HAMMER HORROR FILMS

As a kid growing up in the 70's I first discovered my love of the horror genre. Nobody fed this desire more than the Hammer horror films. I could never quite decide who my favourite was between Dracula or Frankenstein. Or for that matter my favourite actor, was it Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. In those days these films scared the wits out of me and I loved it, as I do to this day.

HAMMER STUDIOS HORROR FILMS

1955 The Quatermass Xperiment

The Quatermass Xperiment - british quad poster

Britain's first rocket has been successfully launched and returns to Earth but communication has been severed. Only one of the three spacemen remains on board whose physical and mental health has been severely damaged. He is put under strict observation but his wife smuggles him out of the hospital only to unleash the biggest threat ever to civilisation. For the survivor is being consumed by an alien force, who gains strength from human flesh to multiple and grow, threatening to engulf and kill all living organisms. Professor Quatermass must find a way to overcome the thing before it becomes impossible.

 

1956 X: The Unknown

After a mysterious explosion leaves a large fissure in the ground, two young boys are confronted by an unknown phenomenon that inflicts severe radiation burns on one of them. There follows a spate of attacks at radiation establishments as the inexplicable life-form plunders radium stores. Dr Adam Royston, an expert in atomic research, is brought in to explain and curtail the activities of this alien creature before it causes disaster.

 

1957 The Abominable Snowman

Doctor John Rollason, a botanist, is on a Himalayan expedition with his wife Helen. They have been staying at the monastery of Rong-ruk, high in the mountains. A second expedition led by a ruthless adventurer called Tom Friend is advancing towards the monastery. Rollason, too, is aware of this expedition - and its mission. He has kept secret from his wife his ambition to join it. Helen quarrels bitterly with Rollason when she learns that he and Friend plan to climb into the high valleys in search of the mysterious half-beast , half-human monster known as the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. She denies its existence, but Friend shows them a strange silver flask containing an enormous human tooth - the tooth of a Yeti.

 

1957 The Curse of Frankenstein

The Curse of Frankenstein UK  film poster

Baron Victor Frankenstein was the archetypal aristocrat, well-read, cultured and arrogant. Beyond the sophisticated veneer existed a cruel, utterly unscrupulous man, obsessed with ambition. Determined to realise his greatest dream to create life, he had assembled a creature from organs gathered from various unwilling donors. The creature is successful brought to life but the instability of the brain, damaged during surgery, causes uncontrollable violent spasms that result in indiscriminate murder... and it is the Baron to whom the blame is laid with fatal consequences.

 

1957 Quatermass 2

Professor Bernard Quatermass , an interplanetary research scientist, is returning to his observatory when his car is almost hit by a vehicle carrying a young man mysteriously injured by a strange object which fell from the sky. On closer examination, Quatermass learns the incident occurred earlier on a desolate moorland. He retains fragments of the object and continues his journey after taking the man to hospital. At the observatory Brand, his chief assistant, has observed the objects falling on his radar screen. Brand estimates the missiles are falling about ninety miles away - at Winnerden Flats. Analysis proves the object is symmetrical and formed of a substance unclassified on this planet.

 

1958 Dracula

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Dr. Van Helsing, investigating the death of his friend concludes that Jonathan Harker was the victim of a blood-sucking vampire. When Harker's fiancée, Lucy, becomes trapped by the terrifying force and hypnotic power of Count Dracula, Van Helsing releases her tortured soul by driving a stake through her heart. But Dracula persists in seeking revenge against Harker, targeting Lucy's beautiful sister, Mina. Van Helsing swears to exorcise this evil forever by confronting the vile and depraved Count himself.

 

1958 The Revenge of Frankenstein

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Baron Frankenstein, working under the protective pseudonym Dr. Victor Stein, together with his assistant Dr. Kleve transplants a dwarf's brain into another body. He creates a deranged cannibal. When Frankenstein's patients attack and kill him Dr Kleve performs the same operation transferring Frankenstein's brain into a new body. As Dr. Frank, the scientist can continue his career.

 

1959 The Hound of the Baskervilles

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The curse of the Baskerville family brings misfortune, violence and death to succeeding generations. It has reared its ugly head and foul murder has been committed when Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the moor. Sherlock Holmes suspects that the one remaining Baskerville is to be the next victim....not from the terror of the hound from hell but of cruel, cold-blooded murder. Someone is set to gain a great deal by the death of Sir Henry Baskerville and the master sleuth is determined to uncover who and why before it is too late.
 
 
 
1959 The Man Who Could Cheat Death
 

 The Man Who Could Cheat Death. UK quad poster.

