Monday, 14 December 2015

The 5 Essential Horror Films from Hammer Studios

  With 80 years of experience scaring people and over a hundred and fifty films, it can be quite frightening for even an experienced horror fan to find a place to start when it comes to watching the Hammer catalouge of movies.  So many incredible monsters, great villains and horrible monsters, where does one begin?  Well, every spine-chilling journey begins with a first step and hopefully, this list should aid any weary horror fan along the twisting road of terror that is Hammer films.  

The Curse of Frankenstein, Hammer Films, Christopher Lee
Available on DVD & Blu-ray
1. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) - This is the film that truly started it all and brought together Hammers' most successful trinity of terror.  Director Terrance Fisher leads the way through this updated but still gothic version of Mary Shelley's classic with a phenomenal performance by Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein and the menacing presence of Christopher Lee playing his hideous creation.  The make-up for the creature in this film is excellent and instead of the smooth texture of the Karloff version, Hammer went with a more jagged and more realistic look of the dead skin.  The success of this film lead Hammer to cultivate and revitalize many of the classic monsters.

Horror of Dracula, Hammer Films, Christopher Lee
Available on DVD & Blu-ray
2. Horror of Dracula (aka Dracula) (1958) - Christopher Lee removes the Frankenstein make-up and gives perhaps one of his best performances ever as Dracula.  Peter Cushing, plays the Van Helsing, who must save his friends' fiancee from this blood thirsty creature before it is too late.  Again, these fabulous actors are team with director Fisher, who gives the film an marvelous Gothic feel and realism that is chilling.  The film ends with a blood curdling cry that will not be forgotten and of course lead to a number of satisfactory sequels.

The Devil Rides Out, Hammer Films, Christopher Lee
Available on DVD & Blu-ray
3. The Devil Rides Out (aka The Devil's Bride) (1968) - During the late 60's, monster movies started to become passe and studios began to focus on something more evil and "realistic" like..., the prince of darkness himself, the Devil. After the success of Rosemary's Baby, studios started making a number of devil cults films and Hammer rose to the challenge, easily creating one of the best.  Bringing together the unsettling magic of director Terence Fisher and Christopher Lee, who created a suspense laden film with a haunting end.  Lee, in a rare performance, leads the charge against these twisted Satanists and battles to save the souls of his friends. A definite must see for any fan of the genre.

Vampire Lovers, Hammer Films, Peter Cushing
Available on DVD & Blu-ray
4. The Vampire Lovers (1970) - During the 70's, Hammer started to experiment with more explicit and erotic horror stories.  Somewhat tame by today's standard, these films showed more nudity and touched on more taboo ideas.  Hammer produced the Karnstein trilogy, which were films based on the novel, Carmilla.  The film focuses on a lusty female vampire, played by gorgeous and talented Ingrid Pitt, who seduces young women to feast upon. Luckily, Peter Cushing is available to try and stop all this nastiness and save the girl for these perversions. Although a little trashy at times, it really was ahead of its time and one of the better adaptation to the Karnstein story.

Let Me In, Hammer Films, Chloe Grace Moretz
Available on DVD & Blu-ray
5. Let Me In (2010) - After a shutting down in the early 80's, Hammer Films slowly rose from the grave in 2007 and released a few minor horror hits.  Then in 2010, they drew blood at the box office with this successful remake.  With a killer cast, which included Chloë Grace Moretz and Richard Jenkins, this touching and gruesome film about a lonely child vampire trying to make a friend brought the company back to life.  Winning numerous awards for best horror film of the year, this is one not to miss.

 These are just a few titles that will get you started and send you down a terrifyingly path of a horrifyingly fun film experience.  If you enjoy these titles and are looking more titles to leave you trembling, check out the Hammer website for more information, videos and mayhem!

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