HAMMER FILMS BACK IN PRODUCTION BUSINESS WITH “THE WAKE WOOD”
Timothy Spall, Aidan
Gillen and Eva Birthistle Star in New Horror Feature, Which Begins
Production in Ireland Today
- September 22, 2008 – Embarking on its first feature film production
in nearly 30 years, legendary British film company Hammer Films has started
principle photography in Ireland on the horror thriller “The Wake Wood” with
a cast that includes
Aidan Gillen (“The Wire”), Eva Birthistle (“Middletown”) and Timothy Spall
(“Harry Potter” series, “Sweeney Todd”). The announcement was made today by
Hammer Films Chairman & CEO Simon Oakes.
Recognized as one
of the preeminent horror brands in the world, the last horror film produced
by Hammer Films was “To the Devil a Daughter” starring Christopher Lee in
1976. The last feature (horror or otherwise) produced by the company was the
mystery thriller “The Lady Vanishes” in 1979. With the recent formation of
HS Media (the Cyrte Investments backed parent company of Hammer and Los
Angeles-based Spitfire Pictures), Hammer
is now being aggressively reinvigorated through new investments in the
development, production, financing and distribution of film, television and
Backed by funds
from the Irish Film Board, “The Wake Wood” begins principal photography
today in County Donegal, Ireland. Vertigo Films has acquired UK distribution
rights and is eyeing a fall 2009 release for the film.
David Keating is directing “Wake Wood” from a screenplay he co-wrote with
Brendan McCarthy, who came up with the original story. Brendan McCarthy is
producing the film along with John McDonnell through their Fantastic Films
banner. Simon Oakes and Guy East are Executive Producers.
Still grieving the death of nine-year-old Alice – their only child – at the
jaws of a crazed dog, vet Patrick and pharmacist Louise relocate to the
remote town of Wake Wood where they learn of a pagan ritual that will allow
them three more days with Alice. The couple find the idea disturbing and
exciting in equal measure, but once they agree terms with Arthur, the
village’s leader, a far bigger question looms – what will they do when it’s
time for Alice to go back?
Hammer is a legendary British film brand which was originally launched in
1934 and, following a period of inactivity during WW2, delivered a hugely
successful run of gothic monster movies in the 1950’s including such hits as
THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE NANNY and DRACULA.
Hammer's reputation became branded worldwide as the 'Hammer House of
Horror'. In the 1960’s Hammer struck distribution deals with Universal,
Warner Brothers, Fox and Columbia. Hammer went on to produce a huge volume
of films which included such classics as THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES,
QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT and ONE MILLION YEARS BC.
Today, Hammer has an active development slate totaling more than 25 projects
sourced out of both Europe and the United States. Hammer expects a number
of these projects to go into production during the course of 2008 and 2009.
ABOUT HS MEDIA
Formed by Dutch Investment Group Cyrte Investments in May 2008, HS Media is
the parent company of Los Angeles based Spitfire Pictures and legendary
British Studio, Hammer Films. The company is run by Nigel Sinclair, Guy East
and Simon Oakes with Sinclair and Oakes serving as Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs
(out of Los Angeles and London respectively), and East as President and
Chairman of the Executive Board and of the Sales and Distribution Operation.
Spitfire and Hammer operate as one business with two separate brands. The
company produces 6-8 films per year and acquires additional pictures for
worldwide distribution. Development and production activities are run out of
both Los Angeles and London. The group also develops projects for
HS Media has a current combined Hammer and Spitfire library of over 300
titles and will pursue an aggressive library acquisition policy. The Hammer
library is noted for its remake potential and the company is in discussions
with A-list writers and directors to revive and re-imagine some of the
highly touted titles.