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INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Olive Signature Blu Ray )

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956,Allied Artists) Blu-ray (Olive Signature ) 81 min  N/R.   $29.95 limited to 5,000 units  https://olivefilms.com/product/invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-olive-signature-blu-ray/  

“They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next! You’re next”  This chilling phrase, ranted desperately by actor Kevin McCarthy at the original ending of the classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS still sends chills through audiences experience the film 62 years after it was released.

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A 1950s classic science fiction film that reflected the paranoia of the period to “The Other “ , that is people who look and sound like us , but are soulless monsters.  What is interesting is that both sides of the political arena claim that the film supports their world view ideals, whereas the filmmakers seemed to have merely been trying to create a more intelligent and adult thriller in the genre.

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For the few who have yet to see this gem, an hysterical man is brought to a hospital ,and as he begins to explain how he got there , we flashback to see .

In small town Santa Mira Dr Mile Bennell (Kevin McCarthy , in his iconic film role)and his former girl friend Becky (Dana Wynter)are finding more and more people are saying that friends and relations are no longer who they say they are, but have been replaced by imposters.

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 They learn to their horror that people are indeed being replaced by pod people, that is to say ,huge seeds that ,when placed near a sleeping person, open up and assume the visage and persona of the sleeper, save without emotions.

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Fleeing for their lives, the couple  hide within a cave. Benell goes to explore and finds that the pods are being grown and distributed.  Returning to the cave, he finds that Becky has fallen asleep and is now a pod person.

In shock , he races away from persuers into major traffic, screaming a warning to those within their vehicles.9434cb8f54fdb45da6276f25c79e2c96

Returning back to the hospital, the attending physicians feel that Bennell is delusional, until an accident victim is brought in, having had an accident with a truck carrying unusual oversized seed pods.  The doctors rush to warn the police ,as Bennell slumps down, exhausted but hopeful that the invasion will be stopped.

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Based upon a serialization that appeared in Collier’s Magazine as “The Body Snatchers” by Jack Finney , producer Walter Wanger saw something unique in the story and purchased screen rights before the serialization was completed .

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Wanger had been a busy producer ,active in theatre and film since prior to the U.S. entry into WW I.  Some of the classic films that he produced were STAGECOACH (U.A/Walter Wanger Productions,1939) and Hitchcock’s FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (U.A./Walter Wanger Productions 1940). In 1951, after a series of expensive failures ,Wanger was involved with a scandal wherein he shot his wife’s agent when Wanger suspected the pair were having an affair (Wanger’s wife was actress Joan Bennett).After a short prison stay,Wanger was anxious to jump start his career.  His first effort was the successful RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 ( A.A.,1954). Due to the success of that film, A.A. greenlit ‘Body Snatchers “(which went through various titles, including “Sleep No More”,a title also considered for the 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD(Walter Reade/Continental).

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INVASION OF THE was added to the title (to differentiate it from the RKO THE  BODY SNATCHER (1945, Val Lewton’s classic ,starring Karloff,Lugosi,Henry Daniell,directed by Robert Wise) and production was greenlit.

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An agreed upon budget of $454,864 and a 24 day film shoot was agreed to, before it was slashed by the studio to 20 days ,and a budget of $350,000.  That precluded a name star, but worked perhaps in the film’s favor, as not following known stars kept us focused on the reality of the story .

The cast chosen was also first rate, and brought real life to the characters who they portrayed. Don Siegel (who directed two Academy Award winning  shorts in 1945, was a slick ,efficient, no nonsense director who knew how to build suspense.

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The finished film was considered too bleak for the A.A. execs, who sent the film back for additional filming. The opening and closing scenes, set within a hospital, have the exhausted Dr Bennell tell his story, then at the end  barely avoids being committed when it is reported that an accident spills pods across the road, having the doctors begin to call to help perhaps stop the invasion.

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The final film was still considered somewhat cerebral, and many read political commentary into it’s story .Filmed during the height of the McCarthy /HUAC hearings, both side of the issue interpreted the film to represent THEIR point of view.

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Though well reviewed, the film was treated as nothing more than a science fiction programmer. It was paired with the British thriller TIMESLIP (1955,Anglo Amalgamated, released in the U.S.  by A.A. as THE ATOMIC MAN ) or the Lon Chaney Jr . starrer  reworking of MAN MADE MONSTER (1941,Universal) called THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN (1956,A.A.).

