Monday, December 17, 2007

The Adventurer


I just added a new page dedicated to ITC's The Adventurer to my Hammer Glamour site. Check back there regularly as over the next few weeks I will regularly add some more info about the episodes featuring Hammer actresses.

Gene Barry is Gene Bradley, The Adventurer, a jet setting Playboy actor cum secret agent who solves international spy mysteries and through the international party scene gains exclusive access to areas otherwise not granted to regular secret agents.

The series was one of ITC’s last. Catherine Schell (Moon Zero Two) appears in a supporting role in half of the episodes. In general this is a very worthwhile series for admirers of Hammer Glamour as a lot of these actresses show up quite frequently. Eight episodes were directed by none other than Val Guest.

The mix of classy European locations, suave banter and spy action was one that had previously proved popular for the company (e.g. The Persuaders), however, The Adventurer was not exactly well written and Gene Barry, rather than being an elegant international man of mystery, just came across as pompous and full of himself, quite possibly a representation of his real persona: Based on comments from fellow actors he was not a very popular person to be around with. The actor was previously known primarily for his starring role in the classic War of the Worlds (1953), but had also appeared in a variety of different TV series. Barry had also played a similar millionaire investigator in his series Burke’s Law.

Well, what can I say? I am a sucker for these kinds of shows and despite its limitations, this is an easy watch. As the episodes are only 25 minutes long they hardly overstay their welcome.

The show is available on Region 2 discs.



Friday, December 14, 2007

Hammer Movie Poll

I would love to host a poll here for the most popular Hammer movie. Please let me know which ones I definitely need to include in it as the list needs to be somewhat limited. I would imagine 20 movies are the max that I should put on the list. And what are your thoughts: Should I allow people to vote for multiple movies or restric the voting to one movie each?

Sands of the Desert


Thanks to a discussion at the Hammerfilms Yahoo group I first became aware of the film Sands of the Desert, a production I can’t recall ever having seen mentioned anywhere before.

According to Robert Simpson he “first saw it listed in Marcus Hearn's Hammer Story - whilst Hammer's name isn't on any of the advertising, and also didn't seem to crop up in the trade magazines at the time, Marcus assures me that he's seen paperwork that confirms Hammer's involvement with the production”.

The films stars Charlie Drake, a popular comedian at the time, and is currently not available on DVD. There has, however, been a VHS release that occasionally crops up on Ebay and sells for around £15.

On the downside, this film was mentioned in the context of worst Hammer movies ever made. ;-)

You can read more about the film on its IMDB page.

BBC news item about Beyond the Rave

Click here for a BBC news item about Hammer's new horror movie and the recent phenomenon of posting film series on social networking sites.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hammer Stills Exhibition at the BFI

Some news from Hammer's web site. If anyone goes, please let me know what the exhibition is like and if possible share some photos from it.

HAMMER STILLS EXHIBITION
at BFI Southbank until 6 January 2008

Hammer films became synnonymous with horror. Yet the company produced a wide range of films including comedies, period costume adventures, psychological thrillers and war pictures. These were frequently frowned upon by critics who viewed the company as the purveyor of inconsequential exploitation pictures-an unfair representation of a brand that was one of the biggest success stories of the British film industry. Many of our most celebrated actors and technicians worked for Hammer - Joseph Losey, Freddie Francis, Val Guest, Robert Aldrich, Terrence Fisher all directed Hammer films.

A selection of stills from the national collection are described by Wayne Kinsey and on display daily on the Mezzanine Level of the BFI 11.00am until 22.30pm daily.
Admission free.

Nearest tube Waterloo. London SE1 8XT

Monday, December 10, 2007

A bit old, but still worth mentioning...

Just stumpled upon some older blog entries from the near-defunct Reel Cinema Blog featuring some beautiful glamour galleries of Linda Haden and Caroline Munro. Worth checking out.

Listmania: How many Hammer film series are there?

Well, here I was the other day, sitting on a sofa, staring into space and reminiscing about Hammer movies… as one does. About the Dracula flicks, and the Frankenstein series, the Dennis Wheatley adaptations. And all of a sudden I was wondering just how many different film series Hammer has actually been involved in. The longer I thought about it, the longer the list became until I finally picked up my trusted copy of Tom Johnson’s and Deborah DelVecchio’s HAMMER FILMS – AN EXHAUSTIVE FILMOGRAPHY and went through the list of their films one by one and started jotting down which of these belonged to a series.

This may sound obvious, but for me to constitute a Hammer series, Hammer would have needed to at least have shot two movies on that subject. The reason why I highlight this is because I excluded all one-shots the company filmed that were based on an otherwise popular subject such as e.g. the Sherlock Holmes movie The Hound of the Baskervilles or The Phantom of the Opera.

Some of the suggested inclusions for what constitutes a Hammer series are debatable. So please: Debate!

