Hammer's progress over the last
thirty years has been fraught with difficulty, with productions frequently
announced and then discreetly dropped when money fell through. Most fans will be
aware of the fate of 'Vampirella' and 'Nessie', but what about the remake of
Countess Dracula or the reboot for The Quatermass Xperiment in the
1990s, or The Beetle?
Since Hammer's latest take over,
several productions have been announced, and others have been discussed in
forums and magazines, details having leaked from various people involved. We
must always remember that Hammer are working on something like two dozen
projects at any one time and most will not make it to the screen.
However, the reboot seems to be
taking casualties. Beyond the Rave was launched as a co-production in
2008 with MySpace as a free online serial. The MySpace channel has transformed
into a bizarre page with Cyrillic text and none of the video content is now
playable. The dvd release (which according to online retailers was through Fox)
was pulled from schedules early last year suddenly, and the website has only
stopped functioning in the last few months. Does this mean we won't be allowed
to see Beyond the Rave any more? And why?
I'm constantly being asked about
Beyond the Rave so it would be good to have some authoritative and
definitive answers. In the meantime, the whole thing is up on Youtube (a
technically illegal upload), so catch it while you can before that is removed
Hammer's much touted return to production, The Wake Wood, which was
filmed in Co. Donegal and Dublin in Ireland in 2008 (with pick-ups in Sweden),
has mysteriously vanished from Hammer's official website this week. A still from
the production showing actors Ruth McCabe and Eva Birthistle has been
prominently featured on the site homepage for a couple of months, but has
suddenly been replaced by a video for Scream of Fear.
The Wake Wood has also
vanished from Hammer's list of productions for 2009...
Disturbingly it looks very much as
if Hammer are no longer associated with The Wake Wood. The film has also
disappeared from parent company Exclusive Media's website
title does appear on UK distributor Vertigo Film's
website and the production's
own website www.thewakewood.com is
still up with the Hammer name evident.
According to reports at the
time of production, Hammer put money into the production of The Wake Wood along
with the Irish Film Board (see
here) so why
they should suddenly be disassociating themselves with it (after a year of
promoting it) is a mystery. According to a report published
yesterday Hammer have been selling the film (presumably they mean Exclusive
Film Distribution - Hammer's sister company) and has sold already to Greece,
Portugal and the Middle East (plus of course the UK - which isn't mentioned in
production values of The Resident/Invasion of Privacy and A-list casting,
not to mention US production base and even the hugely significant casting of
Christopher Lee may well make for a much better headline return to production
for Hammer than the low-budget The Wake Wood but it remains to be seen if
that is the right move.
Is this a case of letting the right one out?
We'll be monitoring things