our
plunging necklines will probably plunge a little more than they
did in the films.”
According to the same
release, the women's line will be inspired by the costumes of the
likes of Ingrid Pitt. With the launch date for the range now a
matter of weeks away. The cufflinks are retailing at £65 per pair,
and current discussions concern the presentation of the accessories,
planned for special coffin boxes.
We have now seen the
first samples of the ties first hand and will be posting a
review in the next couple of days. The ties are beautifully
made, with two designs available. The first is a repeating
pattern of the distinctive new Hammer 'H' logo (thankfully not
too distracting). The second contains a pattern of
horror-related images, which will no doubt appeal to a wider
audience than just Hammer fans. Amongst the items shown are
coffins, bats, nuts and bolts, Frankenstein's head, skulls and a
demon's head. Plus the obligatory Hammer 'H'. A final Hammer
label is to be added to the ties.
A range of colour
schemes will be available, but the two shown are predominantly
black and red. The 'H' tie has the logo embossed in green -
which may not be obvious from the photo here, and detail shot on
the front page. We'll bring you better images shortly.
The ties will be
soon be available priced at £45 each.
HAMMER NOIR update
US DVD News
We've just received confirmation from Kit Packer regarding the VCI
Hammer Noir titles, due out this year. Extras are still to be
confirmed, although it is known that some of the discs will feature
trailers and advertising features. The digital transfers are, I am
Out in June are:
HAMMER NOIR #1
BAD BLONDE (79) Barbara
MAN BAIT (78) George Brent
HAMMER NOIR #2
STOLEN FACE (71)
BLACKOUT (87) Dane Clark
HAMMER NOIR #3
GAMBLER AND THE LADY (72)
HEAT WAVE (60) Alex Nicol
Providing there is
enough interest, the rest of the pairings are as follows:
NOIR #4 (RR)
TERROR STREET (84) Dan Duryea
WINGS OF DANGER (72) Zachary Scott
NOIR #5 (RR)
PAID TO KILL
(71) Dane Clark
GLASS TOMB (59)
NOIR #6 (RR)
(84) Alex Nicol
BIG DEADLY GAME
(63) Lloyd Bridges
HAMMER NOIR #7 (RR)
UNHOLY FOUR Paulette Goddard
INSPECTOR (73) Cesar Romero
It is a sad fact that the last update on the
Official Hammer Films Site
news page, until very recently, was from August 2002. During the
last four years its been up to us here at
the Unofficial site, and the
magazine editors like Wayne Kinsey and Dick Klemensen to keep
everyone up to speed. However, I'm delighted to see that the drought
HammerWeb re-launched tonight, with a bunch of new news items, many
of which we have previously reported on here. There are a few new
items, which will be of interest to our readers, and which we
comment on below. There's also a wealth of other updates too.
rightly be the first port of call for anyone wanting to know the
official word from the House of Hammer, but here at avalard.com we
will continue to publish a range of diverse articles, reviews,
critical essays, rare stills and rumours that the Official site
couldn't possibly mention. I hope if you are a first timer you'll
add us to your favourites, and sign up to our mailing list. For our
regulars, its business as usual, and if even half of the things that
are on the cards happen, then there'll be more than enough for you
Send your emails,
comments and more to me at
HAMMER SIGNS MARKETING
DEAL WITH MAJESTIC FILMS
Reports in some of the trade papers have been followed up with an
official press release on HammerWeb that Hammer has appointed
Majestic Films as its exclusive sales agent.
The press release,
dated 7 April 2006 advises that the deal includes all film and
television programs in the Hammer library which hammer has
distribution rights over - over 100 films. Icon is a subsidiary of
Mel Gibson's Icon Entertainment, and will handle the catalogue for
the next five years (although this doesn't include film clip rights,
merchandising rights - which are being dealt with by Coolabi - nor
the likes of remake rights). The deal doesn't bind either party with
regards to any new product by or acquired by Hammer.
