During the holiday months I like to browse the shelves at my local bookstore to see what film related books publishers have released in anticipation of the “season of sharing.” This year I spotted many of the usual suspects; a couple of oversized glamour photo books featuring glossy pictures of Hollywood legends from the ‘40s and ‘50s as well as biographies of some highly acclaimed directors and celebrities. What I didn’t expect to see was Marcus Hearn’s latest book, The Art of Hammer: The Official Poster Collection From the Archive of Hammer Films. Recently I’ve been mourning the loss of Hammer starlet Ingrid Pitt and director Roy Ward Baker who helmed some of the studios best productions including Quatermass and the Pit (1967) and Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971). Coming across Hearn’s book was a much-welcomed surprise and an unexpected treat for this Hammer fan and movie poster admirer.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather obsessed with Hammer movies and I’ve been a fan of the “Studio That Dripped Blood” for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t always easy to access information about these British horror films. Before I owned a computer I’d often find myself flipping through old horror film books and magazines in the hope that I’d spot some Hammer poster art for a movie that I hadn’t seen yet. Images like the ones featured in The Art of Hammer would set my imagination on fire and I spent hours trying to envision what these films were like under the sad assumption that I’d probably never get the opportunity to see them. Thankfully times have changed and many of the best films produced by Hammer are easily accessible on DVD but this doesn’t make Marcus Hearn’s new book any less enjoyable or important. I’m still amazed by the impact that a beautifully crafted movie poster can have. Some of the films never manage to live up to my high expectations, which are often colored by the sensational taglines, but these eye-catching posters are reminders of the studio’s creative flair as well as their ability to capture the imaginations of film viewers around the world.
Continue reading “From the Archive of Hammer Films” at Turner Classic Movies official blog: The Movie Morlocks