From the 1950s through the mid-1970s, Britain's Hammer Films churned out a plethora of low-budget yet solid-quality films in a style similar to the old Hollywood studio system. Next to Universal Studios in the 1930s and 1940s, Hammer released the longest string of horror thrillers in film history. As Universal launched stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, Hammer's horror catapulted character players like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to fame. Despite the product's thrift, there's tremendous craft in these films, from the writing and acting to set design and cinematography, and they still enjoy a cult following among horror aficionados. Ultimately, they're fun and entertaining. Originally released in 1997, Hearn and Barnes's deep history of Hammer has been updated and revised with extended info and many new, rare color pix.
Davies's 2001 Holmes title also has been updated to include new productions and now encompasses all Holmes-based films, from the silents up to 2005, with background detail, critiques of performances, and more. There also are portraits of favorite actors who have played the role, e.g., Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, and the creme de la creme, Jeremy Brett. The Holmes book is a bit of a specialty item (although there are lots of fans who'll love it), while the Hammer volume is solid for all film collections.