This isn't the
first time Icon has handled the Hammer catalogue either, having
represented the company during 1990-2000. Peter Naish had been the
former chief operating officer at Hammer, responsible for all
Hammer's licensing activity since 2000, and is now the Icon head of
sales, and so the deal is effectively continuing relationships built
up during the last 15 years.
fans the press release makes several points of note. Firstly that
the existing licensing deals have been based on the familiar slate
of 20 titles (seen in almost identical dvd collections in Germany,
Spain, America and the UK). This deal opens up the possibilities of
over another 80 different titles, so fans should expect a number of
dvd premieres in the next few years.
release states that Hammer "continues to work up new projects for film,
television and stage as well as remakes from the back catalogue.
Progress on these fronts will be posted on the website."
Whilst it is widely
known that Hammer is still attempting a revival in film and
television this is the first mention many will have seen of the
stage. It is perhaps indicative of a new direction for the company.
The whole press
release can be found
ANCHOR BAY RETURN TO
THE HAMMER CATALOGUE
US DVD News 11.04.06
Reports reached us of some news from the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors
convention last month, that 2007 will see a slate of remastered
Hammer dvds with new special features. This statement by Tom Bambard
of Anchor Bay Entertainment resolves the earlier speculation that
Bill Lustig (who holds the rights to the existing Anchor Bay titles)
would not revisit the Hammer range.
Whether this will be
looking at the HDDVD/BluRay market is of course yet to be
established. Until the format war settles, fingers crossed that
Hammer fans will be treated to some new titles, and new prints worth
forking out for.
DIE DIE MY DARLING
UK DVD News 11.04.06
thanks to Stephen Jones who pointed out this title from Sony
Pictures that I'd missed. Die! Die! My Darling (also known as
Fanatic) has been released in the UK. The little-seen 1965
Hammer thriller stars Donald Sutherland, Tallulah Bankhead and
The film with a
running time of 97 mins, and boasting a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer,
alongside spoken German, Italian and English soundtracks, retails at
£12.99, and hit shelves on 27 March 2006.
The dvd can be
sendit.com here or
We've received some further news on the exciting (and rather
exclusively priced) Gresham Blake range of Hammer clothing. The
first products to be released through Blake's Brighton boutique (and
internet orders) will be the new ties and cufflinks. Designs are
being finished, and packaging decided upon. A launch date looks
likely for the next two-three months. Ties will be priced at £45,
and the cufflinks at £65.
The cape mentioned
before, has been designed, but is still being worked upon.
Intriguingly, tailor made suits are being prepared now, priced
around £395. As soon as images are available we'll post them on the
for the forthcoming Forbidden Terrortory game
We've got further
news on both the Gaming chips and the board game.
Bond International look likely to be launching their range of
casino chips and playing cards in July, initially via the internet.
We've seen provisional images, and the sets certainly look good (I'm
going to have to take up poker after the release!). The chips are
embossed with the distinctive Hammer 'H' logo, and some of the sets
are to be released in collector's sets, in special movie tins. More
details to follow.
Development continues on the Hammer dvd-based board game, which
was initially launched at the London Toy Fair back in January to
great interest. The game, which bears the title 'Forbidden
Terrortory' is set to launch in September of this year, and is
already listed by a number of high-street retailers. Pricing is
still being set, but the set will include specially sculpted figures
whcih will also form the basis for the chess set also being produced
Britannia games have a page for the game on their
(but no image yet).
Amazon have the game currently listed without release dates.
Forbidden Planet has listed the release date as 14 September 2006,
with a RRP of £34.99. They also include these details:
3 High Quality Decks of cards all showing clips of the
famous Hammer Films
12 Playing Pieces (Hand painted exact replica figurines of
the classic Hammer Monsters)
1 Game Board
3 Special Dice
1 DVD Over an hour of Sound and Movie clips that interacts
with the game, such as opening of doors, intermittent Day
and night scenes showing you which monsters are active.
For 2-6 Players * Age 12 to Adult.
