In the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s little production company called Hammer Films were making movies the other studios wouldn’t dare make: exploitation horror films. Hammer prided itself on releasing countless DRACULA and FRANKENSTIEN movies, trying their darnedness to squeeze blood, gore, and style on the smallest budget possible. But they knew that their main stars (Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) were going to draw in only so many viewers to these cheap horror romps, so they had to take their films to the next level—by featuring smokin’ hot starlets in scantily clad outfits who revealed as much cleavage as possible, without necessarily going all the way.
The company thrived on such films as 10,000 YEAR B.C., SHE, and SLAVE GIRLS, and priding themselves for being known by the level and amount of attractive girls they had in their films, so much so that by the 1960s,the term Hammer Glamour was coined, a term meaning what new pretty young thing will be next hottest star to be featured in a Hammer film. There’s quite the following behind these striking ladies of the B-movie silver screen, so much so that Marcus Hearn and Titan Books decided to put together an informative, glossy-paged coffee table style book in their honor, detailing each one’s history in film, and where their career went after they were given the silver screen treatment by Hammer. But is ‘Hammer Glamour’ worth having as a part of your coffee table collection? Read on to find out!
The most striking aspect of ‘Hammer Glamour’ is the numerous high-quality images packed in and out of every 2-page spread. Each page is filled with the glossiest and down-right striking images of the Hammer hotties (mostly just teases, though there’s a few nip-slips that sprinkled throughout if you look hard enough), from Ursula Andress to Raquel Welch, and everyone in between. No joke—if you have a favorite Hammer film, like DRACULA A.D. 1972, and in said film there’s a smokin’ hottie you always had a thing for but had never seen her in anything else, like Stephanie Beacham (above), then you’re in luck, because ‘Hammer Glamour’ has her, with images galore, and even a mini-bio about where she came from, what she’s done, and where she went after leaving the Hammer spotlight.
Fifty of Hammer’s classiest (and hottest) ladies are featured in ‘Hammer Glamour’ with an additional 25 given the single paragraph treatment (which is still quite comprehensive) with an accompanied headshot in the book’s Appendix. That’s right, there’s so many silver screen starlet’s in the Hammer universe that ‘Hammer Glamour’ required an Appendix. If nothing else, the author was about as thorough presenting the hotties of Hammer as one could get without getting slapped with a restraining order.
If you’ve heard of Shirley Ann Field, Yutte Stensgaard, Suzanne Leigh, or Yvonne Monlaur, and you’d like to know more about what happened to them after starring in THEBRIDES OF DRACULA, THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES,or DRACULA PRINCE OF DARNESS, then ‘Hammer Glamour’ is for you. It’s intended audience are those who fantasized about these women through the 60s and 70s, who showed up at the theater every other weekend for a chance to get a glimpse of something scandalous, but more times than not were only teased in the process. And because of this, I would have probably gotten more out of the book if I grew up in that generation. But alas, I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and Hammer had already closed up shop and done away with the scare business (for long, but not for good). Then again, checking out half-naked chicks, no matter what era they're from, always equals a good time in my book.
So while I enjoyed the stylized, glossy, and provocative images spread throughout ‘Hammer Glamour,’ I didn’t know more than a handful of the starlets featured, thus reading an entire biography of some unknown scream queen from the 60s didn’t do anything for me. I’ve seen a number of the Hammer flicks before, but keeping track with which DRACULA, FRANENSTIEN, or VAMPIRE movie they’re referring to proved that I’m not the Hammer connoisseur that I never tried to be in the first place. That said, for those who do know (or at least recognize) the hotties of that era and who know the difference between THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE and VAMPIRE CIRCUS, then ‘Hammer Glamour’ belongs in your home, displayed proudly on your coffee table, in hopes for the right guest to come along and provoke some horror film discussion, Hammer style. That, and the cover features the pasty big boobs of Madeline Smith—you can’t go wrong with those fun-bags!
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