Hammer horror titles coming to Britbox UK, October 2022

A slew of Hammer film will arrive on the UK streaming service Britbox in time for Halloween.

Look out for the following horror titles, streaming in HD this October:

The Curse of Frankenstein (dir. Terence Fisher, 1957) – Peter Cushing plays the title character, and a then-unknown Christopher Lee his creation, in a colourful, full-blooded Gothic that revolutionised the genre and began Hammer Films’ permanent association with horror

The Nanny (dir. Seth Holt, 1965) – Bette Davis gives an effective performance in a brilliantly suspenseful domestic thriller, supported by a strong ensemble cast that includes Jill Bennett, Wendy Craig, James Villiers, Maurice Denham and young William Dix

The Witches (dir. Cyril Frankel, 1966) – Proto-folk-horror scripted by Nigel Kneale from a novel by Peter Curtis, aka Norah Lofts, and with a merely okay performance from Joan Fontaine upstaged by a sublime turn by Kay Walsh

Dracula, Prince of Darkness (dir. Terence Fisher, 1966) – Christopher Lee, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley and Francis Matthews star in the studio’s first direct sequel to Dracula (1958)

Rasputin, the Mad Monk (dir. Don Sharp, 1966) – A pseudohistorical spin on the real-life Russian mystic, with added horror elements and two strong performances from Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley

The Plague of the Zombies (dir. John Gilling, 1966) – André Morell, John Carson and Jacqueline Pearce star in Hammer’s only movie in the zombie subgenre

The Reptile (dir. John Gilling, 1966) – A spate of mysterious deaths plague a Cornish village in an original and atmospheric Gothic horror starring Ray Barrett, Jennifer Daniel, Noel Willman, Jacqueline Pearce and prolific Hammer character actor Michael Ripper, in one of his best roles

Frankenstein Created Woman (dir. Terence Fisher, 1967) – The fourth film in Hammer’s Frankenstein series has Peter Cushing’s Baron team up with Thorley Walters for a metaphysical experiment in transferring souls

The Devil Rides Out (dir. Terence Fisher, 1968) – Christopher Lee and Charles Gray are adversaries in a very stylishly executed occult thriller, based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley

Scars of Dracula (dir. Roy Ward Baker, 1970) – Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman and Jenny Hanley star in an abysmal sequel that falls well beyond the company’s usual standard

Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (dir. Roy Ward Baker, 1971) – Ralph Bates and Martine Beswick star in a smartly produced variation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale, scripted by Brian Clemens (The Avengers, Thriller)

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (dir. Terence Fisher, 1974) – The Baron’s descent into utter madness is complete in this engrossingly claustrophobic denouement to Hammer’s Frankenstein series, starring Peter Cushing for the final time, alongside Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and Dave Prowse

To the Devil a Daughter (dir. Peter Sykes, 1976) – Christopher Lee, Richard Widmark and Nastassja Kinski star in a Dennis Wheatley adaptation that would turn out to be Hammer’s final horror film for almost 35 years

Other non-Hammer horror titles to look out for include the Amicus anthology Dr Terror’s House of Horrors and British Lion’s The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now, originally released on a double bill in 1973. And don’t forget you can watch the 1980 anthology series Hammer House of Horror on Britbox, too. Register here for £5.99 a month.

The Mummy and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell set for LE Blu-ray release (UK)

Two classic Hammer horror films are to be released as limited-edition Region B Blu-rays on 29 August 2022.

The Mummy (1959) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), two celebrated Gothic pictures from director Terence Fisher, will be packaged in rigid slipcases featuring newly commissioned cover art from poster artist Graham Humphreys (The Monster Club, Nightmare on Elm Street) and a mix of previously released and brand-new features.

The Mummy stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux and George Pastell in a lurid, colourful retelling based on elements from the earlier Universal series of films.

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell was the last in Hammer’s Cushing series of Frankenstein films, and its reputation as a swansong for both its star and its director has only improved in the almost-50 years since its release.

Older specifications are from the now hard-to-find Lionsgate/Icon Blu-ray releases. Full specs are as follows:

The Mummy Special Features 

  • Main feature presented in original UK theatrical aspect ratio 1.66:1 and alternative full frame1.37:1
  • New audio commentary by film academic Kelly Robinson
  • Archive audio commentary by Marcus Hearn and Jonathan Rigby
  • An Appreciation of The Mummy by David Huckvale
  • The Music of The Mummy
  • Unwrapping The Mummy
  • The House of Horror: Memories of Bray
  • The Hammer Rep Company
  • Original Promo Reel
  • Still Gallery

The Mummy Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Soft cover book with new essays by Kat Ellinger, Lindsay Hallam and Kevin Lyons plus production stills
  • 5 collectors’ art cards 

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell Special Features 

  • Main feature presented in original UK Theatrical aspect ratio 1.66:1 and alternative full frame1.37:1
  • New audio commentary by film academic Kat Ellinger
  • Archive audio commentary by Shane Briant, Madeline Smith and Marcus Hearn
  • An Appreciation of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell by David Huckvale
  • The Music of Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell
  • Taking Over the Asylum
  • Charming Evil: Terence Fisher at Hammer
  • Stills Gallery

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Soft cover book with new essays by Kevin Lyons, Kelly Robinson and Emma Westwood plus production stills
  • 5 collectors’ art cards

The new editions come from Second Sight Films and are now available to pre-order at £24.99 each. Both are rated 15.

