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Many Hammer Titles Restored And Coming To Blu-ray/HD - SOON!!

Merrick here...

This article's title pretty much sums up the matter, but below I've cobbled together a few pertinent details - ABRIDGED from an official press release.  

 

19 January 2012: In a landmark collaboration, Hammer today announced that STUDIOCANAL, Anolis Entertainment (Germany), Pinewood, illuminate Hollywood fka HTV and others are coming together to undertake a major restoration of the iconic Hammer film library. The project will bring over 30 movies into HD format for Blu-ray and new media exploitation in the 21st Century. 

Dracula Prince of Darkness is the first title scheduled for release in the global restoration project and will be released in the UK in conjunction with STUDIOCANAL in March 2012. The partnership continues throughout the spring for the releases of The Reptile and The Plague of The Zombies, and will also include The Devil Rides Out, Rasputin the Mad Monk and The Mummy’s Shroud during the course of the year.

Hammer will also release definitive versions of its three hugely-influential original Gothic classics in the UK: The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.

As well as featuring a fully-restored HD picture and restored sound, the remastered films will boast a host of newly-filmed extras, including interviews with cast members. These documentary extras are being produced by Hammer expert and historian, Marcus Hearn – author of the recent “The Hammer Vault”.

Pinewood Studios carried out the restoration of the first three Studiocanal titles after housing the original negatives for the films, restoring the original UK title sequence to The Plague of The Zombies as well as the UK title cards to Dracula Prince of Darkness.

Recently-discovered footage that was originally cut from the British version of Dracula has been restored by Molinare to the BFI’s 2007 restoration courtesy of The National Film Center at The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The Japanese footage features an extended and particularly gruesome death scene for Dracula, as well as a moment considered too erotic by the censors of the day.

Following the discovery and restoration of the Japanese footage to Dracula, Hammer is keen to unearth further “lost” scenes and on-set footage from The Curse of Frankenstein, The Mummy and other titles in their library, and hope that any private collectors with viable unseen elements will contact the company.

In addition, Hammer will regularly be posting to a “Restoration Blog”, which will give a unique insider’s view on the entire process, from material selection right the way through to release. The blog can be followed at: http://blog.hammerfilms.com

Other companies involved in the restoration project include Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging and Thought Equity Motion in the US and Cineimage and Deluxe 142 in the UK.

 

This is terribly exciting new to many film Geeks, and a long overdue development for a number of genre and/or film history aficionados.  I can't wait to see what these movies look like in HD...to see the new material they've unearthed, and hear updated perspectives on the projects via extras. Very cool.

In the meantime, while we wait for the Hammer HD onslaught to begin, I'd highly recommend two books about Hammer to tide us over-  both from Titan.  One is THE ART OF HAMMER (a collection of Hammer movie posters from over the years - available HERE) and the other is THE HAMMER VAULT - essentially a look at the behind-the-scenes materials pertaining to the making of vintage Hammer productions (letters, artwork, photos, etc.) -  and it's available HERE.  

 

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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 19, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    love hammer

    by danny von stietz

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Awesome news!

    by Jake Pantlin

  • in those films.which i have bought it btw.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    I recently found a copy of Child's Play

    by smackfu

    Ah, the nostalgia. I only ever saw it once as a kid, and it was the most batshit hour I ever spent with my family, as we sat there going 'what the hell are we watching?!' but too transfixed by it's weirdness to turn to another channel. I spent the next 20 years occasionally wondering 'what the hell was that weird movie with the walled up house and the green goo coming out of the chimney? Did I dream that?' Thank you, Internet.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    So are these actually being released in the United States

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Quartermass and the Pit recently came out over in the UK on Bluray, but so far no release date in the U.S.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Hammer = British version of Shaw Bros.

    by Bob

    Yes, I know. Totally different film genres, then again there's the Dracula and the 7 Golden Vampires, which blended the two. Still, so much classic horror from the house of Hammer. Hopefully Anchor Bay or some local distributor will be willing to release them in the US. Doesn't Warner still have the rights to the Hammer Dracula films? I've seen those 4 movie sets in Best Buy with at least 3 of the Christopher Lee Dracula movies on them.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Hammer = British version of Roger Corman

    by Rtobert

    Schlock-fest marathons that can only be enjoyed 'ironically'

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Fantastic news, now let us know when they hit Region 1

    by SoylentMean

    It's fuckin' 2012 and we still have this regional disparity between home video (and hell, even theatrical) releases? Fuck off studios! There's one example as to why people resort to piracy to get stuff. Impatience.<P> If they're gonna do this right I hope they take their time and release these stateside in late September or throughout October. <P> We're already getting the Universal Monsters on Blu around that time and I'm looking forward to an HD overload of Horror film awesomeness later this year.<P> Also, this is the best news I've read all day.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Sammy Davis Jr would love this.

    by Nerfee

    He was mad for Hammer. I believe he may have taken it too far, though. He apparently joined the Church Of Satan in the 1970s. (Robert Culp voice, now) 'Was Sammy Davis Jr genuinely evil? Or was he simply... HIGH-AS-BALLS?'

  • Some of these Hammer titles are hard to come by, at least in the U.S. My personal favorite is SCARS OF DRACULA. It's certainly not the most popular choice, but I love the brutality and I love the idea that these villagers fucked up trying to kill Dracula and as a result all the women in town are murdered in a church by vampire bats.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Hammer = British version of Roger Corman =HUH???

    by Samuel Fulmer

    No actually they're like big budget Universal horror films shot in color with more gore and eroticism. Other than the Poe films, most of Corman's stuff was slightly abover Ed Wood on the production side of things. With the Poe series of films Corman actually got closer to Hammer quality then Hammer ever did to Corman quality.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    creepy...

    by mojofilter

    Don't stop, don't you ever stop. Opinion.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I know it's an Amicus film but???

    by Samuel Fulmer

    How about a region 1 release of Dr. Terrors House of Horrors, and maybe the uncut version of Vault of Horror?