Without further ado, please find my list of Hammer movie series.

Dick Barton

Dick Barton, Special Agent (1947)
Dick Barton at Bay (1948)
Dick Barton Strikes Back (1948)

P.C. 49

The Adventures of PC 49 (1948)
A Case for P.C. 49 (1951)

Jack the Ripper

Room to Let (1949)
Hands of the Ripper (1971)
Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)

The Lyons

Life with the Lyons (1953)
The Lyons in Paris (1954)

Robin Hood

Men of Sherwood Forest (1954)
Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)
A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967)
Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood (1969)

Quatermass

The Quatermass Xperiment (1954)
Quatermass 2 (1956)
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Blood Island/World War II

The Camp on Blood Island (1957)
The Secret of Blood Island (1964)

On top of those two Blood Island movies, Hammer also shot the following WW2 dramas:

The Steel Bayonet (1956)
Ten Seconds to Hell (1958)
Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)

Frankenstein

The Curse of Frankenstein (1956)
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
The Evil of Frankenstein (1963)
Frankenstein Created Woman (1966)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)
Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1972)

Psychothrillers

This is the series I fought over most about as to whether I should even include it as there are no common threads as such among them other than that they were all written by Jimmy Sangster, however, the Psychothrillers are often discussed as a separate chapter in Hammer’s history.

The Snorkel (1957)
Taste of Fear (1960)
Maniac (1962)
Paranoiac (1962)
Nightmare (1962)
Hysteria (1964)
Fanatic (1964)
The Nanny (1965)
Crescendo (1969)
Fear in the Night (1971)

Up the Creek

Up the Creek (1957)
Further Up the Creek (1958)

Dracula

(Horror of) Dracula (1957)
Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965)
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula A.D. 1972 (1971)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1972)

The films above are of course all the traditional Dracula movies featuring Christopher Lee. Dracula, however, also receives a mention or even appeared (though played by a different actor) in the following two movies:

The Brides of Dracula (1960)
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1973)

And should I wish to widen the field even further into general Hammer Vampire movies I should also include:

Kiss of the Vampire (1962)
Vampire Circus (1971)
Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1972)

Mummy

The Mummy (1959)
The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
The Mummy’s Shroud (1966)
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

The Ugly Duckling (1959)
The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1959)
Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)

Pirates

Not too sure whether it actually makes sense to highlight the Pirate movies as a separate series as they do not have an otherwise recurring central theme or character:

The Pirates of Blood River (1961)
Captain Clegg (1961)
Devil-Ship Pirates (1963)

She

She (1964)
The Vengeance of She (1967)

Cavemen and Dinosaurs

One Million Years B.C. (1965)
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1968)
Creatures the World Forgot (1970)

Dennis Wheatley

The Devil Rides Out (1967)
The Lost Continent (1967)
To the Devil…. A Daughter (1975)

Karnstein

The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Lust for a Vampire (1970)
Twins of Evil (1971)

The name Karnstein (or a subtle variation of it) is also mentioned in:

Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1972)

On the Buses

On the Buses (1971)
Mutiny on the Buses (1972)
Holiday on the Buses (1972)

So, there we are. A little list of all the different series Hammer has been involved in. Have I forgotten something? What are your thoughts about it? And most of all: What to do next with it?

I am contemplating approaching those series bit by bit at some stage. In actual fact that could make a nice subject for a Blogathon with different bloggers approaching different series all at the same time. If any of you bloggers reading this is interested in taking part in such a project, then please let me know.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Beyond the Rave trailer... update

Looks like the official Beyond the Rave website now has a link for their teaser trailer... that links to a MySpace account for the film.... that is set to private and can only be viewed by their MySpace friends.

Is it just me or is that by far the daftest way to try and promote your new venture???

Peter Cushing calendar

I had recently phoned in my order for the 2008 calendar by the Pilgrims Hospice in Kent featuring 12 postcard views of watercolour paintings by Peter Cushing.

When I called a very pleasant lady answered and queried where I had heard about this calendar. I mentioned the newsgroups and she said that she was only new in her job, but was already surprised how well these were selling. I advised that Cushing fans may not be legion, but sure were a dedicated bunch.

We had a pleasant chat and when she revealed that the calendars were only £3.75 (plus postage) I also advised her that they probably could have sold it for a slightly higher figure. She seemed amused to hear that and I promptly ordered two copies of what will no doubt become a bit of a collector’s item in the future.

She advised that she couldn’t off hand tell me how much postage to Ireland would be and promised to call me back with the info. I thought it would defeat the purpose to cheaply sell a charity calendar and then spend some of the proceedings in an International phone call, so – trusting that I would hardly be conned by a hospice – I told her to simply charge whatever it was going to be without the need to contact me back. And lo and behold I was only charged a fair £2.50 for p&p to Ireland, a total of £10 for those two calendars.

Below find the 12 motives depicted on the calendar.

