During the 1950s through 1970s, name Hammer was synonymous for gothic horror. This British movie studio churned out hit after hit based on filmdoms most famous monsters. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing became stars playing multiple roles during Hammer’s 20-year reign.
Here is a sample of the best of Hammer Horror:
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)-After years of producing low-budget comedies and drama, Hammer launched this, the first in a series of Gothic horror movies. Cushing played Baron Frankenstein with Lee as the monster. To avoid legal issues, the monster was designed to look much different than the 1931 film.
The Abominable Snowman (1957)-Cushing plays a British scientist who joins an expedition to the Himilayas to search for the legendary Yeti.
Horror of Dracula (1958)-Closely following the Bram Stoker novel, Cushing stars as Dr. van Helsing opposite Lee as the famed vampire.
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)-Cushing returns as the doctor who, after escaping execution, resumes his deadly experiments. This film used many of the sets from Horror of Dracula, common with Hammer productions.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)-The popular Sherlock Holmes story gets the Hammer treatment with more suspenseful and horrific elements added. Cushing plays Holmes with Christopher Lee as Sir baskerville.
The Mummy (1959)-Lee playes the title character, an Egyptian high priest who rises from his tomb to seach for his reincarnated princess. Cushing played the archeologist leading the expedition.
The Brides of Dracula (1960)-Cushing reprises his role as van Helsing, battling a young vampire, his mother and two sexy brides. Dracula, however, never appears.
The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)-Hammer revamps the wolf man legend with Oliver Reed, as a man who learns that his bloodline is cursed. Watch out for the full moon!
The Phantom of the Opera (1962)-Herbert Lom plays a hideously scarred songwriter who haunts the London Opera. This version strays far from the source novel but makes up for it with high production values.
The Maniac (1963)-Hammer Studios produced several low-budget psychological thrillers during the early 1960s. Others include Paranoiac (1963) and Hysteria (1965). These seem to stem from the popularity of the more mainstream Psycho (1960).
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)-Once again, Peter Cushing plays the doctor, but this time the monster (played by wrestler Kiwi Kingston) more closely resembles the iconic Boris Karloff character.
The Gorgon (1964)-Hammer taps into Greek mythology when a Gorgon (the legendary creature with snakes instead of hair) haunts a small village.
The Nanny (1965)-Bette Davis stars as a creepy caretaker for an equally disturbed boy. Aside from their own stable of actors, Hammer often used once-great Hollywood stars for marquee value.
Dr. Jekyll and SIster Hyde (1971)-Based on the famous Robert Louis Stevenson story with a gender-bending twist. Known mostly for is lurid male to female transformation scene.
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)-Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee reunite in their respective roles of Prof. Van Helsing and the Count after many years. This is an attempt to update the series, set in modern day London.
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)-Cushing and Lee team one last time in this odd mash-up of Hammer Horror and martial arts movies. Van Helsing joins a group of kung fun fighting brothers to battle Dracula.
Many of the Hammer Horror films are available for checkout. Which one is your favorite?