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For those of us of a certain age, this was the must-see Saturday night TV
event. And out of the 13 (very apt number...) individual episodes, there
several that chill my blood and haunt my nightmares to this
The luridly titled 'House That Bled To Death' was an excellent take on the Amityville theme - new owners of a house discover its murderous past, 'Thirteenth Reunion' takes the cannibal-aircrash-survivors story to a scary extreme, and 'Charlie Boy' gives us the cursed voodoo effigy from hell.
But undoubted winner of the 'Scare A Thirteen Year Old So He Pees The Bed' Award - 'Two Faces of Evil'. For any thirtysomething who has passing hazy recollections of this series, think rotten teeth and one sharp, black fingernail...
I'm off - I need the loo.
Could you believe that after so long, the Hammer Company could come back
release a show that had as much quality content as the original Twilight
Zone? For those who have not seen this, the closest that I can come to
describing this gems is to compare to the 1 hour episodes that Rod Serling
put out. Even that doesn't do them justice.
There are thirteen episodes in all. The cover lists Peter Cushing, Denholm Eliot, and Pierce Brosnan, but there are stand-out performances by many more in each episode. Jon Finch (Hitchcock's Frenzy) starts off as director editing his film at home when a fierce storm draws near... From the first minute of the first episode, it is apparent that this series was something special. Good direction, tight casting, and fast paced stories are the norm. This is not to say that all will interest, and some have common themes to other episodes, but all are enjoyable. Picture a standard film, and cut out a half an hour of the excess, and you've got these.
Certainly worth the investment, these episodes can be collected in one box set, which is quite well done by A+E. Werewolves, demons, witches, voodoo dolls, and for good measure a demented Nazi can all be found within. Horror fans, and those who miss good television, should take a look at Hammer. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.
This TV-series contains 13 episodes of 52 minutes, and all of them are
to watch. Of course, not all stories are even, there are tops and flops.
all in all, there is no episode that is really bad.
First, the three weakest stories. The fourth episode, "Growing Pains", tells an interesting story about the ghost of a dead boy coming back from the grave to haunt his parents who haven't had enough time to look after him. But too slow paced and a tame ending make this episode rather a letdown. The ninth episode "Carpathian Eagle" boosts a very interesting serial killer story with a twist (and Pierce Brosnan in a small role as a victim), but it's also too slow paced and predictable towards the end. The weakest of all episodes is number ten, "Guardian of the Abyss". It's a not very original story about a Satan's cult, only the final twist is nice to watch.
But there are some exquisite horror stories in the series. For example, episode two, "The Thirteenth Reunion". It's a creepy story about a cannibalistic secret society, highly recommended. As is the sixth episode, "Charlie Boy", the goriest episode with the highest body count about an African voodoo fetish with deadly powers. Or the seventh, "The Silent Scream" starring Peter Cushing as an ex-concentration camp guard who makes a grueling experiment with an ex-convict. Psychologically very unnerving. "Visitor from the Grave", the eleventh episode, has also some creepy moments that are perfectly timed. But the most haunting story is the twelfth, "The Two Faces of Evil", which will make You shiver for quite a while. Atmospheric horror at its best.
The first episode, "Witching Time", starring Ian "Zombi 2" McCullogh, is mainly remarkable for being the only one with a happy-end. "Rude Awakening", the third, is the most (dark) humorous one with Denholm Elliott playing the lead role gleefully funny. The fifth episode "The House That Bled to Death" makes a seven year old girl suffer some really bad shocks, while episode eight, "Children of the Full Moon", tells a nice variation of the classic wolf man story. The final episode, "The Mark of Satan", is an interesting study of a man's paranoia and its unpleasant consequences.
For being a TV-series, the episodes boost surprisingly subversive and violent moments. They are mostly highly entertaining and creepy. Recommended to all who like to shiver while they're watching movies.
Hammer House Of Horror, with its Spinal Tap's 'Stonehenge' soundalike
theme tune, casts of soon-to-be-famous actors and commendably nasty
flair for nihilism and genuine nastiness slithered onto British
television (on Saturday nights, too!) in 1980 and carved indelible
scars in the collective subconscious of an entire generation. Sure, not
all the episodes were up to the same standard, but the ones that worked
- well, they were classics.
THE HOUSE THAT BLED TO DEATH is one of the most memorable episodes, and rightly so. I think this would have made a decent feature-length film. An apparently unsuspecting family moves into a house with a grim recent past and quickly realize that all is not as it should be. A series of horrible incidents (animal lovers should not even consider watching this episode) culminate in the notorious blood-soaked birthday party and the family moves away, but even that isn't the end of their problems. This episode has one of the most shocking and disturbing final scenes of the whole series and would make a nice companion piece to Romano Scavolini's NIGHTMARE (1981), released the following year. SILENT SCREAM is another excellent series entry, with Peter Cushing at his creepy best as a seemingly innocuous pet shop owner who turns out to be a former concentration camp guard with a penchant for unpleasant experiments involving "prisons without walls". The finale is extremely creepy and haunted my dreams for a long time when I was a child. THE TWO FACES OF EVIL goes all out to disturb, with creepy electronic music, claustrophobic camera angles, dopplegangers, nausea-inducing shocks and another troubling ending. It's the closest the series comes to straight horror for its own sake, and should NOT be watched alone!
After the excellent opening salvo of three brilliant episodes, the rest of the series can seem like a disappointment, but CHARLIE BOY, WITCHING HOUR, GROWING PAINS, THE MARK OF Satan and VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE are all fine stories (the latter boasting a completely wacko final scene that will have you muttering "what the hell was THAT?!"), RUDE AWAKENING is as bizarre as anything the late Dennis Potter ever came up with, THE CARPATHIAN EAGLE boasts the gorgeous Suzanne Danielle, THE THIRTEENTH REUNION is well-acted and macabre if a little predictable, and the remaining few episodes don't quite come off. Nonetheless, it's a pleasingly varied series that's consistently entertaining, and a reminder of a time when television treated adults like adults and had yet to dumb down to the levels of dreck like Freddy's Nightmares.