The calendar is still on sale. You will need to order by phone by calling +44-1233-504102 and can pay by credit card. It’s a worthwhile cause and a truly original idea as those paintings have very rarely been exhibited before.
























Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beyond the Rave trailer... or not

I just received the following notice:

BEYOND THE RAVE!
Early in 2008 the world will watch as soldier Ed's nightmare unfolds in 20 terrifying episodes!
You can watch the teaser trailer NOW!
Hammer films presents a Pure Grass Films production 'Beyond the Rave'
Ed is flying to Iraq in the morning and he wants to have it large and boy, is he gonna get it!
After tracking his girlfriend, Jen down to a secret rave deep in the forest he realizes the terrible truth about the hard core party organizers too late..
Sex, death and bloodsucking rave tunes, 'Beyond the Rave' is a high-octane blend of kick-ass music and gruesomely enjoyable online terror.
ALL THEY WANTED WAS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER.
www.beyondtherave.net


Not too sure if I am doing something wrong, but for the life of me I can't see a trailer on the official website.

So I tried to google it and even though I still couldn't find a trailer I found this Behind the Scenes video from the guys at Movieweb.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Crumpet

A good while ago the BBC showed a documentary called CRUMPET about "a very British sex symbol". I was annoyed with myself that I didn't find a way to tape it the time it was on as this was a really fun little piece with some of my favourite actresses including of course lots of Hammer Glamour eye candy and also included interviews with them.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see some extracts posted on YouTube.

Enjoy!!!









Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Mutations

I finally caught THE MUTATIONS on Sky Sci Fi/Horror the other day. It’s been eluding me for half an eternity, though it has been on repeatedly, but always late at night and as I don’t videotape stuff anymore, but also don’t own a DVD recorder and am still a bit more than a week away from getting Sky Plus installed I depended on being up at the time when the film was shown in order to watch it. Kind of gave it a 1970s viewing experience when you just had to view stuff when it was shown, not when you wanted it. A quick look at the program guides also shows that it was just as well I watched it this week as it doesn’t appear to be on again anytime in the foreseeable future and I may just have caught the last screening for the time being.

Also known as THE FREAKMAKER, this is a pretty notorious example of Brit Horror 70s style. It’s effectively a hodge podge of every good genre idea there ever was and contains mixtures of FRANKENSTEIN, DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, FREAKS, THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, BURKE AND HARE, THE BODY SNATCHERS as well as FUN HOUSE (admittedly a later movie) and a bunch more.

It’s the kind of production that you would not see made in this day and age: Donald Pleasance plays a scientist who believes it is not only possible to clone entire species, but that you could produce a plant/human creature that would make the world a better place. (Yep, every home needs a guy who’s also a Venus Flytrap.) Pleasance’s character lovingly caresses rabbits before throwing them into the mouths of his giant meat eating plants. Future Dr Who Tom Baker - unrecognisable under tons of make up as the world’s ugliest man - assists Pleasance by providing him with new victims to experiment on. Unfortunately he has all of London at his disposal, yet the only victims he seems to catch are students from Pleasance’s college classes. Julie Ege - beautiful, but at times hard to understand with her Scandinavian accent (at least she wasn’t dubbed as usual) - is one of his students and enjoys lengthy baths. Bodybuilder and Peplum star as well as Kommissar X hero Brad Harris plays an American scientist visiting the Professor’s alma mater.

The reason for this film’s notoriety are neither the appalling plant/human monster effects nor the nudey operation scenes nor the occasional moments of gore, but the fact that one of the sub plots involves the members of a travelling “freak” show that involves dwarves as well as a number of real side show entertainers such as the Alligator Girl, Pretzel Boy, The Human Pincushion, Frog Boy and Popeye, a guy who can, well, pop out his eyes at will. The biggest gasps, however, will come when the Skinny Lady, a highly anorexic girl, puts her body on display. The word “exploitation” was created for those kinds of moments, however, the freak community is actually often shown in a very loving and caring light and, politically incorrect or not, those guys give the production a lot of memorable moments and some proper heart and soul.

Also watch out for lengthy scenes of macro photography of plant life that’ll make you want to become a mad scientist.

No idea whether this film really killed director Jack Cardiff’s career, but this would prove to be his last film in that capacity, though he is still very successfully working as a cinematographer up to this day. Not bad for a Nonagenarian.

