Archive for the hammer books Category

Countdown to Halloween: Free Zombies

Posted in halloween countdown, hammer books, the dead walked, the dead weekend, the walking dead, undead, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombie candy, zombies on 10/11/2012 by vincentstark

For two days only the first eBook in the Dead Walked trilogy can be downloaded for free from Amazon.

 

Get Over there and while you’re there pick up the second volume at the low low promotion price.

Vincent Stark, otherwise known as Gary Dobbs, presents a new look at the zombie story. A group of people trying to survive in a world gone nuts. Sound familiar. Of course.But Stark has injected his own elements into the story. A pregnant woman and a plot thread I’ve not seen in a zombie story before. The ending threw a twist in and sets up the next part of the story, coming soon.      Amazon Five Star Review

 

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Dracula V Dracula

Posted in dracula, hammer books, HAMMER FILMS, hammer horror, hammer horrors, Uncategorized, universal creature features, universal monster marathon on 08/06/2012 by vincentstark

There have been many movie versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but the two versions of the story that remain most iconic are those made by Universal and Hammer and both have their fans with each camp claiming one is better than the other. Bela Lugosi played Dracula in Universal’s famous 1931 version and Christopher Lee took the part for Hammer’s full colour update of Bram Stoker’s original novel, and fans are also divided over which actor is the definitive Dracula.
The fact is that both films are such classics that it is futile to argue that one is better than the other, because each have their strengths and weaknesses. And although I prefer Christopher Lee in the role, it must be said that Lee’s performance took much from Lugosi’s earlier work and indeed no matter which actor takes the role, and no matter how hard they try and stamp the role with their own personality, there will always be something of Lugosi in their version of the character.  Everything about Lugosi’s performance is carried forward in each and every version of the story since – his looks, his manner, the way the character dresses and the way he used his eyes to suggest some kind of hypnotic influence.

Christopher Lee was a much more menacing character in Hammer’s version but the film benefited from a relaxed censorship system and full colour. When Lugosi’s version was made colour was still a long way off, and indeed sound was only just starting to make an impact. Indeed the opening lines in Universal’s Dracula, spoken by Carla Laemmle are the first words ever spoken in a  Dracula movie. It is worth noting that when Dracula was released not all cinemas had been fitted to provide sound and a silent version of the movie was also released.

 

Incredibly Lugosi wasn’t first choice to play Dracula, indeed the actor wasn’t even in the running and Lon Chaney was the actor originally cast but his death from cancer meant the studio had to find another actor. Paul Muni, Conrad Veidt and Ian Keith (who?) were all considered before Lugosi was cast for the small fee of $3,500.
It is true that Hammer’s version is easier to watch than Universals, but that doesn’t hide the fact that Lugosi’s Dracula remains an important cinematic landmark.

Lee made more Dracula films than Lugosi’s and became the character for an entire generation, but it is only his first Horror of Dracula that can stand comparison with Lugosi’s iconic movie.

So which is best? Well, dude you need to see them both.

Hammer Horror goes Literary

Posted in hammer books, house of hammer on 02/21/2012 by vincentstark

Helen Dunmore, Jeanette Winterson and Melvin Burgess: not the first people you’d imagine signing up to write for publishing imprint Hammer Horror, home to bloodcurdling shrieks and helpless virgins. But sign up they have, and Dunmore, whose ghost story The Greatcoat is out in February, couldn’t be prouder. Horror, it seems, is going literary.

“I love telling people about it. They’re always very surprised,” says Dunmore, a former winner of the Orange prize and National Poetry Competition. “Hammer approached me, asking if I would like to write a genre piece. I was very captivated by the idea.”

Dunmore’s story is set in the winter of 1952, as young wife Isabel moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire. With her doctor husband out on call, she spends most of her time alone – until she is woken one night, freezing. She finds an old RAF greatcoat in the cupboard and sleeps beneath it for warmth; there is a knock at the window and a pilot, Alec, stands outside. “It’s a story of possession and it’s very creepy,” Dunmore says, citing The Turn of the Screw as her favourite ghost story. “I wanted my readers to be ensnared by the world that’s been created for Isabel, but to have doubts as well.”

Writing it was a challenge. “It’s very tight, because of the need to plot it in a certain way. I was writing at full stretch, using all my literary devices.”

Not so schlock horror after all, then. The Hammer imprint, part of Random House, launched last spring, but has so far largely published novelisations of classic films; the literary strand is new.

Meanwhile, Winterson’s 17th-century-set novella about the Pendle witches is due in August, and Burgess’s story of teenagers and ghouls is out in early 2013. “The interesting fiction at the moment is playing with genres, slipping between them,” says Hammer publisher Selina Walker. “So we’re approaching all the literary or established greats to see whether they would like to write something with a paranormal twist. It’s entirely up to them how they interpret that.”

