Hammer Films had their horror movie hayday in 1950-1970s. Cannot be denied they produced their best output in the late 1950s to 1960s with those films centred round the iconic horror figures of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and the like.
Fast forward to 1980, the horror movies had dried up but the HAMMER name was still popular in people’s minds. The movie to TV went with the times, and a modern day anthology series came about.
Modern setting = reduced productions costs for a series taking new characters to the screen each week.
The standard of story is fair, but it is just as fair to say that the series is quite dated and an obvious product of the times. Often touching on the horror trope of a descent into madness.
Peter Cushing makes an appearance in just one episode THE SILENT SCREAM, and that is a welcome addition to the series.
Despite quite a cast of greats including the aforementioned Peter Cushing, Diana Dors, Denholm Elliott, Brian Cox and Sian Phillips the biggest draw to this series is the nostalgia element. The series is nearly 40 years old and without an ongoing arc or characters it is actually good thing that the series didn’t persist into a second series.
It bears the name HAMMER so is a must have for the completest, and any Hammer fan that hasn’t seen this series before should check it out, but not expect too much.
This Blu Ray is the first time the complete series is available in High Definition restoration from the original film elements. The Blu Ray keeps the fullscreen (4:3) aspect ratio from the original transmission, though I suspect there was a temptation to release these as wide screen. As it is just the one episode, Guardian of the Abyss, is presented in widescreen.
The 1960s and 1970s saw they hey day for Hammer Horror movies, but come the 1980s the shift to TV happened. 1980 saw the Hammer House Of Horror hit screens. It is a horror anthology series of 13 episodes in just one series. Each episode was around 50 minutes long (Transmission time would have been 1 hour with adverts). Sadly Peter Cushing’s input was just one episode and there is no appearance by Christopher Lee.
This Halloween Network are releasing Hammer House of Horror – available for the first time on Blu-ray from 23rd October 2017.
Hammer House of Horror Blu Ray Details
No. of Discs: 3
Screen Ratio: 16:9
Colour Running Time: 676 mins (approx.)
Commerical Break stings
Rude Awakening opening montage raw takes
Guardian of the Abyss widescreen version
This star-studded anthology from Hammer Films presents thirteen unforgettable tales of spine-chilling terror!
Reimagining classic Hammer themes in a contemporary British setting and signalling a new direction for the legendary film studio under the aegis of producer Roy Skeggs, the series blends the supernatural with a very modern horror from hauntings and demonic possessions to sinister incarcerations and cannibalism…
A huge hit on its first ITV transmission, Hammer House of Horror boasts a consistently high-calibre cast including Peter Cushing, Diana Dors, Denholm Elliott, Brian Cox and Sian Phillips.
The complete series is featured here for the first time in a stunning new High Definition restoration from the original film elements in its as-transmitted fullscreen aspect ratio.
Yes, boardgames. But we are not talking Monopoly, Cluedo or similar (though I am sure that if you made Hammer Horror Dracula Cluedo you would sell some).
You have done this in the past with Hammer Horror Forbidden Terrortory over a decade ago.
Players try and rescue a Victim whilst trying to destroy Dracula before he gets uber strong. Players need to collect protection to avoid the ghouls dotted around the Count’s lair. Players get five days to complete this task. But beware one bite from a vampire makes you a vampire too!
Forbidden Terrortory is hardly buzzing on BoardGamesGeek (possibly the worlds largest table top gaming community) with no comments, star ratings and just 16 people claiming to own the game, compared with the likes of Fury Of Dracula, third edition which has over 12,000 claiming to own, hundreds of comments on discussion threads.
UK Based Tabletop gaming Kickstarter.com projects raised a whopping £1.25m over 3 months in 2016/2017. Over £20m from over 300 project worldwide in this time.
There is a market for modern table top games and at Scifind.com we would love to see a Hammer Horror based game. While the horror board game market is buoyant, for example the Zombicide Games the latest of which raised over $5million being backed by over 27,000 people. Definitly the table top games market is seeing another golden age, fueled by Kickstarters and several distinct modern game types, from the miniature based skirmish games, the ‘American’ board games (usually theme heavy with dice, cards, miniatures and strategic objectives) to the very popular Euro game types (Abstract strategy games Catan, Ticket to Ride, etc).
