By Denis Meikle

No corporation within the background of cinema did extra to legitimize the horror movie than Hammer movies - the small British self sustaining, which operated out of its tiny Bray Studios at the banks of the River Thames. From the Gothic attractiveness of The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula to the violent sexploitation of The Vampire enthusiasts and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, the Hammer identify stood for something to a iteration of movies enthusiasts, because the time period 'Hammer Horror' grew to become part of the language. This revised and up-to-date version of A background of Horrors strains the lifestyles and 'spirit' of Hammer, from its fledgling days within the overdue Forties via its successes of the Fifties and '60s to its decline and eventual liquidation within the past due Nineteen Seventies. With the specific participation of all the body of workers who have been key to Hammer's good fortune, Denis Meikle paints a brilliant and engaging photo of the increase and fall of a movie empire, providing new and revealing insights into 'the fact in the back of the legend.' a lot has been written approximately Hammer's movies, yet this can be the one booklet to inform the tale of the corporate itself from the point of view of these who ran it in its heyday and who helped to show it right into a common byword for terror at the display. This definitive heritage additionally contains forged and credit listings for the 'Hammer Horrors' and an entire filmography of all of Hammer's function productions.

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Extra info for A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer

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Kneale was less than happy with the end result, not least because Brian Donlevy had been asked to reprise the role of its scientist hero. As he was later to note in 3 33 the introduction to the published version of his television script for “Quatermass and the Pit”:4 “The first two serials . . had reappeared in shortened cinema-film shape.

He tightened the dialogue of his reinstated “professor” to suit Donlevy’s forceful style and clipped method of delivery, eliminated much of the speculation about the fate of the missing astronauts, and quickened the pace of the opening by cutting straight from a pair of young lovers in a field who first spot the descending rocket to the rescue operations mounted by the local fire brigade. Landau had revised Kneale’s “Cold War” kidnapping of Carroon to have it take place in a hospital, rather than during the serial’s return visit to the rocket’s crash site, but Guest condensed this into a straightforward sequence in which Carroon’s wife employs a private detective to free her ailing husband from the clutches of Quatermass and his team of probing technocrats.

Unhappy with Brian Donlevy’s performance as Quatermass in the film version, however, Kneale had refused Hammer permission to reuse the name of his professor and, with time at a premium, Hinds asked Sangster if he could come up with something. The young production manager took it literally and, with the ingenuity that subsequently was to become his trademark, he created the screen’s first ultraterrestrial threat, in the form of living magma that disgorges itself from the Earth’s molten core. Sangster mixed the requisite ingredients with an aplomb that largely belied his novitiate status, and his script for X the Unknown engineered a surprisingly effective addition to the monster-on-the-loose cycle begun by The Thing from Another World (1951) and would serve as the prototype for The Blob (1958).

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