History of Horrors / Edition 440

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Overview

A History of Horrors traces the life and spirit of the "House of Hammer" from its fledging days of the late 1940s, through its successes of the 1950s and 60s, to its decline in the 1970s. Through the eyes of many of the studio's key players, and through the works of film critics and historians, the book paints a vivid and fascinating picture of the rise and fall of a film empire, offering what author Denis Meikle refers to as "the truth behind that legend."

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Editorial Reviews

Sun Sentinel
Reviews of previous edition:
..the Hammer tale is entertaining reading, as well as a valuable document. History of Horrors also does what a great film book should: It makes you want to see the movies again.
Burlington County Times
Reviews of previous edition:
With this well-researched book, Meikle examines the studio from its early successes, through its porfitable years and finally during its decline after more than two decades in business.
Bucks County Courier Times
Reviews of previous edition:
...a well-researched book...
Movie Collector's World
Reviews of previous edition
...endlessly fascinating. Anyone who has watched Hammer movies will like this...the major, and not so major, entries are covered in detail...it may be the best source ever on Hammer...footnotes are excellent and contain much that couldn't be shoehorned into the main text. Don't skip them. The illustrations are very good.
Film Review
There are plenty of books about the rise and fall of the House of Hammer but non so all-encompassing as this authoritative 1996 overview....a keenly researched chronology, which vigorously explores the making of such classics as The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Devil Rides Out, excavating a crypt load of fascinating facts and figures as it does so. Hammers' decline in the seventies was swift as its rise in the fifties, and all of this is grist to the tale told here, which is presented with an unswerving desire for the truth behind the legend. Film histories don't come much better than this.
Midwest Book Review
College-level film studies collection will find this documentary a vivid survey of the changing British film industry, with chapters considering both major productions and industry trends. Film studies collections with a special focus on British film will find it a fine addition.
— Paul Vogel
CHOICE
Reviews of previous edition:
For his sanguine and fascinating biography of the best-known British studio of fantasy and macabre, Meikle opened some cinematic crypts. An indispensable and worthy addition to every film library, Meikle has unearthed well-buried facts and given them new life.
Sight and Sound
...unmatched in making a gripping story...
David Whitehead
Reviews of previous edition:
...undoubtedly THE book for the Hammer aficionado.
Midwest Book Review - Paul Vogel
College-level film studies collection will find this documentary a vivid survey of the changing British film industry, with chapters considering both major productions and industry trends. Film studies collections with a special focus on British film will find it a fine addition.
Stage
Reviews of previous edition
...a very solid book, dense information, good judgment, and an eye for foible.
Little Shoppe Of Horrors
Reviews of previous edition:
Meikle has told the Hammer story like one of our best novels...Even though his work is research-based, it never reads like a stuffy, academic piece. In fact, this book's true greatness is in Meikle's eloquent, witty style that divulges his shrewd savvy and intelligence at work. Books about film studios do not get any better than this.
Filmfax Magazine
Reviews of previous edition
...not only the answer to every Hammer fan's dream but also one of the best books written about any film studio.
Choice
Reviews of previous edition:
For his sanguine and fascinating biography of the best-known British studio of fantasy and macabre, Meikle opened some cinematic crypts. An indispensable and worthy addition to every film library, Meikle has unearthed well-buried facts and given them new life.
Samhain
.Reviews of previous edition
...is of much use to the avid Hammer fan...
Crimson
Reviews of previous edition:
...a labour of love for its author. Meikle has succeeded in digging up fine details about the making of the studio's classic chillers. Meikle's prose is enthusiastic and engaging...
Dark Terrors
Reviews of previous edition:
A long time in the making, but the result more than compensates...compulsive reading...a fascinating, well-researched study which offers a unique insight into the company's key figures...
Shivers
Reviews of previous edition:
...a gripping read, painting a vivid portrait of the corporate horrors in which Hammer became increasingly mired as the years passed...Meikle deftly sketches in the profound social changes which occurred during Hammer's supremacy...splendid — close to definitive...
Video Watchdog
.Reviews of previous edition:
..far and away the best book I've read about the business of making horror films...compulsively readable.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Reviews of previous edition:
Finally, a creditable author, with access to private files and previously hidden data, has taken the Hammer saga and distilled it into a superb book...[it] is, without reservation, the best film history book in at least a decade, a compulsively readable account of a dream factory whose fascinating output was unique in the world of cinema...[Meikle's] style—articulate, balanced, engaging —invites us into a world to which outsiders are denied access, and examines it with a skilled reporter's thoroughness. History of Horrors does what a great film book should: It makes you want to see the movie again.
Little Shoppe Of Horrors
Meikle has told the Hammer story like one of our best novels...Even though his work is research-based, it never reads like a stuffy, academic piece. In fact, this book's true greatness is in Meikle's eloquent, witty style that divulges his shrewd savvy and intelligence at work. Books about film studios do not get any better than this..
Filmfax
...not only the answer to every Hammer fan's dream but also one of the best books written about "any" film studio..
Choice
For his sanguine and fascinating biography of the best-known British studio of fantasy and macabre, Meikle opened some cinematic crypts. An indispensable and worthy addition to every film library. Meikle has unearthed well-buried facts and given them new life..
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810841895
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/30/2001
  • Series: Scarecrow Filmmakers Series , #51
  • Edition number: 440
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Denis Meikle, a former graphic designer and a one-time film critic, is now a full-time author.

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Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
1 The Rebirth of Frankenstein 1947-1957 1
2 New Blood for Old 1957-1959 49
3 Diminishing Returns 1960-1962 107
4 The House of Horror 1963-1969 171
5 Last Rites 1970-1979 227
After the Fall 291
The Spirit of Hammer 295
Notes 299
Appendix 1 The Hammer Horrors: Cast and Credits 311
Appendix 2 Hammer Filmography 1946-1979 383
Bibliography 401
Index 403
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