The Woman In Black

The Woman In Black

While British audiences continue to enjoy The Woman in Black on stage, horror institution Hammer Films alongside Momentum Pictures is releasing the theatrical version from the 10th of February.

Directed by James Watkins, written by Jane Goldman, and starring Daniel Radcliffe the film-version of this horror classic is set to frighten and disturb audiences all over the world. Here, let’s take a look back at some of the classic Hammer horror films that laid the pavement for British horror stories.
 
Dracula (1958)

One of the most iconic vampire films ever made, Hammer's first foray into vampire lore has become one of the most recognisable and famous of the cinematic adaptations of Stoker's novel. 

Hammer made seven sequels, and as explicit as the censors would allow in the day, Dracula was a groundbreaking and subversive punctuation in the neck of horror cinema. And not mention Van Helsing's memorable trick with the cross improvised from candlesticks.

The Devil Rides Out (1968)

Based on a Dennis Wheatley novel, Hammer's first foray into the realm of satanism proves to be a thoughtful and serious attempts to realistically portray the practice of magic.

Containing large doses of action and horror, the film is a constant battle of wits between good and evil resulting in a satanic tour de force wherein the heroes must survive a night of devilish oppression by satanic followers, a giant tarantula and the Devil himself atop a hellish steed.

The Devil Rides Out remains a genuinely chilling occult thriller, even after more than four decades.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Curse provides the perfect pairing of the dream team – Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. While Americans were under attack from wild teenagers and atomic monsters, the Brits usher in the return of gothic horror (and in graphic color, no less) with this indisputable masterstroke. 

The role of the duplicitous and brutal Baron is played masterfully by Cushing and Christopher Lee as the creature is shocking and brilliant.

Curse of the Werewolf (1960)

Considering the main focus of the movie resulted from a rape of a mute servant girl by a half man, half animal beggar, the censors objected to the visualization of both bare flesh and fangs onscreen simultaneously.

Leon’s only hope for redemption is true love, and we all know it’s not easy finding a girl who will put up with his type of moonlighting. 

Excellent performances, especially from Reed, help to make this a fascinating character study that shares little in common with most of its counterparts - aside from the requisite silver bullets.

The Mummy (1959)

Hammer's first stab at the shuffling Egyptian shambler sees Chris Lee undertake the role of the creature again and plays him as a far more pitiable monster and one that moves in a more hasty fashion.

The story is essentially the same as the Universal entries only with the addition of color and some brutal violence some of which was trimmed before the film was released.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Not completely horror, but close enough. This Sherlock Holmes entry contains enough elements of dread and terror to qualify as a horror film. Peter Cushing truly delivers a whole heartedly memorable performance rife with self assurance and witty banter.

A classic since the 1980s, this brilliant series can still be timelessly enjoyed today. A most unusual Hammer film, it would be the company's only Sherlock Holmes picture.

Dr  Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)

You know what a great idea would be? To retell the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde, only instead of turning into a child-beating monster, Jekyll would turn into a hot and murderous lady who liked to wear halter tops all over Victorian England!

A gender switching storyline lends the film some relevance and Ralph Bates shines as Dr. Jekyll who not only battles with leading something of a normal existence, but also with suppressing the murderous tendencies of Hyde, his evil half, here played with sexual glee by Martine Beswick.

Quartermass and the Pit (1968)

Hammer had already enjoyed success with two Quatermass films (in 1955 and 1957), based on the BBC TV serial, and returned to the sci-fi subject a decade later, with Andrew Keir as the subversive scientist of the title.

Here he gets involved with an excavation in a London Underground station, where he uncovers evidence of an alien spaceship and ancient satanic powers. It's a tense film, with an unrelenting pace and plenty of suspense.

The Woman In Black is out now