So what am I getting at, well I believe that the time is right for Hammer to look at having a piece of this lucrative market, but I would suggest that they look at a title away from the obvious miniatures based, high quality plastic 28mm Hammer characters and go with something focused on playability and the history of Hammer Films.
I would love to see a resource based Euro Game, in the vein of Agricola or Stone Age, where the players take on the role of Hammer Movie producers looking to build Movies over a series of rounds. Resources would include location, budget, actors, directors etc. I would be a great celebration of the history of the game and the industry of previous decades, as well as having the playability of and broader appeal of the Euro Game style.
The beauty of Kickstarter is that funds can be raised before production of the game, taking a good chunk of the risk out of producing the game.
Personally I would love to speak to someone at hammer further and possibly introduce them to people in the gaming industry. I would love to think that with the meeting of great minds, sometime next year, I could be backer number one for a Kickstarter for a Hammer Universe Euro Game.
Hammer, Icon Film Distribution and Lionsgate are proud to present a major event in British film history.
Terence Fisher’s 1958 classic DRACULA, fully restored in High Definition and available on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time. The release will contain two versions of the feature (seamlessly branched on the Blu-ray):
The 2007 BFI restoration plus the 2012 Hammer restoration, which adds additional footage that has been unavailable for decades.
The additional footage comprises two of the scenes that were originally censored by the BBFC in 1958 that have now been restored to the film from the “Japanese reels”:
• Dracula’s seduction of Mina
• Dracula’s sunlight disintegration
These will be the most complete versions ever released and taken together fully deserving of the description DEFINITIVE.
‘Censoring Dracula’ 10 min clip from the new Blu-ray/DVD
video added 22 Feb 2013
DRACULA has been unavailable on any UK home entertainment format for many years. This release will be at the correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1 which has never been available for home viewing.
Available 18th March in the UK on 3-disc Double Play, the pack comprises 1 x Blu-ray and 2 x DVD, the release also includes brand new featurettes, a new commentary track, multiple bonus extras and a stills show (see below for full list of extras).
DRACULA is the first in the series of Hammer films inspired by the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. It was directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Carol Marsh, Melissa Stribling and Christopher Lee.
Dr. Van Helsing, investigating the death of his friend Jonathan Harker, concludes that Harker was the victim of a vampire. When Harker’s fiancée, Lucy, becomes affected by the terrifying force and hypnotic power of Count Dracula, Van Helsing releases her tortured soul by driving a stake through her heart. But Dracula seeks revenge, targeting Lucy’s beautiful sister-in-law, Mina. Van Helsing, now aided by Mina’s husband Arthur, swears to exorcise this evil forever by confronting the vile and depraved Count himself.
DRACULA Technical Information:
• Region: B/2
• Barcode: 5060223769196
• Catalogue number: LGB95006
• Double Play: 1 x BD & 2 x DVD
• Languages: English
Four Brand-New Featurettes:
• “Dracula Reborn”. New 30 min. featurette about the film’s creation and history, featuring, among others: Jimmy Sangster, Kim Newman, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Rigby and Janina Faye (Tania in the film).
• “Resurrecting Dracula”. New 20 min. featurette about the film’s restoration, from the BFI’s 2007 restoration through to the integration of “lost” footage, featuring interviews with key staff at the BFI, Molinare and Deluxe142. Also covers the February 2012 world premiere of Hammer’s interim restored version including “vox pop” interviews with fans after the event.
• “The Demon Lover: Christopher Frayling on Dracula”. New 30 min. featurette.• “Censoring Dracula”. New 10 min. featurette on the original cuts to the film ordered by the British Board of Film Censors.
• New commentary by Hammer historian Marcus Hearn and author & critic Jonathan Rigby.
Another wave of Hammer Horror classics reach Blu Ray in time for Halloween. Newly remastered for the hih definition format The Devil Rides Out lives again!
