Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: Spaceways (1953)

Spaceways (1953) Dir. Terrence Fischer, Hammer Film Productions

Hammer Films, by the 1950’s, were already establishing themselves as master of horror. The Four-Sided Triangle wasn’t the cultural or finical impact they were hoping for, but they jumped back into the genre of science fiction. Taking nothing to chance they got their best director and the script was taken from one of the highest rated radio dramas. What could go wrong?

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: Fanatic (1965)

Fanatic (1965), dir. Silvio Narizzano, Hammer Film Productions

Also known as Die! Die! My Darling, the 1960’s saw the rise of a new subgenre in horror: Psycho biddy. Usually starring a faded starlet playing against type, this proved to be rather popular. Hammer contracted their screenwriter duties out to noted author Richard Matheson and the end result was flawed but genius in parts.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)

 The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), dir. Terrence Fisher, Hammer Film Productions

With this we see the second Hammer take on Robert Lewis Stevenson’s classic. By 1960, the whole story had been told and retold enough times to already be considered a cliché by the time the Looney Toons cast took a crack at it. Yes, second, as 1959’s the Ugly Duckling retold the same story only as a comedy piece with future Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee in a major role. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: Lust for a Vampire (1971)

Lust for a Vampire (1971), dir. Jimmy Sangster, Hammer Film Productions

The Vampire Lovers was a rather large hit for Hammer, so much so that Harry Fine, Michael Style, and Tudor Gates began scripting and shooting the sequel before they had even finished the first one. Most critics would argue they should have saved themselves the effort.

Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964)

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), dir. Michael Carreras, Hammer Film Productions

It’s been a few years since the previous Hammer mummy film, but the end result wasn’t worth the wait. Playing like less of a sequel and more of a knock-off, Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb tries to recapture the magic of the Cushing/Lee take, but it falls rather short. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), dir. Terrence Fisher, Hammer Film Productions

Hammer Films was setting the cinema world on fire after the two hit combo of the Frankenstein and Dracula remakes. Naturally a sequel was commissioned almost at once, although similar to the later Brides of Dracula the makers decided to only bring back Peter Cushing as the titular doctor. Still fearful of Universal’s lawyers, Hammer decided to shift the focus entirely on Frankenstein instead of the monster, a choice that produced something entirely unique in the Hammer cannon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 Horror Countdown: The Brides of Dracula (1960)

The Brides of Dracula (1960), dir. Terence Fisher, Hammer Film Productions

Moving into the swinging sixties and to another country entirely, the British film company Hammer injected some much needed new blood into the monster picture. With their take of Dracula raking in the box office gold and helping to turn stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing into the new faces of horror, Hammer set out to capitalize on their stars.