Dr George Bonner has discovered the secret of eternal life. With periodic operations and regular doses of a liquid gland-serum Bonner has retained his virility, resembling a man in his early thirties and not his true age of 104. But the serum must prepared from the glands of young healthy humans and Bonner is prepared to commit any crime to remain forever alive, forever young.

 

1959 The Mummy

The Mummy - British quad

One by one the archaeologists who discover the 4,000-year-old tomb of Princess Ananka are brutally murdered. Kharis, high priest in Egypt 40 centuries ago, has been brought to life by the power of the ancient gods and his sole purpose is to destroy those responsible for the desecration of the sacred tomb. But Isobel Banning, wife of one of the explorers, resembles the beautiful princess, forcing the speechless and tormented monster to defy commands and abduct Isobel to an unknown fate...

 

1960 The Brides of Dracula

Brides of Dracula film poster

Towards the end of the last century, somewhere in Eastern Europe, young and beautiful Paris schoolteacher Marianne Danielle is on her way by coach to take up a post at the Badstein Girls' Academy. Her journey is strangely interrupted... and she is persuaded to spend the night at the bleak, dilapidated chateau of Baroness Meinster, once the leading noble woman of the district, but now a strange, embittered semi-recluse. That night she sees in another wing of the chateau the lone figure of a man, who turns out to be the Baroness' son. She inquires why the Baroness had not mentioned him and is told that he is ill - mentally ill. The girl's pity is aroused when she finds that the handsome young Baron is kept prisoner on a long silver chain. He seems sane and persuades her to steal the key from the Baroness' room and give it to him... her mistake.

 

1960 The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll

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After a series of scientific experiments directed towards freeing the inner man and controlling human personalities, the kindly, generous Dr Henry Jekyll succeeds in freeing his own alter ego, Edward Hyde, a sadistic, evil creature whose pleasure is murder.

 

1961 The Curse of the Werewolf

 Curse of the Werewolf. UK quad poster. Courtesy of hammerhorrorposters.com

"Even the Innocent Girl Who Loved Him Was Not Safe ... Once the Full Moon Rose!"

Throughout his upbringing unnatural phenomena surrounded Leon. He is plagued with a terrible curse over which he exerc ises no control. During the full moon he changes into a ferocious beast initiating an orgy of indiscriminate killing. His love for Christina enables Leon to suppress his lycanthropic feelings until the engagement is broken off which precipitates a tragic conclusion.

 

1961 Shadow of the Cat

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"Stare Into These Eyes If You Dare!"

Tabitha, once the placid, gentle and devoted pet, adopts all the characteristics of a ferocious, wild animal following the murder of her mistress. The three guilty people are all trapped by the cat's power and each will come to untimely deaths of horrific proportions without anyone being able to solve the mystery that surrounds their brutal death.

 

1962 The Phantom of the Opera

"The Phantom of the Opera" UK quad poster

The hauntings at the London Opera House provoke the resignation of the prima donna. Unknown Christine Charles has been chosen as her replacement but is summarily dismissed when she rebuffs the advances of the impresario. That night she is abducted by a deformed dwarf, taken to the cellars to the Opera House where she meets a hideously mutilated man. He knows the secret of the Phantom of the Opera and recites a chilling story of injustice, depravity and covetousness.

 

1963 The Kiss of the Vampire

 

Honeymooning in Bavaria, a young couple become stranded and are forced to stay the night in the area. Doctor Ravna, owner of the impressive chateau that sits imposingly above the village, invites them to dinner that evening. Their association with Ravna and his charming, beautiful family is to prove disastrous as they become unwittingly embroiled with this family of vampires who seek to initiate them into their diabolical creed.

 

1964 The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

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Those who have interfered with the Tomb of Ra-Antef are in terrible danger. Against expert advice, American showman and financial backer of the expedition, Alexander King, plans a world tour exhibiting this magnificent discovery from the ancient world but on the opening night the sarcophagus is void of its contents. The mummy has escaped to fulfill the dreadful prophesy and exact a violent and bloody revenge on all those who defiled his final resting place.

 

1964 The Evil of Frankenstein

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Once hounded from his castle by outraged villagers for creating a monstrous living being, Baron Frankenstein returns to Karlstaad. High in the mountains they stumble on the body of the creature, perfectly preserved in the ice. He is brought back to life with the help of the hypnotist Zoltan who now controls the creature. Can Frankenstein break Zoltan's hypnotic spell that incites the monster to commit these horrific murders or will Zoltan induce the creature to destroy its creator?

