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Hammer Horror : In Praise of the Double Feature

If there is one thing my generation missed out on it’s the double bill. Two movies for the price of one. Sure the drive-ins are mainly a dead issue but there are still some to be found if you feel the need to give one a go or if you have kids of your own, show them what the experience is all about. I would imagine that a good majority of theater goers today have no idea that at one time you could see two films for the price of that one ticket, aside from the Tarantino/Rodriguez double bill Grindhouse.

Then again you could exit one movie screen and attempt to sneak into another in these multiplex buildings. Not exactly a bright idea but yes way back in my crazy youthful days I’ll admit to being guilty of just such and endeavor. Paid to see Ghostbusters with a group of pals and promptly snuck into see Teachers. Kind of funny looking back as it’s not the ideal double bill.

ghostbusters-one-sheet + teachers01

Personally, I think the only time I may have seen a double bill at the theater was years ago when I believe my parents dropped me off with a group of other 10 year olds for a pair of Tim Conway low budget comedies, They Went That A Way & That A Way and The Billion Dollar Hobo. In hind sight, not much to get overly excited about. Especially when I see the one sheets that were in the lobbies of movie theaters advertising the latest Hammer features paired up for our horrific pleasures while memorabilia shopping.

Had I been around at the time, opening night would have been beckoning me to find a seat front and center to experience this Hammerfest!

scars-of-dracula-and-the-horror-of-frankenstein-double-bill

The Baron gets paired up with one of the Hammer “Hitchcockian” thrillers for our descent into terror and madness.

evil-and-nightmare-poster

Making it tough on the male of the species, Hammer paired up two of the most beautiful women on the planet for this double helping of what has become Universally known as Hammer Glamour.

she-and-one-million

High on any list of Hammer films, this pairing represents a must see if we could turn back the clock.

kiss-of-the-vampire-and-paranoiac-double-bill

Latter day Hammer films brought us this pair of seventies titles.

straight-on-till-morning-fear-in-the-night-double-bill

A sure fire way to get me parting with cash is this double bill. And how about those give aways. Fangs and Zombie glasses. The memorabilia collector in me bubbles to the surface when I see these promos.

dracula-zombies-one-sheet

Promoters could even cheat just a bit. A Hammer film paired with what you could assume to be another Hammer title. After all, it has Christopher Lee in it.

quatermass-double-bill

Do I have any Hammer double bill posters tucked away in the vault here at home? Considering Hammer films have long been a passion, I should say so.

Twins of Evil is simply one of my favorites of the later years and Hands of the Ripper a surprisingly effective chiller.

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On this one I love the tag line, One makes’em the other breaks’em. Not to mention Beware the beat of the cloth wrapped feet.

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12 Comments »

  1. My first DF that I recall was Star Wars and The Terronauts, thanks to me being late to the party, lol. That older film was so boring and bizarre that I fell asleep and as we got to the theater maybe mid-way through SW, we had to sit through the crappier flick ans stuck around through SW, making my first time seeing a film one and a half times.

    • I never even saw Star Wars till 1981 when the hockey team I played for all went to the movies. What I remember most about that trip is seeing a movie poster on the wall for an upcoming release. Death Hunt with Bronson and Marvin. That for me was a heck of a lot more exciting than Star Wars. lol.

  2. I think those Hammer movies were ideal for double features, and some of those posters are simply terrific. I actually think one of the most attractive things about the double bill concept is the shorter running times of individual movies which were necessary for it to be practical. I think this is especially relevant in our current age of padded and bloated blockbusters.

  3. The earliest double feature I can remember seeing – not including Disney pairings – was one from the early 1970s, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf and Sssssss. The last I remember was from the mid-80s, a couple of cheap horror offerings that would’ve gone straight to video otherwise. I remember one was TerrorVision, but I can’t remember the other. And I love that last poster you’re holding!

      • The other thing I can remember us often getting, presumably in place of the newsreel, was a 25-minute true crime mini-documentary introduced and narrated by a guy called Edgar Lustgarten, famously parodied in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Lustgarten always looked as if he were about to get his r*cks off when it came to the account of the sentencing and inevitable execution. He also repeatedly claimed that no one had ever been incorrectly hanged in the UK, which was a bit rum when it came to the Timothy Evans case . . .

        Among the delights of the UK double features was that I got to see most of the Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre that way on the big screen — yahey!

  4. I grew up in the time of double features. Seemed like a waste of time and money to go to a movie with only one feature. Sometimes Dad would drive me into town to my cousins and then to the Saturday matinee at the theater. There would be at least two movies, mostly westerns or jungle movies, and sometimes three. There was always a serial episode and umteen cartoons. My cousin went every Saturday so the times when I didn’t go, he would call me up and tell me all about that episode of the serial.

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