Wednesday, December 21, 2011


As a self professed book nerd with a penchant for one day transforming my living quarters into the poor man's horror version of Urban Outfitters, I LOVE coffee table books.  Over the past few years, I've been privileged enough to get my carny sized hands on plenty of horror goodies, but absolutely NOTHING compares to the beauty and sophistication of Marcus Hearn's series of books centered around The Hammer Horror franchise.  The first book, Hammer Glamour acted as a bit of an encyclopedia for the ladies of Hammer Horror films. The second book, The Art of Hammer was a portfolio of all of the iconic poster art throughout the years of Hammer films.  Now we are presented with The Hammer Vault, 176 stunning pages of history surrounding the legacy of Hammer Horror films, then and now.  We are given an inside view of some of our most cherished and favored films of yesteryear, as well as some little known favorites that may have left our brains.  To say that this book is breathtaking is an understatement.  I should expect no less from this series, but my God, this book is gorgeous.  

This isn't to act as a definitive encyclopedia on Hammer Horror, but it was written by the official Hammer Films Historian, Marcus Hearn.  This book showcases hundreds of posters, props, scripts, publicity materials, never-used poster art, photographs, letters, and production images from more than 80 films.  Hearn includes historical text along with all of the images giving the reader a little insight to what the production was like on the film, and attempts to shed some light on the groundbreaking and memorable films.  While many may not particularly enjoy hearing the trials and tribulations of how the production went, I find that information to be fascinating.  We often overlook what goes on behind the camera, and having a better knowledge of the production can help us appreciate the final product so much more.  If that doesn't sell you, maybe the pages from Peter Cushing's scrapbook will do the trick...

What I find myself most impressed by is the variety of the films included in the book.  Hearn didn't focus primarily on the years of using Playboy models as their actresses, but they focused on the transgression of the company as a whole.  Let Me In is even included as well as the Daniel Radcliffe starring remake of The Woman in Black.  When I say that this book covers it all, I mean it.  The book is truly a one of a kind gem and perfect for any horror lover.  If you enjoy Hammer films, this book is a must have. 

2 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Ah...those magical and truly halcyon days from the mid 50`s up to the mid 70`s when Hammer and Amicus (and a few other lesser known British film companys) used to produce some of the best and most incredibly rewatchable horror movies ever produced anywhere in the entire world, even now 85% of them still have the same magic that they did 45 or 50 years ago (i still never get tired of watching them on YouTube).

davidgoughart said...

I wish I'd have seen known about this sooner so it could have made it onto this years wish list. Now I have to steal a copy.

Great blog incidentally-you are helping to feed my horror movie addiction.

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