 

1964 The Gorgon

In the first decade of this century, Vandoff experienced a series of inexplicable murders. All the victims were young men who had been to stone. The perpetrator of these deaths was a being so repulsive that she transformed the onlooker using the power of her deadly stare. Much of the time the creature took the form of a beautiful and seductive woman, but during periods of the full moon she becomes a living horror, vicious and deadly. Professor Namaroff has come to investigate the deaths, bringing with him his beautiful assistant whose knowledge of the Gorgon is more intimate than anyone would ever realise.

 

1966 Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Whilst vacationing in the Carpathian Mountain, two couples stumble across the remains of Count Dracula's castle. The Count's trusted servant kills one of the men, suspending the body over the Count's ashes so that the blood drips from the corpse and saturates the blackened remains. The ritual is completed, the Count revived and his attentions focus on the dead man's wife who is to become his partner; devoted to an existence of depravity and evil.

 

1966 The Plague of the Zombies

 

Sir James Forbes arrives in a remote Cornish village to identify a mysterious plague afflicting the population. But the dead are not allowed to rest in peace. Local squire Charles Harris, a disciple of Haitian witchcraft, is using the voodoo magic to resurrect the dead to work in his decrepit and unsafe tin mines that are shunned by the local population. But his magic relies on human sacrifice and he unleashes his army of the undead on the unsuspecting village with horrific consequences.

 

1966 The Reptile

Harry and Valerie Spalding arrive in the remote Cornish village to an unwelcoming and suspicious population. Harry's brother dies suddenly, bitten by a lethal reptilian bite. They befriend a young woman Anna whose tyrannical father controls her life and, as they discover that others in the village have suffered a similar fate, their investigations lead to Anna. What they uncover is a victim of the most terrifying legacy... a destiny of mutilation and murder.

 

1966 The Witches

British quad.

Following a nervous breakdown, Gwen Mayfield takes up the job of head teacher in the small village of Haddaby. There she can benefit from the tranquillity and peace, enabling her to recover fully. But under the facade of idyllic country life she slowly unearths the frightening reality of village life in which the inhabitants are followers of a menacing satanic cult with the power to inflict indiscriminate evil and death if crossed.

 

1967 Frankenstein Created Woman

A deformed tormented girl drowns herself after her lover is framed for murder and guillotined. Baron Frankenstein, experimenting with the transfer of souls, places the boy's soul into her body, bringing Christina back to life. Driven by revenge, she carries out a violent retribution on those responsible for both deaths.

 

1967 The Mummy's Shroud

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Archaeologists discover the final resting place of a boy king, removing the remains to be exhibited in a museum. By disturbing the sarcophagus they unleash the forces of darkness. The Mummy has returned to discharge a violent retribution on the defilers as the curse that surrounds the tomb begins to come true. One by one the explorers are murdered until one of them discovers the ancient words that have the power to reduce the brutal killer to particles of dust.

 

1967 Quatermass and the Pit

During excavations in London a large unidentified object is unearthed. It defies definition although the area has always been associated with diabolical evil. Within its walls Professor Quatermass discovers the remains of intelligent alien creatures that attempted to conquer the Earth in prehistoric times and, through their experiments on early man, altered human evolution to its present state. Though dormant for many centuries, the power supply from the excavations is being drained by the ship until its terrifying force can be unleashed and the creatures can reinstate their violent dominance over man.

 

1968 The Devil Rides Out

The powers of good are pitted against the forces of evil as the Duc de Richelieu wrestles with the charming but deadly Satanist, Mocata, for the soul of his friend. Mocata has the knowledge and the power to summon the forces of darkness and, as the Duc de Richelieu and his friends remain within the protected pentacle, they are subjected to ever-increasing horror until thundering hooves herald the arrival of the Angel of Death.

 

1968 Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

 Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. UK quad poster

In the shadow of Castle Dracula, the Prince of Darkness is revived by blood trickling from the head-wound of an unconscious priest attempting exorcism. And once more fear and terror strikes Transylvania as the undead Prince of Darkness stalks the village of Keineneburg to ensnare victims and satisfy his evil thirst.

 

1969 Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed

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Ruthlessly blackmailing a young couple to assist with his horrific experiments the Baron, desperate for vital medical information, abducts Dr Brandt, a former colleague, from an insane asylum. On route the doctor dies and the Baron and his reluctant assistant transplant his brain into the body of a dead professor. The creature is tormented by a trapped soul in an alien shell and, after a visit to his wife who violently rejects his monstrous form, the creature wrecks his revenge on the perpetrator of his misery... Baron Frankenstein.

 

1970 The Horror of Frankenstein

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Victor Frankenstein descendant of the infamous scientist, Baron Von Frankenstein, follows in his experimental footsteps. Initially his success involves the resuscitation of a tortoise and progressing onto more ambitious projects, including creating his own monster.