Anyway, if you haven’t watched the film yet, go and check it out. It is oodles of fun and Julie Ege gets a lot of screentime to make it worth the while for every Hammer horror aficionado. Don’t listen to the naysayers: This is one of the best British Horror movies of the 1970s!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Victoria Vetri


I just finished a new Hammer Glamour site update with a small Victoria Vetri Biography. Check it out and also feel free to follow the links to her Filmography and a little Bibliography about her as well as some links to other Vetri related pages of interest online.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cult Sirens

I was always a great fan of the Cult Sirens website so upon my last visit was pleased to discover that they now also have a separate blog that is worth checking out, so, well, check it out.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hammerglamourstars.com

Well, what can I say? After four years being online with my current site I have finally registered a domain name. I had initially not bothered with registering a domain as they used to be pretty dear and this was just meant to be a hobby and I am a tight SOB, but over the years the prices have dropped and you can now get a .com from GoDaddy for as little as $9.99, so you can now locate my Topcities site more easily under www.hammerglamourstars.com.

What irks me is that
a) hammerglamour.com as well as hammerglamour.net were already given away to sites with absolutely no content whatsoever and that
b) those sites now show up much higher on Google despite the fact that there is nothing at all of any interest on them.

In actual fact even this blog that I started just a short while ago as an accompanying sister site now ranks higher for Google searches for the terms “hammer glamour” than the long established main site! (All the other search engines like Yahoo or Ask, on the other hand, display the web site very prominently.) A few years ago when I had sweet eff all on my site you could easily find me on Google’s first page, now that I have much more relevant info I am nowhere to be found which can really be frustrating at times.

Over the last few weeks I have quietly and behind the scenes tweaked my site according to some search engine optimisation tips that I found online and as a result I have moved up the ranks a little bit and rather than being on the bottom of the eighth Google search page, I am now on the bottom of page 7. Woohoo! (Yet, still too far down to be noticeable for any casual surfer. No wonder I get most of my hits through links from other sites or through Google’s image search.)

So, I am hoping that this domain registration will ensure that I gradually climb up even higher amongst the all important Google ranks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some Irish Hammer News

For years you hear nothing about Irish Hammer connections of sorts, then within 24 hours I am receiving two news items primarily for my Irish readers. (Anyone? Raise your hands if you're out there!)

They say that good news comes in threes (or is that deaths?), so I wonder what's next on the horizon for the Irish Hammer Connection.

Robert Simpson has just published an article for the current edition of Film Ireland about the seldom discussed short documentary films of Hammer and more specifically the Hammer films shot in Ireland.

And the Irish Film and Television Network reports the following:

Veteran horror actress Ingrid Pitt (Countess Dracula, The Wicker Man) has joined the cast of October Eleven Pictures upcoming horror movie ‘Urban Creep’.

The Polish born actress rose to fame in the 1970’s when she played a female vampire in Hammer Film’s horror thriller ‘The Vampire Lovers’. The box office smash led to her donning the fangs again for roles in ‘The House That Dripped Blood’ and ‘Countess Dracula’

Special effects expert and puppeteer Michael McCormick (Return Of The Jedi, The Muppet Show) has also signed up to provide special effects for the movie.

Produced by Jonathan Figgis, the movie tells the tale of the citizens of Sewark City, who have succumbed to a viral infection that ignites in them a desire to consume living flesh. A small band of un-infected civilians reside at the northern tip of the city, amongst them an elderly Polish lady (Pitt) and her granddaughter Katya, to be played by Maria Manton. The group join forces, bracing themselves for inevitable assault, with one common purpose: survival.

The script will be co-written by British horror writer Shaun Hutson, whose novels include ‘Exit Wounds’ and ‘A Necessary Evil’, and October Eleven’s Jason Figgis, who will also direct.

‘Urban Creep’ will begin filming in Summer 2008, on location in Wicklow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Den of Geek

I have recently been approached by Den of Geek as to whether I would like to contribute a little piece about Hammer's new movie and the challenges the company faces in the new century. The piece is now online , so go and check it out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This and That

Bits and pieces that I had previously not reported on:

*Four of Hammer's Dracula movies have now been released in a cheap Region 1 box set containing Horror of Dracula, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, and Taste the Blood of Dracula and Dracula A.D. 1972. All the films had previously been released before.



*Also just released, and a little something that I really want to have (Hint, hint.): Hammer Horror Vampire Terrortory, an interactive Hammer Vampire DVD game (Region 2) presented by Ingrid Pitt.



*A good place to be in is currently Scotland as a Hammer exhibition is taking place at the Falkirk Wheel until November 11. I really wish someone would visit, take some pictures and write a report. More info available here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rosemary's Baby

I re-watched Rosemary’s Baby (1968) again right in time for Halloween and always get a kick out of the Hammer film connection of sorts:

What I mean is when Mia Farrow’s character meets Terry Gionoffrio (played by Angela Dorian) in the launderette and tells her that she looks just like actress Victoria Vetri… who we of course all know as the blonde bomb shell from Hammer’s pre-historic epic When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970, i.e. produced two years after Polanski’s master piece).

The joke is of course that Angela Dorian (who was that year’s Playmate of the Year after being the September 1967 Playmate of the Month) is none other than Vetri herself!

