Many of you will know I am a massive fan of Hammer Films (see “Hammer Glamour et al” and “Countess Dracula RIP” in my earlier blogs on this site for two examples of my love of all things Hammer). Having said that, the Hammer I love is the Hammer of the 1970s – the kitsch, stylish, scary, sexy…unique Hammer of that particular era. Think: Ingrid Pitt, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Karnstein Castle and those mischevious Collinsons – the ‘Twins Of Evil’.
Hammer fans will know all too well that the studio went into decline after its 70s heyday and sadly ceased to exist altogether. Some of the classics were eventually released on DVD (thank goodness) but it seemed Hammer was set to become merely a footnote in British movie-making history. Until now, that is!
A new company has bought the rights to Hammer and has set itself the challenge of resurrecting Hammer Films – for a new era and a whole new generation. Can it be done? Do the new owners of Hammer fully understand the majesty of the heritage they have bought into? Time will tell and the jury is currently out. However, the latest news from the ‘new’ Hammer sounds very promising indeed.
In February 2012 Hammer Films is set to release a new feature film – starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter no less!). It’s a film adaptation of Susan Hill’s ‘Woman In Black’. An excellent choice for the first official Hammer full-length feature film to be shot in England in 32 years methinks. I’ve seen the stage adaptation of Hill’s novel twice (and it’s excellent btw) while the book is a taut and beautifully crafted traditional ghost story – properly spooky with shades of MR James and even the great Stoker himself. Add in a decent cast and a script by Jane Goldman (which hopefully won’t stray too far from the narrative) plus a period at which Hammer excels (horses and traps) and a setting at which Hammer excels (remote and misty countryside) and we have all the ingredients in place for a future Hammer classic. I can hardly wait!
If Dracula can rise from the grave, why can’t Hammer Films? Maybe it just has!