Thursday, August 27, 2009

Still around, guys, still around

Yes, I know, two months without a single blog post. Don’t know where the time has gone. I am not going to become the kind of person I hate most, the apologetic absentee blogger, so suffice it to say that life got in the way and I lost quite a bit of my writing mojo lately. I was never the most prolific writer anyway, but my only output over the last couple of weeks were just a small number of entirely non-Hammer related reviews that can be read here, here and here.

Given my little hiatus, where will this leave my own 999 Challenge?

I am absolutely in awe at the amount of writing that other bloggers have managed to create inspired by the format. Needless to say I am also likewise a bit pissed about how far behind I have been with it at this stage. It’s not as if I hadn’t seen all those films. In actual fact if all I did was to tick off the categories once I view a movie, then I’d have definitely finished some of those already, but of course the idea was to watch those films and then WRITE about it. And that’s where I am lagging behind.

The bizarre thing is that at the start of the year having this format got my mind nicely in focus with regards to future blog posts, however, once I stopped writing for a while it ended up somewhat less liberating. I am the kind of anal guy (I believe the technical term is “German”) who likes to stick to rules once established. So there I was watching some new (for me anyway) Hammer movies and then tracking my backlog of unwritten 999 reviews. In order not to let that backlog move on further, what did I do? Yep, stop watching films in some of those categories which is of course the polar opposite of what I wanted to achieve with the project.

So I guess I better remember that I had started this blog for FUN, to post some of my thoughts, share some of my passions and shoot the breeze with fellow fans. And if I end up not watching films I love just because I feel obliged to also write about them, then something went amiss. In other words I’ll do 999 when I have the time and inclination; I’ll ignore it if I can’t be bothered.

Will I swear that I’ll be back to normal writing mode from now on? Dunno, but I’ll try my best to get back into a regular writing habit especially as there are a number of exciting Hammer releases on the way.

As just about everybody who reads this blog knows, the book I am most looking forward to over the coming weeks is Marcus Hearn’s Hammer Glamour book.

Can. Not. Wait.

I am giddy with excitement over it.

Also check out this Barbara Shelley interview that the Daily Express published the other day prior to the September 25 release of the book.

Other interesting stuff coming our way over the next couple of weeks (courtesy of my buddies on the Yahoo Hammer Group, the Isle of the Dead and the Bloody Hell of Brit Horror):

September 21 will mark the release of three previously rare Hammer pictures: The Damned, The Camp on Blood Island and Yesterday’s Enemy. It appears that these releases are exclusive to UK’s Moviemail service. The Sword of Sherwood Forest has previously also been made available by Sony this year. Looks like there are less and less reasons these days to hang on to the bootlegs anymore and there are very few major Hammer movies still waiting for a proper DVD release.

Region 2 releases for Sony’s The Gorgon, Taste of Fear and The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll may also be on the horizon.

And speaking of Sony: October 20 marks the date of the Region 1 release of the new William Castle Collection that includes Hammer’s The Old Dark House together with some of Castle’s other classic and not so classic oeuvres like 13 Frightened Girls, 13 Ghosts, Homicidal, Strait-Jacket, Mr. Sardonicus, The Tingler and Zotz!

Something that up till now had completely escaped my attention was the fact that one of the recent Forgotten Noir volumes features Hammer Noir Scotland Yard Inspector aka Lady in the Fog with Lois Maxwell and Cesar Romero.

So all in all this is going to be a very interesting couple of weeks for Hammer Fans.

Oh, and check out the UK channel Men & Motors. Each night at 23:00 they are now showing the classic TV series Hammer House of Horror. I had previously only ever watched a single one of those shows all those years ago and recall that it didn’t impress me much. Now that I have started viewing the episodes properly I still can’t say that I am very impressed. Don’t expect a show by show recount here, but overall this is a very pedestrian affair and probably my least favourite entry in Hammer’s filmography, not because it is so bad (it really isn’t), but because it is so very very average.

Long story short: It’s good to be back.