Why Are Hammer Films Not More Popular?

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by Hedjii72, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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    Lately, thanks to some wonderful new published books, I have been going a bit crazy lately over Hammer Films of the 1950s through the 1970s. I discovered Hammer in the 1990s when TNT started airing the films to promote Bram Stoker's Dracula. For the unfamiliar, Hammer is the studio famous for their Horror films that redefined the gothic horror genre with actors like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

    For a web forum dedicated to genre pictures, I am always shocked to see so little mention of interest or excitement in these films. They are very niche, and I can't figure out why they aren't more popular.

    The studio fell apart in the 70s, but has recently re-organized and released the Let Me In remake, as well as the brilliant new Woman in Black. Strange that in our little corner of the scifi/horror sector of the internet, there is absolutely no mention of the new Hammer Film, or any one's opinion who went to see it. (Incidentally, I saw it and enjoyed it very much as a modern nod to the gothic horrors of old.) The film, small as it is, was considered an overperformer at the box office last weekend, doing much better than predicted, although I'm sure Daniel Radcliffe was a big part of the draw.

    Today there's an article of Hammer CEO Simon Oakes promising they will bring back their own version of a new Dracula Film..

    I've just gotta throw it out there that I'm a little disappointed in the general fan community that there isn't more support and excitement for these films. I mean, you've got horror, blood, *, legendary British actors, lavish set design, romantic scoring, and heaps and heaps of charm.... what's not to like?

    Any of you dig Hammer?
     
  2. Wolfie138

    Wolfie138 Well-Known Member

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    dude, i grew up on Hammer films, and "Hammer House of Horror" on the TV.
    when i was a young brat in school, people would be blathering on about the last "match of the day". i'd been watching vampires and demons and cleavage. it made me who i am today.
     
  3. Probe Droid

    Probe Droid Master Member

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    Ditto. I grew up watching the Hammer horror films in the '60s. I still love them and watch a bunch around Halloween. The films are definitly low budget, but there's still a real craft to them. Those guys knew how to make cheap films that still were quality entertainment. And Lee and Cushing, forgetaboutit, one of the great screen duos. Lee gets my vote as the best Dracula. All do respect to Lugosi, but Lee is just ferocious.

    That Hammer Vault book is quite good. All Marcus Hearn's books are worth a look.
     
  4. Wolfie138

    Wolfie138 Well-Known Member

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    i was about 6 when i saw my first nude girlie courtesy of Blood on Satan's Claw. aside from that, Hammer set me up for a lifelong love affair w/ vampire girlies/lesbians.

    Fangs & Cleavage. can't beat em.
     
  5. BornKilr

    BornKilr Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I would have to say one reason you don't see much love for Hammer here, is most of the members tend to lean more towards sci-fi here, from what I see. Even the horror movies that get mentioned much have a sci-fi slant (The Thing, Alien, etc.) I tend to be a bigger horror fan and was a little disappointed after first joining here that there weren't as many. But I'm also a member or lurker on numerous horror forums to get my horror fix.
    As for the new Hammer, I have to say I actually liked the "Let Me In" remake, as much as I was prepared not to, after seeing the original. And I checked out "The Resident" last week simply because it was a Hammer film, and although it wasn't great, it still had more going for it than most Hollywood "flavor of the week" star-strewn attempts at horror. And Netflix has several good Hammer docs in its the lineup that are worth a look.
    And as for books, check out "Hammer Glamour", covering all the hot women that worked on the old Hammer films. Great book.
     
  6. robn1

    robn1 Master Member

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    I'm a big fan of the Hammer films. TCM runs them occasionally, they ran them all month long Halloween before last.

    But I tend to like many older horror films, I prefer the creepy and shocking style to the gore fests that are made today.
     
  7. darthgordon

    darthgordon Sr Member

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    And they're coming to bluray!!!
     
  8. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    If you feel something is missing, go make a post about it. That usually brings the closet people out of the closet and makes them realize they are not alone... but mostly have just been too afraid to take the first step.

    Though they have their fair share of cheese, I like Hammer movies and especially the vampire/Chris Lee ones.
     
  9. darthgordon

    darthgordon Sr Member

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  10. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Big Hammer fan here and grew up with them courtesey of my friend here, Vampire Horror Host Count Gore De Vol Creature Feature

    As someone posted earlier mostly Sci-Fi here but there have been at least one discussion about Hammer films here and it got its Props and Love!
     
