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Sort order. Start your review of Vampires: Under the Hammer. Apr 21, Mike rated it really liked it. Hammer horror movies were a staple requirement during my formative years, normally screened late at night when Tyne Tees were trying to fill some dead air, recorded faithfully by my parents and then watched and devoured the following day.
Manual Vampires Under the Hammer
Of the many topics pumped out for filming by the great British studio, it's vampires - and especially Count Dracula - that dominated, indeed I think the first Hammer I ever saw was The Brides of Dracula. I must have been around 10 when I watched it. I was terrified. Wh Hammer horror movies were a staple requirement during my formative years, normally screened late at night when Tyne Tees were trying to fill some dead air, recorded faithfully by my parents and then watched and devoured the following day. What I couldn't have known at the time was that Brides was about as good as Hammer ever got.
They churned out Dracula flick after Dracula flick, at the behest of funding from the US and to sate an American market eager for another 'bite' of their favourite Gothic monster. For a time, it didn't even matter that Dracula entries were formulaic to the point of increasing tedium, certainly as far as regular star Christopher Lee was concerned, looking ever more bored and uninvolved.
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Then there were the non-Dracula vampire films - the altogether racier Karnstein trilogy, along with an unlinked sequence of one-offs, which often enough turned out to be more imaginative and enjoyable than the diabolical it says here Count's adventures. All are dissected by Mr Butler in this criticism, a neat companion piece to Hammer's vampiric output. The tone of the book should be appreciable for any Hammer fan - it's written in the knowledge that very few of the films covered are actually any good, however there's a great deal of affection for them, some very skilled people were involved in their making and, damn it, they're a part of the British cinematic landscape!
I am reminded that actually little of the horror genre constitutes anything approaching great cinema, not just Hammer, who knew how to stretch a limited budget to the point of breaking, always made good looking features with lovely attention to period detail and tried to do nothing more than entertain with their releases. Not a lot wrong with that, if you ask me.
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One of the sadder aspects of the book is its effort to biograph many of the players and main crew members, so many of whom have since passed away. The affection felt by the author for Lord Peter Cushing is palpable - by all accounts a lovely man, a real gentleman and happy to apply his undoubted skills to whatever scurrilous project for which he'd been signed.
The detail that goes into these notes is exhaustive and a pleasure. A fine, enjoyable book that made me feel nostalgic and ready for another burst of Hammer viewing, perhaps a blast of the brilliant Brides of Dracula, possibly an attempt to catch the one film covered in it that I haven't yet seen, The Vampire Circus. Recommended for any film viewer who has quite rightly found the stagy, dated Hammer classics of yesteryear to be the guiltiest of pleasures.
View 2 comments. Dec 08, Don Weiss rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites. Butler in his third critical opus. Many of the now-familiar vampire traits—the blazing red eyes, the sharp protruding fangs, the explicit emphasis on blood, and even the sexual undertone to the relationships between vampires and victims—were made such largely by the British studio, perhaps even more than by their American precursors, the Universal Horrors, whose own vampire excursions often felt the weight of heavier demands of censorship.
Each chapter is punctuated with exhaustive research, historical analysis, personal recollections, and interesting fun facts. Tidbits of information such as these, especially for the film collectors and fans, add to the overall appreciation of the movies. As in his previous books, Butler also shows off his equally-impressive artistic talents with character shots, offering new renditions of iconic images of Cushing, Lee, Pitt and more, which we all have etched in our memories.
So sit back, turn the page, and lose yourself in a world of foreboding castles, terrified populaces, and the bloodthirsty noblemen and noblewomen at the center of it all. Jan 27, Gail Kubik added it. Sharleene Creasey rated it it was amazing Feb 25, Alan rated it really liked it Oct 04, Neverdust marked it as to-read May 15, Andy added it May 22, Emmy marked it as to-read Feb 05, Jason marked it as to-read May 16, Ethereal Etiquette added it Jul 30, Madeliene Collinson starred as Frieda Gellhorn and this movie is also one of the Karnstein Trilogies.
Horror of Dracula [DVD] . Sexy Valerie Gaunt was the vampire who bit Jonathan Harker and she was unfortunately stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake by John Van Eyssen as she lay in her coffin. After death, her body aged rapidly. In this Hammer Productions take on the Dracula legend, travellers visit Carlstad, ignoring many warnings, and end up spending the night at a local castle. They soon find out that the gracious host, Klove Philip Latham , has a hidden agenda. Bloodcurdling mayhem ensues…. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and site URL in my browser for next time I post a comment.
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Hopefully Hammer Horror may be able to retrieve this and give us a new set of films one day. Yutte Stensgaard. Ingrid Pitt signed photo for LiaCarla. Caroline Munro. Caroline Munro portrait by Amanda Norman. Frieda Gelhorn aka Madeliene Collinson. Valerie Van Ost. Valerie Gaunt. Jenny Hanley. Barbara Shelley as Helen Kent.
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