The actress/model was born Victoria Vetri, though for the first part of her career had decided to choose a pseudonym based on the ill fated liner, until she gradually moved over to her birth name.

As for other cameos: Also watch out for producer William Castle who turns around in the telephone scene where Mia Farrow believes him to be Dr Sapirstein (played by Ralph Bellamy).

As for the film itself: What’s there to say? It’s just one of the great and influential horror movies that just have to be checked out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Isobel Black Biography on Hammer Glamour

I made my first major Hammer Glamour web site update in ages featuring an in depth Isobel Black biography. I wish I could say that this was because I finally got off my lazy backside, but the article was written by Mark Davies from the Hammer Films Yahoo Group. Given the very spare info available about her online so far (check out the empty links section), it is safe to say that Mark has managed to considerably increase the available knowledge about the actress and for this deserves high praise.

Thanks a million, Mark!!!!

(And if anyone feels inspired to also put pen to virtual paper: I am always more than interested in receiving submissions for my web site.)

Hammer Lobby Cards

German language blog The Crime in your Coffee has just published a number of German Hammer lobby cards courtesy of its B-Film-Kabinett:

The Mummy's Shroud (12 lobby cards)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (5 lobby cards)
Captain Clegg/Night Creatures (2 lobby cards)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (7 lobby cards)

Well worth checking out!

Friday, October 12, 2007

New weekly blog by Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt has just started writing a new column for the Den of Geek website that will be updated weekly every Tuesday. Well worth checking out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Don't Talk To Strange Men

News courtesy of the Hammerfilms Yahoo Group:

DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN has just been released on Region 2 DVD. This is a very rare suspense thriller from 1962 starring Janina Faye.

When I first heard about this film I got it confused with Faye's equally rare DON'T TAKE SWEETS FROM A STRANGER, though those are two different productions.

Incidentally SWEETS will be one of the films being shown during Don Fearney's special one day event launching the new edition of Marcus Hearn's and Alan Barnes' The Hammer Story at the Cine Lumiere in London on October 27. As usual there will be lots of special guests and other films promised (subject to availablity) will be CASH ON DEMAND and THE TWO FACES OF DR JECKYLL.

New restored cinematic print for (Horror of) DRACULA

Just a reminder that, right in time for Halloween, the British Film Institute will be showing a newly restored print of Hammer's classic DRACULA.

The screening will be on October 31 and ticket details can be found here.

I won't be able to attend that screening, but will instead see it in Dublin on October 28 where it is shown in the Irish Film Institute as part of the annual Horrorthon.

Following those screenings I understand that the film will go on wider release from November 02 on where it will be shown at the BFI Southbank and some other venues, yet to be announced.

A great opportunity to see one of the alltime Hammer classics on the big screen at last.

Peter Cushing Calendar

The kind folks at the Peter Cushing Yahoo group alerted me to this news item.

It looks like the hospice that cared for him will soon release a 2008 charity calendar featuring some of Peter Cushing's landscape art.

People who have contacted the hospice about it reported the following response:

Calendars are available next week from all three of our hospice sites. If you would like to ring 01233 504102 (Ashford Hospice) you can order by mail-order.


It does not appear that there will be an option for an online order. For those of you outside the UK, don't forget to dial the +44 country code before calling the number, i.e. +44-1233-504102. Not certain yet how much these go for and whether they can accept credit card payment or only £ cheques.

Frankensteinia

Frankensteinia is a blog well worth checking out, devoted to everything Frankenstein related, a true labour of love. The author admits that so far he hasn't devoted too much time on Hammer adaptations (though he already has a post on Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing), but promised that this "will be corrected soon and often". So make sure to put this blog on your RSS feeds.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Denizens of the Darkness

Just came across an amazing looking blog, Denizens of the Darkness, by artist Jim McDermott. Jim specialises in drawings of some of our most favourite horror film stars and comes up with some utterly amazing results. Just have a look at this Peter Cushing drawing that really manages to capture this man's style, aura and personality!

Do yourself a favour and check out Jim's blog!

EZ Street

Robert Tinnell is a comic book writer (The Black Forest, The Wicked West, Feast of the Seven Fishes, The Chelation Kid etc), director (Frankenstein and Me), producer (Surf Nazis Must Die) and all round genre and film freak.

Mark Wheatley is a very talented comic book artist whose most famous series so far is probably Frankenstein Mobster.

Bob and Mark have now got together and created a free online comic, EZ Street, that is quite obviously very autobiographical and deals with the inner workings of the comic and film industry. The comic will be published in serial fashion, once a week.

Reason I am telling you that?

Though she hasn’t appeared there yet, Bob says that none other than Veronica Carlson will make a cameo in one of the later issues of the comic!