  11. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    My dad got me hooked on Hammer films in the 90s on TNT when they were part of Monstervision before joe bob briggs took over.
     
  12. Timmythekid

    Timmythekid Sr Member

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    Didn't see anything in this thread, but if you hadn't heard yet, you're going to be in geek heaven - Hammer is going through their catalog and doing proper restorations for Blu. HUZZZAH!!!!!!
     
  13. E Q

    E Q Active Member

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    I haven't thought about Hammer Horror films in a long time, nor have I see much of anything collectible from them. I think I've seen a Christopher Lee doll, but that's about it. I'm sure some busts of Christopher as the Monster and Dracula would sell.
     
  14. FrogmanStudio

    FrogmanStudio Active Member

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    Welp, I must confess, I haven't watched any, and reading this, I know I should.
    Are there any on Netflix Instant that you all recommend?
     
  15. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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    Sadly, there isn't much on Netflix Instant. But definitely give "Vampire Circus" a try. It's a bit bizarre, even for Hammer, but it's a lot of fun.

    My favorites:

    Horror of Dracula
    Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
    Taste the Blood of Dracula
    Curse of Frankenstein
    Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
    The Vampire Lovers
    Lust for a Vampire
    Twins of Evil
    The Mummy
    Brides of Dracula
    The Devil Rides Out
    Plague of the Zombies

    Give them a try! They're definitely from a different time, but the studio took full advantage of using every dollar of their budget to ooze atmosphere and color.
     
  16. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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  17. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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    What's even better is that the Japanese version of Horror of Dracula will be restored with newly found footage of Dracula's demise and more vampire staking violence put back in! I can't wait!
     
  18. sskunky

    sskunky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    My Brother is a certified Hammer horror nut! :lol

    I gotta say that my most memorable is Dracula AD1972 but the above mentioned all do the Hammer label justice......
     
  19. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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    Don't know what you mean by your thoughts that they should have more support and that they don't generate more excitement.

    My brother and I absolutely crazy over Hammer, as well as the also mostly overlooked Amicus, who put out some pretty nifty antho horror pics based on some of Robert (Psycho) Bloch's short stories.

    I think there are plenty of horror mags that cover these films and applaud them for their efforts. Heck, go to a horror con and check out the memorabilia. There's plenty of love for this stuff.

    But if you're talking about why isn't there more interest on this forum in particular, well, this is a prop board, so discussions are naturally going to gravitate to films that are rich in props. And sci fi films are more rich in props than any other genre. Does anyone disagree?

    I don't think it's that anyone dislikes or overlooks Hammer films here. It's just that there isn't much in the way of props to discuss, though occassionally someone will show off a nice Christopher Lee bust or Curse of the Werewolf bust, etc.
     
  20. Hedjii72

    Hedjii72 Sr Member

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    I think I was referring to the lack of chatter, not necessarily on the Prop Replicas section of this board, but in the Entertainment/Movies section, where the topics are pretty diverse, and pretty much every genre picture gets at least a mention from someone. I think it's pretty neat that this one film studio did all those cool/whacky/charming horror and scifi pictures. To see the Hammer name rise from the ashes is pretty exciting, especially when they are talking about bringing back Dracula.

    It's just odd to me that the Universal monsters get all the love. Hammer really never became a household name. Like Amicus, it is pretty niche. That's OK with me, I guess, but I'd wager there are a lot of members here who have little knowledge of Hammer's diverse cinematic history.
     
  21. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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    Christopher Lee will always be THE Dracula for me. Not Bela Lugosi or Gary Oleman.

    I would venture to say more people could name who played Dr. Frankenstein in the Hammer films than in the Universal original.

    In both cases, Lee and Cushing reprised their characters many times, so of course theyhave the market cornered on owning those characters. When you think about it, no actors have competetively played those characters as many times as those guys, and I think that's pretty cool in and of itself.
     
  22. defstartrooper

    defstartrooper Sr Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  23. E Q

    E Q Active Member

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  24. defstartrooper

    defstartrooper Sr Member

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  25. Jayn

    Jayn Sr Member

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    "Dracula has Risen From the Grave" is one of my all time favorites! LOVE Hammer! and I will be searching out those BR's ;)
     
  26. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

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    Sounds like a line from a bizarre dream :eek :love
    Quatermass and the Pit is good for SF with the Hammer horror.
     