The players are the Rescuers who race against each other and
against time to find and rescue the victim and also destroy
Dracula before he becomes too powerful. Players have to find
and collect the necessary protection to avoid the monsters
around Dracula’s Castle and eventually find Dracula’s victim
to rescue her and also destroy Dracula. Players have seven
days to complete their mission before its too late. The
rescuers will have to be extra careful as they not only have
to avoid the monsters but one bite from the vampire and they
too become a vampire and from then on have to protect
Dracula. Any of the rescuers or newly created Vampire’s can
win the game.
Date : Thursday 14 September, 2006.
THE HAMMER STORY : BACK IN PRINT
Book News 11.04.06
have long praised Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes' official Hammer
history book - The Hammer Story - itself the result of the
unexpected cancellation of Marvel's Hammer Horror Magazine
back in the mid-1990s. The book is being republished on 23 May by
Published in hardback, with 197 pages of text and glorious colour
images, the book is priced at £24.99. You can pre-order yours now
from amazon for only £17.
Click here to order
It can also be
pre-ordered from amazon.com for only $22.
Click here to order.
NEBULOUS SERIES 2 - RADIO 4.
WEDNESDAYS FROM 5th APRIL. PREVIEWED....
Radio News 03.04.06
April - 10 May 2006
second series of cult sci-fi radio comedy NEBULOUS starts this week
on BBC Radio. Written by Graham Duff, and starring Mark Gatiss, this
series also includes appearances by Peter Davison, Steve Coogan, and
episodes are available to listen to for one week after broadcast via
the BBC Listen Again Service.
here for more details from the BBC.
preview of each episode,
PRODUCTION MANAGER CHRISTOPHER NEAME APPEARING IN LONDON ON 8 APRIL
Event News 18.03.06
(not to be confused with the actor who appeared in Dracula AD
1972) joined Hammer in 1965 as a clapper boy on Dracula
Prince of Darkness. He worked his way up to second assistant
director on films such as Quatermass and the Pit and The
Devil Rides Out, before becoming production manager on
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and six subsequent films.
later credits include several screenplays and a stage musical. He
recently completed an autobiographical trilogy of books relating
to his career, and the first: Rungs on a Ladder: Hammer Films
Seen through a Soft Gauze was deservedly acclaimed as one of
the classic books on the company.
lives in France, but will be coming to London on Saturday 8 April,
in order to present a talk concentrating on his Hammer years.
Those attending can expect to hear some vivid details of
productions filmed at Bray Studios and elsewhere, and memories of
Hammer personnel and stars, including Anthony Hinds, Michael
Carreras, Terence Fisher, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Bette
Davis and Joan Fontaine.
event has been organised by The Dracula Society and will take
place at The
opposite St. James’ Park tube station, starting at 7pm.
Admission - including a buffet supper - will be £10.00.
Non-members are welcome but need to book by 3rd April. Please
request a booking form from Adrian Winchester
launched their range of Hammer t-shirts at London Edge in
January and were astounded by the level of interest. Its the latest
new Hammer product now available for the fans. The shirts are
high-quality black material, with superb printing. There are shirts
for both males and females.
The shirts utilise a number of familiar poster artworks and cult
characters including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and Captain
Kronos. One of the things I have no doubt Hammer fans will comment
on is the alterations to some of the titles on the artworks - the
original poster for The Mummy appears on one shirt under the
banner The Revenge of The Mummy. When someone asked what that
was, I did comment that it was a made-up Hammer film.
The reason - well, Hammer's
license continues to be complicated through the deals established by
James Careeras during the 1950s and 1960s. Marketing the new Hammer
range is a complicated process it seems, and whilst Hammer might be
able to exploit artworks there are often restrictions on names -
with the potential for worldwide sales, owing to copyright
These are official Hammer
products however, licensed by Coolabi on Hammer's behalf. The shirts
sport front and rear prints - many of which include the new revised
Hammer Films logo. The highly attractive and distinctive shirts
retail for under £15 each, and are available around the world.
The shirts are available from
HAMMER ON TOUR??
This November marks the 50th anniversary of production starting on
Hammer's first colour horror film - The Curse of Frankenstein.
And the beginning of the 50th anniversary of Hammer Horror proper.
Word has come in of a number of events being lined up to celebrate
the anniversary, details of which we hope to be able to confirm in
the next couple of months.
Perhaps most promising
is the restoration and re-mastering of a new print of The Curse of
Frankenstein for the cinema - which will hopefully screen at
this year's London Film Festival. One can only hope that this is
used for a new edition of the Warner dvd (how much we would all like
to see Curse given the special edition treatment).
An exhibition on
Vlad the Impaler and Dracula is being planned for Rome which will
include Hammer material.
Then there are
discussions ongoing for a Hammer exhibition in the UK, which might
then go on tour. As soon as we have more we'll let you know.
NEW HAMMER CLOTHING
RANGE- GRESHAM BLAKE - CUFFLINKS
Have you ever thought about how much fun it would be to dress up as
say Peter Cushing's Van Helsing, or Lee's Dracula... Never mind the
superb production design in so many Hammer films, what we all want
is the clothing. Not a bunch of t-shirts with the Hammer logo on
them (although a licensed batch of these is now available, as we've
reported below), but a range of Hammer-inspired apparel that is in
the feel of the original costumes.
Hammer is making
inroads into merchandising in a big way this year, with the help of
Coolabi marketing. Part of this licensing programme involved a range
of high-end men's gifts. We've already mentioned the gaming chips
from Bond International (I've seen the artwork and it looks catching
- I'll be interested to see how the final product turns out). What
we haven't talked about before now is the clothing being developed
by the respected designer Gresham Blake.
Gresham Blake is
currently designing a range of designer clothing for men and women,
aimed at capturing the Hammer style. His clients include Fatboy
Slim, Christian Slater and tv presenter Davina McCall. The range
will be on sale at his exclusive Brighton boutique. Blake says "We
are planning to produce between 12 and 14 designs inspired by Hammer
films. Some of them will be replicas complete with top hats and
We have here an
exclusive image of the cufflinks designs which will retail at £65.
Blake is doing pairs in both designs, in solid silver and enamel.
We'll bring you more information when the design is finished and
Also coming soon is
a full-length mohair cape, which will retail around £900! Expensive
indeed, but promising to be just the thing for the wealthy Hammer
HAMMER DVD BOX SETS - R2
DVD News 25.02.06
DD Home Entertainment are re-releasing some of their Hammer titles
as new box sets ideal for those currently unfamiliar with the DD
range, and for those wishing to complete collections. Each set
retails at £29.99 and includes a range of special features including
commentary tracks, trailers and interviews. The sets hit the shops
on March 13th.
The Peter Cushing
Collection contains DD's special editions of Hammer's The Abominable
Snowman and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell alongside
Of Terror and The Blood Beast Terror.
The Hammer House of
Mystery and Suspense is being re-released as one box set containing
all thirteen films from Hammer's 1983 tv series.
Hammer Horror: The
Early Classics brings together four of Hammer's early sci-fi films,
The Quatermass Xperiment, Quatermass 2, X: The Unknown
HORROR BOARD GAME LAUNCHED - exclusive !!!
Merchandise News 21.02.06
For the last couple of years fans have grown frustrated by the lack
of activity seemingly coming from the House of Hammer, with
announcements from within the company few and far between. An
indication of a change of pace has come with the arrival of a huge
number of Hammer films on dvd around the world during the last
couple of years. As Hammer continues to exploit its heritage many of
the rarer films, including the Exclusive pictures are now also
seeing a domestic release at last.
Further indication of
activity comes with the arrival of new merchandise, the first of
which seemed to have been Product Enterprise's brilliant Dracula
figure from last year. Over the next month we will be bringing you
up to speed with a whole new range of merchandise from Hammer - the
first items in the rebranding of the company. If you haven't
already, I'd recommend signing up to our mailing list now (see top
up is FORBIDDEN TERRORTORY : HAMMER HORROR INTERACTIVE BOARD GAME.
