I was amused to read that Hammer Films is back in business with the news that Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe is to star in ‘The Woman in Black‘ for them. Rather like most of the characters featured in their movies, I’d assumed that the company was long since dead. But it seems they simply became the undead and were just biding their time until a fresh crop of victims came along. In their heyday (1955 to 1959) the films were considered quite scary, but compared to later shockers like’ The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and’ Nightmare on Elm Street’, there was more ‘ham’ than horror in classics like ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’. These films made stars of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and much later Ingrid Pitt, most fondly remembered for her role in ‘Virgin Vampires’ alongside Kate O’Mara.
As a teenager, singer/songwriter Kate Bush dubbed the screams for Hammer, and featured a song entitled ‘Hammer Horror’ on her second album ‘Lionheart’.
But what I found even more interesting is the news that Hammer have gone into the publishing business with a series of gothic horror novels. Award winning author of ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’, Jeanette Winterson is to pen a novella for them. Imagine the creative possibilities this opens up for the audio book versions of these horror stories. Let’s hope they can persuade Kate Bush to provide the screams . . . we haven’t heard much from her lately and as a big fan, I’d welcome any new sounds from her even if it is just a blood curdling scream of terror.