  27. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Pun intended? ;)


    I haven't seen many Hammer films that I can remember. I seem to recall being freaked out by Brides of Dracula or something like that when I was a little kid and caught part of it on TV. I watched Hammer's Quatermass and the Pit a few years ago, and found it to be pretty cool.

    I'm not sure if I'd find the films truly "scary" as much as "creepy." I dunno. British horror seems less about shock value and simulating fear, and far more about "thinking" horror. Not in the sense that one's more or less intelligent than the other. Both can be very well done.

    But, for me, based on my very limited exposure to British horror, I don't get that fight-or-flight response that I do with American horror movies (if I get it at all). American horror movies seem to be more about building up intense tension, and then releasing that either via something like a cat scare, or some slasher dispatching a co-ed with whatever gardening implement is handy.

    By contrast, when I watched, for example, The Wicker Man, the horror came more from the creepy factor of the village and the pagan rituals and such, and then the final horrific ending. The ending was less "AAAAAAHHH!!! OMIGOD!!!! AAAAAHHH!!" (well, for the audience...) and more sort of "Whoa...what a way to go...God, that's horrific..."

    I guess whereas I find American horror to be all about simulated fear, I find British horror to be about making you feel extremely unsettled and creeped out.
     
  28. metrosonus

    metrosonus Active Member

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    I admit I too am more of a B&W horror kind of guy, although many of those films I think ended too quickly and without much plot development. I'd love to see a return to the style but with more development.

    Hammer is cool, but I think it'd be really cool if someone would dumb some old school hardcore punk or something over the films as the soundtrack.
     
  29. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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  30. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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  31. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

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    I can't see Lee in that at all. It doesn't even have brown eyes. Lee has a long face shape too and that sculpt is looking very broad.

    [​IMG]

    IMO its been deliberately made to NOT resemble Lee very much so he doesn't have to be paid!
     
  32. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

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    All that could be the angles. If there was a shot of the bust in the exact angle of the screen capture it may look closer. The jaw and cheeks just look abnormally wide and squarish in that picture of the bust.
     
  33. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

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    Yes the photo may be unflattering and making the shape look wrong. The eyes should still be the same though. Christopher Lee has big intense dark eyes which are a very very characteristic feature. That bust has small blue eyes. Getting such an important part wrong would be one hell of a mistake which is why it looked made deliberately wrong to me.
     
  34. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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    Yes, do go to their site and look at their customer gallery. There is one there that looks far better than the sample product pic they use.

    Their Curse of the Werewolf really takes the cake, though.
     
  35. mercureyx

    mercureyx Well-Known Member

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    Anyone excited for this?

    'Woman in Black' Producer Targets Scary Script 'Gaslight' (Exclusive) - Hollywood Reporter

    Coming off the surprise success of its horror movie The Woman in Black, Exclusive Media’s genre arm Hammer has picked up the rights to Gaslight, a spooky thriller written by Ian Fried.

    The screenplay, which landed on Hollywood’s Black List of the best unproduced scripts in 2011, is described as in the vein of From Hell, the Alan Moore Victorian-age Jack the Ripper tale, and The Silence of the Lambs, which famously introduced serial killer Hannibal Lecter to the world.

    In Gaslight, Jack the Ripper, secretly imprisoned in a London insane asylum, is called upon to help Scotland yard solve a series if murders that share the iconic death brand: dual puncture wounds to the neck.

    Exclusive’s president of worldwide production and acquisitions Tobin Armbrust will oversee the project for Hammer. The company’s creative exec Jennifer Ruper brought the project in.
    Exclusive's co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, as well as Hammer CEO Simon Oakes, are attached to produce.

    Gaslight is Fried’s second script to get on the Black List. His dark fantasy The Ever After Murders, featuring fairy tale characters embroiled in a series of murders, landed on the list in 2010. The writer, repped by WME, Prolific Entertainment and attorney Eric Suddleson, is currently working on Spectral, an original supernatural action project set up at Legendary.

    Hammer’s Woman in Black, the adaptation of a classic British novel written by Susan Hill that stars Daniel Radcliffe, wowed the industry when it grossed over $21 million last weekend. It was released in the U.S. by CBS Films.

    Exclusive, run by Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, is selling at EFM the newly unveiled Can a Song Save Your Life? to star Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  36. Krull

    Krull Sr Member

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    Been a fan since I was a kid,watched pretty much all of them always loved how they used blood that looked...I dunno,just weird.
     
  37. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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    Yeah, it looked like bright red tempra paint or something.

    A lot of vibrant colors in their films too.
     

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