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The film started being reappraised due to it’s many television airings in the 1960s ,with many people catching this creepy film just before they went to bed, making it even more frightening.

It has been remade several times (1978 UA  ,BODY SNATCHERS ,1993,WB, THE INVASION ,2007 WB)with various degrees of success and failure ,as well as many other spoofs, rip offs and parodies .  The term “pod people “ has entered our common vernacular ,so that even people who have not seen the film know it refers to an unemotional person ,and or imposter .

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The film has been released on VHS as well as DVD from studios like Republic and NTA, as well as on DVD .s-l640

Olive Films released a previous DVD and Blu Ray of the film in 2012 without any extras, but now the movie has gotten the OLIVE SIGNATURE special edition treatment, and it is indeed transformative.

Licensing the film from Paramount ,OLIVE FILMS had previously cleaned up the film and presented it in the 2:1 SUPERSCOPE process forced upon the producers by the studio. The film was filmed and framed as 185, but the studio stretched out the image for the process.

Basically, previous versions were cropped . Olive Films presented the film as it was seen back in 1956.

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The image on this Olive Films Signature Release is 1080 p  with beautiful dark blacks and clean whites without being washed out, and subtle gray scales in between . The audio is a rich 24 bit DTS-HD mono sound

OLIVE FILMS initial release was extra free . The new SIGNATURE release makes up for that.

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First off is the new informative but never dry running  commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith. Smith has so much information that one suspects he got into a time machine to visit the set and report on every event in the preparation, production and release of the film. That , or he is just a brilliant researcher, who delivers his audio comments in a clear calm(but never dull ) manner .

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An older commentary that  is lifted from a previous release of the film which features stars Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter , hosted by superfan and filmmaker Joe Dante.

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 “The Stranger in Your Lover’s Eyes” – A two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father’s book A Siegel Film (Faber & Faber (October 1, 1996)).

‘The Fear is Real “ Filmmakers and superfans Larry Cohen and Joe Dante discuss how the film has affected both our culture as well as many films that followed.

‘I No Longer Belong The Rise and Fall of Walter Wagner” film scholar Matthew Bernstein discusses how Wagner went from Broadway to film, and how shooting your wife’s suspected lover in the groin can be pretty detrimental to your career.

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‘Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited” McCarthy  & Wynter appear on camera to share memories on the film ,with additional comments by superfans and filmmakers John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon .

 

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“The Fear & The Fiction : The Body Snatchers Phenomenon” -McCarthy,Wynter, Landis,Garris,and Gordon discuss the importance and influence  of the film in cinema history.

McCarthy in a 1985 tv interviewing talking on a local  California cable  talk show .McCarthy is quiet and humble in his interview , and mentions his one man stage show “Give “Em Hell, Harry” ,in which he toured on and off for 20 years.

“Return To Santa Mira” -What remains and what is gone at the location since the filming (hint don’t look for the train station!).

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‘What’s In a Name?” The various titles bandied about for the film during production and continuing until it’s release.

A collection of rare production documents, including the originally planned opening narration which producer Wagner wished to have read by Orson Welles  (which seems inspired by H,G, Wells opening of the novel WAR OF THE WORLD ).

An 8 page booklet essay examination of the film by author film programmer Kier-La Janisse

The original Theatrical Trailer.

This is a Must have Must get Blu Ray of this classic film.

Don’t be a pod!

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION !

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

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Other OLIVE SIGNATURE TITLES include

THE QUIET MAN  (reviewed  https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/the-quiet-man-olive-films-signature-blu-ray/ )

BOUND (reviewed https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/bound-olive-signature-blu-ray/ )

 

Other Olive Film Releases include

THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST             https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/the-vampires-ghost-republic-1945blu-ray-dvd-from-olive-films/

SABOTAGE  https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/sabotage-1939/

ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING  https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/one-of-our-aircraft-is-missing-olive-films-blu-ray/

MACBETH (1948/1950 Republic)   https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/orson-welles-macbetholive-films-blu-ray/

RETURN OF DRACULA   https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/return-of-dracula-blu-ray-olive-films/

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2018, Blu Ray, crime drama, David Tennant, Dean Devlin, dvd, Electric Entertainment, film, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent, Mystery, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, Serial Killer, streaming, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

BAD SAMARITAN

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BAD SAMARITAN is a superior example of the serial killer thriller genre.

