Friday, May 11, 2007

Bringing the Hammer Down

Variety reports that British Horror film icon HAMMER STUDIOS has been bought by a concern led by reality TV maven John DeMol.

They hope to resurrect the studio and its 300 plus library of titles. What worries me is the following from the article:

Reinvigorated Hammer studio --which hasn't done any production to speak of since the mid-1980s -- will be run by former Liberty Global execs Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper. Oakes played a leading role in brokering the deal.
"Hammer is a great British media brand that has lain dormant but lived on in people's imaginations. It is more intelligent and character-driven than traditional American 'goreography,' and we intend to capitalize on this and make it a global brand," Oakes said in a statement.

That highlighted statement indicates they don't know what they hell they have on their hands. Hammer succeeded by making horror films. They failed when they went off mission. Now we have guys in charge who are afraid to make horrifying movies, but...
Hammer was responsible for introducing sex and bloody violence into horror movies!
Their movies weren't subtle and off-camera like the Universal Monster series... these folks knew who they were making movies for, and what that audience demanded.
Now, in this press release/article, the term "character-driven" is being used as a euphemism for "high brow" or "art-house" or "intelligent"... and they are right, the Hammer movies are intelligent. They feature characters who are driven to suck the very life out of you, or driven to purge an entire town for killing a vampire who kept everyone in fear, or driven to push the boundaries of science into that of horror. They are intelligent in their consistency to instill fear and horror in the audience. Hammer movies are intelligent in that they are entertaining. They are good pulp, and good pulp always has great, memorable characters...
And John DeMol and company would do well to remember that and quit trying to "dress up" horror. It's doing quite well as horror.
For those youngsters in the audience who haven't seen a Hammer movie there is an excellent DVD set of movies available. Tell 'em your mad pulp bastard sent you...


Kelly J. Compeau said...

I greatly enjoyed the Hammer films and, like you, am a bit concerned about some of the statements they've made, Bill.


Piers said...

DeMol has money and smarts on his side. This is a good thing. There's a lot of brand equity in Hammer, and I'd love to see it back in action again.

But this isn't exactly the first attempt to revive the Hammer brand.

So I'm going to wait until I actually see some news on actual, you know, hirings in the trades before I get excited.

I'm not too worried. But I'm not exactly psyched about it either.