Ingrid Pitt was on
hand at the London Toy Fair just a couple of weeks ago to help
launch a whole new range of Hammer products (see pic). Britannia
Games will be releasing the interactive dvd board game (which from
the photo sent looks to be called Forbidden Terrortory (sic)
- exploiting the Hammer brand and heritage (and thus bringing to
fruition suggestions made by Roy Skeggs back in the 1990s). We'll
have full details of the game, release dates and cost in a couple of
weeks time. Britannia have yet to issue confirmation of packaging
artwork, or dates/cost.
Britannia will also
be releasing a Hammer Horror chess set.
Games sales director Ralph Patmore: “The
opportunity of acquiring the license for Hammer was too good to
miss, we will be able to create a game that brings to life the
elements that made Hammer films so successful. The attention to
detail that Britannia Games will bring to this game will ensure that
it is a
for all Hammer Fans."
Also coming up from
other distributors are a range of high quality gaming chips, which
Ms Pitt was also launching at the Toy Fair. The chips are aimed at
the high end of the market, and feature Hammer characters and the
new "iconic blood-red logo". Its an unusual category, but the
company who handle the Hammer license tell us that its "hugely
popular with young men at the moment and this is exactly the sort of
age group that we see relating to the Hammer brand." (Well, this
young man is yet to be convinced, but I haven't seen the goods
The chips are from
Bond International, and they will also be producing collector's tins
including high-quality playing cards with "images of Dracula and
other Hammer icons on the back."
Says Paul Gent of Bond International:
“The Hammer license has provided us with a huge wealth of brand
opportunity from a wide range demographic and fanatical fan-base.
There cannot be many thirty or fortysomethings, whether film buffs
or not, for whom the Hammer brand does not conjure up fond
affection. Moreover its historical place within the horror/gothic
movie genre ensures that the Hammer legacy and brand are in the
conscience of newer and younger fans.”
And if that's not enough to whet
your appetite, an exclusive clothing range is being developed by a
top designer (more on that in due course), and a new range of Hammer
figurines is on the cards too - a range of figures, resin busts and
ceramic mugs, cookie jars and more.
We'll have photos,
pricelists and more for you in the coming weeks.
THE ANNIVERSARY ON DVD
Anchor Bay has had Bette Davis 1967 Hammer comedy The Anniversary
on their "In the Future" list for a good couple of years.
Last week I noticed it had finally moved to their scheduled list on
their website, and the cover art has now also been published. Whilst
not as impacting a performance as her role in The Nanny,
Ms Davis still proves an admirable star, and another indication of
Hammer's ability to pull great performances together. Jimmy Sangster
tells tales of Davis sex drive on set in his autobiography, no doubt
these stories and more will be provided on the commentary.
The disc retails at a recommended price of $14.98 - a bargain, and
probably the last Hammer film to come from Anchor Bay for some time
click here or on the cover art to the right.
The details as published
by Anchor Bay are below:
Length: 95 mins
Ratio: 1.85:1 / 16x9
legendary Bette Davis stars as Mrs. Taggart, a venomous one-eyed
matriarch who — despite her husband being long dead —
demands her three grown sons gather for her 40th anniversary.
Eldest Henry is a mild-mannered cross-dresser; middle child Terry
is a henpecked weakling; and carefree youngest son Thomas arrives
with his pregnant fiancée. But this bumpy night has only just
begun, as family secrets will be revealed, cruel insults hurled,
and frilly underwear stolen. Even if the siblings can survive
the festivities unscathed, does the biggest mother of them all
have a shocking final surprise for everyone?
(TO SIR, WITH LOVE) and Sheila Hancock co-star in this deranged
black comedy written and produced by Jimmy Sangster (THE NANNY,
WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO?) and directed by Roy Ward Baker (DON’T
BOTHER TO KNOCK, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER) that Bette Davis fans
still call one of her most outrageous performances ever!
Presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs
And Still Gallery
Commentary with Director Roy Ward Baker, Writer/Producer Jimmy
Sangster and DVD Producer Perry Martin.
EXCLUSIVE NOIR - R1
News has come in
that a slate of early Hammer/Exclusive films are being released
in two-film sets by VCI Entertainment in the US, in association
with Kit Parker films, who obtained the films many years ago as
part of the Lippert collection.