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    It's about bloody time (no pun intended).

    by Johnny Wishbone

    Now if we can only get "The Vampire Lovers" in HD so we can watch Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith lezzing it up!

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    can't remember the title

    by Guy Gaduois

    but pretty sure it was Hammer, only have one scene I remember . . . some very hot woman, hands tied over her head, hanging from a rope over a cauldron / container of snakes or worms. Remember the rest of the movie being very odd. Hammer calendar is pretty great. Remember as a kid staring wide eyed at the Hammer girls pictured in Alan G. Frank's "The Movie Treasury Horror Movies: Tales of Terror in the Cinema" book. Valerie Perrine's picture from 'Fahrenheit 451" is still etched in my mind. Good times.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Gotta See "She".

    by cookylamoo

    Even though that massacred the book. Ursula Andress was born to play the part.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Ingrid Pitt in HD?! Sign me up.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Sorry to see she passed on in 2010...

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Bring on THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF blu-ray!

    by ChezKing

    That's the one I'm waiting for!

  • Good selection of movies, but good luck finding a dvd player that you could watch them on.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    You Can't Touch This!

    by The E

    Hammer's Awesome, my favorite!

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST

    So whatever happened to...

    by eustisclay

    ...the Twins of Evil bluray that was due? And We also need Bllod On Satan's Claw.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    fustfick...

    by eustisclay

    ...Love Scars of Dracula as well. My personal favorite is Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. Saw it in a theater on a double(remember those?) with Valley of Gwangi. Times were different then but I remember people screaming at Dracula's revival. A year or so later saw a double bill of Taste The Blood Of Dracula and Trog!(God that was a fun double feature).

  • Sweet messy memories…

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 2:52 p.m. CST

    by magazoid

    OMG Please keep fighting you guy's are fucking hilarious. I'm not kidding.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Christopher Lee...still the scariest Dracula ever

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    STILL no Kiss of the Vampire?

    by RobinP

    What the hell? I'm still waiting for a DVD release for cryin' out loud.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Speaking of "Curse of the Werewolf" and Hammer Hotties...

    by captaincosmos

    Yvonne Romaine -- one of the VERY hottest Hammer Babes there was. Insanely gorgeous. This is exciting news, to be sure. Although I was just about to complete my collection of all the Hammer Dracula and Frankenstein titles on DVD -- now I'm gonna have to start swapping them out for the blurays. Sigh... Oh, and another great book about the history of the studio is "The Hammer Story" - also published by Titan. Got that and "The Art of Hammer" last Xmas. Truly awesome. "Hammer Horror! Hammer Glamour! Hammer Spectacular!" 'Nuff said...

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Bring on the Kensington Gore!

    by Jeff Myers

    All good films - curiously MORE dated than the Universal versions. Except the awful Frankenstein movie- they could just have duck-taped a shoe box on the 'actor's's head and covered his face in grease paint. Jack Pierce vision/version will NEVER be bettered. Personally my favourite was Olly Reed's Werewolf and Peter Cushin's Dr Syn. The extras sound great though!

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:50 p.m. CST

    @fustfick - re; Plague of the Zombies.

    by Jeff Myers

    It's not a great film. But it does have a brilliant dream sequence in a grave yard. Headstones, Dry Ice, Zombies . . . what more could you want?

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 3:52 p.m. CST

    robinp...

    by eustisclay

    ...Kiss of the Vampire is on dvd. Shoot, I've bought it twice, once as a stand alone disc and the other is included on a Hammer collection with Curse of the Werewolf, Evil of Frankenstein and 5 others.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST

    The House That Dripped Blood

    by Klytus_I.m_Bored

    Great fucking anthology movie. Christopher Lee seemingly playing the worst father ever until the ol' switcheroo there at the end. Good stuff.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 6:31 p.m. CST

    by Paul Paradis

    FACT!!! THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS!!!

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 7:39 p.m. CST

    What's a late 70's to early early 80's childhood without...

    by ufoclub1977

    ... a Saturday afternoon of UHF run Hammer films?

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Island of Terror gave me nightmares.

    by Bob

    Saw that when I was about 10 or 12. Creeped me the fuck out at the time. Got sick shortly after seeing it, had a 102 temp. Talk about your bad fucking dreams when sick. No it didn't scar me for life or anything. But talk about vivid memories.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST

    The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas!

    by KnarftheIndecent

    Great movie and have it on VHS but want a DVD.

  • Jan. 19, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    I have a fanboy boner right now.

    by JuanSanchez

  • Jan. 20, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Now this is genuinely cool news...

    by Stegman84

    Everyone needs more Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in HD in their lives, whether they know it or not. Now, if only we could get something similar happening with the Amicus stuff...

  • Jan. 20, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST

    samuel fulmer, on the Universal Hammer collection

    by Stegman84

    Yeah, I have yet to hear of anyone who ever got a perfect set of that, and didn't have *at least* one disc side or title that had authoring or playback problems. Gotta be up there with the worst dvd release botch jobs ever, though it was a mostly fantastic set of lesser praised Hammer titles.

  • Jan. 20, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST

    I have the Universal Hammer collection...

    by eustisclay

    ...and I guess I got lucky cuz I never had a problem with it. Just watched Curse of the Werewolf again for Halloween. I hadn't heard of any problems with the set. Now they'll probably start fucking up.