 

1970 Scars of Dracula

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The Prince of Darkness casts his undead shadow once more over the cursed village of Kleinenberg when his ashes are splashed with bat's blood and Dracula is resurrected. And two innocent victims search for a missing loved one... .loved to death by Dracula's mistress. But after they discover his blood-drained corpse in Dracula's castle necropolis, the Vampire Lord's lustful vengeance begins.

 

1970 Taste the Blood of Dracula

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Dracula's cloak, a ring and a phial of dried blood are the unholy relics bought by a depraved Satanist obsessed with resurrecting the King of the Undead. Joined at a deconsecrated church by three Victorian gentlemen with a secret taste for the extreme and perverted, a demonic ritual ends in the Satanist's murder by the three men, now terrified that their nocturnal entertainments have gone too far. And they are right- life has been bestowed on the Prince of Darkness once again; and the Count avenges his servant's ultimate sacrifice by initiating the children of the three hypocrites into unspeakable acts of violence and terror.

 

1970 The Vampire Lovers

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In the heart of Styria the Karnstein Family, even after their mortal deaths, rise from their tombs spreading evil in the countryside in their lust for fresh blood. Baron Hartog whose family are all victims of Karnstein vampirism, opens their graves and drives a stake through their diabolical hearts. One grave he cannot locate is that of the legendary beautiful Mircalla Karnstein. Years of peace follow that grisly night until Mircalla reappears to avenge her family's decimation and satisfy her desire for blood.

 

1971 Blood from the Mummy's Tomb

 

Two Egyptologists, Professor Fuchs and Corbeck, are instrumental in unleashing unmitigated horror by bringing back to England the mummified body of Tara, the Egyptian Queen of Darkness. Fuchs’s daughter, Margaret, becomes involved in a series of macabre and terrifying incidents, powerless against the forces of darkness, directed by Corbeck, that are taking possession of her body and soul to fulfil the ancient prophesy that Queen Tara will be resurrected to continue her reign of unspeakable evil.

 

1971 Countess Dracula

UK quad poster

Based on the true story of Elisabeth Bathory, the eighteenth-century Transylvanian Countess who indulged herself in an orgy of murder and vampirism before before being walled up in her room by the authorities. The ageing Countess Dracula discovers by accident that the blood of young virgins has an unnatural restorative effect on her celebrated beauty. Years later, she becomes engaged to a handsome young Hussar and is forced to repeat vile atrocities with ever-increasing regularity to hold off old age. On her wedding day, her past catches up with her, and she ages through many years in a few dreadful moments.

 

1971 Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde

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In foggy London Dr Jekyll experiments on newly deceased women determined to discover an elixir for immortal life. Success enables his spectacular transformation into the beautiful but psychotic Sister Hyde who stalks the dark alleys of Whitechapel for young, innocent, female victims, ensuring continuation of the bloodstained research. With each transformation Sister Hyde becomes the more dominant personality, determined to eventually suppress the frail, ineffectual Dr Jekyll forever.

 

1971 Hands of the Ripper

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A series of murders occur that mirror those committed by the Whitechapel Ripper. Through his experiments with early psychoanalysis Dr John Pritchard discovers a deadly violence in one of his young female patients. As he delves into the recesses of her schizophrenic mind he uncovers that Anna is possessed by her dead father's spirit, willing her to commit acts of gruesome savagery over which she has no control. But the most chilling revelation of all is the identity of her father... .Jack the Ripper himself.

 

1971 Lust for a Vampire

Karnstein Castle, an ominous, threatening ruin overlooks an exclusive finishing school for girls where Richard Lestrange takes up the post of English teacher. He falls in love with one of the pupils, the beautiful, enigmatic Mircalla Karnstein. A spate of mysterious deaths at the school is hastily covered up but when the father of one of the dead girls opens her grave he discovers the vampire bite. The Karnstein legend continues. Every forty years they rise from their graves spreading their evil vampirism and terror. The villagers descend on the school demanding blood. Richard rushes to warn Mircalla but as they embrace she opens her mouth to bite his neck as... the burnt-through beam crashes down, burying itself into Mircalla's heart.

 

1971 Twins of Evil

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While dabbling in Satanism, Count Karstein resurrects Mircalla Karnstein who initiates him into vampirism. As a rash of deaths afflicts the village Gustav Weil, head of Puritan group 'The Brotherhood', leads his men to seek out and destroy the pestilence. One of his twin nieces has become inflicted with the witchcraft but Weil's zeal and venom has trapped the innocent Maria, threatening her with a tortuous execution, whilst Frieda remains free to continue her orgy of evil.