Opening in 2000 theatres in May 2018, the film did not do well in its three week run ( making only $3,435,047 ) . It’s distributor , Electric Entertainment, who produced several television  and theatrical  co productions) has released three motion pictures ,all of which had high profile stars (BLACKWAY starring Anthony Hopkins in 2016; LBJ directed by Rob Reiner and starring Woody Harrelson in the title role in 2017; and now this film) but have not registered a blip on the radar financially.  The real shame is that two of them films(I have not seen BLACKWAY to honestly comment) are superb motion pictures.

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Back to BAD SAMARITAN . Directed by Dean Devlin (INDEPENDENCE DAY) with  true style , and a clever screenplay by actor writer Brandon Boyce ( his skill as a thriller writer were in full view in  his adaptation of Stephen King‘s APT PUPIL ,Columbia,1998), the film, set in present day Portland Oregon ,makes full use of modern technology .

 

Bad-Samaritan-Robert-SheehanAmateur photographer Sean Falco      (Irish  actor Robert Sheehan , who appeared in Devlin‘s noisy but empty  GEOSTORM ,WB/Electric ,2017)  also  works with his best friend Derek (Carlito Olivero , who began in show biz  as a lead singer in a revamped Menudo ) parking cars at an upper class restaurant. This job also allows them to pilfer the homes of those in the eatery, since it is obvious that they are not home, often using the victim’s own cars to drive to and from the burglary! Sean takes mostly items that won’t be noticed ,such as photographing a gift card’s info and number, as  the card itself isn’t needed to purchase items online.

 

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One day a rich self centered Cale Erendreich  (an absolutely terrific David Tennant, making one forget his DR WHO persona for BBC TV from 2005-2010) drives up in a $200,000 Maserati ,and his attitude spurs  Sean to go to Cale’s home and rob it.  However, when he breaks in, he finds a woman bound and gagged (Irish actress Kerry Condon ,from AMC tv‘s BETTER CALL SAUL ,2015-present). He ungags her but she points out that the house is wired to be control and surveilled remotely by Cale from his phone . In a moment, Sean gets fearful and yells I’m sorry to the imprisoned woman ,and flees.

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         Ah, the glamorous life of a film actress. 

Getting the car back to a waiting Cale, a guilt ridden Sean contacts the police, which brings him to the attention of Cale . Cale decides that Sean needs correcting ,and thus begins to systematically destroy everything that the young man cherishes , while the police find Sean’s stories less than credible, especially when they check out Cale’s home and discover nothing. Bad-Samaritan

 

The tale becomes then one where not only must Sean try and save the unknown woman, but he must also try and hang onto his own existence. Bad-Samaritan-movie

 

Interestingly, three of the main leads are from the U.K., with Tennant and Condon  mastering American accents, while Sheehan is allowed to use his natural Irish accent).

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Cinematography by David Connell (who had worked with Devlin on the tv series, THE LIBRARIANS( Electric , 2014-8) is sharp ,and makes marvelous use of cold blues as well as sterile clean white rooms . The music by Joshua LoDuca   ( tv’s ASH VS THE EVIL DEAD  , Renaissance/Starz,2015-18)is quite superb at underlining  and supporting the suspense ,with several well placed stings to accentuate jump moments.

 

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 Is he more creepy dead eyed and emotionless? 

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or more creepy smirking ?

 

91ycMi9TkHL._SX385_The film is definitely worth seeking out, and has been released on DVD and Blu Ray from Sony Home Entertainment.  The Blu Ray is Region A ,and features a running audio commentary by Devlin and Boyce, as well as deleted scenes as well as optional subtitles.

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It can also be rented/ purchased on AMAZON PRIME (available for free viewing to Amazon Prime Subscribers.  https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Samaritan-David-Tennant/dp/B07F1P5L19/ref=tmm_aiv_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Seek out the BAD SAMARITAN, and pray that he does not seek YOU out.

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-HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Kevin  G Shinnick

 

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HAMMER FILMS is 83

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A quick overview /tribute.