Hammer House Of Horrors DVD collection is the ultimate collectible when
it comes to horror DVD's. I have almost 200 horror films in my
collection, and I must say Hammer House Of Horrors is amongst the top 5
in the horror category.
Anyway, Hammer House Of Horrors is one series of films that one can't grow tired of. The episodes are well thought out and executed. The best of all is episode VII "the silent scream." The episode is everything horror should be, surprise, fright, and regret. I strongly suggest seeing this series of DVD's with an emphasis on episode VII "the silent scream.
The last official 'Hammer horror' film - 'To The Devil A Daughter - was released in 1975. That seemed to be it. Five years later, this I.T.V. series appeared. Despite the title it was actually made by I.T.C. Entertainment ( 'Lew Grade's House Of Horror' didn't have the same ring, I suppose ). The thirteen episodes were a mixed bag, many relying on gore and nudity for their shock value, rather than well written stories. Easily the best was 'The Silent Scream' starring the late, great Peter Cushing. Great final shot! 'Witching Time' was pretty memorable too ( because Patricia Quinn and Prunella Gee both got their kit off ). But there was little of the essence of the movie series that had scared audiences for two decades. The strongest influence came from 'Thriller', an anthology made by A.T.V. in the early '70's. 'Guardian Of The Abyss' was the most Hammer-like episode, bearing a resemblance to 'The Devil Rides Out' ( 1968 ) based on the famous Dennis Wheatley novel.
1000 words are not enough to review this entire series but I'll try my
best. These are 13 one-hour stories with the usual horrific ending.
Standard fare? No. Quality actors, great direction and superb scripts
make a great series of stories that are long gone but definitely not
forgotten. 25 years have passed since the original airing and upon
review, they're still great! Madness, revenge, greed, jealousy and the
occult are just some of the subjects covered by these stories. The
effects are dated, the actors look unfashionable and the locations look
dated but that isn't unexpected. This is the third decade since then
and life moves on. You may recognise familiar faces from Peter Cushing
(Famous Hammer Actor: From Beyond the Grave, Asylum, Top Secret) to
Lucy Gutteridge (Top Secret, Secret Garden) and Denholm Elliott
If you love British horror, made during the 'golden era' of British television, get the DVD and start watching!
Curiously enough, this is only Hammer's second foray into Wolf Man lore after THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961); intriguingly, it's mixed here with a VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)-like brood of evil children while the sinister procreation plot is a clear nod to ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968). An unsettling mood pervades this particular episode (helped by its central location, an English country-house situated deep into the woods) even if, when finally glimpsed, the werewolf make-up is kind of goofy! The bewildered hero is played by Christopher Cazenove, his business partner by Hammer veteran Robert Urquhart, while Diana Dors is the deceptively genial housekeeper of the eerie mansion who, apart from looking after the children by day, has the task of initiating the werewolf's female victims (the latest being Cazenove's wife) into their new 'role'. The final twist concerning a woodsman Cazenove meets when he goes looking for his missing wife is predictable, but nicely handled all the same. As has been the case with some other episodes in the series which, I have to admit, has taken me by surprise overall this presents a far more chilling, and subversive, concept (bestiality) than is usually associated with Hammer Films!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Hammer box-set from the 1980 TV series provides a fitting homage
and legacy to arguably the greatest contributors of horror on the big
and small screen.
The 13 stories cover everything from evil doppelgangers to Satanists; witches; ghosts; 'voodoo dolls'; werewolves; cannibals and more besides (no vampires though, something of a departure for Hammer!) They are imaginatively written and well acted with great performances from fine actors such as Peter Cushing and Diana Dors.
It is from a time when horror was about more than hi-tech gory special effects and torture sequences thrown together to make a 'body' of work and although this Hammer box-set is of its time it is a brilliant collection that has also stood the test of time. I like a lot of modern day horror as well as the old Universal horrors, horrors from the 70's etc but you will never purchase a more diverse and enjoyable collection of horror shorts in one collection as this one.
Well done Hammer, I truly salute you, you are sorely missed.
Last week, the Brazilian distributor London Films released a DVD with
three episodes of "Hammer House of Horror".
1) "Witching Time":
This movie is independently listed in IMDb:
2) "The Thirteenth Reunion"
Ruth, the reporter of the women page of a magazine, is assigned by her editor to participate of a ten weeks course of a new weight organization called "Think Thin". In accordance with the letter of a reader, the system would be very masochist and depressive, destructing the self-esteem of the patient. Ruth makes a friend in the course, and he dies in a car crash. In the funeral, an employee of the funeral house discloses weird events that are happening in his job. In her investigation, Ruth finds dark and macabre secrets.
Although being predictable in a certain moment, I liked very much this short story of "Hammer House of Horror". This film is very well played and directed, has many outdoors scenes, very unusual in Hammer's movies, and is very dark. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A 13a Reunião"("The Thirteenth Reunion")
3) "Rude Awakening"
The real state agent Norman hates his old wife and wants to divorce her to marry his secretary Lolly. When a new client wants to sell an old and isolated mansion, Norman begins to have odd nightmares, and he becomes confused between reality and dream. When Norman awakes, a surprise waits for him.
This intriguing episode has a deceptive conclusion, but anyway I liked it. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Despertar Repentino" ("Sudden Awakening")
My vote for the DVD is seven.
Title of DVD (Brazil): "A Casa do Terror" ("The House of the Terror")
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