Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hammer Book review and Christmas gift ideas

I recently was given the opportunity to write a review of the eagerly anticipated new book about Hammer, Wayne Kinsey's Hammer Films - A Life in Pictures, for the Den of Geek website. Being strictly limited to only 2500 copies this one is bound to quickly become a collector's item and rightly so as this is one fine production. If you still need a Christmas present for the Hammer Fan in your life (or if you are into a bout of self gifting), there is still time to order this before the big event.

Speaking of self gifting: I just received another Must Have for the New Year, the Official 2009 Hammer Horror calendar, another beauty that won't - for obvious reasons - be around for long. Each month is represented by a large poster of one of the classic Hammer Horror films followed by two images of those flicks. Some of the key Hammer staff's birthdays also get referenced, though the choices are somewhat random. From the actors we have Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as the obvious choices as well as Ingrid Pitt and Caroline Munro (this brought a smile to my face), from the directors we get Roy Ward Baker. No Terence Fisher, no Michael or James Carreras or Anthony Hinds, truly people that deserved to have been honoured with an inclusion more so than, I hate to admit it, my beloved Ms Munro. But anyway, that is just a minor bone of contention: The calendar needs to be on the wall no questions asked.

Other Christmas ideas for the discerning Hammer Fan are those box sets that have now been on the market for quite some time, but are still essential.

There are another two items that were only recently brought to my attention. Not sure how "essential" they are, but still worth mentioning. If anyone out there has any of those I would be very interested to hear opinions.

Hammer Horror - A Fan's Guide is a new DVD about Hammer. My understanding is that this is very similar to a Best of List without any actual film clips and instead opinions by Robert Simpson or Marcus Hearn (the fans) and is less than an hour long.

David Huckvale's Hammer Film Scores and the Musical Avantgarde sounds like a very intriguing read, but - again - I can't say I am familiar with the book, so would look forward to some comments about it.

1 comment:

Robert JE Simpson said...

Just wanted to clarify the format of Hammer Horror: A Fan's Guide. It is only about 48 minutes long, and takes the form of a top ten countdown of Hammer Horrors (no idea who picked the list, or how it was worked out to be honest!). Whilst there are no clips, there are a selection of stills, an introduction from Marcus Hearn and comments from myself, Alan Barnes (co-author "The Hammer Story"), Jonathan Rigby (author "English Gothic"), and Hammer veterans Brian Clemens, Roy Ward Baker and Jimmy Sangster.

Objectively it would have been nice to see some clips on the dvd, but it isn't a bad show and would be well suited with some edits to the likes of a BBC4 broadcast.