November 1934; 83 years ago,
HAMMER FILMS began .
In November 1934 comedian William Hinds, founded Hammer Productions Ltd. at Imperial House, Regent Street, London. The company name came from Hinds‘ stage name, Will Hammer, which he had taken from the area of London in which he lived, Hammersmith.
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Their first film was THE PUBLIC LIFE OF HENRY THE NINTH (released in 1935). The title references the hugely popular Alexander Korda film THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII (1934).  Sadly this 60 minute quota quickie ,is a lost film .
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In May ,1935 Enrique Carreras and Hinds co founded Exclusive Films Distributors , moving offices to Wardour Street. This would allow them to handle distribution of their own films and that of others.
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                                                           Enrique Carreras
Hammer then took it’s first step into the genre that it would be best known for.
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THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE (aka PHANTOM SHIP in the U.S.) starred Bela Lugosi .Inspired by an actual mystery from 1872, Lugosi plays a character who goes mad (naturally). The American print is 18 minutes shorter , but is thought to be the only version still extant .
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Hammer also made SONG OF FREEDOM (1936), starring the great Paul Robeson , but these two films, with which Hammer hoped to enter the lucrative U.S. market ,were more expensive ,and so the studio  went back to program quickies like the caper film THE BANK MESSENGER MYSTERY (1936) and the musical comedy SPORTING LOVE (1937,based upon a 1934 stage show of the same name that ran 300 performances in 1934).

 

In late 1937, Hammer Films  declared bankruptcy ,but Exclusive continued distribution of other filmmakers’ product .
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After WWII, Hammer resumed production again with more second features  like DEATH IN HIGH HEELS, 1947.t26069
They licensed popular radio dramas and turned them into popular features ,such as The Adventures of PC 49 and Dick Barton.

 

In 1951, they made a deal with American distributor Lippert, who distributed the films in the U.S. ,while supplying an American star . This was both an inexpensive way for Lippert to get product, while giving the British studio exposure in the U.S. and a star name to differentiate their product from other British B films.
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In 1955, they made a deal to adapt the  hugely popular television serial THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT ( first aired in 1953). To emphasis the “x” rating , Hammer dropped the “e” ,releasing the film as THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT. 2qdq649
The film was a huge hit, and led Hammer to start making more films in the science fiction/horror genre . The studio had no love for the market, and indeed ,had they discovered they could make successful musicals, they would have produced them. room to let
                               ROOM TO LET (1950)- not a musical.

Realizing that Frankenstein was in the public domain , they hired popular tv actor Peter Cushing, plus a tall relatively unknown jobbing actor named Christopher Lee (when popular Bernard Bresslaw asked for too much money) ,and lighting struck, bringing to life the monster we now know as Hammer Films to an international market with their signature film, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN ( 1957).

Their place in cinema history was sealed the following year when they paired the Cushing with Lee ,giving the latter the title role in DRACULA /HORROR OF DRACULA(1958).
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Throughout the 1960s, Hammer was the studio for horror.  Though making films in other genres ,including mysteries and swashbucklers, the staple was supplying new thrills to audiences .
In the 1970s, tastes began to change , and Hammer tried to keep up, while still trying to produce the type of film that had made them popular.  It was a near impossible task, but Hammer had some successes ,and indeed , produced some of their finest films during this period.
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With British film production going through one of it’s periodic dry periods, as well as losing their American distribution deals, Hammer had a harder time producing films. They turned to television once again ,producing comedies that turned out to be some of the biggest hits in the U.K. that the studio had ever  produced. However, they didn’t travel well to overseas markets.

The studio tried co productions with The Shaw Brothers, who were producing the very popular martial arts films of the period.  What the British filmmakers discovered was was how primitive the conditions were for their style of film making ( it was difficult to record live sound,due to studios with tin roofs!) ,and after two films , the very disappointing SHATTER  as well as the interesting LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES ,they once again looked to other sources of finance (both filmed in 1974 , but given very spotty releases).

 

Hammer made another big budget film thanks to German investors and EMI ,adapting Dennis Wheatley‘s TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (1976) . Once again ,bringing in a major Hollywood actor(Richard Widmark,who was not happy with the production), it is an ugly looking production , the most notable exception being it  introducing the world to Nastassja Kinski (who had , though ,already a career in modeling as well as appearing prior in Wm Wenders’ THE WRONG MOVE ,1975). The  ending  of this film  leaves most people confused and /or angry.