For most of the titles
it will be the first time they have been made available legitimately
anywhere on dvd, and for most - the first time legitimately on the
home video market at all.
Initial reports suggested
a release date of mid-March, but Kit tells us that the dates are
still somewhat fluid. In addition to the provisional lists below,
SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR (aka. LADY IN THE FOG) may
be released on a new double bill with UNHOLY FOUR.
All the dvds will
be mastered from original negative material (although its currently
uncertain about whether the US or UK prints will be used), and will
contain extra features -currently still being worked on. The films
will be presented in their original aspect ratio.
More on this series as we get it.
The list for the
Hammer Noir series is:
(Note that most
of these had alternate titles for the U.S. release)
(a/k/a The Flanagan Boy) (1953) Directed by Reginald Le
Borg. A fight promoter's slutty wife (Barbara Payton) talks
lover into killing her husband.
Tomb (The Glass Cage) (1959) Dir. Montgomery Tully. Murder
in the carnival, with Honor Blackman and John Ireland.
The Black Glove (Face the Music) Dir. Terence Fisher.
player (Alex Nicol) is accused of killing a singer.
The Big Deadly Game (Third Party Risk) (1954) Dir. Daniel
While vacationing in Spain, an American (Lloyd Bridges) gets
up with a smuggling ring.
Heat Wave (The House Across the Lake) (1954) Dir. Ken
Mystery writer Alex Nicol is ensnared in a plot by Hillary Brooke
kill her husband.
Paid to Kill (Five Days) (1954) Dir. Montgomery Tully.
hires a hit man to kill himself, but eventually tries to call
Man Bait (The Last Page) (1952) Dir. Terence Fisher.
George Brent gets involved with his sexy clerk Marguerite Chapman,
and somebody ends up dead.
The Gambler and the Lady (1952) Dir. Patrick Jenkins.
(Dane Clark) tries to escape his seedy past when he falls for
beautiful high-class lady. Ooh, good title on this one, eh?
A Stolen Face (1952) Dir. Terence Fisher. Doctor Paul
his love, Lizabeth Scott, in the war, so he creates a new one
through plastic surgery, only to be surprised when the first
shows up and he's got two Lizabeth Scotts on his hands.
Blackout (Murder by Proxy) (1954) Dir. Terence Fisher.
in England is invited to marry a gorgeous blonde he's just met,
he should've been suspicious. Didn't he ever see Homicidal?
Terror Street (36 Hours) Dir. Montgomery Tully. Dan Duryea's
estranged wife has been murdered, and he's been set up to take
Wings of Danger (Dead on Course) (1952) Dir. Terence
Scott is trying to clear his dead pal's name from a counterfeiting
In addition, Kit
Parker/VCI are also producing the non-Hammer Forgotten Noir collection:-
LOAN SHARK (79)
George Raft (MD)
ROARING CITY (58) Hugh Beaumont
MAN FROM CAIRO
(82) George Raft
DANGER ZONE (56) Hugh Beaumont
SHADOW MAN (76)
FINGERPRINTS DONT LIE (58) Richard Travis (MD) (SM)
F.B.I. GIRL (74)
Cesar Romero (MD)
SHOOT TO KILL (64) Russell Wade
ILL GET YOU
(79) George Raft
PIER 23 (57) Hugh Beaumont (MD)
SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR
(73) Cesar Romero fair
TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO (78) Steve Brodie, Adele Jergens (MD)
UNHOLY FOUR is
currently planned for the PAULETTE GODDARD DOUBLE FEATURE
SINS OF JEZEBEL (Color-81)
Paulette Goddard, George Nader (Not Hammer, of course)
UNHOLY FOUR (80) Paulette Goddard, Paul Carpenter (T)
HAMMER : THE ELSTREE YEARS
Wayne Kinsey (editor
of The House That Hammer Built) impressed many with his 1999
book from Reynolds and Hearn - Hammer Films: The Bray Studio
Years. Three print runs stand as testament to the tome's popularity.