Hammer’s The House Across the Lake coming to Blu-ray

Back in November last year, Hammer Films and Network Distributing announced the creation of Hammer Studios, a partnership to develop new projects and manage the back catalogue of Hammer-owned titles.

The vast majority of the ‘Hammer horror’ films are, as I understand it, in the hands of other studios and distributors, so I’d expected attention to be given to the studio’s earliest and latest output in its ‘classic’ era, ie, before and after the company’s deals with major studios such as Universal, Fox, Columbia and Warner Bros. It’s a delight, therefore, to see that the Hammer noir The House Across the Lake (aka Heat Wave, 1954) has been singled out for a newly remastered, high-definition Blu-ray release.

The House Across the Lake will be presented in its original 1.37:1 (Academy) ratio and in 1080p. Extras announced include The Drayton Case, a short film in the Scotland Yard series by House director Ken Hughes; an interview with late script supervisor/’continuity girl’ Renée Glynne; The Dame Wore Tweed, a short doc on British noir by Barry Forshaw; alternate titles sequence; theatrical trailer; image gallery; and a limited edition booklet by Neil Sinyard.

Fairly typical of the sort of crime drama Hammer’s sister company Exclusive was producing in this era, House teams up two American stars with a mostly British supporting cast. The leads came courtesy of co-producer Robert Lippert, and would help to market the film in the US. Alex Nicol and Hillary Brooke are the imports, with Sid James in support. Later in his career he would be associated almost exclusively with comedy, especially the Pinewood-made Carry On film series, but at this stage he did a lot of straight acting and was something of a Hammer regular—he made seven appearances between The Man in Black (1950) and A Weekend with Lulu (1961).

The 13 June 2022 release comes as a single Region B disc, with RRP of £17.99, and you can pre-order directly from Network for £11.50.

Event: In the Grip of Hammer 2: Beyond Hammer Glamour

Mark Sunday 27 February on your calendars, Hammer fans! My friend and colleague Robert JE Simpson and I will once again be in conversation, this time with a special guest.

Dr Penny Goodman is an academic, lecturing in Roman History, but it’s her love of Hammer horror that brings her to In the Grip of Hammer 2: Beyond Hammer Glamour. On Twitter I’ve dubbed her ‘Queen of Hammer Subtext’ on account of her ever-fascinating and insightful observations, and so we’re delighted she’s joining us as we dig a little deeper into Hammer’s early vampire films. On Twitter Penny is @pjgoodman.

Robert JE Simpson is a historian, critic and cultural commentator – not to mention one-time official archivist for Hammer Films – with a particular interest in Hammer’s sister company, Exclusive. On Twitter he is @exclusivephd.

And I’m David L Rattigan, a writer and editor who’s utterly obsessed with Hammer horror films and has been tweeting on the subject – in preparation for some upcoming related projects, fingers crossed! – as @hammergothic on Twitter since 2020.

As with the last event, the conversation will be fairly informal, and we encourage interaction, so do come along to comment, ask questions and chip in with your own observations.

The livestream is an official Cinepunked event and is free to watch. Tune in to In the Grip of Hammer 2: Beyond Hammer Glamour at 8pm on Sunday 27 February on the Cinepunked YouTube channel.

If you missed the first In the Grip of Hammer, catch up below:

Event: In the Grip of Hammer

My friend and colleague Robert JE Simpson and I will be in conversation on Thursday 13 January at 9pm GMT. The event is live online and is free to attend. Hopefully we’ll attract a few followers from our Hammer-related Twitter accounts (mine is @HammerGothic, and Robert’s is @exclusivephd), and there’ll be time for some interaction and a Q&A. From Cinepunked:

Thursday 13 January 2022, CinePunked presents In the Grip of Hammer.

In the first of a new occasional series of CinePunked conversations with fans, enthusiasts, and collectors, our very own Robert JE Simpson will be in conversation with David L Rattigan (himself no stranger to CinePunked) about their shared love of classic Hammer Films.

Robert JE Simpson is a film historian and cultural commentator, previously worked as the official archivist for Hammer Films, and is currently writing a book about the early history of Hammer’s sister company Exclusive Films. He tweets about the project at @exclusivephd.

David L Rattigan is a freelance writer and editor with a Hammer horror obsession, and for the last year has been tweeting about his love for the films over at @hammergothic.

Robert and David have a long-standing working relationship and have collaborated on a number of magazine, book and podcast projects.

Hammer Films are perhaps best known for their series of gothic horror films produced in England between 1956 and 1976, including popular series of Frankenstein and Dracula features starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. In 2006 the company went back into production and has produced a stream of horror films in the years since, including Wake WoodThe Woman in Black and The Lodge.

The conversation will be live-streamed via the CinePunked YouTube channel, and will include an audience Q&A. Robert and David will not just be talking about Hammer horror, but the company’s other output, and what fandom means to them.

Bookmark the channel now.

View the event page on Facebook.
Bookmark CinePunked YouTube channel.

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave – but Is God Back in His?

This post is part of the 2021 Hammer-Amicus Blogathon

There was little ambiguity concerning the existence and role of God in the films of Terence Fisher, the director whose vision for the Gothic helped shape ‘Hammer horror’ from the studio’s first colour period horror film, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957).

Continue reading “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave – but Is God Back in His?”