Researching Hammer Horror

Essay by JakSmitCollege, UndergraduateC+, August 2006

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'Hammer Film Productions' is a film production company based in the UK which was founded in 1934.

The films created by Hammer Films were cheap to create as a result of using cleverly designed, often second-hand sets and using British actors for lots of the roles.

Hammer Films enjoyed great success, mainly due to a variety of distribution partnerships made with major American studios such as Warner Bros.

The company stopped making films around the mid 1980's when the horror market became saturated and funding from American companies stopped.

Hammer Films produced a variety of different genres of film, but started making horror films around the mid 1950's.

Examples of major Hammer Horror productions include: 'The Curse of Frankenstein' - 1957, Dracula - 1958, The Mummy - 1959. Following these 3 main productions, a series of sequels were produced, six sequels were created for Frankenstein.

The British Board of Film Classification expressed extreme concern before the production of 'The Curse of Frankenstein' due to the fact that the script detailed strong violence and the film was to be shot in colour.

Hammer Films ignored the BBFC's advice and filmed the script virtual unchanged, it was a huge success and attracted interest from America.

Following the success of 'The Curse of Frankenstein', Hammer Films set about finding a new horror novel to recreate. It was decided that Dracula would be a good icon to recreate, yet there were big issues attaining the rights as universal had already created a number of popular Dracula productions. Universal was not interesting in funding the project, but finally agreed to let them have the rights in return for worldwide distribution rights.

The success of Dracula caused Universal to issue the following statement:

"Because of the fantastic business done world-wide by Hammer's Technicolor version of Dracula, Universal-International, its distributors, have made over to Jimmy Carreras' organisation, the remake rights to their entire library of classic films"