Special thanks to Jenna Bush for obtaining the quotes and pictures for us.
We all love Hammer horror films, don't we? Just this past October, TCM ran a great number of titles from the British studio's impressive canon...and I enjoyed every single one I clocked!
That being said, we're proud as punch to debut a slew of Hammer movie posters...the subject of which is documented in Marcus Hearn's new book "The Art of Hammer: The Official Poster Collection From the Archive of Hammer Films.(read our review here)" The book runs at 192 pages, published this month (Nov. 23rd) by Titan Books.
But it's not only the subjective posters we have for you below. Hells no! We also have words from Hearn himself...a brief description of each poster, as well as a few answers regarding why he chose to write the book in the first place. A lot to get to, so let's just dive right in...
About what Hammer Films mean to the film industry, Hearn claims:
"I think it's the most important brand in horror film-making in the world. And it's Britain's most successful independent production company."
Regarding why he put the book out now, he continued:
"Doing a book of Hammer posters had been in the back of my mind for a long time, in fact ever since we made our initial survey of the Hammer archive in 1996 and discovered that they had retained some great examples. It took a long time to get together simply because the photography, scanning and restoration was very labour intensive. In fact it took a whole team of us almost a year to complete."
And now's time to enjoy such labor. Enjoy your exclusive Hammer movie posters!
1. RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK/THE REPTILE
American Hammer posters were often more gimmicky than their British counterparts, influenced by the prevailing drive-in culture that just didn’t exist in England. This poster advertised the most notorious of all the gimmicks connected with a Hammer film – a cut-out Rasputin beard!
2. THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL
This film’s convoluted development is reflected in this unusual poster, which makes clear the fact that its ‘X’ certificate was awarded as much for its sexual content as its horror. The film was originally intended to star Laurence Harvey, and the design of this poster echoes the style of his breakthrough picture Room at the Top and other kitchen sink dramas of the period.
3. THE QUARTERMASS XPERIMENT
In 1955 distributors were wary of releasing a film with an ‘X’ certificate, considering that it made no commercial sense to exclude audience-members under the age of 16. Hammer took a gamble with their first horror picture, aiming for an ‘X’ and brazenly advertising the ‘adults only’ nature of the film on the poster. They never looked back.
4. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
By the time The Phantom of the Opera was released in 1962 Hammer were world-famous for their ‘X’ certificate horror films, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that the milder ‘A’ certificate was such an inconspicuous element of this poster’s design. The illustration by Renato Fratini was rarely seen in this unadulterated format, as the film was not a box-office success and was more commonly double-billed with the superior Captain Clegg.
5. HORROR OF DRACULA
This American one-sheet poster bears the US title of Dracula, and features an artist’s impression of the Count that bears no resemblance to Christopher Lee. The emphasis on ‘Brilliant Technicolor’ serves to distance the film from the black-and-white Universal movies, and the tagline acts as a dare to Hammer’s constituency of teenage filmgoers.
6. WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH
Victoria Vetri, Playboy’s Playmate of the Year 1968, takes centre-stage on this poster for Hammer’s prehistoric epic. Although a superior film to One Million Years B.C. in many respects, Miss Vetri couldn’t match the impact made by Raquel Welch in the previous film.