 

A lot of other productions were announced but never made ( Kali: The Devil Bride of Dracula ; Nessie ),until the 1979 remake of the 1938 Hitchcock film, THE LADY VANISHES.

 

Once again, some major Hollywood stars were brought in (Elliot Gould,Cybil Shepherd) as well as Angela Lansbury and Herbert Lom .  The film , a costly £2.5 million ( raised thanks to a deal with Rank ) , the film was given mixed reviews, but did decently at the box office. However, it was not enough to save the studio . and it ceased theatrical film production ,being taken over by Roy  Skeggs & Brian Lawrence.
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Hammer ‘s name still had viability, and ,in conjunction with ITC (as well as Skeggs/Lawrence‘s own Cinema Arts),  HAMMER’S HOUSE OF HORRORS produced 13  53 minute episodes for television in 1980.  This was not Hammer‘s first attempt at television, having produced a failed tv pilot for Columbia in 1958, TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN , as well as the 1968 17 episodes series JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN .
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The follow up , HAMMER HOUSE OF MYSTERY & SUSPENSE in 1984   ,were longer (70 minutes ) but only 13 episodes were made, and time slots shifted so audiences who would have enjoyed them had a hard time finding it, and so it was considered a failure.  
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It seemed Hammer only existed now in licensing productions for television airings, as well as leasing to the growing cable television market as well as home video.
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Over the next few decades, rumors kept surfacing that Hammer was returning in some form or another, to produce direct to video product or medium budget theatrical or
cable films.
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Finally , Big Brother creator John De Mol acquired the assets of Hammer, including the name ,and re-launched the studio under CEO Simon Oakes in 2007.
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Their initial production got a lot of press , as it premiered as a multi part series on Myspace .  Called BEYOND THE RAVE (oddly referencing rival  Amicus ‘ studios final anthology horror film, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE, 1973), this 2008 production was released in twenty four minute installments. The production ,however, was trashed by many fans of the studio, who found the characters poorly written ,with many only introduced just to be killed off by the vampires of the tale.
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BEYOND THE RAVE was released to DVD ,with extras including an excised scene featuring Ingrid Pitt (who had starred in Hammer‘s VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) and COUNTESS DRACULA (1971).
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In 2008 ,  Hammer took part in a Swedish -Irish-UK co-production called
WAKE WOOD. The film is a gruesome and dark supernatural thriller that often recalls THE WICKER MAN(1973) . Indeed , it would have been a worthier sequel to that classic than the very disappointing THE WICKER TREE (2011).
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Sadly,  WAKE WOOD  sat for three years ,getting only a token release in four theatres before being dumped onto DVD.   It is a superlative horror film that deserves to be better known.
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In 2009 ,Hammer tried a return to the psychological thrillers that they had made in the 1960s, filming THE RESIDENT in New York City and New Mexico. Starring Hillary Swank, it also was Christopher Lee‘s first Hammer film since TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER 36 years earlier.  The film was a slick production, but sat on a shelf for two years, again getting a token theatrical release before it’s DVD release.

let the right one in book coverHammer’s next film, however, showed that the studio was back on track . Låt den rätte komma in “ by John Ajvide Linqvist was a very dark but original vampire novel about  12 year old Oskar meets a centuries old vampire Eli,who looks like a child . Set in the early 1980s, the novel explores loneliness,pedophilia,mutilation, divorce ,all while dealing with some really nasty murders.  Translated into several languages, the book was first adapted into a Swedish film in 2008,directed with great economy and skill by  Tomas Alfredson (who later directed the 2011 British film TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY).
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Hammer based their screenplay more along the Swedish film adaptation, calling it LET ME IN . They had acquired the English language rights before the Swedish film had even seen release ,and even offered it’s director the chance to do the English language  version. When he declined, Hammer signed on writer director Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD,2008). 
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The setting was moved to New Mexico , and a few more changes were made to the adaptation ( I will let you debate which version is better). Filmed in late 2009, the final budget was $20 million (the shrieks from the grave you may be hearing is probably Sir Michael Carreras,  who produced most of his films for relatively low budgets).

