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

By Denis Meikle

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

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Molly Arbuthnot, who sorted the cloth wardrobe division, while shelling out unending and such a lot welcome cups of tea. (Later, Rosemary married Eddie Powell, who “doubled” for my very pricey good friend Christopher Lee—two extra names synonymous with Hammer’s good fortune tale. ) even though I didn’t desire a toupee thirty years in the past, Monty Montsash was once verified as resident hairdresser and saved us all in strong trim. Then there has been that delightfully shy guy and highly shrewdpermanent director, Terence Fisher! What a pleasure it was once to paintings with him. He knew precisely which feedback to just accept from his actors and which to discard, and was once constantly correct in his choice. Being a bit of inarticulate, he had an endearing idiosyncrasy. “Peter,” he might say, wagging his forefinger at me after which pausing for such an inordinately very long time that i started to visualize he used to be attempting to ponder a few well mannered strategy to inform me that my proposal stank. whilst i may not often endure the suspense to any extent further, he’d without notice supply voice to his verdict—”This is sweet! ”—and then could instantly continue to enhance upon it! Jack Asher used to be one other magician, and it used to be rightly acknowledged of him that he “painted with gentle. ” His cinematography extra to these productions a lushness that belied the thrifty budgets imposed upon them. That used to be Hammer’s mystery weapon, I reckon—getting specialists of their specific fields for key positions, sponsored up by means of the very best assisting group of workers. extra stalwarts of comparable services have been John Wilcox and Arthur supply, and Len Harris’s precise working of the digicam can nonetheless be loved by means of all who watch outdated motion pictures on tv. Anthony Hinds used to be one in all a pool of manufacturers in consistent call for. (He used to be at the board of administrators of the corporate, in addition to being an finished author for the reveal, utilizing “John Elder” as his pseudonym. ) one other Tony—Anthony Nelson Keys—worked within the similar potential on the various productions during which I seemed, and we frequently had interesting chats approximately his father, Nelson “Bunch” Keys, who used to be the toast of town in his heyday as a comic, showing in lots of of the musicals so well known on the flip of the century and into the twenties. Phil Leakey did wonders within the make-up division, and the stills taken through the superb Tom Edwards became creditors’ items. As an advantage, to appear after the interior guy, there has been the indefatigable and spell binding Mrs. Thompson. She and her employees all certified for the sous-chef, and had her eating place been open to most people, Egon Ronay could have given it the utmost variety of stars! x three Foreword The “Big Boss” of Hammer Productions used to be the past due Sir James Carreras. properly, he seldom visited the studios, who prefer to go away these he relied on to carry the products whereas he bought on with selling the goods and elevating the financing essential to meet an ever-increasing call for. I met him just once at Bray (during approximately a decade), yet loved his hospitality and enthusiastic reviews repeatedly in different places. His son, Michael, frequently acted as manufacturer and have become the handling director in 1971.

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