Fans of horror films, at least those who worth their salt, know that from 1958 to 1976 Hammer Films produced the greatest run of horror movies outside of Universal Pictures in the Thirties and Forties. Although shot on low budgets, the Hammer horror movies had a lavish look with striking colour. They also had the perfect balance of suspense, horror, violence, and even sexual tension (something the Universal classics could never capitalise upon).
This October Turner Classic Movies will be showing four classic Hammer horror movies every Friday night. It kicks off with one of the best Hammer movies of all time, their version of Dracula (1958) starring Sir Christopher Lee. Over the next several Fridays, viewers will have the opportunity to see The Devil Rides Out (1968-starring Sir Christopher Lee as a good guy for a change), The Mummy (1959), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and many others. While there are some notable omissions (I think they should have shown the original Quatermass Xperiment), TCM made some very good selections when it comes to the Hammer horror movies (indeed, my favourite, Brides of Dracula, is among them).
For those of you who have never seen the classic Hammer horror films, I urge to tune into TCM every Friday. The Hammer horror movies are pivotal in the history of horror. They were among the first horror movies shot in full colour. They were also among the first to actually show blood on the screen (although they tended to be very conservative in its use compared to later horror movies). Perhaps the biggest revolution they brought to the horror movie was, quite simply, sex. With films in general becoming more liberal in both the United Kingdom and the United States in the Fifties and Sixties, Hammer Films were able to endow their movies with a strong sexual undercurrent that was often lacking from many horror movies made after the revised United States Motion Picture Production Code was adopted in 1934. Most of the Hammer Films are very well made, so much so that the typical film buff who is not a horror fan can enjoy.
Below is a schedule of the movies TCM will be showing. All times are Eastern Standard.
Friday October 1st
8:00PM: Dracula (1958)
9:30PM: The Brides of Dracula (1960)
11:00PM: Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966)
12:45AM: Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968)
Friday October 8th
8:00PM: Plague of the Zombies (1966)
9:45PM: The Devil Rides Out (1968)
11:30PM: The Reptile (1966)
1:15AM: The Gorgon (1964)
8:00PM: The Mummy (1959)
9:45PM: Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
11:15PM: The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)
1:00AM: Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)
8:00PM: X: The Unknown (1957)
9:30PM: Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
11:15PM: The Damned (1963)
1:00AM: The Stranglers of Bombay (1960)
8:00PM: The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
9:30PM: The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
11:15PM: Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
1:00AM: Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969)