Bang Bang, the bloodstained hammer

Posted in hammer books, HAMMER FILMS, hammer horror on 02/09/2012 by vincentstark

Hammer are to make three new movies a year including a new Dracula –  Don’t get too excited because that information comes from a 1980 press release from the company who had recently bought Hamden House which they intended to convert into another Bray Studios. None of that came to fruition, well apart from the new studios and a TV series, and it was a while longer before Hammer finally got back into feature film production but the golden days of the studio are now long behind us. That proposed new Dracula film would have brought Christopher Lee back to the role and would have been set in contemporary times because Hammer felt that gothic films had had their day. Alas none of this was to be and until the recent revival the last Hammer horror film was 1976’s To the Devil a Daughter which wasn’t really a financial success.

 

However given the success of Hammer’s The Woman in Black, a new Dracula movie is once again on the cards but it is extremely doubtful that Christopher Lee will take the role of everyone’s favorite vampire, thought he’d make a cool Van Helsing. These days the company is in the hands of Simon Oakes and are going from success to success under his guidance. Not only are they producing new genre films, and having great success with them, but the classic output is being lovingly transferred to new DVD and Blu-ray editions, and they even have an imprint for publishing horror novels, with Hammer Books. And only this week it was announced that Michael Sheen has been offered the leading role in The Quiet Ones,  unveiled to be the next movie from Hammer Films. In addition, Brit actor Damien Lewis is also said to have been offered a part.Based on a earlier script by Rampart/The Messenger writer & director Oren Moverman that has been re-drafted by John Pogue (Ghost Ship, U.S. Marshals), the horror is described as a ‘poltergeist movie’ by Hammer Films CEO Simon Oakes and which will start filming in May in South Africa.

 

We can’t really tell you much about it but we really are looking at it. I’ve been saying that we’d never remake the films per se, but we would do our own versions of it. Certainly in my time with Hammer we will definitely do a Dracula. We will do a Frankenstein if we can find a route in. It’s about finding a route in that makes it your film.” Simon Oakes

Hammer are healthy again which is a good thing for movie lovers – the studio may have considered its output to be B-movies but they  have become iconic and the very name conjures up images of gothic horror –  This studio may have lost all relevance when it started churning out big screen versions of popular sitcoms like On The Buses and Love Thy Neighbor, but no one really doubted that the studio would one day rise from the dead.

Hammer originally started out in the 1930’s when Will Hammer founded Hammer Productions. He was soon joined by Enrique Carreras and together they formed a distribution company called Exclusive Films. They produced a few comedies during the Thirties as well as a thriller The Mystery of the Mary Celeste which starred Hollywood’s Count Dracula, Bela Lugosi. But by the Forties Hammer were no longer producing films and it wasn’t until the two founder’s sons took control that the Hammer we know and love started to form. Right from the start James Carreras displayed a shrewd business mind and he reckoned that by ensuring none of their films had a budget larger than £20.000 and by making five films a year they could turn over a profit annually of £25,000. Hammer could not afford big name stars and so it was decided to concentrate on the domestic market and produce movie versions of popular radio  shows. They scored some success with versions of PC49 and Dick Barton but it wasn’t until 1955 and The Quatermass Experiment that Hammer really came into its own. And from there it was a hop, skip and jump to 1957’s, The Curse of Frankenstein, which gave Hammer its first real bite out of the lucrative American market. The film also started a cycle of gothic horror films for which the studio have become synonymous.

 

The Hammer Frankenstein and Dracula cycles went on into the Seventies and ended on a high point for the baron with Frankenstein and the Monster from  Hell and an all time low for Drac with The Satanic Rites of Dracula. However the Dracula movies led to an interesting series of films based loosely on the Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla story – The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire and Twins of Evil, but by now the boom years had ended and Hammer dwindled into a shadow of its former self. They’re fighting fit now, though.

So Hammer is dead, long live Hammer.

 

Hammer Films Website

All set to Hammer the eBook market

Posted in hammer books, HAMMER FILMS, hammer horror, hammer horrors on 01/23/2012 by vincentstark

Hammer Film Studios are on a roll at the moment and now the successful Hammer Books are set to make a big splash in the eBook market with a series of original novels which follow the run of novelizations of classic Hammer movies – To be released on February 2nd, the first book is The Greatcoat, described as “a terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story” from Helen Dunmore. Set in 1954, newlyweds Isabel and Philip Carey move to Yorkshire town of East Riding.There Philip establishes himself as a GP while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Feeling out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, including her landlady, she spends much of her time alone.

One cold winter night when her husband is out on call, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm.Wrapped in the coat she sleeps and is beset by dreams. She wakes to hear a knock at her window.Outside is Alex, a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in. His powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on hers …

Other titles will follow later in the year as well as more of the novelizations of Hammer classics