The debonair Duc de Richleau has been trusted with the care of his deceased friend’s son, Simon Aron. The Duc discovers that the young man has been seduced into joining a Satanic cult headed by the diabolic Mocata, who is intent on making Simon one of the Devil’s disciples. Having rescued Simon from a bloodied ritual, de Richleau is pursued by Mocata, who will stop at nothing to destroy the Duc and his friends, even summoning the Angel of Death itself.
Starring Christopher Lee in one of his personal favourite roles and based on the celebrated novel by Dennis Weatley, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT is one of Hammer’s most accomplished and thrilling mystery horrors.
Starring Christopher Lee, Charles Gray and Nike Arrighi
Directed by Terence Fisher
Three band new documentaries: ‘Black Magic: The Making of The Devil Rides Out’, ‘The Power of Light: Restoring The Devil Rides Out’ and ‘Dennis Wheatley at Hammer’
World of Hammer Episode ‘Hammer’
Audio Commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Sarah Lawson & Hammer Films Historian MarcusHearn
The Woman in Black set for release from 10th of February
While British audiences continue to enjoy The Woman in Black on stage, horror institution Hammer Films alongside Momentum Pictures is releasing the theatrical version from the 10th of February. Directed by James Watkins, written by Jane Goldman, and starring Daniel Radcliffe the film-version of this horror classic is set to frighten and disturb audiences all over the world. Here, let?s take a look back at some of the classic Hammer horror films that laid the pavement for British horror stories.
Missed your favourite Hammer Horror – please comment below, or tweet @scifind.
One of the most iconic vampire films ever made, Hammer’s first foray into vampire lore has become one of the most recognisable and famous of the cinematic adaptations of Stoker’s novel.? Hammer made seven sequels, and as explicit as the censors would allow in the day, Dracula was a groundbreaking and subversive punctuation in the neck of horror cinema. And not mention Van Helsing’s memorable trick with the cross improvised from candlesticks.
The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Based on a Dennis Wheatley novel, Hammer’s first foray into the realm of satanism proves to be a thoughtful and serious attempts to realistically portray the practice of magic. Containing large doses of action and horror, the film is a constant battle of wits between good and evil resulting in a satanic tour de force wherein the heroes must survive a night of devilish oppression by satanic followers, a giant tarantula and the Devil himself atop a hellish steed. The Devil Rides Out remains a genuinely chilling occult thriller, even after more than four decades.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Curse provides the perfect pairing of the dream team ? Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. While Americans were under attack from wild teenagers and atomic monsters, the Brits usher in the return of gothic horror (and in graphic color, no less) with this indisputable masterstroke.? The role of the duplicitous and brutal Baron is played masterfully by Cushing and Christopher Lee as the creature is shocking and brilliant.
Curse of the Werewolf (1960)
Considering the main focus of the movie resulted from a rape of a mute servant girl by a half man, half animal beggar, the censors objected to the visualization of both bare flesh and fangs onscreen simultaneously. Leon?s only hope for redemption is true love, and we all know it?s not easy finding a girl who will put up with his type of moonlighting.? Excellent performances, especially from Reed, help to make this a fascinating character study that shares little in common with most of its counterparts – aside from the requisite silver bullets.
The Mummy (1959)
Hammer’s first stab at the shuffling Egyptian shambler sees Chris Lee undertake the role of the creature again and plays him as a far more pitiable monster and one that moves in a more hasty fashion. The story is essentially the same as the Universal entries only with the addition of color and some brutal violence some of which was trimmed before the film was released.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
Not completely horror, but close enough. This Sherlock Holmes entry contains enough elements of dread and terror to qualify as a horror film. Peter Cushing truly delivers a whole heartedly memorable performance rife with self assurance and witty banter. A classic since the 1980s, this brilliant series can still be timelessly enjoyed today. A most unusual Hammer film, it would be the company’s only Sherlock Holmes picture.
Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
You know what a great idea would be? To retell the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde, only instead of turning into a child-beating monster, Jekyll would turn into a hot and murderous lady who liked to wear halter tops all over Victorian England! A gender switching storyline lends the film some relevance and Ralph Bates shines as Dr. Jekyll who not only battles with leading something of a normal existence, but also with suppressing the murderous tendencies of Hyde, his evil half, here played with sexual glee by Martine Beswick.
Quartermass and the Pit (1968)
Hammer had already enjoyed success with two Quatermass films (in 1955 and 1957), based on the BBC TV serial, and returned to the sci-fi subject a decade later, with Andrew Keir as the subversive scientist of the title. Here he gets involved with an excavation in a London Underground station, where he uncovers evidence of an alien spaceship and ancient satanic powers. It’s a tense film, with an unrelenting pace and plenty of suspense.
Back in October Scifind announced the start of the THE WOMAN IN BLACK?S YouTube competition to find the UK?s spookiest ghost story. The competition winner can now be announced!
Budding young writer Nicola Torch, 16, from Lancashire beat 177 other haunting and harrowing tales to become the winning entry with her story ?Fear of Hue?.
Launched on Halloween by Daniel Radcliffe, the star of upcoming ghost story chiller, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, the competition challenged writers of all ages to submit their own original ghost story video to the film?s official YouTube channel ( www.youtube.com/thewomaninblackmovie ).
The competition was a resounding success and the ghostly tales were shortlisted to ten finalists based on the following judging criteria: creativity, originality and writing style.
Nicky?s video made it to the final 10 shortlisted entries going through to the public vote, and winning a trip to attend the Worldwide Premiere of THE WOMAN IN BLACK on 24 th January 2012.? Her winning story will be read out by Daniel Radcliffe and included in the bonus features of THE WOMAN IN BLACK DVD.
Talking about winning the competition, Nicky says, ?I entered but I had no idea I would win, I was happy enough to get in the top 10 and I can’t wait to see Daniel read my story!?
Daniel Radcliffe announced the competition closing with a message for all those who took part in the ghost stories initiative. He was particularly impressed with the standard of entries for the competition, adding ?I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has submitted their ghost stories over the last few weeks. The quality of the entries has been absolutely amazing.?
THE WOMAN IN BLACK will be released across the UK and Ireland by Momentum Pictures, an Alliance Films company, on 10 th February 2012.
Daniel Radcliffe, the star of upcoming ghost story chiller, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, today launched an initiative to find the UK and Ireland?s scariest story.? Beginning this Halloween, 31 October, budding writers will be able to submit their own original short story to THE WOMAN IN BLACK YouTube channel.? The winning entry will be recorded by Radcliffe and included on THE WOMAN IN BLACK DVD and the winner will win a trip to London to attend the Premiere of THE WOMAN IN BLACK in early 2012.
Daniel Radcliffe announced the competition with a reading of an iconic scene from Susan Hill?s original novella.
Radcliffe adds some advice for potential entrants, ?For all you budding writers out there remember that it?s 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration so good luck and I can?t wait to see what spooky stories you guys come up with in the coming months?
The competition will run exclusively on YouTube.?? Entrants have to upload short videos of themselves reading their original ghost story through the film?s official YouTube page – www.youtube.com/thewomaninblackmovie.? The competition closes on the 20th of December 2011, whereupon ten finalists will be chosen and voted for by the public.? The winner will be announced on the 6th of January 2012.
A full set of terms and conditions are available on the YouTube channel.
Daniel Radcliffe wants you to submit your ghost stories:
Based on the classic ghost story, THE WOMAN IN BLACK tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.
Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK also stars Ciaran Hinds (TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY) and Janet McTeer (TUMBLEWEEDS), was adapted from Susan Hill’s novel for the screen by Jane Goldman (KICK ASS) and directed by James Watkins (EDEN LAKE).
Based on the classic ghost story by Susan Hill, THE WOMAN IN BLACK tells the tale of Arthur Kipps ( played by Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.
Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town?s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been dying under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK also stars Ciaran Hinds (TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY) and Janet McTeer (TUMBLEWEEDS), was adapted from Susan Hill?s novel for the screen by Jane Goldman (KICK ASS) and directed by James Watkins (EDEN LAKE).