Being a horror obsessive in a big way, I have been aware of the return of the hugely influential much loved HAMMER studios in the last few years. They have returned rebranding themselves as ‘HAMMER’, now dealing with new films in production, books, and merchandise based on the many classic older films the studios in the UK are widely known for. To many people this was a wonderful but almost unbelievable return, but it did bring some hesitant concern over the kind of new movies it was to produce and new ventures it is pursuing as a larger brand now.
Right about now it is releasing what seems like a very impressive new film adaptation of the classic novel by Susan Hill, THE WOMAN IN BLACK starring Daniel Radcliffe from the HARRY POTTER series of movies. It has in the last couple of years put out another few movies including a well recieved successful remake of the foreign horror film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, retitled LET ME IN, starring CHLOE MORETZ, the dangerous little lady from the KICK-ASS movie.
With the HAMMER HORROR studios and their legendary films of the past, people have a certain concept of the kind of things they produced back in the day, all the way from the thirties to during their peak in the sixties and seventies wih fine actors including CHRISTOPHER LEE and PETER CUSHING. They were an infamous studio eventually known for shocking audiences and provoking, pushing censorship and horror in cinema radically.
Now returning after a couple of decades to full prominence and producing new varied products are they straying too far from the original values of HAMMER? They are still very clearly promoting the many classic movies like BRIDES OF DRACULA, THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, ONE MILLION YEARS B.C.,QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, COUNTESS DRACULA and more.
It is very good I personally think that they are now supporting and publishing horror books, which I see as in the UK often being under represented, or sanitised to an extent. They are printing books by some personal favourites and under appreciated authors of the horror genre like GRAHAM MASTERON and SHAUN HUTSON.
They obviously have a wide brave new outlook, but how much of it is successful and embraced by older fans and new ones will take time to see. I hope they continue as one of the strongest, boldest returning British producers and defenders of high quality horror for a long time ahead.