So keep your eyes out for that appearance! The comic looks fab so far and it is free, so what have you got to lose?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Little Shoppe of Horrors cover: Correction

A week or so ago I complained that the current edition of Little Shoppe of Horrors had gone the way of computer generated, Photoshop style graphics. Dick Klemensen contacted me about this and wrote:

"I noted in your Hammer blog that you lamented we had gone to a computer generated cover. Well, it isn't. It is all hand done, each piece and layer put in by hand and each character painted in by hand. Nancy and I bought the original and it hangs outside my office. And is gorgeous. Steve K did it like he did his collages for TIME and NEWSWEEK back in the l970s."

Well, that quite took me by surprise and although I would generally still favour the previous style of cover graphics, I *am* now seriously impressed about the expertise with which this collage was created.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hammer Scratch Cards

New Hammer is certainly busy putting their company logo on a variety of different products. Courtesy of the Isle of Dead Yahoo Group I can now present a scan of a scratch card that is currently being sold in the UK.

Pete and Chris

I really don't have any background info about these clips. My guess is that they are just fan animations produced for YouTube, but they are absolutely hilarious! Especially Christopher Lee's parody is spot on.





Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beyond the Rave

Adrian Smith's report from the filming of Hammer's new film, Beyond the Rave, can be found on the Cinema Retro web site. He worked on the set as an extra and also adds some additional info about the movie: Ingrid Pitt will have a small role in it and it's intended to be released not in cinemas or DVDs, but as mobile phone or Internet downloads. Not too sure how I feel about it, but I will keep an open mind and reserve my judgement until I have seen the final film (or should I say download).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Captain Kronos Soundtrack

This press release came out earlier on this month. Looks like the CD should now be out:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER – ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK – COMPOSED BY LAURIE JOHNSON TO BE RELEASED ON BSX RECORDS.
This release is a limited edition of 2000 units.

The first 100 copies purchased through BUYSOUNDTRAX will be autographed by Actress Caroline Munro.


(September 6th, 2007; Los Angeles, CA) BUYSOUNDTRAX Records, in association with GDI Records, will be releasing CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER. The soundtrack features music composed and conducted by Laurie Johnson (THE AVENGERS, DR. STRANGELOVE, FIRST MEN IN THE MOON) for the 1974 cult classic written and directed by Brian Clemens (THE AVENGERS, DR. JEKYLL & SISTER HYDE, THE PROFESSIONALS).

Set in Eastern Europe, in the 1600s, CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER stars German actor Horst Janson as Kronos, expert swordsman and vampire slayer, armed with a samurai sword, along with John Cater (THE AVENGERS) as his hunchbacked assistant, Professor Hieronymos Grost. They are joined by the First Lady Of Fantasy, Caroline Munro (GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD, AT THE EARTH'S CORE) as the beautiful Gypsy girl, Carla, whom they rescue from the gallows at the beginning of the film. Together, they must unravel the mystery of a series of deaths in the countryside that has left once young and beautiful girls old and withered in their demise. Boasting exquisite Gothic set design, rich colorful photography, impressive make-up effects, and a bevy of beautiful actresses, all in typical Hammer fashion, CAPTAIN KRONOS is augmented by a superb score by composer Laurie Johnson, featuring one of the strongest main title themes that still commands the attention decades later.
Born in Hampstead, London, in 1927, Laurie Johnson undertook his musical studies at the Royal College of Music, where he would later return as a professor. He embarked on a professional musical career at the age of 21, composing and arranging for a variety of big bands, a love which continues to this day with his jazz ensemble, The London Big Band. Johnson began scoring films and television in 1956, and soon proved to have an affinity for quirky and fantastic films with his scores for Stanley Kubrick's DR. STRANGELOVE (1963) and FIRST MEN IN THE MOON (1964). In addition, Johnson scored episodes of THRILLER and THE AVENGERS for television, including the latter's popular title theme. Johnson also became associated with the legendary Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann towards the end of Herrmann's career.

BUYSOUNDTRAX Records presents the original motion picture soundtrack to CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER in film order, along with several bonus tracks of musical effects tracks used in the film and a special extended version of the Kronos theme. The booklet contains liner notes written by noted author Randall D. Larson and a forward by Carla The Gypsy herself, Caroline Munro. CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER is the first collaboration between BUYSOUNDTRAX Records and GDI RECORDS and we are looking forward to continuing in the fine tradition of GDI's incredible series of soundtracks from the Hammer vaults.

To get more information and to hear audio samples go here:

http://buysoundtrax.stores.yahoo.net/capkronvamhu.html

http://www.buysoundtrax.com/

CAPTAIN KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER is available for pre-orders at www.buysoundtrax.com and will start shipping on Sept 14th, 2007.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Shoppe of Horrors #19

I am half way through reading the latest issue of Dick Klemensen’s Little Shoppe of Horrors, this time entirely dedicated to Terence Fisher. As usual with LSOH’s theme issues you practically end up having something close to resembling an entire book on the subject available to you in magazine form and hours of reading material at your disposal.

