Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969 United Kingdom)

Following a long period of cheap-looking productions designed to play as double-features on their home turf, Hammer returned to premium quality with Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed. This is Peter Cushing’s definitive portrayal of the Baron. For once a Hammer Frankenstein doesn’t need an actual monster, but lets the baron himself become “more monstrous than the monsters he created”, as the advertisements proclaimed. And for a horror film, you’d have to agree that the locations used for filming were really quite elegant and ornate. The Spengler boarding house and Brandt’s home were exquisitely appointed and furnished, and all the while I kept thinking that they would have been a pretty nice place to live.  [Read more…]

Advertisements

The Gorgon (1964 United Kingdom)

The Gorgon should be viewed more as a doomed love story featuring a legendary horror character. To call this a horror film is just wrong, and marketing it as such has done the movie few favours over the years. Director Terence Fisher always thought of The Gorgon as one of his best films, and he was right to do so for it’s a hauntingly beautiful piece of work. Definitely one of Hammer’s most visually accomplished efforts. And if anyone dares laugh at the special effects they will be turned to stone! And if you are a connoisseur of facial hair, this one’s for you, Grandma. There are plenty of hairy men on display, frowning impressively. [Read more…]

The Mummy (1959 Britain)

hammer_classics_1This was the third time a visceral contest between Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee had been crafted for an ever increasing box office audience. And yes, there is much dignified violence and spectacle, but there is a melancholy undertow as well. Hammer’s Mummy is less a remake of Karloff’s 1932 version, more a re-imagining. And, like its Dracula and Frankenstein bedfellows, it’s a cracker. Do not let the PG rating put you off. Or the obvious studio backlot that has to convince you its a swamp. This was part of the low budget charm of Hammer. There is enough colour and elegance to The Mummy to off-set the weaknesses. [Read more…]

The Brides Of Dracula (1960 United Kingdom)

brides-of-dContinuing the theme of bloodsucking from my previous post, (and before they made a deal with the Fox/Seven Arts mafia distributors) Hammer’s artists and technicians were still carefully keeping the camera lens focused on the best aspects of their productions when this sparkling gem was conceived – in this case a most lovely Yvonne Monlaur, well-dressed Bray Studios interiors, a memorable exterior windmill set-piece, and yet another unforgettable protagonist courtesy of the great Peter Cushing. Hammer’s best films are a model of efficiency and economy, and this film definitely looks a lot better than it should. [Read more…]

Horror Of Dracula (1958 United Kingdom)

horror-of-dracula-melissa-stribling-christopher-lee-1958(Don’t get too excited. This was just a publicity shot to help the men in plastic macs to their seats at the back of the theatres) Not another bloody Hammer Horror from before your mother was born I hear ye cry? Yep. You’ll just have to get used to it. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog – yes, he does exist! – let’s just say this will be the cross you have to bear. [Read more…]

The Curse Of The Werewolf (1961 United Kingdom)

cursewerewolf By the early 60s director Terence Fisher was still regarded as Hammer’s best director, and his remarkable work here is definitely on par with the previous classics he had made at that point. Fisher puts to great use the lavishly built sets and makes this one of his most beautiful looking films despite the budget constrains, he creates a Gothic atmosphere of impeding doom that suits perfectly Anthony Hinds’ story. [Read more…]

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966 United Kingdom)

Dracula-Prince-Of-Darkness-036Every fan of retro/old school horror has seen this one, surely. If you haven’t seen it then shame on you! Just to wake any old fans up, I toyed with the idea of the above title reading Dracula: Ponce of Darkness. Enough silly banter, on with the show… [Read more…]

THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (1968 United Kingdom)

MovieQuiz_960-Au revoir Christopher Lee, may he rest in peace. He entertained so many around the world for nearly sixty years. This physically towering, handsome man had accomplished so much where do you begin for a tribute? Perhaps here. The man himself stated that this picture was his favourite Hammer Horror of them all. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: