For the 30th anniversary edition of Eric McNaughton’s excellent We Belong Dead magazine, contributors were asked to write about their favourite horror films. Mine was an easy choice: Dracula, the 1958 Hammer production starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
The studio was to make several outstanding films over the ensuing couple of decades, but rarely did all the elements combine in such perfect balance as they did here, arguably the pinnacle of Hammer’s achievement in the realm of the Gothic. As a child, I succumbed easily to the film’s charms; Hammer had me in its grasp, and neither it nor Dracula has let me go since.
If you want to read the c2,000 words before it, or any of dozens of lavishly illustrated articles on horror films ranging from Häxan, Halloween and Psycho to The Wolf Man, The Wicker Man and The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, buy a copy directly from the We Belong Dead website.
Look out for my article on the 1956 film of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the upcoming ‘Euro Horror’ edition, too.
Mark Sunday 27 February on your calendars, Hammer fans! My friend and colleague Robert JE Simpson and I will once again be in conversation, this time with a special guest.
Dr Penny Goodman is an academic, lecturing in Roman History, but it’s her love of Hammer horror that brings her to In the Grip of Hammer 2: Beyond Hammer Glamour. On Twitter I’ve dubbed her ‘Queen of Hammer Subtext’ on account of her ever-fascinating and insightful observations, and so we’re delighted she’s joining us as we dig a little deeper into Hammer’s early vampire films. On Twitter Penny is @pjgoodman.
Robert JE Simpson is a historian, critic and cultural commentator – not to mention one-time official archivist for Hammer Films – with a particular interest in Hammer’s sister company, Exclusive. On Twitter he is @exclusivephd.
And I’m David L Rattigan, a writer and editor who’s utterly obsessed with Hammer horror films and has been tweeting on the subject – in preparation for some upcoming related projects, fingers crossed! – as @hammergothic on Twitter since 2020.
As with the last event, the conversation will be fairly informal, and we encourage interaction, so do come along to comment, ask questions and chip in with your own observations.
The livestream is an official Cinepunked event and is free to watch. Tune in to In the Grip of Hammer 2: Beyond Hammer Glamour at 8pm on Sunday 27 February on the Cinepunked YouTube channel.
If you missed the first In the Grip of Hammer, catch up below: