Hammer Films

Snowman

High up on the mountaintops of the Himalayas and the snow-covered recesses of our movie libraries sits The Abominable Snowman, the 1957 monster mythic starring the legendary yeti terrorizing any explorer that dared to traverse its home. Much like the titular man-beast of the mountain shadows, the fascination with the snowman has yet to die, which is why British horror label Hammer and producer Ben Holden are rebooting the film for a new generation. Hammer, which owns the rights to the original, is looking to add a modern, dark spin on the campy classic, which starred Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, and Maureen Connell as a team of very misguided explorers. While the expedition in the original had the intention of finding the monster of the mountain, the reboot, written by Matthew Read (Pusher) and  Jon Croker (Angel of Death), is going in a more sinister path; this time around, an illegal expedition ascends an unclimbed peak on a treacherous mountain range, accidentally awakening the ancient yeti as they trespass. Essentially, they done messed up.

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Peter Cushing

May 26th marked what would have been the 100th birthday of Peter Cushing, a thespian whose efforts on stage as well as screens both big and small left such a mark on viewers that it often seems as though he’s always been a part of popular culture. This is not entirely inappropriate, as popular culture was virtually always a part of Cushing himself, from the comic strips he was creating at five years of age to the Tom Mix movies which thrilled him as a youngster to the plays in which he appeared at Purley County Secondary School in Sussex, England. These moments in Cushing’s life are but a scant few of the fascinating facts to be found within a new biography of the actor—Peter Cushing: A Life in Film, by David Miller—but aside from his various credits over the course of his lengthy career, what’s most impressive about Cushing’s life is how fearless he was in his efforts to pursue his dream of acting. Not that it was easy, mind you…although it would be problematic for any young man to try and make his way in a profession once one of his parents has dismissed it as unworthy, which is how Cushing—through his father’s wranglings—ended up as a surveyor’s assistant, a job which he endured for three years, according to Miller, “by going to the most extravagant lengths to avoid doing any work.” Given his tendencies toward depression, which led to more than one thankfully failed suicide attempt, it’s a wonder Cushing even lasted long enough to earn his big break, particularly […]

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The Quatermass Xperiment

Clicking aimlessly through the internet trying to figure out where you can see The Pirates of Blood River or The Satanic Rites of Dracula? Of course you are. What else would you be doing? Fortunately for all of us, an answer has been found in the form of a Hammer Films YouTube channel. The studio responsible for strapping vampire teeth to Christopher Lee in the 70s has had a vibrant resurgence, reforming after a three-decade break to produce films like Let Me In and The Woman In Black. Their success has opened the door for more horror and sci-fi, but it’s also encouraging to see them focus on some of their earlier cult hits. According to their press release, they’re making restored versions of The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), Man in Black (1949) and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) available with designs on more in the future. They have a massive catalogue to choose from, so hopefully we’ll see their very best publicly available on the video sharing site. In addition to the older gems, they’ll be using the channel to promote upcoming projects like The Quiet Ones – a story about a physics professor getting a team together to make a poltergeist. The channel will act both as a home for streaming movies and for advertising material like trailers and interviews. It’ll probably act as a hypnotizing agent for some sort of diabolical plan to make a planet full of B-movie zombies. Can’t wait!

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The Coroner

Everyone knows that twins are evil, right? There’s something inherently creepy about the identical variety in particular that should really warrant their immediate incarceration. Sadly, I don’t make the laws in this country so they’re allowed to walk among us as if they were perfectly normal. The only exception to this rule are Playboy centerfold twins who actually use their handicap to help make the world a better place. But what happens when good, blonde Samaritans like the Collinson twins (Mary and Madeleine) cross the line into darkness and are asked to play evil? Hammer Films wondered the same thing in 1971, and the result is the bloody, sexy and surprisingly dramatic Twins of Evil.