The mag is full of interesting articles and interviews about Fisher, his career in and out of Hammer, his visual style and reception.

The only minor nags I have with this issue is that I am used to a gorgeous front cover painting and am missing the letters and news pages that are usually gracing the introductory pages of the magazine. The cover in this instance is good enough, I guess, for Photoshop manipulations, but still a far cry from the original art works that Dick had used for the last couple of years.

Again, these are minor complaints. After all we are now in a situation where we actually have regular annual appearances of our favourite genre mag. In actual fact, 2008 even looks like the first year ever (or at least in my living memory) that will find not one, but two issues produced: one of them (#20) dedicated to Hammer’s rival Amicus, the other one dedicated to Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein.

So, missing letter pages or not, Photoshop cover page or not: These are very exciting times for Little Shoppe of Horrors. I for one don’t know where Dick finds the time to produce all those amounts of quality material.

So do yourself a favour and buy, borrow or steal a copy. After all this issue also has a number of topless photos…. of Dick himself before and after a diet. ;-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back again

In case any of you were wondering about my recent inactivity here: I was travelling Europe a bit throughout the month of September and had the time of my life visiting Luxembourg, Switzerland (Zurich, Davos), Germany (Black Forest, Bavaria) and Italy (Lake Garda, Venice).

Now I am back and ready to do some more Hammer blogging.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Hammer movie

It's my last day at the office for six months. It's the first day that I heard of a new Hammer shoot. Days don't get much better.

I thought things wouldn't get me excited anymore, but I am unexplicably chirpy after reading this exciting bit of news:

http://www.unofficialhammerfilms.com/news/2007/Aug27_01.html

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New Quatermass Blog

Steve Reed just started a new Quatermass blog. The aim of the blog is to update everyone on any news about upcoming releases or any other Quatermass related info. Steve is also currently working on an entire website dedicated to all things Quatermass. No doubt he will keep all his blog readers informed about that status of that project.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Hammer News

Hammer News are coming in fast and furious. In actual fact so fast and furious that I can't type them fast enough and will resort to some simple copying and pasting from various sources.

***************************************************************************

From Richard Klemensen:

    Just to let you know the new issue of LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #19 will be available September 11th. You can go to our website

    www.littleshoppeofhorrors.com

    for a complete list of contents and shots of the covers by Steve Karchin, Bruce Timm and Mark Maddox. But the whole issue is devoted to Hammer's greatest director, Terence Fisher. Many behind the scenes photos of Fisher at work, rare interviews & an in-depth career article. It really looks good.

    Sadly, our USA postal system has made a dramatic jump in rates, and dropped all surface rates. So everything goes airmail. Good thing - you should have your magazines a week after shipping.

    $10.40 first issue + $6.80 each additional.

*************************************************************************

From Robert Simpson:
    Some of you in Northern Ireland might be interested in one of the courses being run by Queen's University Belfast, School of Eduction Open Learning, which has been announced today.

    The prospectus can be downloaded as a pdf here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEducation/ProspectiveStudents/OpenLearning/
    and the relevant course is on p45.

    Application forms are also available on the website, and whilst there is no restriction on the number of attendees, early registration is recommended.

    The information is as follows:

    - Hammer Horror and the British Film -

    Course code: OLE0310
    Tutor: Robert Simpson, BA, MA
    Fee £70.00
    (concession rate £52.00)

    Autumn 2007
    10 weekly sessions on Tuesdays 7.00pm to 9.00pm, starting 25 September + 2 field trips

    Horror sells; Hammer Films Ltd were the most successful independant British film company. This course explores Hammer's output. Key films such as 'The Curse of Frankenstein', 'Dracula', 'The Quatermass Xperiment' and 'The Plague of the Zombies' will be explored, alongside discussion of genres, stardom, censorship and publicity. There will also be 2 field trips replicating period cinema-going experiences providing a context for the marketing and exhibitions of the films (dates and times will be discussed at first class).

    10 CATS Points (Level 1)

****************************************************************************

Other interesting dates:

    November 02: The NFT in London shows the restored (Horror of) Dracula print

    Next week on Brit TV:
    Saturday 25th 'The Quatermass Experiment' 14.00 BBC2
    Monday 27th 'The Damned' 23.30 BBC2
    Tuesday 28th 'The Gorgon' 23.20 BBC2
**************************************************************************

After a definitely last Hammer event last January, followed by the most definitely last and very final Hammer at Bray event last month, it now appears that Don Fearney will now host another book launch for the new edition of the Hammer Story on October 27.... and quite possible also another Hammer at Bray event next year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dracula. Here is what is so far known about the book launch as per Matt from the Yahoo Hammer Group:

    Don Fearney is organising a full day at the Cine Lumiere in London to
    celebrate the reprint of Marcus Hearnes & Alan Barnes much acclaimed
    book.
    Tickets should be around £25.00 . Don intends to show the following
    rare gems on the big screen.

