Monday, October 6, 2008

Hammer is Alive and Well....

This is the best news I've heard in ages: According to Variety, UK horror film pioneer Hammer Films is actually back in business.

I know this may not mean much to the younger generation of horror buffs, but when I was growing up, Hammer was the alpha and the omega of all things Dracula and Frankenstein and Quatermass… I saw their early films on TV and their later ones, like The Creeping Flesh (1973), in theaters. Hammer introduced me to cruelly sexy vampires and demonically possessed vampire slayers. Hammer made me a fan of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Anton Diffring, Oliver Reed and too many others to count. Hammer sent me scurrying to libraries and used bookstores for novels by Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly, J.S. Le Fanu , Josephine Tey (via Paranoiac, a shamefully uncredited adaptation of her haunting psychological thriller Brat Farrar), Guy Endore, Dennis Wheatley and others.

Hammer had its ups and downs, but it helped shape my ideas about horror movies. The first serious book about horror movies I bought as a teenager was David Pirie's A Heritage of Horror: The British Gothic Cinema 1946-1972, and much of its appeal was how much it had to say about Hammer (and yes, I've already ponied up for his A New Heritage of Horror because really, how could I not?).

Make no mistake: I'm not a pie-eyed optimist about the new Hammer.

But it warms my heart that such a storied named has, like Dracula, risen from the grave.

4 comments:

achyfakey said...

I don't know what to think. On one hand, having a chance at a new, updated Quatermass is thrilling (paging Chris Eccleston... are you busy?). On the other, thoughts of endless direct to video dreck fills me with apprehension.

Shades of Dark Castle Entertainment's Return to House on Haunted Hill are running through my imagination...

I guess, all in all, I can't get too worked up, considering that the creator of Big Brother now hold the purse-strings!!

Rob said...

Well Eccleston did breathe great new life into the Doctor Who franchise, still wish he had done more than one season, so it makes sense he could do the same for Quartermass. I still have my fingers crossed he'll come back to Heroes.

missflickchick said...

I'm also a big fan of Eccleston generally and I'm working my way through his season of Dr. Who.

With the right script I could see him doing great things with the character of Dr. Quatermass...

Rob said...

I hope you enjoy season one of the new series. Second best of the four so far. Sorry I rank almost everything. You have time to catch up since the series will be on hiatus next year.