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Nerdist Late Night

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie and entertainment news column that brings you all the stuff you should be reading that hasn’t already been published on Film School Rejects. We admit that we’re honored to be an inspiration to every person, writer and sentient being mentioned in the links below, and would like to pay them back with a link. Also, it’s a column whose author is going on vacation for a week starting tomorrow, so you’ll be seeing some fresh faces pinch-hitting over the next week. It’s likely that they will do a much better job, but lets not tell them that. We’re already having problems with their egos, as it is. We begin this evening with an image Tweeted by Chris Hardwick, king of the Nerdist empire. It’s a preview from his appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, in which he will assuredly be pimping his new book, hitting on Zooey Deschanel (because who wouldn’t) and talking about nerdy things with another nerdy famous person. If Questlove plays the drums with lightsabers, I’m in.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; the jiveness of our turkey is a byproduct of its being deep-vat chocolate-fried. Welcome friends, to the mean streets of Schlocksburgh. Every week, we pick on some fast-talking, upstart bad movie out to make a name for himself, roughing him up with sucka punches of merciless mockery. But then, just when we think we’ve won, that movie kicks in the doors of our gentlemen’s club, The Cynical Shit Heel, and proceeds to blow us away with two well-aimed barrels of undeniable amiability. Then, in acknowledgment that this brash movie from the block now unquestionably owns our territory (and our hearts), we humbly offer a tribute in the form of a funky, themed snack food item. It’s finally February again…is a sentence few people are wont to utter. But here at Junkfood Cinema, February means one thing and one thing only: Blaxploitation History Month. That’s right, it’s a grand tradition that, to this day, has somehow failed to get us banned from the Internet forever. Some might charge that our adoration for this controversial subgenre reeks of poor taste. I for one resent the implication that we here at JFC have any taste whatsoever. I won’t go into the sociopolitical critiques of blaxploitation because, well frankly it’s boring. But I can tell you that I legitimately love these films and I am so grateful for the actors and characters to which they’ve introduced me. Given that this is our third annual celebration of blaxploitation, I’d say […]

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People love a good scary story and some of the oldest tales on record are stories of ghosts, spirits, and specters cursed to walk the earth haunting the living and wreaking havoc as revenge for some terrible wrong they suffered while alive. Told well, these stories can make spine-tingling and terrifying films. The Woman in Black is a classic ghost story made with style and filled with tense atmosphere and chilling imagery. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a down-on-his-luck young barrister who has been devastated by the death of his wife during the birth of his son. His work has continued to suffer and his law firm gives him what is essentially his last shot, wrapping up the legal affairs of an elderly widow who has recently died in a small town out in the countryside. Kipps takes the job, having no other options, and travels to Crythin to settle the affairs of one Alice Drablow, who just so happened to live in a huge old mansion called Eel Marsh House, located on a small island accessible from only one road and only when the tide is low enough to cross it. Kipps is immediately struck by the severe xenophobia of the townspeople. They are clearly living in fear, but of what Arthur won’t know until he spends a night in Eel Marsh and first encounters the Woman in Black.

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The Hammer Vault

This month, the folks at Titan Books have released a book that cult film fans will be dying for, right in time for you to add it to your Christmas shopping list and satisfy the most hardcore of your movie loving loved ones. It’s called “The Hammer Vault,” promising treasures from the archives of Hammer Films, Britain’s most famous film studio and the keepers of many great cult films. We’ll have more about the book and author Marcus Hearn in an upcoming features. But for now, we’d like to present some exclusive art from the book, some of which is a little NSFW (that means it has bare breasts in it).

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Sad news to report today for fans of classic horror. Ingrid Pitt, most well known for her work in the Hammer films of the 60s and 70s passed on in the early morning of November 23rd due to heart problems. The beautiful actress got her start in 1964  and continue working in genre films into 2008. Most recognizable either nude or with a pair of fangs in her mouth (sometimes both), Pitt also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the World War II actioner Where Eagles Dare. While many of you may not be familiar with her work, she had a devoted following that lead to tattoos and busts of her likeness being created. If you’ve got a few minutes, just do an image search for her, which will hopefully prompt you to carve out 90 minutes and take a look at one of her films. Our thoughts are with her family, of course.

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Every Sunday in October, Old Ass Movies will be teaming with 31 Days of Horror in order to deliver a horror film that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like this. This week, Old Ass Horror presents the story of Dracula as seen through the beautiful, blood-filled eyes of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and the entire Hammer Family. Synopsis: Retitled for American consumption as to avoid confusion with Tod Browning’s Dracula, this is a straightforward adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original novel that became the basis for so many movies. Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) is turned into a vampire by the vicious Count Dracula, but when Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) goes to investigate, he finds the fiend has already fled his castle and is headed to inflict more pain on Jonathan’s family by attacking his fiance.

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oam-bloodofthevampire1

A non-vampire movie with the word ‘vampire’ in the title! A vicious mad scientist whose thirst for blood knows no bounds! He finishes where Dracula left off!

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31 Days of Horror

From the late 1950s through the mid-1970s, Britain’s Hammer Films made an indelible mark on the landscape of horror movies. These films bridged the gap between the rather tame films of the 40s and 50s to the more visceral, violent faire of the 1970s and beyond.

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