    Never Take Sweets From A Stranger

    Cash On Demand

    The Two Faces Of Dr Jekyll

    Autograph sessions will also be part of the day when the book will be
    signed by guests for free.

    Guests are still to be confirmed but Don has always come through when
    it comes to Hammer celebs.

    More information shortly.


Somehow I have a feeling us Hammerheads are going to be busy over the next couple of months.....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

British Film Forever

For those of you in the UK/Ireland, check out BBC 2's British Film Forever next Saturday (August 25) at 21:15.

Magic, Murder and Monsters

A look at films that have made us scream and howl over the years - occasionally with laughter as well as fright. With such a rich gothic literary tradition it was somehow inevitable that British film makers would make our horror the envy of the world.

From Hammer to Harry Potter, from Plague of the Zombies to Shaun of the Dead, Magic, Murder and Monsters traces the evolution of the British horror and fantasy film, taking in classics like The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Innocents, Repulsion, Witchfinder General, The Wicker Man and Brazil.

Featuring original interviews with Sir Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Simon Pegg, Mark Gatiss, Terry Gilliam, Rupert Grint and John Landis - as well as original horror stars and film makers like Ingrid Pitt, Barbara Shelley, Jimmy Sangster and Pete Walker.

My understanding is that Christopher Lee was also interviewed for the program.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hammer News

  • On top of its already existing MySpace profile, Hammer films are now also represented on Facebook and Bebo. The last two sites also have additional Official Hammer Films discussion groups: Check out either the Facebook or Bebo group if you are a member one of those social networking sites. The MySpace site is of course currently by far the busiest and biggest Hammer presence of those with well over 4000 "friends".
  • As previously indicated Marcus Hearn's and Alan Barnes' The Hammer Story is not only one the best (and most nicely illustrated) Hammer film books of all time, it also seems to be the fans most popular choice of Hammer autograph books. Of course, the original edition is long sold out, however, Marcus Hearn has recently updated it and a new print run will be out in October. On top of the regular hardcover version by Titan books, there will also be a limited edition run bound in black leather and with autographs by Martine Beswicke, Valerie Leon, Caroline Munro, Ingrid Pitt, Barbara Shelley and Madeline Smith.


  • Although Evil of Frankenstein and Brides of Dracula had previously been released in Region 1 as part of Universal's Hammer Horror Set, they had been unavailable in Region 2 format. Showbox in the UK, however, are now planning to release those in October. Scans of the suggested covers can be seen on Robert Simpson's Unofficial Hammer Films site.

"There's a time for fishing and there's a time for mending the nets"

Below you can see some of the autographs that I got during Hammer at Bray 3. The vast majority ended in my first edition of The Hammer Story which from a general look around the group seems to be by far the most popular "autograph book" for Hammer Fans.

My most favourite autograph was Catherine Feller's. She signed it on a very awkwardly sized photo that makes scanning it virtually impossible, but I still wanted to give a general impression: Her catch phrase was "There's a time for fishing and there's a time for mending the nets" which sounds kind of cool, however, noone I ever asked had a clue as to where this quote was coming from! I don't think it is from Curse of the Werewolf, but would love to be corrected if I am wrong.

Maybe it is just her personal life philosophy.

I was also quite glad to get two lobby cards of Starcrash signed by Caroline Munro that were previously already signed by Luigi Cozzi, the director when I visited him in his Profondo Rosso store in Rome.












Monday, August 6, 2007

Hammer at Bray 3 – Frankenstein Created Susie


One of the most pleasant surprises during Hammer at Bray 3 came when my buddy Ade (Adrian Salmon) gave me a present of a drawing of his that will appear in the next issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors. Ade is an incredibly talented artist who has drawn for Dr Who Magazine as well as Judge Dread and a bunch of other publications. If you haven’t yet read his THE FACELESS comic, then what are you waiting for? It is ultra stylish and chock full of Hammer references. A follow up that continues the adventure is currently in the works.

Hammer at Bray 3 - The actors

Had a blast at Bray 3. Unfortunately I don't have time to write much right now as I am incredibly busy at work, so will over the next few days gradually post more stuff and by the weekend have everything covered that needs to be covered about the event.

Below, some pics of some of the attending celebs to get me started.

Catherine Feller (Curse of the Werewolf)


Valerie Leon


Martine Beswicke


Vera Day (Quatermass 2)


Douglas Wilmer


Douglas Wilmer


Caron Gardner
(Yep, no idea either)


Jimmy Sangster, Ralph Bates' son and spitting image, Virgina Wetherell


Virgina Wetherell and moi
(I swear I didn't rub her breast on purpose)


Damien Thomas

Caroline Munro and John Cater
(A nice little Kronos re-union photo)


Martine Beswicke (next to her Caroline Munro's daughter)