Released in 2010 to praise (though some did complain it either followed the Swedish film either too much or too little!),it earned $12 million in the U.S. and Canada alone, accruing $24 million world wide. (Oddly,

It was listed as one of the ten biggest bombs of 2010!). Blu Ray ,DVD, and cable sales in 2011 pushed the film into a modest profit.

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Finally, in 2012, Hammer had a well deserved hit in their 2012 adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic ghost story , THE WOMAN IN BLACK.  The 1983 novel was adapted into a stage play in 1987, and is the second longest running West End Play in history (right after THE MOUSETRAP).
Nigel Kneale did a superlative adaptation  for  ITV television in 1989 ,and there have been at least two radio adaptations.
Screenwriter Jane Goldman did a superior adaptation of the story ,with star Daniel Radcliffe supported by a top notch team both in front of and off camera, making this one of the most satisfying cinematic ghost stories in quite some time. Wisely, they made the film in the U.K.,the true home of Hammer.
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Originally conceived as a 3-D film, this idea was wisely scrapped (the dark cinematography would have made this a difficult problem), it was shot in 2010 on a modest budget of $15 million.
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During it’s opening weekend in the US. , it earned $20 million ,making it the highest U.S. grossing opening in Hammer‘s history(released in the U.S. by CBS Films).  The film, which garnered exceptionally positive reviews, eventually earned $127 Million world wide. DVD & Blu Ray sales later that year added to the coffers.
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Ghosts seemed good for their coffers, so Hammer two years later produced THE QUIET ONES.  Produced on a low budget ,again in the U.K., the film got mixed reviews but made $8 million in the U.S. ,with a world wide gross of $17 million for distributor Lionsgate.
THE WOMEN IN BLACK II: ANGEL OF DEATH (2015) was a major disappointment when it was released .While costing about the same amount ( $15 million) ,it took in  a third of the box office that the original had made ,perhaps due to  it being  only a pale ghost to the original film.
This time, the story is set in 1941(35 years after events of the first film), and uses the actual historical event of evacuating children from London into the farther reaches of the country to avoid German bombings. Unfortunately, the village and in particular the home this first group of children are housed is the home haunted by the title character.
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Whereas the scares built naturally and suspensefully in the 2012 film, the remake seems to just drag out the references from the first films (toys springing to activity in the presence of the spirit) but without any attempt at making it emotionally involving.  Indeed, they should have studied THE INNOCENTS (1961) or the studio’s own  LET ME IN  to see how to work children and loss into an horror film.  Several jump scares seemed to have been added later to try and make it more frightening, but they seem at odds with the film itself.
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In the meantime, TURN OF THE SCREW AT THE ALMEIDA LONDON  Hammer has expanded to include  live  stage productions, starting  in 2012 with a well reviewed production of Henry James‘ TURN OF THE SCREW as well as  Hallowe’en events like Hammer House of Horror Live : The Soulless Ones  in 2017 .
Hammer is still a viable production company with hopefully many more frights to come.
I end this quick overview ,though , with a mystery, that perhaps P.C. 49 might be able to solve
In 2012 Hammer Films /Exclusive Media, acquired the rights to make a film about the Winchester Mystery House.  ImaginationDesign Works & Nine/8 Entertainment were co- producers. The film got a big boost when Helen Mirren signed on to appear as Sarah Winchester. Sarah Winchester believed that she was haunted by the spirits of those that died from the firearms manufactured by her family firm ,and so ,from 1884 until she died in 1922, work continued  on the strange house built for spirits.
Originally announced to be shot in the U.S., the majority of the film was filmed in Australia . The directors ,the Spierig Brothers,makers of the cult 2003 Australian horror film UNDEAD , had been attached to the project since 2014. https://variety.com/2014/film/news/winchester-mystery-house-movie-attracts-spierig-brothers-1201268393/
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However, when the $3.5 million dollar film WINCHESTER  was finally released in 2018 to reviews that were mostly bad, Hammer‘s name is no where on the publicity material.  Did it vanish like a ghost or did the studio simply step away? The film still managed to scare up over 11 times its production cost, so you would think they would want their name on it.
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                  Mysteries still  come from the House of Hammer.
Hopefully, the next film that goes into production with the Hammer Banner wears it proudly and is embraced by fans and the general public alike .
-Kevin G Shinnick
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                                            ”  How’s that grab ya ? “
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