Hammer Horror : The Warner Bros Years (2018)
Maybe I should have called this latest feature, “The Great Kickstarter Adventure.”
I say this because that’s exactly how this documentary from Hammer Historian, Marcus Hearn, came into being. Now anyone who is a regular visitor here at Mike’s Take should know I have a great passion for the Studio That Dripped Blood. I’ll collect most anything that has to do with Hammer. Magazines, books, original one sheets and of course the films themselves in various editions from those clamshell cases put out by Anchor Bay on VHS right through to today’s blu ray editions put forth by Scream Factory, Studio Canal and the wonderful box sets from Indicator and most any other company that has secured the rights to the studio’s output.
So here I am one night a couple years ago surfing the net and checking out various fan pages when I see a link to Kickstarter and a fund raiser for this latest endeavor from Mr. Hearn. I’ll be honest, at the time I had no flipping idea what Kickstarter was and had to call my wife up to the movie room and show her the link and ask her if this was on the “up and up.” She being more savvy in the world of the internet told me it was. So here I am thinking this is pretty cool and maybe I should kick in a couple dollars in order to secure a copy upon it’s release. Why not!
Have you ever gone shopping for a 27 inch TV only to come home with a 54 inch model at considerably more money? Well that’s what happened to me in this instance. Donate X amount of dollars and get the blu ray. Kick in a few more bucks and score a screen credit, a few more dollars and pick any one of six prints featuring all new artwork of a Hammer Classic. Or why not donate this much money and score the blu ray, the screen credit and all six prints.
Let’s just say I wanted all of those damned prints.
Hammer fans are probably familiar with Mr. Hearn. He’s released a number of books on the studio including Hammer Glamour, The Hammer Story and The Art of Hammer. All fine additions for us private collectors. You’ll also see his name featured on many of the more recent Hammer releases on blu ray doing commentary to accompany the films.
Have I mentioned it’s because of the Hammer Horrors that I’ve been a lifelong fan of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Then of course there are the leading ladies that a youngster can’t help but take notice of when discovering the films for the first time. I guess we all have our favorites and I’d place Veronica Carlson and Caroline Munro as mine with all due respect to Ingrid Pitt, Martine Beswick and Barbara Shelley and all the others that graced the studio’s releases. Perhaps I’ve left out your favorite, sorry about that.
The documentary comes in at a very respectable 102 minutes with plenty of archival footage and features new interviews with some of the studios leading players including Miss Carlson, John Carson, Madeline Smith, Peter Sasdy and Miss Munro. Other names that film buffs are sure to recognize include director Joe Dante and historian Sir Christopher Frayling. The time frame that the documentary focuses on are the features of the late 1960’s into the 70’s when the studio’s fortunes began to wane. Among the titles you’ll see featured are Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and even more obscure titles like Crescendo and Moon Zero Two. There’s even a bonus feature on some of the titles that never made it to the screen but thankfully have some scripts and ultra cool artwork left behind to give us an idea of what might have been.
I’m not going to say I’ve heard it all before but I was familiar with a fair amount of the information that was brought forth but once again, I’m a sucker for all things Hammer and can easily recommend this title to fans of the studio or even general film buffs looking to learn more about the famed studio that influenced a generation of movie goers and more importantly, filmmakers.
I wasn’t kidding either, my first screen credit, minor as it may be. Michael Perry for the unaware.
And those prints I just had to have. Seriously, have a look. Hammer fans, can you blame me?
Enjoy the trailer to give you an idea what you can expect in this latest Hammerfest from Mr. Hearn and company.