October Hammershow: The Man Who Could Cheat Death

Terence Fisher directing, Jimmy Sangster writing, and Christopher Lee in a supporting role. The Man Who Could Cheat Death, one of Hammer’s efforts from 1959, should have been among the best films in this month of reviews. But it’s not, and that’s because while three of Hammer’s top names appear in the credits, a fourth, Peter Cushing, does not. He had been set to star in this film, but the lead role instead went to Anton Diffring, who was not equal to the task. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Man Who Could Cheat Death”

October Hammershow: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

Before I began watching The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, I thought that the film was probably going to be analogous to one of Hammer’s Frankenstein films, only the monster and his creator never share screen time. If one were to describe this film with broad strokes, such a description is accurate, to a point. Hammer horror films are all kin to one another. They were made quickly, cheaply, and often back to back. Developing an overarching style that applies from one film to the next was an outgrowth of that. So, yes, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll does bear similarity to any of the Frankenstein films, as do those films to the Dracula films, et cetera, et cetera. It’s in the details where each of these films, including today’s entry, are given the opportunity to stand out. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll”

October Hammershow: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Hammer Film Productions may have found its greatest success with its gothic horror films, but they still kept up work on other productions. The Hound of the Baskervilles is, of course, an adaptation of the famous Sherlock Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. But calling it a departure from Hammer’s horror catalogue is not entirely accurate. For one thing, the people involved in the production are among the most recognizable names from the studio. Terence Fisher directed, Anthony Hinds produced, and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee starred. In addition, while Hound is a mystery, there are loads of gothic horror elements present in the source material, making it the most adaptable of the Sherlock Holmes stories to Hammer’s style of horror. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)”

October Hammershow: The Revenge of Frankenstein

The last we saw the Baron Frankenstein, at the end of The Curse of Frankenstein, he was being led to the guillotine. Believing that he was innocent of any crime, he was meeting death with hate in his heart. But as fate, and economics, would have it, Frankenstein was saved at the last moment by Hammer Film Productions, who knew a hit when they saw one. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Revenge of Frankenstein”

October Hammershow: The Brides of Dracula

Sangster! Fisher! Cushing! But, no Lee. Despite the name ‘Dracula’ being in the title of this film, The Brides of Dracula, Hammer’s 1960 follow-up to its Dracula remake, does not feature either Dracula or Christopher Lee playing him. But that could be forgiven, right? The title could be referring to the actual brides who lived in Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, only that isn’t the case, either. Not only is this film not about Dracula, it’s not about his brides. Instead, it features a completely different vampire in a completely different Transylvanian castle. That is gross misdirection on the part of Hammer. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Brides of Dracula”

October Hammershow: The Curse of Frankenstein

Hunt around on the internet, and one will find countless lists that rank Hammer horror films. From James Rolfe to random users on reddit, the consensus pick for best Hammer horror film is today’s film, The Curse of Frankenstein. All the elements that make it the quintessential Hammer flick are there. It was written by Jimmy Sangster, directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Hammer horror doesn’t get more ‘Hammery’ than that. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Curse of Frankenstein”

October Hammershow: Dracula (1958), aka Horror of Dracula

It has been over a hundred and twenty years since Bram Stoker’s groundbreaking vampire novel was published. In that time, the titular character of Dracula has been put to film dozens of times. Every generation gets its own version of the tale. There’s just something about Dracula. The genre of horror itself is drawn to the character like one of his hapless victims. One can be sure that no matter what kind of just fate befalls Dracula in these films, it is only a matter of time before he returns. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: Dracula (1958), aka Horror of Dracula”

October Hammershow: The Mummy (1959)

Autumn is a time of cooler weather and football games, of trees transitioning into their winter hibernation, and rivers of blood flowing on screens all over the country. For this is October, a time when horror fans the world over celebrate the coming of Halloween. It is also time for the October Horrorshow. I’ve been doing this since 2009, making this the ninth year in a row the site has been dedicated to a month of horror film reviews. But in all that time, having reviewed over 200 horror flicks, I’ve never reviewed a movie from Hammer Film Productions. How in the world did that happen? In fact, I haven’t seen all that many Hammer films at all, much less for the Horrorshow. This month I’m going to fill in this unconscionable void in my horror film experience. I’m expecting it to be a worthwhile adventure. So, this year, welcome to the October Hammershow. Every day will feature a review of a Hammer film, plus some random horror flicks from other production companies scattered throughout. Continue readingOctober Hammershow: The Mummy (1959)”