Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros Years

The untold story of Hammer at Warner Bros, and the relationship that produced some of the British company’s finest films!

The classic Hammer films from Warner Bros are now finally appearing on Blu-ray. However, they have never received an in-depth exploration in any special feature or documentary. Now, the fascinating story is finally told in this unprecedented 90-minute documentary feature, HAMMER HORROR: THE WARNER BROS YEARS, written and directed by Marcus Hearn, Hammer Films’ official historian. The documentary features exclusive interviews with some of the key players from that period, as well as authors and historians like Sir Christopher Frayling and Jonathan Rigby. Also included are rare production stills, previously unseen film footage, Hammer’s original shooting locations, and access to previously unpublished archive documents.

History

In the 1950s Hammer, England’s world-renowned production company, initiated a new style of horror filmmaking that transformed the genre. At the end of the 1960s, the world that Hammer had helped to create was changing fast – the once-reliable business model was unraveling and audiences wanted something new from their films.

Amid this uncertainty, Hammer’s short-term survival was secured by an alliance with American distributor Warner Bros. The films the two companies made together are among the most renowned in Hammer’s history. Classics such as Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1970) and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) were produced alongside the Oscar-nominated epic When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970), the disturbing thriller Crescendo (1970) and the bizarre sci-fi western Moon Zero Two (1969).

The films became increasingly experimental in the 1970s, challenging the perception of traditional Gothic horror with Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).

Credits

Starring: Veronica Carlson, John Carson, Caroline Munro, Madeline Smith, Peter Sasdy, Nadja Regin, Renee Glynne, Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Joe Dante, Jonathan Rigby, Professor Steve Chibnall, Professor IQ Hunter, Kieran Foster, Denis Meikle, Wayne Kinsey, Gordon Thomson, Chris Cooke

Edited by Dima Ballin, Sarah Appleton, and Jamie Green
Additional Editting by Constantine Nasr
Camera Operator: Sarah Appleton
Original Music by Paul Taylor
Title Sequence by Chris Gavin
Additional Graphics by Peri Godbold
Colourist Jamie Green
Publicity Art by Mark Spears
Archival Footage Courtesy of Wayne Kinsey
Archive Scanning by Deluxe
Production Coordinator: Michelle Jaha
Consulting Producer: Constantine Nasr
Veronica Carlson & Joe Dante Interviews Conducted, Shot & Produced by Constantine Nasr (Rivendell Films)
Executive Producers: Dima Ballin, Kat Ellinger, Greg Petaludis
Produced by Dima Ballin
Written and Directed by Marcus Hearn

About Marcus Hearn

As well as being Hammer Films’ official historian and the author of numerous books including Doctor Who: The Vault: Treasures from the First 50 Years (2013), The Avengers: A Celebration: 50 Years of a Television Classic (2010), The Hammer Story (with Alan Barnes – 2007), The Hammer Vault (2011), Hammer Glamour (2009), The Cinema of George Lucas (2005), and the Rondo Award-winning The Art of Hammer: The Official Poster Collection From the Archive of Hammer Films (2010). Hearn has directed almost 20 special features for numerous Hammer Blu-rays and DVDs. This is his first feature-length documentary, and an ambitious examination of a fascinating era in British film history.