Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Love Hammer Films

Thanks to Dick Klemensen and his excellent fanzine produced since 1972 called "Little Shoppe of Horrors", I became a Hammer Films fan. What's funny is that except for things like "Horror of Dracula", "Curse of Frankenstein" and a few others, there was a goodly amount of Hammer Films I had never seen. My initial exposure to a lot of these films also were in the pages of "Famous Monsters of Filmland", because many of them didn't make it to TV due to nudity or other reasons.

I did see a lot of them thanks to KTVU's legendary "Creature Feature" shows, but now thanks to DVD, I am getting to see most if not all of these classic horror films. My most recent purchase which came out about two years ago has four more of these, and is pictured above.

The hard part about collecting Hammer Films is that they are such a cult item, that many of them don't remain in print for too long. Thus is the case with the Quatermass films, which have been long out of print on DVD and now command high prices, sometimes over $100 each.

The other hard part is that in the US, no one film studio distributed the films so some are put out by Warner Bros., others by Columbia or 20th Century Fox, and they have vastly different ways of issuing them. A couple like "Crescendo" and "She" are only available through the Warner Archive series and are not in stores.

Hammer also produced a number of non-horror films prior to the late 50s and a lot of those have been released to DVD as "Hammer Noir". I haven't seen a lot of those, but give me time.

Anyway, if you are a novice to Hammer Films, I'd recommend starting as I did, with the classic Universal Studios based characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman, and then branching off from there, paying particular attention to films featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

After a while, you can chance strange Hammer Films like "Moon Zero Two" or "Spaceways", but the Frankenstein and Dracula films are an absolute must. You can also branch off into the Hammer clone, Amicus, and view those films as well.

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