Fans will no doubt be pleased to learn that the follow up volume
- The Elstree Years is due this year from Tomahawk (publishers
of Greasepaint and Gore and Beating the Devil).
Kinsey reveals the story of Hammer Films from 1967 to present
day, following the highs and lows of the company as it bedded
into its new home at Elstree. Based on extensive oral history
recording with Hammer personnel, the book describes in fascinating
detail how the studio would plummet from one of the most successful
British Film companies and proud recipients of the Queen's Award
to Industry, to the depths of bankruptcy within a single decade.
As the British Censor relaxed, Hammer took full advantage, steeping
their films in the seventies with sex and nudity as well as ever
increasing gore. Even better than Kinseys previous volume
the acclaimed Hammer Films - The Bray Studios Years, this
book is heavily illustrated throughout by rare never before published
photos and documents, many taken behind the scenes of the famous
House that Dripped Blood.
To register interest
in the book send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the
title of the book in the subject line (Hammer Films - The Elstree
Studio Years). The publishers promise to keep you informed of developments.
HAMMER HORROR COURSE IN MANCHESTER
We only got to hear
about this course the day before it started, hence the late posting,
but a message went out to all the subscribers to the mailing list.
In the interests of comprehensive Hammer information we're posting
details here. Fascinating development, and might still be worth
- A Peculiar British Thing
11 January, 2.00pm to 4.00pm, 8 weeks
Throughout the periodic
ups and downs of the British film industry, one studio remained
consistently successful - Hammer Studios created an essentially
British genre of Gothic horror that continues to remain popular
to the present. On this 20th anniversary course, host CP Lee examines
the history and background of the studio and looks at Hammer in
the context of the Horror genre. Screenings include The Devil Rides
Out (tbc).CP Lee is a writer, broadcaster and lecturer in Cultural
Studies at the University of Salford.
no previous knowledge necessary.
70 Oxford Street
Box Office: 0161
INTO THE UNKNOWN : NIGEL KNEALE
2005 will see the publication of a new biography on cult science
fiction writer Nigel Kneale, published by Headpress Books, and written
by Andy Murray.
Kneale is perhaps
best known for his creation of the Quatermass serials (adapted
for cinema by Hammer in the 1950s).
Andy Murray's book
retails at £13.99.
You can preorder
your copy now by clicking
| Available Nov 2005 | Critical Vision
first full biography of a living legend, drawing on a whole range
of exclusive interviews.
Kneale invented popular television"Mark Gatiss, The
League of Gentlemen
fifty years ago, the first instalment of a fantasy series called
Quatermass aired on BBC TV. Penned by scriptwriter NIGEL KNEALE,
it was a vast success and the big screen adaptation that followed
helped place HAMMER FILMS on the international map.
was but the tip of the iceberg. Kneale followed it with a horde
of astonishing TV work that stands amongst the most original and
powerful in the history of the mediumfrom The Creature and
The Road to The Stone Tape and The Year of The Sex Olympics. Blending
elements of horror and science fiction with intelligent, powerful
drama, many of these works have since been lost, the broadcast
tapes wiped, but they continue to influence generations of admirers
and filmmakersamongst them JOHN CARPENTER, DAN OBANNON,
JOE DANTE, JOHN LANDIS, CHRIS CARTER, THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN,
the makers of DOCTOR WHO, STEVEN SPIELBERG and many others.
key figure in popular culture, yet a vastly underrated one, Into
The Unknown is the first book to examine Kneales work and
assess its pioneering nature, drawing on interviews with major
collaborators and high-profile fansas well as Kneale himself.
myself was writing a science fiction horror film and I worked
very hard to understand and to emulate some of what Nigel Kneale
had done"Dan O'Bannon, writer of one of the key films
of all time, ALIEN
was an acknowledged influence on Chris Carter and THE X FILES,
and Dan OBannon, creator of the ALIEN series
Kneales archive work increasingly plays on Public Broadcast
TV stations and at festivals, hailed as "classics" and
Kneale himself as a "living legend". Much of his movie
work is presently available on DVD
book features lots of inside info on British TV sci fi.
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