 

1972 Demons of the Mind

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In a remote province of Bavaria fear and superstition are rife. The disappearance of several young girls leads the community to believe that a demon prowls the impenetrable forest. But the only demons are those of the mind, the tortured obsessed mind of Baron Zorn, haunted by nightmares of blood and destruction, believing that his family is doomed by hereditary evil. Kept separated and incarcerated his two children are helpless in the desperate struggle for sanity and attempt to break loose from the suffocating atmosphere of a home. haunted by guilt and torment. But they are motivated by the forces of their macabre destiny, helpless in the hands of their grime fate.

 

1972 Dracula A.D. 1972

Set in London's Chelsea of the early 1970's, supposedly for teen thrills, Johnny Alucard organises a black magic ceremony in a desolate churchyard. The culmination of the ritual, however, is the rejuvenation of Count Dracula from shrivelled remains. Alucard, Dracula's disciple, lures victims to the deserted graveyard for his master's pleasure and one of the victims delivered is Jessica Van Helsing. Descended from the Van Helsing line of vampire hunters her grandfather, equipped with all the devices to snare and destroy the Count, confronts his arch enemy in the age-old battle between good and evil.

 

1972 Vampire Circus

Vampire Circus, British quad poster. Licensed reproduction available from postersandstuff.co.uk

After a spate of vile murders, the villagers of Schtettel kill the depraved perpetrator, Count Mitterhouse, driving a stake through his heart. Fifteen years later the Circus of Nights appeared in the plague-ridden village and its performers include Mitterhouse's mistress, children and cousins. They have come to Schtettel to fulfil the Count's last words, an evil, vicious curse of death and destruction on those who participated in his impaling. It is the children of Schtettel who become the targets for a brutal and devastating revenge as the Vampire Circus rehearses for its most deadly performance.

 

1974 Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

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When several young girls are found dead, left hideously aged and void of blood, Dr Marcus suspects vampirism. He enlists the help of the Vampire Hunter. Mysterious and powerful, Kronos has dedicated his life to destroying the evil pestilence. Once a victim of its diabolical depravity, he knows the vampire's strengths and weaknesses as well as the extreme dangers attached to confronting the potent forces of darkness.

 

1974 Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

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Dr Simon Helder, sentenced to an insane asylum for crimes against humanity, recognises its director as the brilliant Baron Frankenstein, the man whose work he had been trying to emulate before his imprisonment. Frankenstein utilises Helder's medical knowledge for a project he has been working on for some time. He is assembling a man from vital organs extracted from various inmates in the asylum. And the Baron will resort to murder to acquire the perfect specimens for his most ambitious project ever.

 

1974 The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

British quad

Professor Van Helsing had been asked to help against the tyranny of skeletal creatures that are responsible for terror and death amongst the peasants in rural China. He is the only person qualified to deal with the cause of these phenomena, for the undead are controlled by the most diabolical force of all.... Count Dracula. But he is not alone- to aid him comes a mystical brotherhood of seven martial arts warriors.

 

1974 The Satanic Rites of Dracula

 UK quad poster

The police and British security forces call in Professor Van Helsing to help them investigate Satanic ritual which has been occurring in a large country house, and which has been attended by a government minister, an eminent scientist and secret service chief. The owner of the house is a mysterious property tycoon who is found to be behind a sinister plot involving a deadly plague. It is in fact Count Dracula who, sick of his interminable existence, has decided that he must end it all in the only possible way - by destroying every last potential victim.

 

1976 To the Devil a Daughter

To The Devil A Daughter - British quad poster. Image courtesy of hammerhorrorposters.com

When the dark, fanatical Father Michael was de-frocked and excommunicated from the Church, he sought the ways of the Devil. He formed a closed Convent in southern Germany ambivalently named "The Children of the Lord". But the lord in question was the Devil-figure of Lord Asteroth, and the innocent children were reared in the ways of Satan himself. One of the them, Catherine Beddows had a special destiny to fufil. She had been pre-selected at birth for a particular role: on her eighteenth birthday she was doomed to become the Devil's daughter and reign as Asteroth's representative on Earth.

 

Having not released a feature for over thirty years, Hammer returned with gusto in 2010. With the release of its first theatrical feature of the 21st century with Let Me In, the eagerly-anticipated and critically-acclaimed adaptation of Swedish vampire tale Let The Right One In.

Wake Wood followed early 2011, with an adaptation of internationally-lauded ghost story The Woman In Black, starring Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, currently on worldwide theatrical release.
 

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