Getting acquainted with Hammer Horror

Discussion in 'Classic' started by crikan, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    For the Hammer hungry Canadians on here, it is $48.99 on amazon.ca presently.
    Pretty sweet deal.
     
  2. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    To me it seems over priced, but only because the original DVD set was insanely low for what you got. I remember most places stocking it for $20.
     
  3. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the original dvd set those lousy flipper discs that were plagued by freezing and skipping?
    The A&C collections were comparatively cheap at Wal-Mart, however I never found a set that worked properly.
     
  4. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Damn, Maybrick! I hear you can turn pennies into dimes by stamping on them. EIGHT hi-def Hammer flicks (with ZERO popular appeal) for just over $5 each ON RELEASE DAY? Break your piggybank and join in the fun. Ha.

    You're right about the price of the original set. But this is a comparatively amazing value. Consider the initial pre-order prices for the Universal Monsters Blu-ray set.
     
  5. Harry Warden

    Harry Warden Well-Known Member

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    Let's make life simple here - ANY Hammer horror film, regardless who starred in it or directed it..is LIGHT YEARS BETTER than most of the shit being churned out today. Even when Hammer made sequels, they were wonderful as stand alone films if you didn't see the first or second in a series. One I don't think anyone has mentioned yet is The Gorgon - wonderful film full of just the right amount of creepiness. The best are any directed by either Terrence Fisher (the best of all Hammer directors) and Freddie Francis. My top picks: Horror of Dracula, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Curse of the Werewolf, Curse of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, The Mummy, The Gorgon, Brides of Dracula, The Reptile, The Witches and The Devil Rides Out.
     
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  6. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    This is a very likeable post!!
    Hammer Films remain my all time favorites-the actors, storylines, sets and gothic atmosphere.
    Great picks.
     
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  7. Harry Warden

    Harry Warden Well-Known Member

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    Mine too. Everything you mention is why I love Hammer. The sets were simply beautiful. I would love to live in some of the houses/rooms that they had for their films. When it came to set dressing, no other films come close, except for some of the early Universal horror films, but even then, Hammer improved on many of those simply by the fact that they were in living color. The mood and atmosphere of their sets such as castles and graveyards have still not been equaled on film, IMO. Hell, even the scenery of surrounding woods and rural roads in many of their horror films give one a feeling of unease. The actors were the very best, bar none. How much I loved Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and many of their character actors like Michael Gough and Michael Ripper were wonderful, and of course who could forget Veronica Carlson and Caroline Munro. What a rich history for one to savor.
     
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  8. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister The Schlock King

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    Ended up selling that Universal Hammer set awhile back because none of the films, although they had their moments, did much for me.

    When it comes to Hammer I can give or take them. Anyone else feel the same?
     
  9. Anthropophagus

    Anthropophagus Well-Known Member

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    I think if you grew up with them you're pretty much a lifelong addict.
    For contemporary audiences I can see how the lack of 'real' special effects and some of the pacing could be a problem.
    The Hammer legacy was especially pervasive when I was growing up in the late seventies, local tv stations in Montreal would play the Hammer catalog frequently, though often in French. When we would vacation in upstate NY I would rush to put the tv on as invariably 'Plague of the Zombies' or 'Curse of the Werewolf' would be screening. Once the VHS boom hit, forget about it, must've watched 'Scars of Dracula' and 'Lust for a Vampire' a hundred times.
    As Universal studios, the atomic horrors of the fifties and Forrest J. Ackerman originally birthed the 'Monster kid' phenomenon, the Hammer studios offerings were the next logical progression. All the hallmarks of what would become typical of the horror genre were there in classic, gothic format-increased violence and gore, more nudity etc., but not so much as to be scarring to young impressionable minds. At least that was my experience.
    Later as I viewed films like Evil Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the initial visceral reaction to the Hammer horrors diminished for sure, however what remained was an appreciation for genuinely excellent film-making, acting and most importantly riveting storytelling.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
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  10. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I also grew up with Hammer in the 70's and 80's. Love Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
     
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  11. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister The Schlock King

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    Yeah I guess it has to do with me not growing up with Hammer films.

    Don't get wrong I love me some Hammer. Their first Mummy movie is AWESOME.
     
  12. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    I've never been able to warm up to them, and I have no idea why; I feel cheated.
     
  13. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Nice post. I think this is a huge factor for people our age. Hammer was the last hurrah for the traditional Universal monsters. The genre changed in the 70s and pretty much left them behind. They still popped up from time to time, but rarely in straightforward horror films. Most of Dracula's more recent appearances owe a lot more to Anne Rice than Stoker. Most people now think of Phantom of the Opera as a stinking musical. We still get vampires, werewolves, mummies, and invisible men, but the period settings and gothic trapping have all but disappeared. Hammer gave us all of that stuff in spades.

    One of my favorite things about the Universal and Hammer horror cycles is consistency. Golden era Universal flicks have a recognizable style. Ditto the flicks from Hammer's salad days. The films from both of those cycles have such distinctive signatures--undoubtedly because both studios leaned hard on their core people. That continuity in front of and behind the camera makes these films so enjoyable to revisit. I'm always happy to spend some quality time with Terence Fisher, James Bernard, Freddie Francis, Cushing, Lee, and Michael Ripper. It's clear that none of them felt that they were slumming in the horror genre. They all consistently gave their best.

    I tend to binge watch a lot of Hammer and classic Universal flicks in October. Both deliver that classic horror feeling that meshes perfectly with the Halloween season. I'm psyched about the prospect of seeing all of these films in high-definition. NTSC is notoriously weak when it comes to color reproduction, and so many Hammer flicks have lush color palettes. HD should also bring out a lot of previously buried details in those fabulous Hammer sets and costumes. I'd gladly pay a lot more than $42 for this set.
     
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  14. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    As I said, the only reason why it seems overpriced to me is because the original set was budget priced.

    Honestly, I only watched that set one time in ten years, and then a second time recently after converting it for my Plex server. I don't feel as if I justified my original investment yet, although Kiss of the Vampire alone is nearly tempting enough.
     
  15. Swampthing82

    Swampthing82 Active Member

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    About 9 years ago I started collecting all the Hammer titles on DVD. I had to go region 2 to get some of them. But there is an ultimate Hammer box set that just simply rocks. It has 21 films in it (a good chunk of their out put) and the packaging is really cool. Some of you probably already have it, but I highly recommend it for region free folks. Plus I remember it being pretty cheap. Like $40. Although, it might be out of print now.
     
  16. Harry Warden

    Harry Warden Well-Known Member

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    Blasphemy!!! Why I oughta.....;).:D
     
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